Academic Writing Style

Writing styles vary depending on where you submit the writing. Academic writing, sometimes called scholarly writing, is a writing style used in research papers, essays, dissertations by university students and scientists in different scientific circles. It is a formal writing style, which means it needs to follow different vocabulary, content, structure, and style than, for instance, blog or journalism writing. Here are some basic rules to make your academic writing more professional:

Use formal vocabulary – Everyday casual language (colloquial language) should be avoided at all costs. Instead, use formal language. Academic Word lists are available both on the internet and in physical form, so you can use them.

Avoid personal language, slang, and idioms–Write in the third person unless you are writing an opinion essay. First-person language should be used when an essay requires you to bring quick examples from your own experience. Slangs and idioms are part of ordinary conversation and may bring weakness to your overall writing, even if all other parts of the essay meet the requirements.

No contractions – Shortened forms of words are informal. Words should be spelled completely. Write, do not instead of don't, or it is instead of it's, etc. It also includes abbreviations. Never introduce an abbreviation directly before explaining it in full form. Afterward, you can continue with it.

Sentence length – There is a belief that complex sentences make your academic writing more professional. However, these kinds of sentences have a much higher chance of mistakes, considering they contain multiple sentences with complicated grammar structures. Simple sentences are easier to read, no matter who the reader is, provided you use academic words.

No directive language – Try not to use phrases such as "you should" or "you must" unless you give recommendations based on evidence.

Passive voice – It is generally accepted that sentences in passive voice should be used as little as possible. You can use active voice to state the same idea using fewer words, which makes your sentence to the point. But, of course, passive voice is a more appropriate choice in some instances.

No repetition – Constantly repeating the same words, especially in language assessment exams, indicates a lack of vocabulary. Alternatively, if you want to use a specific word again but can't find a synonym for it, you can paraphrase or rewrite the sentence that you used that particular word inside.

Vague expressions – Words such as "we," "they," "that country" should be replaced with more straightforward examples. Precise statements based on facts bring authenticity to your writing.

Absolute statements – "Absolutely," "definitely," "totally" are some examples of this. In order to prevent delivery of possible false information, use tentative language such as "could/may/might," "possibly," "seems." It will save you from the responsibility of spreading misinformation.

Exclamation marks and dot/bullet point lists – While the former shows the writer's emotion, which is unacceptable in academic writing, the latter is mainly used in blog posts and newsletters.