Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 50

Thread: Can "slow" be a verb?

  1. #1
    Health writer
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    967

    Can "slow" be a verb?

    Metformin slows glucose absorption. Can I write it this way instead of Metformin slows down glucose absorption?

    The exact term "slows glucose absorption" has more than 200,000 hits in Google, but only two (2) if I search with site:gov

    "slow the passage of food" is much more common than "slow down the passage of food," though. "Slow the speed" is also common. It seems to me that "slow" alone can be used when things are obviously moving already. "Glucose absorption" does not sound so movable and my first example can be actually a bit awkward.
    Last edited by boron; 12-07-2012 at 02:44 PM.

  2. #2
    Needs More Hands.... Fallen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    West Madlands UK
    Posts
    4,866
    'Slow/s/ed' is fine as a verb:

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/slow

    'Slow down' is more an idiom:

    http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/slow+down

    I'd rather see 'slow/s' than 'slow down' in academic writing (although others may differ).

    On choices of the base form (slow) or the s form (slows), this link may be hepful as it shows why the base form of a verb (eg slow) is chosen over the s form (slows). It's all to do with number, poeple, mood etc:

    http://grammar.about.com/od/ab/g/baseformterm.htm

    But in general:

    The man (3rd person single) slows his pace
    The people (3rd person plural) slow their pace.
    I run (1st person single)
    She runs (3rd person single)
    They run (3rd person plural)

    Which is probably why:

    Metformin (3rd person uncount) slows glucose abosorbtion

    sounds better than:

    Metformin slow glucose absorbtion

    Metformin doesn't take an 's', otherwise "Metformins slow glucose" would sound better on the ear. As it doesn't and it represents a whole substance, the verb 'slows' sounds better.

    This is purely how I see it working. Other AWs will let you know if I'm wrong. I'm not suggesting alternatives for 'slow' as it's not what you asked
    Last edited by Fallen; 12-07-2012 at 02:42 PM.

  3. #3
    Health writer
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    967
    Oh, slow/slows is not my problem at all, that's easy. But you say "slow" alone, not "slow down," could do.

    What about "fasten" or "quicken" (to make faster), do they sound right?

    You can fasten the delivery of the post by... or
    You can quicken the delivery of the post by...
    Last edited by boron; 12-07-2012 at 03:42 PM.

  4. #4
    pretending to be awake onesecondglance's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Berkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,981
    No. "Quicken" has a distinct meaning (see "quickening"), and "fasten" means to close (as in "fastening a coat").

    Try "accelerate".
    Λrchangel: near-future SF noir
    Bleed Through: multiverse thriller with a side of vampires. | 48,500 / 100,000 (any appearance of progress is an illusion)
    I write music. | I gave in and joined twitter. | And I have a blog too.

  5. #5
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    13,561
    There's no such word as 'fasten' in the sense of 'to make faster', as far as I know.

    Try 'hasten' or 'speed'

    It all depends upon context.
    Everything yields to treatment.

  6. #6
    Health writer
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    967
    Quote Originally Posted by Bufty View Post
    There's no such word as 'fasten' in the sense of 'to make faster', as far as I know.

    Try 'hasten' or 'speed'

    It all depends upon context.
    Hasten - a new word to me. Please, only tell me it's a common one, so everyone understands it. As I see, it is used often in my contexts:

    "hasten the absorption of oxygen"

    "Speed" (not "speed up," right?) is even better.
    Last edited by boron; 12-07-2012 at 04:19 PM.

  7. #7
    Needs More Hands.... Fallen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    West Madlands UK
    Posts
    4,866
    Quote Originally Posted by boron View Post
    Hasten -new word to me. Please, only tell me it's a common one, so everyone understands it. As I see, it is used often in my contexts:

    "hasten the absorption of oxygen"

    "Speed" (not "speed up," right?) is even better.
    Hasten is fairly common. As for 'speed' and 'speed up' I'd opt for 'accelerate'.

