academic writing

Language Rules to Improve Academic Writing 2024

The basic structural components of writing are described by grammar and punctuation rules. The text’s message can be easily misunderstood or even lost if the grammar and punctuation are used incorrectly. Moreover, it will almost certainly result in a grade reduction.

Academic language should be clear and succinct, even though it is more formal than the English spoken in everyday life communication. This article will help you learn about how to properly utilize language so that you can expertly communicate your arguments in your academic writing.

Basic rules of language

Academic English grammar is a distinct subset of the English language. In nearly every example of academic writing, you will notice that there are a few grammatical norms. Follow these norms to make sure you include them in your academic writing for work or class.

Most of the time, these conventions include the following:

  • Every sentence starts with a capital letter and ends with a punctuation mark which most often a period but can also be a question mark or an exclamation mark.
  • Complete and proper sentences are commonly used to express ideas.
  • You should not change verb tenses from past to present or vice versa unless there is a cause for it. Such changes are usually indicated explicitly.
  • Words that build up the sentence should be spelt accurately in accordance with the conventional dictionary spellings.
  • The words chosen will be accurate and maybe technical.
  • Where, why, and when to use hyphens, commas, dashes, and other punctuation marks will be governed by a set of rules.
  • Graphs, page numbers, references to sources, lists of sources, abbreviations, headings, and other specifically formatted components help readers get acquainted with the norms of a subject to efficiently discover and use complicated material.
  • The vocabulary and wording you choose should almost certainly be official rather than informal.

Basics of academic writing

To put it another way, also known as “correctness” or “standards” in formal written English, academic writing typically adheres to a set of norms. Here are several compelling reasons to learn and observe these Academic English standards.

Reading comfort

It’s easier for readers to grasp an essay or article that adheres to a set of standards they’re familiar with. They are not distracted by mistakes or stylistic experimentation and can entirely concentrate on the piece of writing. To simply put, the more precisely your academic writing follows the standards for academic writing, the simpler it will be for your target audience to understand and interact with your ideas.

Transparency and preciseness

For readers who are familiar with these standards, using language in a way that adheres to those rules can help make things clearer.

As an example, mathematics is a language at its most fundamental level. Anyone can communicate a great deal in a compact formula if everyone understands the meaning of the mathematical symbols, especially when they’re placed in a certain order. For scholarly audiences, written language that follows norms is more likely to be clear and exact than mathematical equations as mere sentences in a paragraph can not be as straightforward in conveying the message.

Creating a scholarly culture

Respecting the academic writing’s grammatical standards shows that you grasp the traditions of academic writing, which implies that your views should be regarded seriously by your readers or audience members.

Is it reasonable to assume that someone who submits an essay with a spelling error in the title lacks creativity? No, however a writer’s scholarly authority or credibility will be harmed as a result of this type of infringement of “correctness” norms, potentially weakening the essay’s effect.

Despite this, it is possible to communicate effectively with various types of audiences in other rhetorical contexts without adhering to these kinds of norms. Writing a CV or a love letter according to the rules for formal academic writing, for example, would be improper and unproductive. The grammatical requirements for writing in Academic English are not natural. If you want to write legible academic writing, all you have to do is study and follow them most of the time.

It’s worth noting that some norms are exclusively seen in specific types of academic writing. We believe that understanding some guidelines, such as the following, will be beneficial to you:

Awareness of the target audience

The audience for academic writing is typically more interested in the ideas and information being delivered, therefore your readers don’t want to have to work hard to interpret a sentence or grasp a turn of phrase because of this set of priorities.

It can be fun to figure out if a sentence contains a purposeful error because it is imitating a celebrity’s gaffe, making a joke, or creating an interesting pattern, when you’re reading creative nonfiction, poetry or even your friends’ social media posts. However, if the readers are reading complex academic information and arguments, then distraction is usually not helpful.

How to master these rules

So, let’s start with something that we hope will be comforting. As a result of their exposure to a dialect of English that is similar to Academic English, some persons may find it simpler to adhere to conventional grammatical standards in their writing. It’s possible that certain people have a talent for spotting and following patterns in language. These people may be able to grasp and apply grammatical rules more rapidly. In any case, it’s impossible to obey the formal written English norms without understanding or studying the rules.

You may still be concerned about your grades even if you’re persuaded that mastering the basic grammatical principles for academic writing is a good thing. Grammatical terms might be daunting to those who are unfamiliar with them. The grammar may seem like something you should have studied in high school. When you know the rules of grammar, do you still submit essays that include mistakes in them? What should you do if you receive an essay tagged “agreement issue” or “comma splice”? If you don’t have a clue what that implies, how are you meant to know how to address these issues?

In spite of what you’ve been told, a phrase that sounds correct and has breathing room isn’t necessarily the one that has to be punctuated. While reading a document aloud can help you detect strange word combinations, it does not guarantee that you will be able to improve them. A pronoun in a sentence may be difficult for a reader to understand, despite all of your logic, common sense, and clever thinking. Learn and practice standard grammar rules if you wish to be able to accurately follow standard grammar rules in your own work.

