Centre for Academic Success
Study Guides : Writing
There's no great mystique
about an "academic writing style". The most important thing
is to keep your writing clear and concise and make sure that you get
your ideas over in a comprehensible form. It's clear expression of these
ideas that will impress your tutor, not a string of long, inappropriate
words found in your dictionary. A wide range of vocabulary is of course
important, but you must use the right word, and shorter ones are often
better than longer ones.
AVOID SOME ASPECTS OF INFORMAL
See the practice exercises at the
end of the guide.
MAKE YOUR WRITING FORMAL AND IMPERSONAL
avoid too much personal language (I, my, we etc). Some tutors prefer you to avoid it completely. Never use emotive language; be objective rather than subjective.(See Guide 1.22).
avoid being too dogmatic and making sweeping generalisations. It is usually best to use
some sort of “hedging” language (see below) and to qualify statements that you make.
you should consistently use evidence from your source reading to back up what you are saying and reference this correctly.
avoid sexist language, such as chairman, mankind. Don’t refer to “the doctor” as he; instead, make the subject plural and refer to them as they. Avoid he/she, herself/himself etc.
use nominalisation; that is, try to write noun-based phrases rather that verb-based ones.
For example, instead of
Crime was increasing rapidly and the police were becoming concerned.
The rapid increase in crime was causing concern among the police.
In general, academic writing tends to be fairly dense, with relatively long sentences and
wide use of subordinate clauses. Remember, however, that your main aim is clarity, so
don’t be too ambitious, particularly when you’re starting to write.
fluctuate investigate eliminate
2 This issue was brought up during the seminar. __________________________
3 It is assumed that the management knows what is happening and will therefore step in if
there is a problem. _________________________
4 Schools cannot altogether get rid of the problem of truancy. _________________________
5 The number of staff has been cut down recently. _____________________
6 It was very difficult to find out exactly what happened. _______________________
7 House prices have a tendency to go up and down. ¬¬_______________________
8 A potential solution was put forward two years ago. ¬¬¬______________________
1 The locals could not put up with the visitors from the city. __________________________
2 The decline was brought about by cheap imports. __________________________________
3 The university is thinking about installing CCTV. ___________________________________
4 Sales are likely to drop off in the third quarter. ____________________________________
5 He went on speaking for over an hour. ____________________________________________
6 The meeting was put off until December. __________________________________________
7 The cinema was pulled down ten years ago. ________________________________________
8 People have cut down on their consumption of beef. ________________________________
1 The government has made considerable/great progress in solving the problem.
2 We got/obtained excellent results in the experiment.
3 The results of lots of/numerous tests have been pretty good/encouraging.
4 A loss of jobs is one of the consequences/things
that will happen if the process is
5 The relationship between the management and workers is extremely/really important.
6 Some suggestions springing up from/arising from the study will be presented.
1 The reaction of the officials was sort of negative. _______________________
2 The economic outlook is nice.__________________________
3 Car manufacturers are planning a get together to discuss their strategy.
4 The resulting competition between countries is good._________________
5 The economy is affected by things that happen outside the country.
6 She was given the sack because of her poor record. __________________
7 The examination results were super. ________________________
1 The results weren't very encouraging. _________________________
2 We'll have to conduct another experiment. _____________________
3 She's been all around the world. _________________________
4 It's the best solution to the problem. ______________________
5 Our questionnaire shows that teachers aren't paid what they're worth.
6 His response was, "A job's a job; if it doesn't pay enough, it's a lousy job'. _______________
7 He'd rather announce the findings at the conference. _________________
8 The department's approach didn't
1. You can apply the same theory of learning to small children.
2. You can only do this after the initial preparation has been conducted.
4. In the second section of the
report, we will consider the environmental
1 In this essay I will discuss the
main differences between the English and
2 I have divided my report into five sections.
3 I will conclude by proposing that all drugs should be legalized.
4 The opinion of the present author
in this essay is that the importance of
5 In the third part of the essay,
we will look at the reasons for public
6 Although I am not an expert in
the field, I have tried very hard to
1 Today everyone uses credit cards for all their shopping.
2 Drinking wine is bad for you.
3 Global warming will have disastrous
consequences for the whole
4 Teleworking leads to isolation.
5 Women are worse drivers than men.
1. The positive feedback made up
for the problems we came across during
3. The subjects didn't have much
difficulty with the task.
4. We found example after example
of autonomous systems in lots of
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at City North: moodle.bcu.ac.uk/course/category.php?id=27
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