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Academic Writing - Getting Your Point Across

in News from ADL, Study Tips on October 14, 2014 . 0 Comments.

Communicating effectively is the key to getting across your ideas and desires.  In the grand scheme of things, how you say something is often as important as what you said.  The right choice of words can ease the way, or alternatively have doors closed literally in your face even if what you say is right or to the benefit of who you say it to. 

Newspapers display wildly different styles.
Newspapers display wildly differing styles in their approach to articles.

Even in writing this persists.  Compare the writing style of the front page of newspapers such as The Sun or The Times or magazines in the news agent. Or contrast the titles of blog articles across the web which will often give away much of the style and content of what is going to be said even before you say it.   Most people would be far more friendly and informal when writing a birthday card to a close friend or family member, but would generally agree it is inappropriate to end a formal business letter: “Love Bob XOXOXO”

Academic writing, of the sort you will be doing as a student whether for ADL or elsewhere, is a different beast to other forms of writing you will have encountered elsewhere.  The goal is to convey authoritatively the topic of your report, essay or assignment in a way that clearly demonstrates what you wish to say along with the evidence, facts and reasons to back up your assertion.

To write successfully in an academic fashion, there are a number of stylistic tips you should bear in mind when putting together your assignments.  These include:


Maintain Formality Throughout Your Document

Remember that you are writing for an academic audience.  As a, result your writing needs to be clear and formally written.  Formal, however, does not equate with pompous – you won’t get extra marks for thanking your professor for deigning to read your most eloquent summation of the topic at hand for instance.   

What it does mean is an avoidance of overly familiar language.  For example:

It’s.  Couldn’t.  Won’t.  Use instead: it is, could not, will not.

Also casual words such as Ok (or the longer form okay)


Avoid Overly Cliché and Flowery Language

It’s worth emphasizing that whatever else this blog is, it certainly isn’t written in a strict academic style.  It’s written more to reach out to you, the reader, as an accessible friendly way in to the wonderful world of ADL.  Which is to say, if you’re writing your assignments and using our blog as a template, you’re doing it wrong. 

Indeed, even this article provides plenty of examples of the sorts of phrases that are overly familiar and informal and not to be used in academic writing.  For example:

The right choice of words can ease the way.

…stylistic tips you should bear in mind

you’re doing it wrong…

While fine for a blog post, this sort of conversation isn’t at all appropriate for an academic writer and should be avoided.


Getting More Help


There’s plenty of help available for those looking for help with their academic writing.  ADL offers an online course  in Academic Writing for free for all our students who purchase a full short course. This provides a solid grounding in learning to write in an academic fashion.

We also offer a range of various writing courses to suit those looking for other styles of writing.  From writing fiction to brushing up on your English fundamentals, ADL offers courses whatever your writing needs may be. 

Tags: Writing, Study Tips, ADLLast update: August 09, 2018


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