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In various peer-reviewed scientific journals, there is usually a word count limit for the abstract, e.g., 250 words in one such journal I am submitting my paper. I am confused whether I need to count all the words, including the articles (a, an, the) used with the nouns. Also, are there any other exceptions that need not be counted?

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    Do not be a concise person. Be concise.
    – EarlGrey
    Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 11:02
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    Generally, you are expected to count all words. That includes articles. If that's not the case, the journal's instructions will make that obvious.
    – user9482
    Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 12:26
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    This question does not strongly depend on individual factors. Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 20:42

3 Answers 3

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Articles are words, so they count.

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You should assume you need to count all the words, short and long. You can count an acronym or initialism as one word, but these are frowned upon in an abstract. The only exception I can think of is if there are written instructions to the contrary.

Do not play tricks to limit the word count, for example, not putting an article before a noun.

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  • Missed a chance for "Do not play tricks to limit word count, for example, not putting article before noun" Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 0:44
  • @Azor Ahai-him Sadly, my attempt at such humor was edited away. Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 1:31
  • No jokes is the first rule of SE after all Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 14:09
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It depends on the individual journal you are writing to. There is no other possible answer.

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    Really? I've never heard of any system that let you leave out "stop words" when counting words for abstract/paper/whatever. Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 15:23
  • Neither do I, but what if OP is submitting an article to the Journal "articles are not words"? We do not know.
    – EarlGrey
    Commented Dec 21, 2021 at 11:49

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