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ENGLISH FOR ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL PURPOSES

FORMALITY
Formality reflects your dignified stance in your writing as a member of the academic
community. This means that since your audience are fellow members of the academic community, the
language you use requires precision to make it a “legitimate “piece of academic writings.

Formality can be achieved through the following ways:

1. Choosing expanded modal forms over contracted forms, such as using cannot instead of can’t, do
not instead of don’t.
2. Choosing one verb form over two-word verbs such as damage instead of mess up.
3. Choosing expanding terms over abbreviated equivalent, such as soon as possible instead of ASAP.
4. Avoiding colloquial/trite/idiomatic expressions, such as kind of like, as a matter of fact. I need to go
to the John.

OBJECTIVITY
Academic writing requires special knowledge and use of more complex language and objectivity-
this means that the writing must be impersonal and maintain a certain level of social distance.

Objectivity can be achieved by:

1. Avoiding the use of personal pronouns such as you, I, and we.


Poor example: The researchers need to conduct the experiment.
2. Avoiding rhetorical questions as it works “closeness” with the reader, and constantly seeks
his/her attention.
Poor example: How can this problem be solved?
Improved version: Certain measures must be discovered to solve the problems.
3. Avoiding emotive language that shows biased and lessens objectivity.
Poor example: The investigators were shocked to see the outcome of the test.
Improved version: The investigators did not expect the results.

EXPLICITNESS

Academic writing demands the use of signpost that allow readers to trace the relationships in the
part of a study:

If you intend to show a change in your line of argument, make it clear by using however.