Academic English grammar is a subset of the English language’s rules and conventions. You may Assume academic writing by its adherence to certain grammatical norms in almost all language samples, which you will be expected to use in your academic papers. In most cases, the following are part of these norms:
- Complete sentences are the norm for expressing an idea. All sentences should start with a capital letter and conclude with a period (most often a period but sometimes a question mark or exclamation mark).
- The words in a phrase should be spelled appropriately using the conventions outlined in a standard dictionary.
- Changes in verb tense (from the past to the present or the present to the future) are rare and always signaled unambiguously.
- A standardized set of rules will govern commas, a hyphen, dash, and other punctuation marks.
- The language used is expected to be accurate and sometimes even technical.
- Formal language is more likely to be used than informal language.
Because writing is the primary mode of communication in academic settings, the ability to write effectively for educational purposes is often regarded as being of the utmost significance. Additionally, it is the ability that most students find the most challenging to perfect.
This article discusses what academic writing is, delves further into the fundamental characteristics of academic writing, and offers advice on improving one’s ability to write academically. There is a checkpoint for you to use at the conclusion to evaluate how well you understood everything.
What exactly is meant by “academic writing”?
Writing intended to transmit ideas, information, and research to the greater academic community is called academic writing.
Academic writing can be broken down into two distinct categories: student academic writing, which is utilized as a form of evaluation at universities, as well as in schools as preparation for university study; and professional academic writing, which is writing that is intended for publication in an academic journal or book. It is assumed that both forms of academic writing—student and expert—will conform to the same norms, which may be challenging for students to learn.
The following are some of the distinguishing traits of academic writing that, taken together, set it apart from other types of writing:
Improving your academic writing is a priority
When you start, the somewhat specialized nature of academic writing might make it seem like an overwhelming task. You may enhance your academic writing by searching out particular areas in which you can improve and paying attention to criticism from instructors or peers.
Reading more is another strategy you may use to improve your academic writing. Reading academic journals or texts may help you better understand the characteristics that set academic writing apart from other types of writing. You can deepen this understanding by reading more academic writing.
Headings, page numbers, lists of sources, references to sources, graphs, abbreviations, etc., are just some of the exceptionally structured features that help readers who are acquainted with the norms of a subject discover and utilize complex material quickly and efficiently.
Simply put, there is an established canon of “correctness” or “standards” in academic writing. Reasons, why you should learn and adhere to Academic English standards, are provided below.
Precision and clarity
may be achieved by using language per established norms, which can aid comprehension for readers already acquainted with such standards. As an analogy, consider that mathematics is, at its core, a language.
Written language for an academic audience is likely to be clear and accurate if it adheres to norms. When there is consensus on the meaning of mathematical symbols and the sequence in which they are to be used, a great deal of information may be conveyed precisely and unambiguously in a minimal formula. However, sentences and paragraphs cannot be as plain as a mathematical equation in transmitting information to an audience.
Ease of reading
When an essay or article conforms to a set of norms that readers are already acquainted with, they can focus on the content without being distracted by typos or awkward attempts at style. If you follow the standards for academic writing, your readers will have an easier time understanding and responding to the concepts you provide in your paper.
Keep in mind that the readers of your academic writing are likely most interested in the ideas and facts you’re trying to express, so they won’t appreciate having to work too hard to parse a sentence or grasp a turn of phrase.
Although it can be fun to decipher whether or not a sentence in poetry, creative nonfiction, or even your friends’ social media posts contains an intentional error for the sake of creating an exciting pattern, making a joke, or imitating a celebrity’s gaffe, readers don’t want to do this kind of reading when they are encountering complex academic information and arguments.
Adhering to the grammatical standards of academic writing
Adhering to the grammatical standards of academic writing sends the message that you have a firm grasp on the conventions of the genre and that your views should be treated seriously. However, the essay’s effect may be diminished because of the writer’s lack of academic authority or reputation due to the breach of standards of “correctness.” Is it reasonable to assume that a student whose essay has a misspelled title does not have good ideas?
Grammar requirements for academic writing seem somewhat artificial. However, these criteria aren’t always necessary to have an impact on other audiences or in different contexts where you need to use rhetoric. Resumes and love letters, for instance, should not be written using the same conventions as academic papers. If you want your academic writing to be understood, you must study the rules and stick to them (most of the time).
Note that some norms are used exclusively in particular types of academic writing. We believe you should follow specific guidelines, such as the ones below.
Literary critics employ the present tense when discussing works of fiction (novels, short tales, plays, and poetry) rather than the past tense (not “Frenchie saw his brother Mitch being brutalized and taken by Recruiters…”).
It is common practice for scientists to leave out those who experimented when writing about their findings. To make matters worse, they often utilize passive language in a manner that conceals who did the study (e.g., “Compound A was combined by Compound B”) or write as if objects are acting to and for themselves (e.g., “Compound A mixed with Compound B created enough heat to ignite the hydrogen”).
There’s probably not going to be a line in a research article like “Lab Assistant Chunhua Wang combined Compounds A and B.
