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March 28, 1977

A Rococo Report

JAMA. 1977;237(13):1362. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270400066027

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The editors of the New England Journal of Medicine are to be congratulated for, in a manner of speaking, biting the bullet and coming out against the use of certain editorial trivia which are usually not only meaningless usages, but often are even incorrect. We refer to a notice on their editorial page for the Jan 20, 1977, issue. The editors request that such words as hopefully, significant, significantly, or significance (except when they refer to a statistical analysis) and parameter (unless it refers to a mathematical function) be avoided; that such phrases as recently or in recent years and there is (are, were, has been, have been) be used frugally to begin sentences, that participles (verbs ending in ing) also be used frugally; and finally, that the active voice be used more frequently than the passive voice.

In recent years, and even more so at this point in time,