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Mini-Module: How to Use Academic Vocabulary

Why Academic Vocabulary? Page 2 of 11

Why is academic vocabulary a thing? Although it can be a challenge at first, there are actually some good reasons why we use academic words rather than everyday English. 



Reasons for Academic Vocabulary

Car driving off a cliffCAUTION:

Academic English is more cautious than everyday English. People are going to be looking closely at what you write, so don't exaggerate, be careful about choosing the best words for what you want to say. 


Motor bike jumping a carCREDIBLE:

In your academic writing, you are trying to persuade your reader, so make a good impression. Make an extra effort to avoid spelling mistakes and try to use the technical language of your subject rather than the everyday words.



Everything is complicated when you are going into things deeply, like you do at university. So, choose the right words, and use phrases that help the reader keep up. Also, look out for possible double meanings - choose the technical term rather than the everyday one to reduce the chance of your reader getting the wrong idea. 



In general (but not always - check with your tutor), it is better not to get personal in academic writing, so avoid  words like: "I", "We", "You", "Myself", "Personally" etc. Mostly, your writing will involve making arguments that do not depend on your subjective experience. Arguments are stronger if they apply generally to all your readers not only to you.


Dog in kennelFAITHFUL:

To be true to your ideas and beliefs, you should take care to choose exactly the right word so that you don't say things that you don't actually mean. 

Now see if you can remember the five reasons for using academic vocabulary.