WRITING / Academic style

Academic Writing Style – key points

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Academic Style is…

… the conventions often associated this academic writing. Although there is much debate over ‘what exactly academic style is’, generally there is an agreement among ‘most’ Academic English tutors to 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

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. Noun phrase / nominalisation structure

Another aspect of consideration is the possibility of crime becoming worse

# For more exercises – download this lesson for 50p (10 practice exercises)

Academic Style: 20 key features to writing 

This lesson brainstorms academic style / formality in writing. Teacher feedbacks using the visual highlighting and explaining the concepts and then there are 10x practice exercises from informal to formal.  Time: 60mins Level ***** [B1/B2/C1]


Academic Formality

How to write in formal way. Click here

Academic Words

Use academic vocabulary. Click here

Academic Phrases

Use key academic phrases. Click here

Academic Websites

Helpful writing websites. Click here