How To Improve Your Academic Writing Style
Your professors may have different names for academic assignments such as essays, term papers, research papers, position papers, etc. But all these assignments have the same goal- to let you express your own ideas and show that you understand your topic. Good command over academic writing help you think more deeply and clearly. According to academic writing services, it has a positive impact on every aspect of your academic work and not just assignments.
The nature of the university-level study may change. But the importance of accurate academic writing style remains intact. Here are the nine basic steps for improving your academic writing style.
Avoid colloquial language
Academic writing is way different from other forms of writing. It isn’t as simple as writing a letter to your friends, meaning it shouldn’t be conversational. You should stick to the conversational tone if your instructor specifically asks you to. Use more formal language while writing your academic papers.
- Incorrect: It was dark, I couldn’t see anything.
Correct: The darkness made seeing difficult.
- Incorrect: Group tasks can be challenging because a chain is usually as strong as its weakest link.
Correct: Group tasks can be challenging when everyone doesn’t contribute equally.
Use active voice as much as possible
You should use the active voice for most non-scientific academic writing. Using an active voice makes the meaning of your sentences clearer for readers. It keeps the sentences from getting too complex or wordy. Excessive use of passive voice can cloud the real meaning of your sentences. Also, it makes the entire academic paper difficult for your readers to navigate.
- Incorrect: His house was cleaned by the maid.
Correct: The maid cleaned his house.
- Incorrect: The entrance test was failed by half of the class.
Correct: Half of the class failed the entrance test.
Get rid of contractions
Apostrophes take the place of omitted letters in contractions. Here are some examples:
I am = I’m
It is = It’s
This style is considered too informal for academic writing. So, avoid contractions as much as possible.
Use punctuation logically
The misuse of punctuation marks is one of the reasons why most students lose valuable marks despite good research in the paper. The commonly misused punctuation marks are:
- Colon (:)
The colon is used when you are preceding a list.
Before the mother arrived, Estella had three chores to complete: writing a letter, feeding the horse and washing the utensils.
- Semi-colon (:)
It separates two complete complementary sentences.
She was always covered in soot from cleaning the fireplace; they called her Cinderella.
- Dash (–)
The dash brackets off some explanatory information.
There are three female characters in the movie- the wife, the nun and the stranger woman.
Getting a solid grip on punctuation isn’t an easy feat. You can thus get online study help to practice the correct usage of punctuation through online worksheets. A simple punctuation mark can change the overall meaning of your assignment, which can also be completely irrelevant to your topic.
Get the reasoning right
The interrelated skills of writing and reasoning are the two essential factors that contribute to your success in higher education. Here are the elements to consider to get the reasoning right in academic writing:
Your academic paper should consist of a strong, well-planned framework. It will be easier for you to stay focused and build your arguments seamlessly.
- Clear reasoning
Good reasoning is the key to a successful assignment. Make sure each sentence flows logically into the next, thereby building towards a well-structured argument.
- The right choice of vocabulary
Check your vocabulary in terms of its appropriateness. Look up new words that have different spellings and meanings before using them in the paper.
Modify your sentence structure
Consider these two paragraphs:
Cinderella met her fairy godmother. She was dressed in blue and white. She had a wand in her hand. The wand had a star in it. She was covered in glitter. Cinderella was amazed. She asked who the woman was. The woman then said, “I am your fairy godmother.” She also said that she would get Cinderella a dress and a glass slipper. She said she would help her go to the ball.
An alternative way to write the same thing:
Cinderella noticed a warm light as her fairy godmother appeared. The woman was covered in sparkles, carried a star-shaped wand and was dressed in white and blue. When asked about her whereabouts, the woman replied, “I am your fairy godmother.” The godmother got Cinderella a diamond-studded dress and a coach so she could attend the ball.
Change your sentence structures to make the writing more appealing to your readers. Academic writing is boring anyways. But the right sentence structure can help you make the text interesting.
Generalizations bring down the overall quality of your academic papers. It is tempting to get carried away and apply our opinion to everything. But you should be careful in case of exceptions and counter-arguments.
Example of generalisations:
These days we are quite able to judge ourselves from a public and personal point of view. Our thoughts once dictated us, but now we are free.
In this example, the assumptions are made about time and place from both present and past times. The generalization indicated intellectual superiority over the past and generalized the freedom of thought.
Stay aware of commonly confused words
Students often mix up commonly confused words and end up including irrelevant words in the paper. For instance, ‘a’ is used before consonants while ‘an’ is used before vowels. You can also use ‘an’ before h since it is considered a weak consonant. Here are the other commonly confused words:
- Accept and except
The former means to receive.
The latter means ‘all but.’
- Affect and effect
The former refers to influence.
The latter refers to the result.
- Cite, sight and site
Cite means to provide credibility to the sources you used in your paper.
Sight is the ability to see.
Site means a location.
Reduce the use of split infinitives
Several writers assume that splitting infinitives violate the rules of grammar. We may usually say something like ‘to quickly run’. But when it comes to writing academic papers, you can write ‘to run quickly’ instead. Split infinitives are grammatically accurate. However, according to the general academic convention, you should try to avoid them as much as possible.
You can try placing the splitting element elsewhere or rephrasing it without an infinitive. That way, you can get rid of the splitting infinitives and get your message across efficiently.
It isn’t easy to remember all the steps at once. Writing is a process. You need time, patience and dedication to acquire perfect academic writing skills. Your deadlines, however, won’t wait for you to improve your academic writing style. So it’s okay to get online assignment help to manage the deadlines while focusing on improving your academic writing skills.
Anne Gill is an assistant professor at a reputed university in the United Kingdom. He also provides assignment help at MyAssignmenthelp.co.uk. Jim love to read novels in his free time.
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