What Is Academic Style

By: Writing Tips Today

What is Academic Style?  This is a question students frequently ask. The English used in writing academic papers differs from common speech in its level of formality.  This aspect of academic style can confuse students when trying to identify what makes vocabulary and grammar "academic."

The most significant aspect of academic style is what may be called the shift or change in language from everyday contexts to the language of academic contexts, which is used your written work.

The following tips and examples will help you to select academic over non-academic language.

Tip 1 - Verbs

Remember to choose verbs with a Latinate origin, rather than a verb + preposition combination.

Look at these examples. The first verb given is of a Latinate origin, the second is the verb + preposition combination:

assist vs. help out

establish vs. set up

investigate vs. look into

increase vs. go up

raise vs. bring up 

Tip 2 - Nouns and Adjectives

To achieve an academic style, you must try to reduce the informality of your language and choose words with exact and concise meanings.

Throughout history many other languages have influenced the English language, and so you may be faced with more than one way of expressing what you want to say.

The following list will help you see the difference between less formal and more academic language.

The first words in the following list are less formal, while the second ones are more academic:

hard vs. complicated, abstruse

a lot of vs. numerous, myriad

end vs. conclusion, outcome

up in the air vs. unknown, unpredicted

bigheaded vs. arrogant

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