  8. #8
    Health writer
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    967
    Fallen, or anyone other, when you are looking for a health information for yourself in a nonacademic, but serious health article, do you want to read accelerate or speed growth, healing or whatever...I mean pure English vs. latine-derived words?

    Mayoclinic.com, a very popular health website, is famous for their simplified language: Supplemental oxygen can speed the absorption process.

    Is it something wrong with simpler words? Do they sound annoying or amateurish? I usually write for the "end users," so not doctors or researchers. I just want to hear this from someone who is English. Some (educated) online Indian and Chinese people were constantly warning me to write in a more understandable language.

  9. #9
    pretending to be awake onesecondglance's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Berkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,981
    Aim not for simplicity, but clarity.

    Don't substitute the right word for a simpler one; but if the simple one is the right one, then use that instead of something complex.

    Knowing which one is the "right" one is the bit that takes experience and talent.
    Λrchangel: near-future SF noir
    Bleed Through: multiverse thriller with a side of vampires. | 48,500 / 100,000 (any appearance of progress is an illusion)
    I write music. | I gave in and joined twitter. | And I have a blog too.

  10. #10
    God of the Oceans
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    The Oceans
    Posts
    3,095
    Quote Originally Posted by boron View Post
    Fallen, or anyone other, when you are looking for a health information for yourself in a nonacademic, but serious health article, do you want to read accelerate or speed growth, healing or whatever...I mean pure English vs. latine-derived words?
    I would find "accelerate" more professional in that use. Most scientific terms are derived from Greek of Latin roots.

    Mayoclinic.com, a very popular health website, is famous for their simplified language: Supplemental oxygen can speed the absorption process.
    Do you want your article to seem like something written for eight year old children?

    Is it something wrong with simpler words? Do they sound annoying or amateurish? I usually write for the "end users," so not doctors or researchers. I just want to hear this from someone who is English. Some (educated) online Indian and Chinese people were constantly warning me to write in a more understandable language.
    Sijmple words and structures are for simple people. If you are targetting the least educated people, then you should use the simplest words and sentences that you can. If your audience is composed of people with some education and intelligence, then you should use words and sentences that are more complicated. The "(educated) online Indian and Chinese people" that I have known had severely limited skill in English, even though they had advanced degrees.

  11. #11
    here and there again fadeaccompli's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    899
    Quote Originally Posted by King Neptune View Post
    Sijmple words and structures are for simple people. If you are targetting the least educated people, then you should use the simplest words and sentences that you can. If your audience is composed of people with some education and intelligence, then you should use words and sentences that are more complicated. The "(educated) online Indian and Chinese people" that I have known had severely limited skill in English, even though they had advanced degrees.
    This is...well. An oversimplification.

    Entirely putting aside the many problems with referring to "simple people" in such a context, let's look at the basic aspect of writing for different audiences. There are many simple words that are perfectly acceptable for people with "some education and intelligence." And in many cases, using a more complex word will make the writer look like someone with less education and intelligence... because it's the wrong word.

    Use the right word for the situation and for the audience. A particularly literate audience may expand your choices; an audience educated in a particular field ought to give you many choices in field-specific terminology; and an audience reading for serious academic purpose may prefer complex, compact sentences to taking several simpler sentences to express the same concept.

    But it would be foolish to choose more complex words and more complex sentences simply on the basis of believing that complexity is somehow superior, or a sign of a more "advanced" text in some way. Complexity should be used because it's necessary--for style, clarity, conciseness, or otherwise--and not for its own sake. (Note that if you're dealing with an audience that associates complexity with superiority, then in that case you are, in fact, using it for reasons of style.)

  12. #12
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    13,561
    Clarity is king, and simplicity is the key to clarity.

    Simplicity in terms of saying exactly what you mean and meaning what you say.

