English Skills Week 5 Reading - Academic Writing (Passives (avoid '…
English Skills Week 5 Reading - Academic Writing
Components of academic style
There is no one correct style, students should develop their own voice. But in general academic writing should aim to be accurate, impersonal, and objective
Avoid being: imprecise, vague, using 'lots of', using 'etc' or 'so on', too personal, too informal, quoting proverbs or similar expressions, using rhetorical questions, using contractions
There are no rules for academic writing that apply to ALL situations but in general...
Do not use idiomatic or colloquial vocabulary e.g. kids --> children
Use vocabulary accurately e.g. rules vs laws
Be as precise as possible when dealing with facts and figures - avoid 'about x people' - if necessary to estimate use 'approximately'
Conclusions should use tentative language - avoid absolute statements
Avoid adverbs that show your personal attitude
Do not contract verb forms - don't --> do not
Avoid overusing the passive voice
avoid 'like' when introducing an example - use 'such as' or 'for instance'
Avoid thing and combinations (nothing, something), use factor, issue or topic
Avoid 'lots of' use 'significant' or 'considerable'
Avoid little/big use small/large
Avoid 'get' phrases e.g. 'get better/worse' use improve, or deteriorate
Good/bad are simplistic - use positive/negative
Do not use question forms, use statements
Avoid numbering sections of your text, except in reports and long essays - use signposting and conjunctions to introduce new sections
Avoid using two-word verbs such as go on and bring up if there is a suitable synonym. use continue or raise
Avoid etc. or so on..- add 'and' before the last item on the list
Avoiding repetition and redundancy
repetition - repeating a word instead of using a synonym to provide variety
redundancy i.e. repeating an idea or including an irrelevant point suggests the writer is not in full control of the material - either they do not properly understand the language or is trying to 'pad' the essay by repeating the same point
good writing aims for economy and precision
Varying sentence length
Short sentences are clear and easy to read
Too many short sentences - monotonous
Long sentences - more interesting but can be difficult to construct and read
Effective writing - use a mixture of long and short sentences, often using a short sentence to introduce the topic