Have any questions? Live chat

Writing Blog

Language and Style of Academic Writing

November 27, 2017| Category: Writing Tips

In this article, we are going to focus on such important elements of writing as language and style.

4writers-Language and Style of Academic Writing

Here are the top 5 things that you need to keep in mind:

1.Be concise

It is the basic requirement of formal academic writing, because it helps readers to understand what your work is about. Here are some tips that we recommend you to follow:

  • One idea = one sentence
  • Your sentences should not be more than 25 words
  • Text should be devoid of repetitions (read your work aloud to identify whether you have repeating parts in your work)

2.Use formal language

Informal and colloquial language is inappropriate in academic language. Formal language should be used instead:

  • Words like “basically” and “sort of” should be replaced with “fundamentally” and “somewhat”
  • Do not use contractions – instead of writing “don’t,” write “do not”
  • Do not use clichés such as “at the end of the day”
  • Use Hull to see how you can improve your academic writing language

3.Understand when to use active and passive voice

The passive voice is used in academic writing quite often, because it has a more impersonal and objective tone. However, the active voice is also used, that is why we advise you to consult with your department for the specific guidance in regards to the usage of the passive and active voice.

Examples: it is usually easier to read and to perceive the active voice than the passive voice. In the active voice, the subject performs an action. For instance:

  • R.R. Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings.

The same sentence in the passive voice sounds like this:

  • The Lord of the Rings was written by J.R.R. Tolkien

Here more emphasis is made on the action itself rather than on the subject performing it. You can also see that it is more formal than active voice. For this reason, it is not used in day-to-day speech that often. The general advice for academic writing is to use the mixture of active and passive forms (only if it goes in line with the guidelines of your department).

4.Utilize balanced writing

Although while writing your academic papers you will have certain arguments to prove, you should not fall into a trap of presenting something as a fact even if it may not be a fact. You should strive to balanced writing, and use such stylistic devices as “boosters” and “hedges.”<


In case you need to express a certain degree of conviction, you can use booster phrases such as:

  • Results indicate…
  • There is a solid correlation…
  • Clearly (this should be used only if you are certain)

Let us take a look at the example: the results of the research suggest that high consumption of sugar can be a reason for many diseases, including type II diabetes. Here, the author used “results suggest”, which lets the reader know that it is an assumption that can be affirmed or refuted in the future.


Be careful with words like “proves” and “definitely” while writing. Better use hedging words in case you are not 100% sure. Examples of hedging words are:

  • A possible explanation…
  • Usually…
  • Sometimes…
  • It is possible that…
  • Somewhat..
  • This suggests…

Example: It is possible that the effects of the quantum world are applicable to our mundane reality. The phrase “it is possible” has a certain level of uncertainty, which makes the reader know that the author is not 100% sure about that statement.

5.Use signaling phrases and words that structure your writing

Signaling words are very useful tools that can be utilized to show the relationship between your arguments and ideas. They can clarify your argument and make it easy for your reader to grasp your ideation. These words are called signaling because they make your reader understand what will come up next. Look at this example: “The laboratory method proved to be beneficial because the relationship of the casual nature was formed between the generating attributes and cognitive load. However, the utilized method created an artificial setting that reduced the ecological validity of the study.” The word “however” in the second sentence indicates that there can be a downside to the method that proved to be useful. It also lets the reader know that the author does not feel sympathy to the first opinion and may be even more prone to choosing the second one.

Keep in mind these five language and style tips for academic writing and you will notice that the quality of your academic works steadily increases.

