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Academic Writing Style

What exactly is academic writing style?

There is no absolute definition of ‘academic’, but you may develop and own particular academic style depending on the tips below. Formal. Objective.

An objective, formal academic writing style will inform the reader about the topic. It avoids using a personal opinion, and presents only facts, figures and arguments. It also avoids an informal or colloquial style, and instead presents precise and well-organized English. Formal styles are also suitable for serious studies and should not be ignored for regular use.


It is a way of writing that relies on your own interpretation of events and situations rather than an objective account. It can be informal and personal, using more or less personal language than formal academic writing style. Subjective academic writing style can be used to explain scientific methods, philosophy or even everyday events and concerns.


The informal academic writing style relies on general and ordinary everyday language and uses colloquial or slang words. It generally follows the normal pattern of speech, with a few exceptions, and includes numerous spelling variations and acronyms.


In academic writing, specific or specialized terminology is avoided using proper names and articles. Instead, the name of the subject will usually precede the word or phrase that is being discussed, forming a descriptive sentence. Also avoid using specialized terminology such as terms from science or engineering. Such words will serve as stock terms or subject pronouns.

Three main reasons why academic writing tends to use formal structure and language are due to the purposes of the writer, purpose of the audience and level of English competence. As indicated at the beginning of this article, the purpose of the writer is determined by the audience. Readers usually follow rules depending on their purpose. If the reader intends to read literature with a specific topic in mind such as business for example, then the reader will usually follow a structured pattern such as use formal writing styles.

On the other hand, a listener may also follow a different pattern. For them, an educated person, such as an English teacher, lecturer or professor would likely to use precise word order and formal grammar to present a research evidence. They may prefer to use an elaborate account or use personal pronouns to highlight an opinion or point of view. Such listeners will benefit from knowing that rules are followed as precise word order is important to the achievement of the message.


Readers who are not experts in the particular field may be unfamiliar with the technical aspects. In such cases they will benefit from a plain explanation of how concepts and ideas are expressed using academic writing formats. This is usually described in a sub-heading or citation form which consists of one or more sentences that show the main point. The rest of the article can then be read in its entirety, without any references needed. If academic writing style rules are followed correctly, a reader will have a better understanding of a complex idea. Even an undergraduate student may benefit from the rules of professional writing.