What are the top words to avoid in academic writing? To communicate credibly, clearly, and concisely, replace words and phrases that are too casual, too ambiguous, or too verbose.
Unlike some other types of writing, academic writing comes with certain restrictions because it’s meant to accomplish specific goals. Academic writers aim to share information and make arguments in a way that other scholars will clearly understand.
Using the wrong words is one of the most common academic writing mistakes. To achieve the goals above, choose words and phrases that help readers take your writing seriously, understand your meaning, and stay with you until the end.
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Casual words to avoid in academic writing
We can’t write an essay, dissertation, or thesis the same way that we usually talk because the target audience of these papers isn’t our family and friends. It’s other students, instructors, and researchers, who are often strangers.
Slang and colloquialisms are always words to avoid in formal writing. Instead, use more formal choices, like the ones in the center column below. When you do that, your readers will see that you take your subject matter seriously, and then they will too.
Imprecise words to avoid in academic writing
If your goal is to be clear, you’ll want to avoid words that lack specificity, exclude or include items or people unintentionally, or are subjective rather than measurable.
The left column shows words to avoid in an essay or other academic text, and the suggestions in the center column can help you improve.
Wordy phrases to avoid in academic writing
Connecting ideas is a key step in academic writing because doing so helps readers follow your reasoning. But it’s vital to do this by using genuine transition words and phrases, not by adding fluff.
Filling an academic paper with words that don’t add value is like pouring a glass of juice, then adding a lot of ice cubes and letting them melt before you drink it. The part that matters is diluted, which makes it hard to finish the drink.
Instead of using these phrases to avoid in academic writing, shown in the left column, try the replacements in the center column to make sure your text is strong. You may not think small changes like these make much of a difference, but they do—the examples with an ✘ add up to 43 words, while those with a ✔ add up to just 28. In a long paper, many small changes go a long way.
Careful word choices lead to exceptional academic writing. But you don’t have to figure them all out on your own—QuillBot is here to help.
Our Paraphraser offers you several writing tones to choose from, including a custom mode that’s great for academic writing. It also includes a setting that lets you adjust the number of synonyms you get in the results. Using the Paraphraser, you can evaluate multiple ways of saying the same thing and choose the one you prefer without paying a cent.
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