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BJS Bookshelf: The Elements of Style

Authors: Recommendation and Article by Gianluca Pellino, BJS Academy SoMe and Associate Professor of Surgery at University of Campania, Naples, Italy, @GianlucaPellino

This is a writing guidebook that provides readers with precious advice on grammar, syntax, sentence construction, and other writing essentials. The book covers a wide range of topics, ranging from punctuation to the more complex construction of sentences and choice of words. It provides basic rules of language use and clear explanations, and is a compact but practical compendium, presented in an easy-to-follow style.

Why surgeons should read it:

All surgeons read the scientific literature and knowing grammar may ease understanding. Most surgeons will try to publish their experience in international journals, many will try to pursue an academic career, and some will be constantly preparing grant applications in English. Obviously, the content of each of these items remains the most important factor; however, correct use of the English language can contribute to the success of any attempt. It could also avoid misinterpretations and misunderstandings. A direct relationship has been demonstrated between the number of grammatical errors contained in a  scientific article submitted for publication and the likelihood of receiving a rejection; this book can help writers avoid common mistakes. It can also facilitate article revision before submission by familiarising surgeons with what clear text should look like. This book is useful for both native and non-native English speakers and is a valuable addition to every surgeon’s bookshelf.


Part of the charitable activity of the Foundation, BJS Academy is an online educational resource for current and future surgeons.

The Academy is comprised of five distinct sections: Continuing surgical education, Young BJS, Cutting edge, Scientific surgery and Surgical news. Although the majority of this is open access, additional content is available to BJS subscribers and strategic partners.

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