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Academic Language

general guide to writing

Torrens University

on 9 September 2016

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Transcript of Academic Language

Nominalising verbs
Change the following verb forms to nouns:
Language to avoid in academic writing
Avoid run-on expressions such as ‘and so forth’, ‘and so on’ or ‘etc’.

Informal (includes run on)

Formal Alternative
Nurses must take into consideration patients’ dietary needs resulting from allergies, medication, medical conditions and so on.
Nurses must take into consideration patients’ dietary needs resulting from allergies, medication and medical conditions.
Public transport includes vehicles for public use on the roads, airways, waterways etc.
Public transport includes vehicles for public use such as buses, trains and airplanes.
Moving from personal to impersonal language
Active voice
Passive voice
Academic skills lecturers teach the students how to write essays during Orientation week
Students are taught how to write essays by academic skills lecturers during Orientation week
During orientation week, the teaching of academic writing skills for students...
Lecturers and students at the university use TurnItIn to identify plagiarism in assignments
TurnItIn is used by lecturers and students at the university to identify plagiarism
The use of TurnItIn for plagiarism identification by university lecturers and students
‘One of the single most important issues in the world today is the environment’ Discuss
Example answer

‘The state of environment is an important issue in today’s world because scientists and researchers spend a lot of time about the environment, the problems and how to protect it.’
How can this be made more academic?
What is nominalisation?
The process of changing verbs or verb groups into nouns or noun groups

This process changes the focus or subject from being on human participants, actions or events to non-human participants or concepts

This process also changes simple words to more sophisticated vocabulary

The result of this process is that it makes the writing more abstract and formal , and thereby more academic
Why use nominalisations?
Can provide a link back to a previous sentence

Good stock control procedures can save a business a significant amount of money. Savings like these increase the overall profit margin

Some nominalisations have actually become like subjects

Globalisation is not embraced by all societies

Can make sentences more precise

Another important benefit is that this can reduce stock losses (less precise)
The reduction in stock losses is another important benefit (more precise)
Steps to follow when reviewing your first draft:
Bold all the personals (human participants and pronouns)

Underline the verb groups (in order to change to passive and noun groups)

Italicise vocabulary which is too simple (get, got, good, bad, big)

Then, when rewriting:
Remove the bolded personals

Change verbs to nouns and noun groups where required(usually using the passive)

Change simple vocabulary to more complex, academic written register
What is academic style?
‘What a splendiferous day’
‘Beaut weather mate’
‘Evidence from the Bureau of Meteorology indicates that a temperature of approximately 40 degrees is expected’

Academic language is factual, backed up by evidence
Tentative statements
to use tentative statements such as:
tends to, appears to, suggest that, would seem to,
the audience indicates ...

than direct, categorical ones that overgeneralise.
Passive voice
When describing processes, use the passive voice.

In academic writing, it’s not important who did the action as what the action is.
Clichés, redundant words and colloquialisms
In recent years ( recently)
With a high degree of certainty ( certain)
At this moment in time (now)
In close proximity to (close)
The Bauhaus
The Bauhaus founder, architect Walter Gropius, believed that there was a fundamental unity underlying all branches of design and that an intuitive approach could replace prevailing commonplace attitudes.
This would lead to the creation of an environment that would fulfil not only material needs, but that would be spiritually satisfying.
Features of Academic language
Avoid colloquial words and expressions

Use of linking words and expressions
Use of modals to indicate your position and strength of claims

Appropriate referencing of sources and evidence to support claims
Academic language
Tentative statements
Full forms of words
Nominalised phrasing
Passive voice
Third person pronouns
Formal negative forms
No clichés, redundant words or colloquialisms
Full forms of words
only the full forms of words, not contractions:
do not instead of don’t;
cannot instead of can’t.
Nominalised phrasing
Academic writing usually has more nouns (naming words) than verbs (action or being words).

Germany invaded Poland in 1939. This was the immediate cause of the Second World War breaking out.

Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939 was the immediate cause of the outbreak of the Second World War.
Third person pronouns
To write in an objective manner, we usually use third person pronouns such as they, he, she, and it.

I recommend that... It is recommended that...
I found that... It was found that...

Use ‘thinking’ statements not ‘feeling’ statements and avoid referring to yourself.

I feel that... It is clear that...

You can see the results in Table 1.
The results can be seen in Table 1.
Language to avoid in academic writing
Avoid conversational language such as figures of speech, clichés and idioms

Colloquial Expression

Formal Alternative
Above board legitimate
A happy medium An acceptable compromise
Get through it Survive, penetrate
Part and parcel Intrinsic to

Easier said than done More difficult in practice
Beyond a shadow of doubt Definitely
Got out of hand Was no longer under control
A stumbling block Point of contention
The Bauhaus
Walter Gropius, who was an architect and founded the Bauhaus, believed that all branches of design are basically similar. I think this is true. What he was getting at was that a gut-feeling approach could take the place of all everyday ways of thinking and design.

To put it another way, he said that designers could create an environment that would meet your needs and make you feel good, which I believe is the most important thing in design.
Academic language
‘The state of the environment is an important issue in today’s world because scientists and researchers spend a lot of time about the environment, the problems and how to protect it.’

‘Environmental problems
have a global impact on human society. As a result
(higher lexis and causal relationship changed)
, a great deal
(higher lexis)
of scientific research
(non-human, more abstract)
is concerned with
the environment and its protection
Laureate Academic Skills Unit
This occurs whenever there is a downturn in commodity prices

This tends to occur whenever there is a downturn in commodity prices
Unemployment figures won’t improve until the economy is stronger.

Unemployment figures will not improve until the economy is stronger
The study on the children reveals that food affects behaviour

The effects of food on children’s behaviour are revealed.
Advanced planning
Cooperate together
Few in number
Still remains
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