Characteristics of Academic Writing

There is 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 is a clear expression of these ideas that will impress your reader, 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.

The most important thing to remember is generally to try to avoid everyday, informal language, especially colloquial expressions and slang. Also, spoken language is naturally full of hesitations, repetitions, grammatical errors and unfinished ideas. In your writing, however, the structure is much more important: sentences should be complete and ideas arranged into paragraphs or sections, and you should aim for perfection in your grammar and spelling.

It is very important for you to show a clear understanding of the subject and your ability to manipulate information to answer a specific question or complete a specific task, and as long as any grammatical errors you make do not impede this, then it should not be a problem.

Here are a few general points to remember when you are writing your assignments. As well as using appropriate language and aiming for 100% accuracy in your grammar and vocabulary, you should also remember that you are writing for someone else, and hence the importance of punctuation, sentences, paragraphs and overall structure, all of which help the reader.

Academic writing follows a particular ‘tone’ and adheres to the traditional conventions of punctuation, grammar, and spelling. Following are the characteristics and explanations of the academic writing:

1) Planning
There is a certain amount of planning before you start writing the paper; so, it will be analytical and organized.

2) Outline
A proper outline is a must for academic writing.

An outline will not only help you formulate your thoughts but will sometimes make you aware of certain relationships between topics. It will help you determine the pertinent information to be included in your paper.

3) Tone
A formal tone is used. You do not use slang words, jargon, abbreviations, or many clichés.

4) Language
The language in your paper needs to be clear and words need to be chosen for their precision.
A thesaurus is a good tool to help you pick just the right words to explain the issues. Avoid common, but vague words and phrases such as get, nice, thing. Your writing needs to be more precise.

5) Point-of-view
The point of view in the third person, as the focus of academic writing is to educate on the facts, not support an opinion.

6) Approach
Deductive reasoning is a big part of academic writing as your readers have to follow the path that brought you to your conclusion. Deductive reasoning and an analytical approach are important in academic writing. Much planning and forethought are needed to have a well-organized paper.

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