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Academic language

Academic language is formal, objective and impersonal. It is the language you need to use when you write essays and assignments at university.

How academic is your writing?

Did you know that a typical academic text contains about 10-15% academic words? Use Lex Tutor to see if your writing contains enough academic words. You can copy and paste a piece of your own writing into the box to check – your academic words are shown in yellow.

The following pieces of writing have been put through Lex Tutor. The first one is written using simple language while in the second sample the simple words have been substituted with academic words.

Sample 1 has 2.17% academic words:

In talking about the challenges, managers need to have a viewpoint that is about all groups and subgroups inside these groups. This means that managers like the different things that people have and they work to hire new people and help different people to get ahead.
Sample 2 has 17.22% academic words.
In addressing the areas of challenges, managers need to adopt a viewpoint that accepts all groups and subcultures. This ensures that managers appreciate the differences that people bring and they work toward hiring and promoting diverse people.

Finding academic words

If you are not using enough academic words refer to the Academic Word List (AWL) when you are writing your assignment. This list has 10 sublists of academic words that range from the most frequently used academic words to the least frequent.

The Academic Phrase Bank is also a great resource for helping with your academic writing and contains many academic phrases. This will save you a lot of time and make your writing more academic.

Further Resources

English Vocabulary Exercises provides exercises and crosswords for you to practise learning academic words.

Need some help with your grammar? The University of Auckland ELE service provides an online learning module  ELE GrammarSmart. Start with the Self-Analysis Quiz or jump straight into the learning activities.

The Monash University Research and Learning Online website also breaks down the concept of academic writing further.

WordHippo provides powerful word tools to meet your needs with antonyms, synonyms and definitions.