If you want to establish yourself as an authoritative expert in your subject, you need to learn the more nuanced norms that govern writing in that discipline and adhere to them in your work.
Tips for Mastering the Fundamentals of Academic Writing
The very word “grammar” seems scary. Maybe you feel guilty because you didn’t acquire proper grammar in high school. You could be anxious even though you know that studying academic grammar principles is good. Also, what do you do if your lecturers consistently notice problems in your writing despite your knowledge of the laws of grammar?
Do you know what to do if your essay is returned with comments like “agreement difficulty” or “comma splice”? Who the hell are you to understand what it implies, much less how to address these issues?
Let us begin with some words of encouragement. Some people may have a natural talent for picking up on and using linguistic trends. Some people may find it somewhat simpler to adhere to conventional grammar norms in writing because they have grown up speaking a kind of English that is more or less in line with the patterns of Academic English.
These people may acquire and apply grammatical principles more rapidly. (There isn’t a magical grammar fairy that visited some individuals in their cradles and gave them the gift of always being able to punctuate sentences precisely; a fairy who, you could assume, skipped you.) Nevertheless, no one can write correctly in formal English without first learning those norms.
Despite what you may have been led to believe, it is not always possible to determine if a sentence requires a comma just by listening to how it reads or looking for a natural pause point. If you read a piece out loud, you may be able to pick out awkward stretches of language, but it won’t help you fix them.
It may not be immediately evident that your reader will have trouble understanding to whom a particular pronoun in a phrase refers, despite your best efforts to apply logic, common sense, and clever thinking to the problem. You must study and practice conventional grammar rules to use them correctly in your work.
Many methods exist for mastering these guidelines, and we shall outline some options. To ensure you don’t waste your time, I think it’s vital to point out that studies have shown specific less-than-effective approaches to acquiring grammar.
It has been shown that rote grammar exercises do nothing to enhance student writing beyond the stage of essential language acquisition (or acquiring a second language to the point of being able to function at the university level in speaking, reading, and writing).
It is more probable that you will improve at taking multiple-choice tests and doing online exercises that require you to fix a specific sort of fault over many sentences than eradicating grammatical errors in your work.
However, if you like taking online grammar tests, continue doing so. These types of activities may be instructive and enjoyable for specific individuals.
However, most research indicates that reading extensively is the best way for children to master grammatical rules.
However, most research indicates that reading extensively is the best way for children to master grammatical rules.
You should not only study the works of other authors but also pay attention to how they construct phrases and sentences (3rd tip). Simply emulating another author’s style is not the same thing as copying. Maybe it may help to mimic another author’s sentence structure or punctuation to see if it gives you any inspiration.
In addition, studies have shown that students who practice sentence-combining tasks better grasp English grammatical principles.
For this practice, try composing a whole paragraph using just the most straightforward possible sentences:
The majority of locations in Canada have warm summers. It should be warm throughout the summer. There is not a lot of heat in Victoria, British Columbia. It is August 6 today. The sky is overcast with clouds. There is a wind in the air. Customers at a café that is located outside seem to be uncomfortable. Sweaters are common attire for others around you. It would be nice to have a cup of hot tea. Nobody desires lemonade.
Then, combine these phrases while attempting to seek out methods to explain the same fundamental principles and link them up:
Customers at an outdoor café in Victoria, British Columbia, on August 6 are thankful to be wearing sweaters and sipping hot tea (rather than lemonade) while they watch a wind move clouds across the sky since they have a reasonable expectation that summer days would be scorching across much of Canada.
Punctuation helps you learn grammar principles while you are writing. Combining sentences allows you to practice various approaches to constructing and punctuating phrases and playing with different sentence structures. Please do give the technique of word combination a shot.
You may also strategically approach educating yourself on academic writing norms by focusing on those most pertinent to the types of academic writing you are performing.
The twenty types of faults found in undergraduate students’ writing were detected in research conducted in 2008 by Andrea and Karen Lunsford on the essays that undergraduate students from the United States submitted to academic writing courses.
Focusing on these sorts of mistakes is an effective strategy to enhance your acquaintance with certain fundamental norms for formal academic writing. However, there is not yet research comparable to this one conducted on the report of Canadian undergraduates.
In conclusion, you should look to the teachers of your classes for direction on the norms that govern academic written English. Suppose the person who is grading an essay that you have turned in for a grade inserts commas into your sentences and indicates that you need to work on mastering the rules for comma use. In that case, you should probably check out the website for The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University.
His site, usually referred to as “Owl Purdue,” offers straightforward clarifications of various difficulties in mechanics, grammar, and punctuation that are common in student writing.
In the same vein, if your Teaching Assistant comments that your work contains sentence fragments or run-on sentences, you should check those phrases up online to learn more about why problems at the sentence level are considered to be faults and how to correct them.
It’s a great use of a quarter of an hour to have an expert identify which writing rules visitors need to work on and to strongly suggest high-quality reserves if you make an appointment with a tutor at the Writing Centre at your university. If you’re unsure where to start, schedule an appointment with a tutor at your university.