Academic essay writing guide: polishing your language

When writing an academic piece (regardless of whether it will be an essay or a research paper), do bear in mind that there will always be rules to follow. First, there will be the rules of the academic style in which you have to write the paper. There can be considerable differences between two academic styles (APA and MLA, for example), so do make sure to check with the official guidelines first, especially if you have never used a particular style before.

Furthermore, there will be certain rules that apply to all academic styles. Using the right language is one of them. Sometimes, students focus a lot on getting the format of the paper and the citations right, but they do not pay enough attention to the language they use. Do bear in mind that all the rules related to academic writing in general are there for a reason and that you should definitely follow them if you want your paper or essay to be graded well.

What Language Should You Use in an Essay?

Academic essays tend to be looser for students to deal with, but this does not mean that they are completely without any kind of rule. As a matter of fact, writing an academic essay will definitely have rules you have to follow (including academic style-related rules and rules that are related to essays in general).

The language you use can be extremely important for the success of the essay. You will have to be reliable and using language that is not adequate to the academic writing world may disqualify you even if what you actually say is perfectly right. If you are worried about what kind of language you should be using in an academic essay, then do follow the next basic tips:

  1. Never use too much of the 1st person pronouns and verbs. Although you should clearly state your opinion in an essay, do make sure that it is not all about “I” (or you, for that matter) and that you remain as detached as possible.
  2. Never use contractions. Generally speaking, academic writing means that you will have to use a language that is as formal as possible and contractions are part of the informal, oral language that does not belong in an academic essay or paper.
  3. Do not try to use words that are too “fancy” either. Limit yourself to what comes natural, but do use specialty words (jargon) when they are required.