Writing strategies

In order to become proficient in grammar, pupils are advised to read extensively.

  • Try to notice not just how other authors construct their sentences, but how they construct their phrases as well. This is not plagiarism, but rather the imitation of another’s style of writing. It’s also possible to try to imitate another writer’s sentence structure and punctuation style.

Students can also enhance their knowledge of English grammatical principles through tasks that include sentence combining, according to study.

  • Try creating a full paragraph using only basic, plain phrases. Try to find methods to communicate the same essential themes by combining these sentences. You may practice sentence structure and punctuation by mixing sentences. Experimenting with sentences also helps you learn grammatical principles while writing them down. Don’t be afraid to try out this sentence mixing.

Finally, if you want to learn the rules of academic written English, ask your professors for help.

  • Try to find out more about why sentence fragments and run-on phrases are considered mistakes by your professor or teaching assistant and how to correct them.

Common mistakes in structuring a sentence

The way different components of a sentence are put together, from punctuation to word order, is determined by sentence structure. There are many additional factors to consider in order to create correctly and clearly constructed sentences, in addition to following fundamental word order principles.

There are two types of sentence structure errors that are very common:

Run-on sentences

  • Incorrect punctuation is used to link distinct sections of a phrase in run-on sentences.

Sentence fragments

  • Sentence fragments are missing parts of a complete, grammatically valid sentence.

A range of sentence lengths and patterns are used in effective academic writing. Overly long sentences might be confusing to readers, while too many extremely short sentences can make your work feel jagged and disconnected. It’s not only about grammar when it comes to sentence construction; it’s also about style and flow. Let us discuss some of the ways by which you can improve your academic writing ability.

Remove Sentence fragments

A fragment is a collection of words that does not have all the elements of a complete sentence. A sentence must have a subject and a predicate in order to be deemed complete.

For example, in journalism and creative writing, sentence fragments are frequently employed stylishly, while in academic or other formal writing, they are rarely suitable. So, make sure your writing has complete sentences with the subject (commonly a noun that does something) and the predicate (the verb part of the sentence about or on which the subject acts).

Some common errors that contribute to fragmented sentences are

  • Improper use of present participle
  • Absence of predicate
  • Dependent clause on its own

Avoid run-on sentences

Independent clauses can be connected in a variety of ways, but when they are joined without correct punctuation, a run-on phrase is produced. An independent clause is a collection of words that may stand alone as a complete sentence.

Run-on phrases are the consequence of two frequent errors.

  • Comma splice – joining two independent clauses with a comma.
  • Using a coordination junction without a comma

A run-on sentence is more about grammatical structure than length. Even extremely brief phrases might include this mistake.

Join sentences that are too short together

Although shorter sentences are usually cleaner and easier to read, but too many of them can make a writing appear repetitious, jagged, or disconnected. Use transition words and a range of sentence lengths to let readers see how your thoughts fit together. However, make sure to use proper punctuation or fillers (conjunction, preposition) to link your sentences in order to avoid grammatical errors.

Rules for successful academic writing: 

Overly lengthy phrases should be broken up

A long sentence may be grammatically accurate, yet it is difficult to follow due to its length. Avoid utilizing too many unnecessarily long sentences in your writing to make it clearer and more understandable.

Think about rewriting your sentences when they reach a length of 40-50 words. The typical sentence is 15 to 25 words long. An excellent place to start is by eliminating repetitions and exaggerated phrases. If necessary, though, attempt to break up long statements into shorter ones.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What are the five rules of grammar?

Following are the five utmost rules of grammar:

  • Proper tenses
  • Capitalization
  • Punctuation
  • Word order
  • Sentence structure

What is the significance of grammar in academic writing?

Grammatical rules are crucial since they assist the reader understand what they’re reading. As a writer, you want to make sure that your audience clearly and concisely understands what you’re trying to say. So, remove grammatical mistakes from your work and provide clear communication to your viewers.

What are three grammatical rules for academic writing?

The first rule is that you must write in sentences.

  • In a sentence, the subjects and verbs must agree to each other. Ensure to write sentences with subject and predicate to avoid fragmented sentences.
  • Correct punctuation is required in order to avoid run on sentences.
  • You must use appropriate terminology and reasonable vocabulary to avoid jargon.
  • The apostrophe must be used appropriately and with care.

What are the academic writing guidelines and conventions?

Examples of additional academic standards to observe include spelling out acronyms when first used in the text, the appropriate use of headers and subheadings, avoiding emotional language or unsubstantiated declarative claims, , avoiding slang or colloquial language, avoiding contractions, and writing in the first person.

By what means a sentence is considered correct?

There has to be an agreement between the subject and the verb. The subject and verb must both be singular or plural in order for a phrase to be grammatically valid. To put it another way, the subject and verb must coincide in their tense. If the subject is multiple, the verb must be plural as well (and vice versa).

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