Whether you’re a student, teacher, or businessperson, academic writing skills are necessary in today’s world. Essays, reports, project presentations and research papers are just some examples of documents written in the academic style. Academic writing, when used appropriately, presents a polished and professional image. Academic writing skills encompass strong composition, excellent grammar, and a consistent stylistic approach.
What Is Academic Writing?
Academic writing refers to a particular style of expression. Characteristics of academic writing include a formal tone, clear focus on the issue or topic rather than the author’s personal opinion, and precise word choice.
Academic writing is formal writing. Many novice writers resort to informal writing, since it’s easier and more familiar. Characteristics of informal writing include the use of colloquialisms and jargon, writing in the first person, making direct personal statements, and imprecise word choices.
Informal writing is fine for diary entries, blogs, personal writing, letters or emails to friends. However, writers working on papers for school, university application essays, scientific papers, research papers, project presentations, and business proposals generally employ a more formal style. Various English tests, including IELTS, TOEFL, SAT, CAEL, LPI, and CLB, favor test takers who are able to demonstrate their strong academic writing skills during the tests, that is, those test takers are more likely to achieve higher score.
Informal Writing vs Formal Writing
Informal writing: I think gas is very important to us because everyone relies on it.
Formal writing: The dependence on petroleum permeate daily life in the whole world.
In this example, the first statement is informal. The second example uses an academic, formal style typical of what a student will be expected at the college or university level. Written in an academic tone, the sentence omits references to the writer and focuses on the issue. Objective, specific words like “dependence” and "permeate" convey the author’s view clearly without resorting to slang.
How To Develop Academic Writing Skills?
Writers seeking to improve their academic writing skills should focus their efforts on three key areas:
1. Cohesion and coherence: Thinking precedes writing. Good writers spend time distilling information from their sources and reviewing major points before creating their work. Writing detailed outlines helps many authors organize their thoughts. Strong academic writing begins with solid outlining.
2. Excellent grammar: Learn the major and minor points of grammar. English grammar can be detailed and complex, but good writers command the major points after study and practice. Spend time practicing writing and seek detailed feedback from teachers.
3. Academic vocabulary: Learn the frequently used words for academic purposes. Nevertheless, simply memorizing lists of vocabulary is not only boring but also an ineffective way of adding new words to your vocabulary. Learn the words by exploring academic reading material.
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