How to Tackle Academic Writing

Whether you need to write a paper, an essay, a bachelor’s dissertation, a master’s dissertation or a thesis, they all need to be written in academic English. Academic English can be very different from the English you use when you write an email, a news article or a letter. We lay down all the different aspects of academic writing and show you how to write a good English academic text.

Specific rules for academic writing

  • In academic texts you often make use of abbreviations and acronyms. However, it is very important that you use these correctly. For example, did you know that you should not write contractions in academic texts?
  • You usually write down numbers, especially when discussing your results. Do you write these out or do you just note down the numerals? There are very specific rules to make this work!
  • Quotes should be introduced correctly and spelled correctly. But what happens when a quote is not spelled correctly by the original author?
  • You need to make a choice whether you are going to write British English or American English. We’ve written an article to help you make the right choice and to point out the most important differences.
  • Like in any text, you use verb tenses in an academic text such as a dissertation. There are some rules as to which tenses to use for which part of your dissertation. It is important that you take these into account even before you start writing an academic text.
  • Take into account that there are some words that you should not use or definitely avoid to use in academic texts! For instance, you are not always allowed to use the first person pronoun.

Common mistakes

You’re a step ahead if you know which mistakes are commonly made and how to avoid them. Have a look at these articles:

Many mistakes are also made in transition words and phrases. Make sure to avoid such mistakes by reading the article!

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