    Your main difficulty seems to be you don't always know how to say things simply and clearly - and that is always going to lead to misunderstanding. Especially in a medical atmosphere where it's essential for folk to understand what you mean.

    We can, and are glad to help when we can, but it would be very advisable to consider having these articles vetted by someone who knew your intended audience well.

    To be constantly warned to write in a more understandable language seems to me to be a warning sign that should not be ignored.
    Everything yields to treatment.

  13. #13
    Needs More Hands.... Fallen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    West Madlands UK
    Posts
    4,866
    Fae and one make some really good points up there.

    Just on a side note, I understand where you're coming from. When it comes to anything medical, I'm a simple person; I like things explained in ways that don't need a knife to cut through through the thickness of the words. But at the same time, English is my first language, I've been to university etc, and I've grown up knowing the difference between (and within) registers, so I get to know (purely by default sometimes) the subtle differences in word choice. I'd be happy with accelerate, hasten etc.

    But not every reader is the same and you're right to consider your target audience as a whole and try and get a good balance between techincal and accesible. Like you say, you're not writing for doctors and medical researchers, so I wouldn't expect it to be at the more lexically dense end of the technical scale.

    In the context you gave, 'speed' would be fine. Which is what Bufty was saying too, and he makes a good point on making sure you do know your target audience.
    Last edited by Fallen; 12-07-2012 at 10:39 PM. Reason: Can't spell every

  14. #14
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister SuperModerator Medievalist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    An meodoheall monig dreama full
    Posts
    25,533
    Quote Originally Posted by boron View Post
    Metformin slows glucose absorption. Can I write it this way instead of Metformin slows down glucose absorption?
    Yes.

    That is in fact the best way to write that.

    AW Admin
    About.Me
    AWers On Twitter
    Lisa L. Spangenberg
    My opinions are my own. | Who else would want them?

  15. #15
    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Transcending Canines
    Posts
    20,329
    Quote Originally Posted by boron View Post
    Hasten - a new word to me. Please, only tell me it's a common one, so everyone understands it. As I see, it is used often in my contexts:

    "hasten the absorption of oxygen"

    "Speed" (not "speed up," right?) is even better.
    I don't think hasten is REALLY common, but everyone should understand it. The noun form haste is surely more common, as in the saying "haste makes waste."
    Quote Originally Posted by King Neptune View Post
    I would find "accelerate" more professional in that use. Most scientific terms are derived from Greek of Latin roots.



    Do you want your article to seem like something written for eight year old children?



    Sijmple words and structures are for simple people. If you are targetting the least educated people, then you should use the simplest words and sentences that you can. If your audience is composed of people with some education and intelligence, then you should use words and sentences that are more complicated. The "(educated) online Indian and Chinese people" that I have known had severely limited skill in English, even though they had advanced degrees.
    I have mixed feelings here. If you're changing the speed of a physical object I have no problem with the word accelerate, but for other uses I might hesitate to use it (a four syllable word, or the noun form acceleration being five syllables) just to increase the fog index.
    Ello.
    NaNoWriMo 2014: Unknown.
    Tweets daily or so.

  16. #16
    Health writer
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    967
    My last articles are about nutrition and my readers may be Pinoys, Scandinavians...occasional 12-year kids, but mostly adult Americans, who have digestive problems, are vegetarians etc., so they are usually familiar with related topics, but not necessary with all medical terms, so I write "stomach" instead of "gastric" diseases and so.

    Now, I was thinking to start to "translate" some nonmedical Latin terms ("speed" instead of "accelerate"), because - why would someone want to read a complicated word if a simple one is available. I'm not a fan of the mayoclinic.com oversimplified style and I'm not about to invent a new word for a stethoscope, for example.

  17. #17
    I'll procrastinte tomorrow. Rufus Coppertop's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    3,536
    This

    Quote Originally Posted by King Neptune View Post
    If your audience is composed of people with some education and intelligence, then you should use words and sentences that are more complicated.
    seems to contradict this.

