Academic Writing

Academic Writing

What is Academic Wiring?


Briefly, academic writing does refer to a specific style of expressing what researchers use to define intellect limits of particular disciplines and their precise zones of great proficiency. Improving the way you approach academic writing can be easy with a few tips which I will outline:

How to Do Academic Writing

1. Ensure that you are brief and to-the-point

It is advisable to be brief or acutely concise in formal academic writing since this helps the reader to understand the various points which you will make.

You should only include one idea per sentence and avoid piling up several ideas together which can confuse the reader. Also, make sure that you maintain a reasonable length when you are writing your sentences. A reasonable length cannot exceed 25 words. Sentences which are long can pose difficulties to the reader and hence making the main point to be lost in the process.

Avoid making unnecessary repetitions and make sure that you are using redundant words for example instead of using due to the fact that use because, instead of using employed the used of use ‘used,' instead of using alternative choices use alternatives and so on.

2. Ensure that you have used formal language.

As far as academic writing is concerned, learners are expected to employ the use of formal language and avoid the use of informal language also known as colloquial language.

Avoiding the use of slang terms such as by the skin, bail, feeling blue, the cold shoulder and couch potato among many other the list is endless and you know most of them also.

Avoid shortening words and using them in short form to come up with sentences. For example, do not write 'don’t,' 'won’t,' instead write 'do not' and 'will not' respectively.

In academic writing, the use of clichés is not advocated for. Phrases such as ‘as brave as a lion,’ lost track of time, lasted an eternity and as old as the hills among many other examples.

Try as much as possible to avoid using non-sensitive language and make sure you create an objective, a confidence voice and use the third person always.

3. Active voice Vs. Passive voice

Being perceived as impersonal and more objective, the passive voice is most commonly used in academic writing. Check with your language department to confirm whether there is a specific guideline on whether to use passive or active voice since most verbs can either be used in an active form or passive form as well.

The active voice: It is quite direct and much straight-forward to read when compared to the passive voice. Note that when using the active voice, the subject is always in charge of the action which is relevant at that time. For example, The teacher issued the foolscaps’-In this sentence the teacher (the subject) issued (the verb) the foolscap's (the object). In this example, it's quite clear to know who is performing a certain action and at times you might need to emphasize whatever is taking place rather than whoever is doing it and you need to use the passive voice in order to accomplish this.

The passive voice: It is quite formal as compared to the active voice but since it's not commonly used in speech it can be more complicated and also not easy to read. In the case of using the passive voice, the subject is unattended to until the end or you can ignore it completely.

The foolscap's were issued by the teacher – In this case, the foolscap's (the object) were issued (the verb) by the teacher (the subject). It is advised to use both the passive and active forms of writing in academic writing and to make sure that you check with your language department to make sure which form of writing should be used where and when.

4. Ensure that you have used language to strike a balance in your writing

When writing assignments and other assessments that you have been assigned its proper not to present facts as just facts bit you should use language to prove how confident you are when basing an argument in order for your discussion to have meaning, and be relevant to the reader. Hedges or boosters are used in order to enhance language in this perspective that we have just discussed above.


If your statement is a mere fact which you can’t prove, then avoid using words which show that you are basing your writing on facts, for example, the use of ‘definitely,’ or ‘this proves.’ Instead, employ the use of hedges which can serve the same purpose but in an acceptable way. Examples of hedges include; somewhat, usually, some possible explanation to, and there is a possibility that.

An example in a sentence:

  1. The floods were probably caused by global warming.
  2. The floods could have been caused by global warming.
  3. When using the word probably in the first sentence, it shows clearly that the evidence provided is strong, but in the second sentence, the usage of ‘could’ indicates that the evidence provided is weak


    A booster is used when you have an intention to express confidence in your piece of writing, and by this, you can use words which are considered to be boosters such as clearly, there is a strong relation, results do indicate. Taking examples which we used earlier on:

  4. Research suggests that global warming may contribute to the effect of floods.
  5. Research indicates that there is a clear link between global warming and floods
  6. In the first example, the writer has made use of the hedge 'suggested' and ‘may contribute’ in order to show that there is evidence linking floods to global warming this may not be accurately true and it's open for debate or being proven false in future. In the second example, the writer employs a language which sets room for doubt and debate, but the writer makes it clear that he or she is confident with the subject at hand based on research.

5. Tenses

It’s proper in academic writing to employ the correct usage of tenses in your work. You will be able to use different tenses throughout your written work and depending on the context. Some of the guidelines for correct tense use include:

  1. If an action started in the past and is still going on at the moment, make sure that you use the present perfect continuous tense
  2. Use the simple past tense to introduce an action which happened at a particular time in the past.
  3. The subordinate clause should be in simple present tense if the main clause is in simple future tense.
  4. If a sentence contains a command or an order, you should use simple present tense to enforce a subjective mood
  5. In a sentence whereby you are making a statement regarding two related past events of which one took place earlier than the other, you should use past perfect tense for the event that happened earlier and then use simple past tense for the event which took place later.
  6. A subordinate clause can be in past tense or in the past perfect tense if at all the main clause is in the past tense.
Just a recap:
  1. Ensure that you are brief and to-the-point
  2. Ensure that you have used formal language
  3. Actively distinguish between the usage of active and passive voice
  4. Ensure that you have used language to strike a balance in your writing
  5. Ensure proper use of tenses