ICN Language Services


Welcome to the ICN Blog!
We hope you will find these language tips helpful.
New items will be added periodically.

Questions? Contact us at icnlang@mindspring.com


Which comes first -
shortcake or broccoli?

To understand how best to improve writing, we must understand better how readers go about reading. Research in the fields of rhetoric, linguistics and cognitive psychology has produced a methodology based on the concept of reader expectations. Information is interpreted more easily if it is placed where most readers expect to find it. Scientific writing can be made significantly more comprehensible by observing the following structural principles. Read more.


Don't let the cat
out of the bag!

There are thousands of idioms in the English language. As you know, an idiom is a set expression that has a special meaning apart from the usual meaning of its individual words. When we say that it's "raining cats and dog," we mean it's raining very hard, not that animals are actually falling from the sky. Take this quiz to see how many idioms you know. Then click here to find an explanation of the answers.

Basic structure of
a research paper

The basic framework for a research paper is known as the IMRaD model: Introduction - Methods - Results - and - Discussion. Other components include the Abstract, which comes before the Introduction, and the Literature Review, which is within or after the Introduction. Following is an outline of the content and suggested verb tenses for each section of the paper. Read more.



Do your sentences run on...and on?

Running is good for you. But run-on sentences are not good for your writing. In a run-on sentence, two or more complete thoughts are written incorrectly as one sentence. Sometimes a run-on sentence contains incorrect punctuation. A run-on sentence occurs when a comma is incorrectly used to join or splice together two complete thoughts. This incorrect use of a comma is called a comma splice. Read more.