    The "(educated) online Indian and Chinese people" that I have known had severely limited skill in English, even though they had advanced degrees
    Words and sentences should only be as complicated as they actually need to be for the sake of edification.
    Last edited by Rufus Coppertop; 12-07-2012 at 11:44 PM.
    “But it isn't hunger that drives millions of armed American Males to forests and hills every autumn, as the high incidence of heart failure among the hunters will prove. Somehow the hunting process has to do with masculinity, but I don't quite know how.”
    John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America



  18. #18
    That hairy-handed gent
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Who ran amok in Kent
    Posts
    31,574
    In your medical example: "slows glucose absorption", the verb "retards" would perhaps be a little more precise. Or maybe "suppresses". But there's nothing grammatically incorrect about the use of "slows".

    caw
    "Badger! Badger! The weasels have stolen my motor-car!"

    "Frankly, Toad, I don't give a damn."

    -- Gone with the Wind in the Willows

  19. #19
    Health writer
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    967
    Suppresses is an exact but "complicated" word. Retards - yes. I was also considering "hampers," but I believe most people would understand "slows."

  20. #20
    That hairy-handed gent
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Who ran amok in Kent
    Posts
    31,574
    Quote Originally Posted by boron View Post
    Suppresses is an exact but "complicated" word.
    Not. "Suppress" is a commonly used verb in everyday English, which any literate person would understand, without specific technical knowledge. And remember the audience for whom you are writing here. Not likely you're going to have anybody who would have to seek a dictionary to understand it.

    We have pharmaceutical ads on TV with regularity that cite "suppression of the immune system" as a warning about side-effects of certain medicines.

    In fact, the more I think about it, "suppresses" is exactly the word you're looking for in this particular example.

    caw
    "Badger! Badger! The weasels have stolen my motor-car!"

    "Frankly, Toad, I don't give a damn."

    -- Gone with the Wind in the Willows

  21. #21
    Health writer
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    967
    A 15-year old boy from London understands "suppress" without a blink? One Indian teacher would yell at me that he understands nothing so he will not read further.

  22. #22
    That hairy-handed gent
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Who ran amok in Kent
    Posts
    31,574
    Quote Originally Posted by boron View Post
    A 15-year old boy from London understands "suppress" without a blink?
    I think probably yes, he would, unless he's completely illiterate, in which case, he's not going to read your article at all. It really isn't a technical word. For whom is this writing intended?

    caw
    "Badger! Badger! The weasels have stolen my motor-car!"

    "Frankly, Toad, I don't give a damn."

    -- Gone with the Wind in the Willows

  23. #23
    Health writer
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    967
    Quote Originally Posted by blacbird View Post
    For whom is this writing intended?

    caw
    Mostly for English-speaking people, 15+, including those whose English is not their first language, and who have personal needs to find useful health information online. I don't care about style or rich vocabulary. For a random reader my articles are boring, really.

  24. #24
    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Transcending Canines
    Posts
    20,329
    Quote Originally Posted by blacbird View Post
    ...
    We have pharmaceutical ads on TV with regularity that cite "suppression of the immune system" as a warning about side-effects of certain medicines.
    I have the distinct impression those things are in the ads solely because the attorneys lawyers say they need to be in there, not because they're actually informing people of things.
    Ello.
    NaNoWriMo 2014: Unknown.
    Tweets daily or so.

  25. #25
    That hairy-handed gent
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Who ran amok in Kent
    Posts
    31,574
    Quote Originally Posted by benbradley View Post
    I have the distinct impression those things are in the ads solely because the attorneys lawyers say they need to be in there, not because they're actually informing people of things.
    Probably, but the statement isn't a challenge to the average person to understand. "Suppress" is no more technical a verb than is "absorb".

    caw
    "Badger! Badger! The weasels have stolen my motor-car!"

    "Frankly, Toad, I don't give a damn."

    -- Gone with the Wind in the Willows

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search