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Writing Clearly in an Academic Style

The most important aspect of a written style is clarity. Writing within an academic arena should aim to convey its meaning as precisely as possible. You should avoid writing in a pretentious, over complicated manner, whilst at the same time striving to write stimulating, rather than dull and monotonous prose.

Try to avoid

Redundant and repetitive phrases

such as:

  • It seems to me....
  • I shall now show...
  • It is rather important to realise...
  • As I described above...
  • I think, perhaps, that

Colloquial language

Phrases and certain ways of speaking which are acceptable in everyday conversation may not be appropriate in academic writing. For example:

Luckily this form of study...

This is of course...

Hopefully I will have shown you...

We should not try to squeeze too much meaning...

The emboldened words would be wholly acceptable in normal speech but a more disciplined, slightly elevated style is required within a formal academic paper. Thus the above examples might be rephrased as follows:

The form of study fortunately has the means of...

This is certainly...

The point in question has been demonstrated...

It is important not to attempt to compress too much meaning...

Vague statements and over-generalisations

for example:

Dozens of books have been written over the years about this subject by numerous authors...

Various examples have been seen in many parts of the country throughout the years...

Writing within an academic discourse should assume a confident resonance, as if the facts and ideas being dealt with have been carefully researched and thought through.