If you are writing a thesis, essay or dissertation you will be well aware of how hard it is to get the language right. Academic writing is different from the way we would write a story and extremely different from the way we talk. Learning it is a skill that takes some time to learn.
8 useful academic writing tips
Here are our rules for academic writing that will help improve your academic document.
Never write as you speak.
This is the first mistake many people make. You have to remember that this is academia with it’s own unique style of writing, a style that you will get to know in this post! Follow our useful pointers below and you should see your writing improve
Avoid contractions, colloquialisms and personal pronouns
So, now you are aware that you must never write as you speak and need an academic style, here are the first steps to achieving the style. You can immediately make your writing more academic by not using contractions (for example – don’t use “it’s likely” rather write “it is likely”, similarly “don’t write” rather than “do not write”.
Colloquialisms like “easier said than done”, “in recent years” and “explored every avenue” should never be used. Rather use “more difficult in practice”, “recently” and “investigated several alternatives”.
Personal pronouns are a big no-no. You never use “I” in an academic document (in most cases, there are exceptions). Similarly, you never refer to your reader as “you”.
Use British spelling
We are a UK proofreading service and we find that over half of documents submitted to us use American spellings. Examples of American spelling include “capitalization”, “accessorize”, “airplane” and “gray”. The “-ization” crops up often in academic work and should be replaced by the British “-isation”.
Avoid the imperative voice
What is the imperative voice? It is a command such as “recall that”, “imagine that”. These types of constructions should never be used in academic writing, with the exception of when it is used in brackets, for example: “(see Walker 1996 for more details)”.
Use verbal clues when switching topics
When you change topics you should words that “signal” you are changing the direction of what you are talking about. Words such as “however”, “as a result” and “for comparison” are words that are fantastic to use to indicate you are changing topic.
Use abbreviations and acronyms correctly
We encounter this error often in the work that we proofread. Let’s say you are talking about the World Health Organisation (note the British spelling!) in your document, the first time you refer to it you would write the name in full followed by the abbreviation, for example: “According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) there are many unemployed in Spain”. And the next time you refer to the organisation you simply use the abbreviation “WHO”.
Be careful of homonyms
Homonyms are words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings. Examples would be “there/their”, “stationary/stationery”, “compliment/complement”. Your spell checker WILL NOT pick these up! This is another reason why you need a professional to help check your work, which brings us to our last tip…
Use a professional proofreading company
Can’t remember all of the tips above? The fastest and easiest way to sort out the style and tone of your academic writing is to use a professional proofreading service – we check all the aspects we have mentioned. The team at Londonproofreaders can help improve the grammar, spelling, punctuation and academic style and tone of the work.
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