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I am writing an academic report, and I often need to provide more information about my previous sayings. I usually use the phrases 'more precisely' and 'more exactly' to do so. But you know, after some time, my text becomes really boring. I wonder if there are other scientific expressions to say 'more precisely' and 'more exactly.'

e.g., We use a refrigerator with the temperature set to -7C to freeze the solution. More precisely, we need to pour the solution into a special container to let its temperature become equal to our room's temperature before putting it into the refrigerator.

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  • A similar question: english.stackexchange.com/q/86908/407392 Jan 1, 2021 at 9:16
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    I recommend that you eliminate that style of writing. If you want to be more precise- just be more precise. You don’t have to announce it.
    – Jim
    Jan 1, 2021 at 9:53
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    What I do is step back and ask myself what the connection really is between one sentence and the next. In your example, "More precisely" may become First or To prepare. Jan 1, 2021 at 15:04
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    Is 'more precisely' refering to greater precision in your writing or in the process you're describing? In your example, the sentence after 'more precisely' doesn't give more precision (or detail) to the previous sentence but seems to describe other events that occur before you place the solution in the refrigerator. Jan 2, 2021 at 10:13
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    ‘More exactly’ doesn’t make sense.
    – jimm101
    Jan 2, 2021 at 19:10

4 Answers 4

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We use a refrigerator with the temperature set to -7C to freeze the solution. More precisely, we need to pour the solution into a special container

This is an inappropriate use of "more precisely". "More precisely" can only apply to a previously mentioned explanation.

In "We use a refrigerator with the temperature set to -7C to freeze the solution." there is no mention at all of pouring anything.

If you wanted to use "more precisely", it's clause would have to be something like:

"We use a refrigerator with the temperature set to -7C to freeze the solution. More precisely, a Bosch K19-A refrigerator."

or

"We use a refrigerator with the temperature set to -7C to freeze the solution. More precisely, a temperature that was regulated to -6.97C maximum and --7.09C minimum."

Your

We use a refrigerator with the temperature set to -7C to freeze the solution. More precisely, we need to pour the solution into a special container to let its temperature become equal to our room's temperature before putting it into the refrigerator.

Is very poor style - it is not in chronological order. It needs to be

We poured the solution into a special container and allowed its temperature to reach the temperature of the room and then, to freeze the solution, we put the container and solution into a refrigerator with the temperature set to -7C.

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For your information, "perfect", "precise", and "exact" have a meaning 100% (If it's not 100%, then it means has some deviation from the pure, original, and genuine "perfect", "precise" and "exact")

Perhaps you could use "more specifically speaking" or "to be more specific"

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    I think that "perfect(ly)", and "exact(ly)" are ungradeable, but that "precise(ly)" is gradeable because there are levels of precision.
    – Greybeard
    Jan 1, 2021 at 11:43
  • @Greybeard, Thank you for the advice. I didn't know the nuance of it. I agree with you.
    – gomadeng
    Jan 1, 2021 at 12:27
  • This suggests "greater exactness" is meaningful, as exactness is a measure of how precise a measurement is: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measurement#Exactness_designation
    – Stuart F
    Jun 28, 2021 at 10:19
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You need an expression which could introduce a more detailed description of what you have just said. That is (to say) is a very common phrase that could be used:

said when you want to give further details or be more exact about something:

  • I'll meet you in the city, that is, I will if the trains are running. (Cambridge)

Another option would be namely which has the advantage of being short, but for an academic work specifically might be the best. It means:

clearly, exactly, or in detail:

  • Specifically, these reviews quantify the amount of fraud, customer error, and official error (error by government employees) affecting benefit claims. (Cambridge)

So your example could be written in this way:

We use a refrigerator with the temperature set to -7C to freeze the solution. (More) specifically/ That is (to say)/ Namely, we need to pour the solution into a special container to let its temperature become equal to our room's temperature before putting it into the refrigerator.

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  • It is not clear what makes the second sentence of the example more specific than the first. As has been pointed out by Killing Time, below the question, the second sentence seems to be about an entirely separate step of the process. The question, as formulated, is not really answerable, because the OP's use of precisely and exactly is odd, in the first place.
    – jsw29
    Jun 28, 2021 at 16:25
  • I agree, but I also disagree. The OP says: "A. More specifically, this is how we get to A."
    – fev
    Jun 28, 2021 at 21:36
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I would consider the issue of overall conciseness. The active voice is fine; however, you could consider using the passive voice, which is very common in scientific writing, especially in the Materials and Methods section. It avoids many repetitions of the pronoun indicating who is doing the steps and puts the focus on the steps themselves.

For example

The solution was poured into a special container, allowed to reach room temperature, and then frozen at -7°C.

unless, of course, there is something particular or unusual about any of these step. (If others may adopt or repeat your process, you may want to describe or explain in what way the container was "special.")

If you are explaining in more detail a previous step, you could make the connection with Specifically, the solution was..., as suggested in another answer.

There is nothing wrong with the active-voice version: We poured the solution into a special container, allowed it to reach room temperature, and then froze it at -7°C, but I think being concise actually helps comprehension in cases like this. An advantage of the passive voice is that, in the long run, it can save space, which is a major consideration in journal publication. In a report, this could free up room for text or a figure you are leaving out for space considerations.

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