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