Tips on Using Academic English
Many people think that academic English is a very complex concept and that it requires you to use a very sophisticated vocabulary along with industry-specific jargon and complex phrases. This might be true in some cases, but English for Academic Purposes (EAP) isn’t too complex to master, and if you want to develop stronger writing skills, you should certainly consider EAP and familiarize yourself with some of its distinctive features. Knowing EAP is especially important for foreign students because, without it, they won’t be able to succeed in college.
What EAP Is
EAP is a style of written English that is often used when writing different types of academic papers, including essays, coursework, term papers, and dissertations. Even colleges and universities, however, often overlook some aspects of EAP, and they may only focus on grammar and vocabulary. Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind that developing academic writing skills is about improving your language at all levels.
Even though U.S. universities might fail to teach students all the aspects of academic writing, a student’s ability to use EAP is considered very important. Teachers must make sure that they provide students with specific requirements for each particular task. This way, students can have clear instructions on how to fulfill educators’ expectations, while teachers can have clear evaluation criteria.
Some students may think that correct spelling isn’t necessary. Why should you dedicate a lot of time to learning some skills that you won’t use for real-world communication? Such an opinion is usually expressed by those students who don’t even want to try and improve their EAP skills. Even though you won’t use EAP in your everyday life, it is still crucial for your academic success. Besides, you will need strong English skills not only in college but also in your professional life. You may need to learn a vocabulary used in a particular industry or master a specific writing style. No matter what career you choose, you should make sure that your English skills are good enough to use them in any situation.
Types of Academic Text
There are several common types of academic writing. Here’s what you should know about them.
- Essays. Essays can be shorter or longer, depending on their academic level and discipline. Usually, essays are 1,000 to 5,000 words long.
- Notes. Notes are used by students when they need to write the basic concepts and ideas described in a certain book or article. If you need to write academic notes, you should make sure to check specific rules that apply to your task.
- Projects. You may also need to conduct a small research on a certain topic, and it can be a part of a bigger project. Quite often, students team up to work on the same project.
- Reports. Usually, reports provide conclusions drawn from studying a certain topic. For example, a report can focus on the results of an experiment. You may also write a book report, addressing the key points of the book.
- Dissertations and theses. These are large papers that are usually about 20,000 words long. Dissertations and theses are assigned to seniors who graduate from higher education institutions.
This is just an incomplete list of papers where you should use academic English. There are also many other types of academic papers, including research articles, and different types of letters and other correspondence. All these types of papers have different target audiences, they may be shorter or longer, and their complexity level may also vary. However, all of them share some common features that we will consider below.
Distinctive Features of Academic English
The main aspect you should keep in mind is the structure of academic papers. Reports, essays, and other types of academic works should have an introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction must present the topic and provide some key background information, if necessary. An important thing about the introduction is that it should also present a thesis statement. This is a sentence that expresses the main idea of the entire paper and serves as the basis for all of your arguments.
In the main body, you should address your subject in two or three paragraphs. Each paragraph should focus on a specific point. The conclusion must summarize the whole paper and restate the thesis statement, considering it in the context of the details described in the main body. The main body is the longest part of an academic paper, and it can include different subsections. For instance, when writing a literature review, you might provide illustrative examples. Depending on the type of paper, you may also include case studies or lists of references.
Another thing all academic papers have in common is the academic style of presenting the information. When writing academic papers, you cannot use colloquialisms or slang. You should also make sure that your grammar is perfect and keep your writing clear and concise, avoiding any unnecessary sentences and irrelevant remarks. Besides, you should make sure that all of your opinions are supported by evidence from reliable academic sources.
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