Academic Writing StyleAbuelgasim Sabah Elsaid Mohammed English Department, AUR, U of K.
Modern academic writing has a formal style. But,what does formal mean? Sometimes, studentsthink that a formal style means that they have tocopy their lecturers writing style or that of the booksand journals that they read. This may result inwriting that is stilted and unclear. Academic writersdevelop their style after years of practice andstudents will take time to learn this style. In thisworkshop, you will be helped with your writing styleif you follow some basic rules.
The way we write in academic and scientificsettings differs greatly from the way we writeto a friend or close one. The tone, vocabulary,and syntax, all change as the occasionchanges.
Academic Style GuidelinesAcademic essays should be written in a formal, academic style. This style includes:1. Employing tentative rather than assertive language. Do this by: • using possibly and probably in front of verbs and noun phrases; e.g. This is possibly caused by... or This is probably the most important factor. • using the modal verbs may and might; e.g. This may be the most important factor. • using appears to and seems to; e.g. This appears to be the most important factor. • avoiding always and every, and replacing them with often and many/much
Academic Style Guidelines2. Using formal vocabulary e.g. discuss rather than talk about. One way to do this is by replacing phrasal verbs with more formal ones. go up ask for come in talk about go down come up with come across look at go up and down pin down
Academic Style guidelines3. Using more formal grammar, for example: Use There as a subject; e.g. There is a serious risk of... Use It as a subject; e.g. It is very difficult to... Use One as a subject; e.g. One may ask whether... (One is a formal version of You [plural] in general) . Use the passive voice; e.g. Many things can be done in order to...
3. Using more formal grammar (cont.) Everybody must… In our daily lives we experience the influence of … We simply/just order goods from… Let us consider… It’s high time we all did the right thing. We can’t see and touch the goods. When we download songs we cheat their authors of income. We, Chinese, do things our own way. I love/ I like/ prefer… We face a huge danger of being cheated… You may ask… Students have their own styles of learning… We can do many things…
Academic Style guidelines4. Avoiding the use of personal pronouns such as you and we to address the reader.5. Avoiding short, disconnected sentences .6. Avoiding the use of rhetorical questions such as “Did you know that spoken and written language are very different?”7. Avoiding the use of contractions such as won’t, didn’t, we’ll etc.8. Avoiding the overuse and misuse of certain logical connectors, especially besides, furthermore and moreover. Besides is too informal, and both furthermore and moreover mean that the following information is more important than the information before, which is usually bad organisation. Use In addition or Also instead .
9. Ensuring that grammar is accurate, that ideas link together smoothly and that a full range of grammatical structures is employed, such as relative clauses.10. Referencing correctly, in both in- text references and bibliographical references.
14 Do’s and Don’ts in writing goodEnglishVerbs and subjects has to agree.2. A pronoun must always agree with their reference.3. Dont omit apostrophes where they belong.4. Between you and we, it’s necessary to use the right case.5. Proofread your writing to corect misspelling an erors in grammer punctuation, ect.6. Don’t never use double negative.7. Don’t put in commas, where they don’t belong.8. It’s preferred to not split infinitives.9. A word about incomplete sentences.10. Don’t write run- on sentences put in proper punctuation.11. Don’t join clauses like Id, but as I say.12. Correct spelling duz matter.13. Try not to end a sentence a preposition with.14. Avoid comma splice, put in the proper punctuation.
Features of academic writing Academic writing in English is linear, which means it has one central point or theme with every part contributing to the main line of argument, without digressions or repetitions. Its objective is to inform rather than entertain. As well as this it is in the standard written form of the language. There are five main features of academic writing that are often discussed. Academic writing is to some extent: complex, formal, objective, explicit, and responsible. It uses language precisely and accurately.
Features of academic writing1. ComplexityWritten language is relatively more complex than spoken language. Written language has longer words, it is lexically denser and it has a more varied vocabulary. It uses more noun-based phrases than verb-based phrases. Written texts are shorter and the language has more grammatical complexity, including more subordinate clauses and more passives.2. FormalityAcademic writing is relatively formal. In general this means that in an essay you should avoid colloquial words and expressions.
Features of academic writing3. ObjectivityWritten language is in general objective rather than personal. It therefore has fewer words that refer to the writer or the reader. This means that the main emphasis should be on the information that you want to give and the arguments you want to make, rather than you. For that reason, academic writing tends to use nouns (and adjectives), rather than verbs (and adverbs).4. Explicitness Academic writing is explicit about the relationships in the text. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the writer in English to make it clear to the reader how the various parts of the text are related. These connections can be made explicit by the use of different signaling words.
5. ResponsibilityIn academic writing you must be responsible for, and must be able to provide evidence and justification for, any claims you make. You are also responsible for demonstrating an understanding of any source texts you use.