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Tips for Writing Academic English

Having spent eight years at University studying for a Bachelors, a Masters and a Doctorate, I’ve done my fair share of academic writing. My final project was a thesis of 100,000 words! So I thought I would share some of my top tips for writing academic English for anyone who is working on a University Project or Essay.

1. Start your essay with the point/argument you find the most interesting.

This way you will quickly build momentum, as you begin writing in volume and with enthusiasm. You’ll be surprised the arguments you make that you didn’t know you could!

2. Write the introduction last.

This might seem counter-intuitive, but you actually don’t yet know what the sequence of your arguments is, so don’t waste time trying to write an introduction to them early on. It’s when you’ve finished your essay that you’ll know how to begin it.

3. Find scholars whose work you can cite.

This gives you material to develop your essay, as you can spend time agreeing/disagreeing with them. It also helps readers understand your arguments in a wider context

4. Use Evidence to direct the text.

Evidence guides your text and it helps develop arguments. Too much reflection without evidence can lead to repetition and “waffle”, which is when you don’t say much of anything!

5. Read it out loud before submitting it.

A good way to minimise errors in a text, especially one not written in your native language, is to read it out loud. This will help identify grammatical errors, as well as incorrect punctuation.

6. Leave unanswered questions in your text.

Do this towards the end of your work, preferably in the conclusion. By posing questions that you don’t answer, you generate interest in your subject area and in you as a researcher. You are saying “There is more work to be done, and I’m the one to do it!”

Thanks for reading and happy writing!

Send me a message with any questions/queries.


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