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  2. Core skills
  3. Developing academic English
  4. Academic writing style

Academic writing style

Using language appropriate to both audience and task

  • Is the sentence structure clear and concise?
  • Have you used the relevant vocabulary specific to your subject, with explanations where helpful?
  • Have you used a form of language that is appropriate for your audience?
  • Have you presented different perspectives where necessary?
  • Are linking words used to support the flow of ideas?

These two academics describe how students should reflect the complexity of the perspectives they write about by using cautious or 'hedging' language.

Introduction to academic writing

Using an appropriate writing style gives an introduction to different writing styles for different subject areas and purposes.

Approaches to academic writing

Various subjects often want you to achieve an objectivity and formality in your writing. The following sets of activities from the University of Southampton explore ways to develop a more formal and objective writing style.

Building your vocabulary

Activities from the University of Southampton on how to extend your vocabulary from single base words, including examples from a business context

Expressing complex ideas

The following activities from the University of Southampton aim to help you get to grips with noun phrases (a useful way of expressing complex ideas).

Developing an argument

The following activities from the University of Southampton aim to help you express subtle differences in meanings and express arguments cautiously thus avoiding bold statements that cannot be supported.

There is a clear explanation on the British Council 'Learn English' site of how Modal verbs express degrees of uncertainty (includes grammar game practice).