Usage and Grammar
Q. Is it incorrect to say: “x values are shown in table c” or “The following graph shows x”? When editing scientific reports and articles for my coworkers I tend to replace “show” and “shown” (in the context of graphs, tables, and results) with “reveal” or “demonstrate,” but I’m told this is a question of style. Am I being unreasonable, or is there a good reason why the use of “show” in scientific articles grates on my nerves?
A. Tables and graphs show stuff. I can’t think of any reason to avoid saying so in the most direct way. You’re not the first person to ask this question, however, which makes me suspect that there’s a superstition floating around out there prohibiting this usage. (My reference books are silent on the issue.)