TIM ALBERT writer and trainer
TIM ALBERTwriter and trainer

A-Z of Medical Writing

Peer review, the pub test and polyfontophilia...

The purpose behind this book was to produce a resource that doctors and other health professionals could keep near their desks and refer to whenever they came across a writing problem.


 These problems, I reckoned, could range from how to get started - to the proper use of the semi-colon (advice: if you don't know how to use it, don't bother).  The book includes sections on:

  • peer review and rejection
  • flabby phrases and the passive voice,
  • co-authors, agents and pedants


It also enabled me to publish (and so claim ownership for) some of the terms I have coined over the years, such as polyfontophilia, putting on the posh overcoat, PIANO and the pub test.


Although the book was published nearly a quarter of a century ago, when we still wrote with  pens and paper, I am pleased to see that much of the advice I gave still stands.

'So have a beer, think back on your careers, read this book and see if Albert is not one of the wise ones in our business' - American Medical Writers Association Journal

'Debunking the fuddyduddyisms that often pass for correct grammar'

Do you have to write papers, chapters, grant applications, talks, CVs, books or obituaries? Do you find it an appalling prospect? Are you filled with horror at the thought of writing coherent sentences, to make coherent passages to convey coherent messages?


Tim Albert’s A-Z of Medical Writing is designed for you and everyone like you. With refreshing irony leavening his knowledge and wisdom, he succeeds in putting across all you need to know about the principles of good writing.


He debunks the fuddyduddyisms often passing for correct grammar, and he gives you sound ways of unblocking a blocked brain. His cross-referencing from one succinctly explained entry (review articles) to other related ideas (editorials, systematic reviews, scientific papers, evidence based writing, IMRAD) takes you effortlessly through the topic of your choice. His own concepts such as the law of late literals, the pub test, putting on the posh overcoat and post spelling bee traumatic disorder coin a new vocabulary.


Tim Albert draws on his experience of teaching courses to provide this unique guide for would-be medical authors. His own clear and simple writing style is a practical example of what he preaches' - from the publisher's blurb

This book was highly commended in the 2002 Medical Journalists Association Awards. 
Published in English by BMJ Books, 2000. Published in Chinese by Ho-Chi Book Publishing Co
ISBN: 0-7297-1487-1

 A Boomer Visits America Coast-To-Coast By Greyhound Bus: 1969 And 2019 - Forbes magazine

Slow travel by train: getting there is part of the journeyMore Time to Travel

BBC Radio Surrey: to hear my interview with Sarah Gorrell about my USA bus tours, click here

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© Tim Albert 2023