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WRITING / Academic style

Academic Writing Style – key points

academic style by AEUK

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Academic Style is…

… the conventions often associated with academic writing. Although there is much debate over what exactly academic style is, generally there is an agreement among most Academic English tutors of the key elements that should or should not be included. The following is a list of the do’s and don’ts…

Key points of academic style writing

 NO Idiomatic / colloquial (slang)

Kids / boss / gonna / stuff

NO Phrasal verbs

Go up / look up

NO Personal Pronouns

I, we, In my opinion (limit use)

NO Contractions

It’ll = it will / It’s = it is

NO Questions

So why did the project fail?

NO Personal adverbs

Surprisingly / fortunately

NO Repetition

Constant repeating same words

NO vague language

And so on.. / etc…

NO number / bullet points

NO basic language

Like – for example

Thing – factor

Lots of – significant amount

Little/ big – large

Get – obtain

Hard – difficult

Good / bad – positive / negative

Amazing / wonderful – important

YES Formal Linkers

(In addition, Moreover, Consequently…)

YES Academic Vocabulary

See A.W.L

YES Referencing systems

(Harvard / APA / Chicago…)

YES Passive structures

We analysed the data /

The data was analysed…

YES Complex Grammar structures

[Cohesive devices – independent + subordinator + dependent clause]

Although / Despite / since…

 YES Nominalisation / noun forms

The data was analysed (passive)

An analysis of the data showed… (nominalised)

YES Noun phrases

adjective + noun  / quantifier + noun  / noun + noun structures

YES Caution / hedging – tentative language

Possibly / seems / appears / could / may

YES Accurate vocabulary

Difference between law / rule

YES Precise facts / figures

A few years ago / in 2014

 Download the infographic image – here

Practice in Academic Style for writing essays


(a) Another thing to think about is the chance of crime getting worse.

 1First highlight informal words / non-academic style:

(a) Another thing to think about is the chance of crime getting worse.


2.  Use synonyms for informal words 

Thing = area / aspect / feature / point

Think about = consider / note / understand / acknowledge 

chance = possibility / probability / situation 

getting = becoming 


3. Rewrite the sentence

Another aspect to consider is the possibility of crime becoming worse


4. Grammar change: noun phrase / nominalisation structure

Another aspect of consideration is the possibility of crime becoming worse

Academic Style Lesson

 Academic Style: 20 key features to writing [updated 2020]

This lesson brainstorms academic style / formality in writing. Teacher conducts feedback by using visual highlighting and explaining the concepts. There are also 10x practice exercises from informal to formal. It includes a PowerPoint. PPT Link in download. (Example) Time: 60mins.  Level ***** [B1/B2/C1] / Webpage link. / TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP



Academic Style 2: Paragraph analysis, comparison and discussion [new 2020]

This lesson compares two paragraphs on CSR (informal and formal), discusses the conventions of academic style and finishes with a sentence re-writing activity.. (Example) Time: 60mins.  Level ***** [B1/B2/C1] / Webpage link. / TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP


Academic Style 3: Vocabulary (AWL & Nominalisation)  [new 2021]

This lesson focuses on two key areas of academic writing: AWL and nominalisation. There are three worksheets comprising of a number of different activities to practice categorisation and reformulation at sentence and paragraph level. (Example) Time: 60mins.  / Webpage link /Level ***** [B1/B2/C1]



Correction Code

Use the correction code when marking students’ writing work. This is a 3-way system. 1) Tutor marks the mistakes using the correction code and returns  to the student. 2) Student makes correction in a different colour pen and returns to the tutor. 3) Tutor checks the corrections and returns to the student.

Use the correction code ‘Inf’ (Informal) for academic style.

Correction Code

Teachers: This code can be used to correct student’s work. Underline the mistake and use one of the symbols to indicate the error. Students correct the mistake using the code and return to the teacher to check. Webpage link

Download Correction Code


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