Tips on Academic Voice

When using the academic voice you won’t usually use first personal pronouns.

Instead of:
I think anyone who becomes a parent should have to take a parenting class.

Write:
Parenting classes should be mandatory for any biological or adoptive parents.


NOTE: There are exceptions for certain types of writing assignments.

Avoid using second person pronouns.

Instead of:
When you read “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” you will realize that King was writing to people besides the ministers who criticized him.

Write:
Upon reading “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” readers will note that King was addressing a wider audience than the clergy who condemned his actions.

Avoid contractions in more formal writing.

Instead of:
It shouldn’t be difficult to record what we feel, but many of us just can’t get our feelings down on paper.

Write:
It should not be difficult to record feelings, but many people are unable to do so.

Avoid informal language.

Instead of:
It’s obvious that she’s a feminist because she makes a big deal about women who were into the suffrage movement.

Write:
Because of her focus on the suffragists, one can assume she is a feminist.

Abbreviations for common terms should not be used in academic writing

Instead of:
Smith was declared the official winner at the P.O. last Mon. on Jan. 6th.

Write:
Smith was declared the official winner at the post office last Monday, on January 6.

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