A Checklist of Academic Writing Features

Academic writing in English is linear, that means it has one central point or theme with every part contributing to the main line of argument, without digressions or repetitions. Its objective is to inform rather than entertain. As well as this it is in the standard written form of the language.There are ten main features of academic writing that are often discussed.Academic writing is to some extent: complex, formal, objective, explicit, heged and responsible. It uses language precisely and accurately.

  • Linear:
    One central argument with all parts combining to support it.
  • Informative:
    The aim is to provide information not entertainment.
  • Complex:
    Written using more complex grammar, vocabulary and structures.
  • Formal:
    Not a personal tone so avoid using colloquial words and expressions.
  • Precise:
    Facts and figures used must be correct.
  • Objective:
    Emphasis on information and arguments not on you (the writer). Academic writing focuses on nouns (and adjectives), rather than verbs (and adverbs).
  • Explicit:
    Show the reader how the different parts of the text are related by the using, signalling or transition words.
  • Accurate:
    Know the meanings of words, particularly subject specific words and use them accurately.
  • Qualification:
    Also called ‘hedging.’ You might need to qualify your stance or the strength of your claims. Perhaps there is no research available or the research is contradictory. Using words like occasionally, a few, can be, might be, are a way to qualify generalisations.
  • Responsibility:
    You are responsible for proving what you say with evidence and for a complete understanding of the sources you use.


  • uefap 
  • Morley-Warner, T. 2000, Academic writing is… A guide to writing in a university context, Centre for Research and Education in the Arts, Sydney.

Comments are closed.