Academic Writing 101

This Guide will help you in your writing process

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Principles of Academic Writing

Can I use first person pronouns (I, we) in academic writing?

  • Please use the third person pronouns in your writing. It depends on the type of assignment, but in the majority of cases, it is best to avoid first person pronouns. In addition, do not use second person pronouns as well.
  • If you are asked to provide your personal opinion or narrate a case from your experience, first person pronouns might be acceptable, but avoiding them is typically the best strategy.

What to avoid in academic writing style?

  • Do not use contractions (don’t, I’m, totes), colloquialisms (kid, pretty big) or Latin abbreviations (etc., i.e., e.g.).
  • Do not call authors by their names (not Alexander, but Hamilton) unless they are typically called so (Jesus, Madonna).
  • Emotive language in academic writing may be used only when required or implied by the instructions.
  • Unless the instructions explicitly require humor and literary devices, please avoid using them.
  • Also, refrain from stereotypes and unethical statements and avoid being judgmental (“this law must be reconsidered”). Instead, try to use less definite statements (“this law might need reconsideration”).
  • Use the present simple in your paper (the future simple, the present continuous or the past simple may be used only if required by assignment type).
  • Avoid archaic words or terms. (Example: hence, whereby, nevertheless, henceforth, hereunder, abovementioned, therefore, thus).

What does the academic writing style require?

  • Be concise, straight to the point.
  • Analyze and synthesize information, use facts, and data and reference them.
  • Always support your ideas and provide appropriate, credible references.
  • Try to be objective unless the instructions explicitly require providing your opinion.
  • Use linking words (firstly, as a result, however), emotionally neutral language, specific terminology.
  • Passive voice is appropriate for academic writing, but do not overuse it.
  • Try to use active voice in your sentences.
  • Modal verbs can help you to avoid judgmental statements (“it might be logical to”).
  • Be tolerant and politically correct.
How to improve the quality of the paper? Always proofread your paper!

What are some style improvement tips for academic writing?

  • Never begin a sentence with AND, BUT, BECAUSE, AS SUCH.
  • If you are unsure of the stylistic use of a word (or its meaning), either use a dictionary/Google to check it or don’t use it.
  • Make sure that your sentences are meaningful, not too complicated, and not too short.
  • Your style will also benefit from the use of a variety of sentence structures and diverse vocabulary.

How to avoid plagiarism in my texts?

  • Plagiarism is the most serious offense, and it can directly affect the academic future of our clients.
  • Quote the parts that cannot be paraphrased, reference the author, and mention the page number. Add direct quotations wisely. Direct quotations should not exceed 10-15% of your paper.
  • If such part is long, cut it or separate it by your own words, do not forget to use quotations marks for borrowed phrases, reference the author, and mention the page number.
  • Change the structure, order, and vocabulary of those sentences that can be paraphrased, add your own ideas, add other authors’ ideas in which you should also change the vocabulary.
  • Break complex ideas into smaller units.
  • If you mention facts or numbers, it is better to copy them as the part of a phrase, put in quotation marks, and cite.
  • If you mention numbers without quoting the material, change them a bit where it is possible: e.g. use in the 1990s, instead of “in 1992, 1994, and 1997”, about 35% instead of “34.8%”
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