Alison Carter

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5 tips to improve your academic writing style

Some academic authors believe that complex language makes them look particularly smart and highlights their experience. But the opposite is true: this is the art of formulating complex questions simply and to the point - and only those who thoroughly understand the material about which they write will be able to do this. Make it as easy as possible for the reader to understand your text. Colleagues and laypersons alike should understand your research paper. We'll tell you how to do this in the following 5 tips, or you can find out more information at service.

Tip 1. Use neutral, clear and memorable language.
Your text should be sober, detached and informative - after all, you are not writing a poem, but a scientific article. Formulate clear sentences and always state only one thought per sentence:

Avoid incoherent words: each sentence must have meaning - either it contains a statement, helps the reader understand, or it serves as a connecting or introductory element to make it easier to read.
Reduce clauses to a minimum: put a full stop often! Long nested sentences make the text more confusing and difficult to read.
Avoid filler words: Are there words in your text that would make it equally understandable? You can often cross out placeholder words such as “also”, “namely,” “completely”, or “directly”.
Avoid Judgments: Your work is about scientific knowledge, not your opinion - omit judgments.
Formulate meaningful headings: Columnist headlines that support an author's skillful use of language but reveal little to the reader of the content do not have a place in an academic treatise. Try to make your headlines factual and memorable - think of them as a short summary of the next section. This helps the reader navigate the text.

Tip 2: use verbal style
In contrast to the name style, the verbal style is more direct and understandable. He uses verbs that bring the language to life instead of many nouns.

Tip 3: beware of tapeworm words
Like nominalizations, they are also especially popular in legal and official German: phrases of three or more terms. In fact, this is a nice feature of the German language in that we can add words almost arbitrarily and thus create new terms. However, don't overdo it.

Tip 4: use adjectives sparingly
Adjectives make the language flowery and plastic - which is desirable in popular literature, should be avoided in scientific texts. After all, you want your statements to be perceived as serious and fact-based.

Sometimes adjectives are used to supposedly heighten drama: "dramatic catastrophe" or "heavy downpour" does not need preceding adjectives - a catastrophe is always dramatic, and a downpour is always heavy. One adjective that is almost always redundant is the word "very." Remove adjectives from the text and see if they are really missing or if it will make your text clearer and more factual.

Tip 5: avoid foreign words
For some technical terms, there is no German synonym - in these cases foreign words are inevitable. However, avoid using foreign words just to sound particularly smart and to make your statement serious.

Additional Resources:

How to Write better

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