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I am editing a friend's scientific manuscript, which will ultimately be submitted to a biological journal. He uses "just" as an adverb to describe a location (emphasis added by me), e.g.,

The river's confluence is located just downriver from the site.

However, the use of "just" seems too colloquial to me for scientific writing, although I cannot pinpoint exactly why I dislike the use of "just". Am I correct in my assessment that "just" should be wordsmithed out? e.g.,

The river's confluence is located immediately downriver from the town.

The exact distance (e.g., 100 m vs 1 km) is not important because this is a caption to map. Also, I have looked at other "just" questions on this site. This post is similar but non-technical. An answer to this post suggests that "just" can be ambiguous, which might be another reason I might dislike the use of "just". Also, my question is not relevant to this post or this post on "just".

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    I think your reluctance to use just in this way simply reflects the fact that the usage was relatively uncommon until a century or two ago. Admittedly, there's potential ambiguity in, say, Some specimens were just too big to be preserved for future analysis, but I see no ambiguity in your context. It just depends on how "starchy" you want your text to appear. – FumbleFingers Jun 24 '15 at 14:10
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    'just' (as used here) sounds a little informal, and probably doesn't work well in technical writing because it is not very specific. – Mitch Jun 24 '15 at 14:24
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The use of "just" in this situation is unnecessary. The phrase works just as well without it, i.e.: "The river's confluence is located downriver from the site."

If the attempt is to indicate a small distance, then "The river's confluence is nearby, located downriver from the site."

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    Thank you for suggestion. You're solution addresses my concern AND creates a shorter sentence! – Richard Erickson Jun 24 '15 at 15:33
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JUST is commonly used but that doesn't necessarily rob it of its beauty & worth. In literal writing we write -The comment is just as it is adequate.No harm,you may go with JUST as well.

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  • Thank you for your answer, but I'm not doing literal writing. – Richard Erickson Jun 24 '15 at 15:32
  • This answer uses a completely different definition of 'just' from the one used in the question. – Dan Henderson Sep 25 '15 at 15:19

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