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Mini-Module: How to Use Academic Vocabulary

Transforming Everyday English into Academic English

Skills for Learning LogoTransforming Everyday English into Academic English Page 4 of 11

Look at the two examples below. The sentence on the left is in a everyday style of English, and the sentence on the right has been changed to make it more academic. 

Everyday English vs Academic English
Rule Original Sentence in Everyday English Academic Style
Use the Impersonal / 3rd Person

"I will analyse the causes of poverty in Great Britain in the 21st Century."

Comment - Don't use the first person "I".

"This essay will analyse the causes of poverty during the 21st Century."

"I" is changed to "This essay".

Use Complete Sentences without Vagueness

"Unemployment has risen."

Comment - What in particular are you talking about? Where, when, how do you know?

"The rate of unemployment has risen in the lUK in the last two years (BBC, 2015)."

Much more precise and complete information - with a citation too.


Here are three more examples of the difference between normal and academic styles. The blue writing shows the problems with the sentence. On the right you can see the corrected academic style. 

Everyday English vs Academic English
Everyday English Academic English

"The government do not have a clue what is wrong with the NHS."

Too informal / Opinionated

"The government are not well-informed about the issues and situation of the NHS."

"The argument proposed by the author is a bit over the top."


"The argument proposed by the author is exaggerated."

"Demonstrators who are against welcoming refugees do not know what they are talking about."

Blunt / Imprecise

"Demonstrators who are against welcoming refugees are not well-informed on the matter."

When you are ready, go to the next page to test yourself.