The primary principles of writing in academic language

Academic language is the type and flow of writing that students must use while composing their essays for school, college, and university assignments. There are a plethora of differences between both regular and academic English, including the latter’s formality, objectivity, and appropriate referencing. It is of paramount importance for all scholars and individuals involved in the creation of papers to acknowledge the sources that they derive their findings from. The following points reflect the fundamental principles of academic writing that every researcher must employ when approaching a particular task.

1) Avoid plagiarism. This is a crucial offense of academic integrity that one can commit by simply not giving a reference to an original and credible source of information. The misappropriation of other scholars’ ideas is unacceptable in educational institutions as well as professional communities. There is a set of the most common citation styles, such as APA, MLA, Chicago, and Harvard, that make all the referencing clear and well organized throughout a paper. Henceforth, every disputable argument has to be based on the knowledge and experience of researchers that had proven or elaborated on their ideas and theories.

2) Do not use contractions. We often happen to shorten common words by reducing some letters. For instance, in everyday life, a person would have said “don’t” instead of “do not”, whereas in the academic language it must be otherwise. Or an individual may say that they “can’t” accomplish something, which would be completely wrong to use in an essay. Not only the full phrases make your paper look more sophisticated, but they also make your text sound more professional and confident.

3) Leave phrasal verbs behind. To simplify and make our occasional speeches more natural and shorter, we use phrasal verbs like “go up” or “take away”. On the contrary, this is considered to be a serious mistake in academic writing. A writer must replace the aforementioned phrases with such words as “increase” and “remove”. Thus, there will be no misunderstandings or confusing sentences that might corrupt some data and make certain statements sound awkward.

4) Eliminate idioms. There is no place for idioms in academic English. Consequently, it would be advantageous to replace such a saying as “to kill two birds with one stone” with “to succeed in two engagements by incorporating a single action”. This factor also has a tremendously positive influence on the entire presentation and appearance of the final work by making it more formal. The same rule concerns various clichés that look flawed in an academic paper. 

5) Forget slang and internet vocabulary. One of the main aspects of academic writing is to be neutral and not to abuse slang words that appear to be inappropriate in a formal context. For example, instead of saying “kids”, it would be proper to say “children”. In turn, such contractions as “2morrow, GF, BTW, or 4ever” cannot be present in a school essay under any circumstances. Every student must remember that academic English is not what we use on a daily basis with friends, parents, and even teachers, but it is a perfect chance to show off our knowledge and demonstrate the most fascinating phrasing and research skills.

6) Exclude the use of first person. The use of first person does not meet the basic requirements of the academic language. The use of such words as “I”, “we”, “you”, etc. can be easily avoided by saying “they” or rephrasing particular sentences. For instance, instead of saying: “you can see the table”, it would be appropriate to say “the table shows”. In general, there are multiple methods to follow this guideline and sound more formal.

7) Avoid negatives. English is a rather rich language that has an excessive number of words in it. Therefore, it is important to make appropriate choices when writing a text. Thus, instead of saying “is not possible”, “is not effective”, or “is not approachable”, say “impossible”, “ineffective”, and “unapproachable”. Indeed, this task might seem to be complicated, but it improves as one’s feeling of language develops and proceeds to the higher stage.

8) Punctuation. As it is mentioned previously, there are several style guides like APA and MLA that include all the information regarding the correct punctuation in an academic paper. Nevertheless, it is also important to remember that there must be no exclamation or question marks in the context. In turn, the expletive semi-colons are often integrated into such a writing style.

9) Do not use colloquialisms. Colloquial phrases are those that people use in everyday conversations, but they sound too informal to be present in academic papers. Hence, it would be rather proper to replace such combinations as “a lot” with “many”, “a bit” with “several”, and so on. The vague vocabulary appears to be awkward in scholar societies – especially when it concerns their job records and articles.

10) The use of sophisticated vocabulary. It is an advantageous decision to make some phrases or words more complicated than they could have been to improve the general presentation of a paper. Hence, one must be always looking for alternatives to popular lexical units to address this critical requirement. For example, “a big difference” can be successfully replaced with “a major distinction”.

11) Avoid using personal opinion. The tendency to cite ideas of other authors extends to the point where one’s personal thoughts are neither valuable nor influential with the logical conclusions. On the contrary, it is essential to base one’s findings in accordance with a reputable scholar’s perspective on an investigation subject. Henceforth, the proper sentence would start like this: “According to smb, it becomes evident that….”

12) Neutrality. The use of specifically strong and direct language is limited to justification. Since it is necessary to support every claim with a reliable source, it might not be possible to find some arguments to prove these statements.

To shortly summarize the context above, it is critical to understand the main factors that determine the proper presentation of academic English when working on an essay or research paper. These aspects include correct formatting, formality, and referencing that are of paramount importance in this engagement.