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The language of university writing is quite different from the language you would use when having a casual chat with friends.
You are expected to use a more formal type of language when writing academic papers. This may mean changing habits you have developed and allowing plenty of time to edit and revise your writing style after you have finished writing the content.
For example, instead of using the words pretty good, a shocker or heaps of data you might write a paper was poorly researched or unsubstantiated; persuasive or insightful; was well researched or provided significant and detailed data.
Instead of using the words pros and cons, write advantages and disadvantages or positives and negatives.
For example, the words does not, should have, it is should be used rather than doesn't, should've, it's .
It is preferable to avoid using e.g., i.e. and etc., particularly in the body of your text. Instead, use for example, that is, and and the like.
Remember that and the like or and so forth are not necessary in a list that starts with the words for example or such as.
Very little in the world is clearly either right or wrong, all or nothing. Beliefs we may have held at one time may be challenged and later disproved. Most research cannot cover every case of an event or phenomenon so most theories are open to modification. Academics, therefore, are cautious in the way they present their findings and so should you be in your writing. Use words or phrases such as:
Here is an example of the use of tentative language:
Recent research suggests that a majority of people prefer email to traditional letter writing as a mode of communication (Mahlab 1994).
It is important to be clear about what you are saying. Good academic writing presents complex ideas as simply and clearly as possible. Clear writing indicates clear thinking.
In some subject areas you are expected to avoid the pronoun "I". At the same time, however, you are often asked to make judgements and include your own views on an issue. How can you do this without saying "I think....I feel..." etc?
In fact, whatever is included in your paper that is not attributed to someone else, (e.g. "Jones (1987) demonstrates that…", " According to Smith (1994)…") is assumed to be yours. So instead of saying "I think that all guns should be banned" you can say "There is a case for stricter government control on guns". The fact that you are not reporting another person's view implies that it is your own.
When you discuss other people's research you can create extra meaning by using a more precise reporting verb.
For example, "Jacob (1998) concedes that the test is not 100% reliable" is more powerful than "Jacob says that the test is not 100% reliable" since concedes carries the extra meaning of giving up something from a position. Other useful reporting verbs are:
The more you read academic material, the faster you will pick up the appropriate academic style in your discipline.