English collocations: Gas emanations or gas fumes?

If you are reading about chemistry or about our atmosphere, you may have encountered already these two ways of denoting the leak of gas substances. Technical vocabulary is somewhat difficult to put together in a text, even more if you are not a really experienced scientific writer. This is complex, mainly because there are different terminologies for specific purposes and, in order to impress a scientific audience, we must be really careful about the ideas we want to express using the right words.

Words in science: how to choose the right one

Let’s see the following example: A student of chemistry class deals with an experiment about gas leaks of different substances and how they cause damage to the environment. The initial part is, of course, doing the experiment, which she conducts successfully. But the second part, writing the report with the results of such an experiment could be challenging. What is the best concept to refer to in this case? This is a problem related to language and the importance of conveying an idea through the right words. An experiment can be conducted at its best with outstanding results, and, usually, scientists have the aim of spreading those results to a wider scientific or non-scientific audience, in order to reveal and make good use of knowledge.

Fortunately, there are other linguistic solutions such as language software tools that may help students and writers of technical papers to produce well-thought arguments to support their ideas. Software tools like WriteBetter work online and at the same time that you are writing your document. This way, at the right of your screen you will find examples of already published papers that have been already approved, giving you ideas on how to continue building your paragraphs. In the case of our example above about the most suitable concept to refer to damaging gas leaks, WriteBetter is a great tool to see which concept is more widely used for the same purpose. Let’s take a look…

A synonym of fume can be smoke. In scientific discourse, the words fume or emanations may be used in the same way with no apparent distinction. Nevertheless, when entering these words into the WriteBetter software, we can get an idea of how these two concepts are written in different context even in the same area of scientific knowledge.

C:\Users\hp\Desktop\WriteBetter\emanations underlined.jpg
C:\Users\hp\Desktop\WriteBetter\emanations underlined.jpg

When we enter the word emanations we see a more neutral connotation and use of this word. Some hints about this are the appearance of objective words such as observations, information, etc. Also, the presence of positive words such as the ones underlined: useful and non-radioactive.

So what happens when we introduce the word fumes?

C:\Users\hp\Desktop\WriteBetter\fumes underlined.jpg

When writing the word fumes, there appear some negative words related to it, like the ones underlined: dust, destruction, and risk. In this sense, and for the student’s purpose of the example given above, this would be the most suitable concept to use to discuss the damages caused by gas leaks. This word will be useful to introduce that the consequences of such gas leaks are negative towards the environment. Readers will get the immediate impression of the negative consequences of such chemical reactions and, therefore, will easily understand that the results will try to prove such a line of thought. There is no room for ambivalence when preferring this concept rather than just using emanations, which can be either good or bad!

If you need more information about the paper in which we find these words, you can just click on the example and the software will display the whole paragraph in which the sentence was found. There is no need of looking up on the internet, the information will be shown to you immediately, saving a lot of time from research on the internet.

Software tools like WriteBetter are trustworthy in this sense because they will display only published information coming from scientific sources, which is not always the case when you look up some definitions in any other online dictionary or unknown webpage. 

Finally, to give variety to your text, you can also look up for synonyms and translations in the same software and at the same speed of your writing. Taking advantage of this technological linguistic tool will not only be of use for building up your text, but it will be also engaging for your audience. Teachers and readers will be attracted to your paper not only for the results you display in it, but also because it will look specific, professional and informed.

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