Academic Papers Help - Never Use Taboo Language

Formal academic writing is much different than the letter you send to your Uncle Bob in the next town. There are certain guidelines that need to be followed that are considered proper. The list below is far from complete but is a very good starter set of rules for what is considered ‘taboo’ in academic writing. Work on these guidelines diligently and your academic writing will look professional and proper every time you write.

  • Experts agree that the single most important thing to remember when academic writing is make sure it is always written. Avoid words such as I, you, your and others which change the writing to a first or second person perspective.
  • Avoid using slang at all costs. Slang tends to be a regional thing in language and is not understood by all. A non-native English speaker will probably take your use of slang in a very different way than you intended. The term ‘pulling your leg’ may mean joking to you, but to a non-native speaker it would seem like an odd thing for a person to do.
  • Do not over punctuate. Brackets, parenthesis, and other forms of punctuation when overused make the paper choppy and hard to read.
  • Try to avoid using phrasal verbs such as ‘call on’ or ‘go over’, use their single equivalents ‘visited’ or ‘crossed’. This practice makes reading your paper smoother and more concise.
  • The use of contractions such as ‘it’s’ or ‘we’ll’ are recommended to avoid in academic writing. Once again it makes the work look choppy and informal.
  • Avoid words that are general in nature like ‘perhaps’ or ‘sometimes’. Words like these do not add precise value to academic writing and tend to make the reader believe you are not sure what you are writing about.
  • Before you send in your work proof read it several times to check for mistakes. Sometimes it is not a bad idea to have a friend or family member read it too to see if anything in the writing does not read well to them. Spell check and double check punctuation and grammar, nothing looks less professional than a paper with many misspelled words and bad grammar.

It is not hard to follow these simple rules to writing good academic papers. Be aware of these guidelines when you write and practice them. In no time they will become second nature to you and your writing will pass the academic standard every time.

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