"sandwich" approach A+ essay abstract abstract writing academic paper academic paper outline academic papers academic paper writing academic requirements academic sources academic writer academic writing academic writing issues academic writing rules academic writing tips active and passive voice in research writing active voice additive transitions adversative transitions a good book report a good summary AI-generated content AI-generated writing AI detection software tools AI detectors Alternative hypothesis an introduction to academic writing annotated bibliography annotation APA style appeals to trust and connection argument argument analysis argument analysis assignment argument analysis essay argumentative essay argumentative writing argument paragraph arguments article articles a thesis statement become a better writer become a writing guru bias bias-free writing blogs Bloom’s Taxonomy body paragraph body sentences boost academic vocabulary brainstorming business capitalization capitalization rule capitalize capstone paper capstone project career career in writing causal transitions challenges a new freelance writer may face with characteristics of academic writing chronological order citation cite the source clarity in writing clients closing sentences coherent academic writing college essays college writing common mistakes communication in writing comparative essay compare and contrast paragraph complex assignment Complex hypothesis concept map concluding paragraph concluding sentence conclusion conclusion in academic writing conclusion in an essay conclusion writing conduct a search content content writing coordination counterargument Covid-19 creating concluding sentences creating PowerPoint presentations credible resources credible sources customer feedback decode instructions decoding professors’ instructions definition of proofreading descriptive headings descriptive paragraph diagrams difference between a literature review and an annotated bibliography division double quotation marks edit your writing effective conclusion effective headings effective paragraph elements of academic language elements of paper writing emotional appeals Empirical hypothesis essay's conclusion essay mistakes essay paragraph essay pitfalls essays essay structure essays writing essays writing tips essays writitng tips essay writing ethos explain complex concepts expository essay features of academic writing figure figures and tables first-person pronouns flow of ideas free freelance freelance jobs freelancer freelance writer freelance writers freelance writing freelance writing business Google in academic writing graphs handling difficult tasks headings heuristics high-quality papers higher-level headings high grades high school-level composition high school assignments how reading helps you become a better writer how to avoid plagiarism how to write how to write a good film review how to write capstone paper how to write phd hypothesis hypothesis writing important improve writing skills in-text citations incorporation of visuals intellectual property interpret instructions intransitive verb introduction introduction paragraph introductory paragraph italics italics for titles job journal judgmental language language and style literature review Logical hypothesis logos lower-level headings main point of the paragraph make the article engaging meeting deadlines meeting the requirements meet the deadlines methodology methodology chapter methodology section MLA style narrative paragraph non-descriptive heading note taking Null hypothesis objective tone objective writing objectivity online online writers opening paragraph opinion essay order of importance outline outline writing paper outline papers parallelism paraphrase paraphrasing passive voice past simple pathos peer response peer review personal pronouns personal response personal response essay personal response paper persuasion persuasive essay persuasive writing PhD research proposal plagiarism plan for writing planning popular and scholarly sources popular sources positive feedback PowerPoint presentation PowerPoint Presentation tips PPT PPTs presenting data in figures and tables present perfect present simple primary research problems writers face procrastination profession professional freelance writer pronouns proofreading tips qualitative methods quality quantitative methods quotation marks quotation marks for titles quote quoting racist and sexist biases in AI papers reduce word count redundancy redundant reliable sources repetition repetitive sentences repetitive writing reputable sources research research paper research paper in college research paper in high school research paper writing revising an essay rhetoric rhetorical devices rules of academic writing satisfy your customers scholarly archives scholarly materials scholarly sources second-person pronouns secondary research sentence structure sequential transitions Simple hypothesis simplifying complex assignments single quotation marks skills sources spatial order specificity spell checker spelling spelling error spelling rules start writing statistical data in academic papers Statistical hypothesis statistics statistics in academic writing stop procrastinating stress and creativity strong topic sentences structure of an expository essay subheadings subordination success successful academic writing successful papers successful paraphrasing suitable concluding sentences summary summary writing supporting evidence synthesis paper synthesize information synthesize sources table tables tables/graphs/charts task list as a guide techniques for writing summaries techniques to explain a difficult subject tenses in academic writing text structure the contents of the paper the main intention of the assignment thesis statement the structure of body paragraphs thinking levels third-person pronouns time management tips on revising an essay tips to writing a PhD research proposal tips to writing a social science paper token sentences topic of the paragraph topic sentence transitional words transitions transition terms transitive and intransitive verbs transitive verb types of academic texts typical writing problems unique idea use Google for research utilizing AI tools in academic papers vocabulary vocabulary building well-structured essay what writers can learn from reading novels word choice word count work wrap sentences write a conclusion writer writer job write unique texts writing writing a book report writing a film review writing a good PhD research proposal writing an A+ film review writing an essay writing an outline writing a paragraph writing as profession writing a statement writing a summary writing burnout writing clear writing errors writing essays writing fast writing hacks writing job writing mistakes writing mood writing papers writing pitfalls writing process writing skills writing style writing tips written communication skills