I'd like to know if the expression "bring to light" used to mean to discover or reveal (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/bring--to--light) is considered cliché - or even tacky - in scientific writing?

I know that oftentimes, either because we want to sound original (or even daring), or because we want to avoid repeating a certain word, we resort to synonyms.

I find scientific writing to be rather (unnecessarily) stiff. Thus, the intention of sounding innovative can backfire and cost the author's credibility if one miss the bull's eye.

Is there any style manual that explicitly condemns - or approves of - the use of the expression?

  • this might help... – marcellothearcane Jul 4 '17 at 19:07
  • Do you have an example sentence where you might use "bring to light"? I wouldn't rule it out without seeing an example. – ab2 ReinstateMonicaNow Jul 4 '17 at 20:35
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    How many style guides directed at academic / scientific writing have you checked in? Even more mainstream style guides are considered to be in many cases too opinion-based and contradictory to be appropriate for discussion on ELU. And 'daring phraseology' and 'scientific treatise' seem pretty disjunct. // If you're submitting a piece for a specific institution, they will almost certainly have a scientific writing style guide, which you should consult. And people who grade theses. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 4 '17 at 21:13

The most important thing in academic writing is that it is clear and concise. Boring is not a criterion.

It is difficult to walk the line between being original (and interesting) and being credible and serious. I would say that it would be suitable to use the expression "bring to light". Just remember: it's better to be use the correct word instead of using the most exciting word. But all in all, I wouldn't think it was strange if I read that expression in a scientific paper.

Also, remember that different words fit in different academia. In a math proof I would find it strange to read that "in the heat of the moment the numbers got scrambled" or in a chemistry paper that "the oxygen is keeping the hydrogen at bay".

It would help to see an example sentence to be absolutely sure, but no, I wouldn't rule it out.

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