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Style.

Style refers to the way we select and arrange words to convey meaning. Academic writing requires a very specific style; this is mostly formal, impersonal, objective, concise and precise. It is important to remember that a well-written piece of academic work is not wordy and complex but a good balance of clear, well-constructed sentences and an appropriate tone.

1

In an essay

Imagine that the following text appears in an essay. Try and rewrite it in a style more suitable for academic writing.

Rewrite the text above into this box:

As I have tried to show, it's not right what people say about scientists and artists going about life in completely different ways.

A suggested answer:

The argument that artists and scientists approach life in different ways is unfounded.

Try to avoid writing in the first person and ensure the text is written in a formal style.

Check your answer

Tip: Rewriting your answer more than once can sometimes help you to find the best way to say something.

2

In a report

The following is an excerpt from a report. Rewrite this text using the passive voice.

I conducted the research in the university Learning Zone to minimise noise and disruption. I took the learners out of their English lecture and I tested them in groups of three. I carried out all the tests in January 2011. The test consisted of two parts. First, I gave the learners a quiz on commas (I presented this in chapter two) and I then asked them to complete the test in under 10 minutes. I photocopied all of their answers. I then gave them a set of jumbled sentences, which I instructed them to solve in as short a time as possible. I remained in the room while the learners did this...

Rewrite the text above into this box:

A suggested answer:

The research was conducted in the university Learning Zone to minimise noise and disruption. The learners were taken out of their English lecture and were tested in groups of three. All the tests were carried out in January 2011. The test consisted of two parts. First, the learners were given a quiz on commas (this was presented in chapter two). They were then asked to complete this quiz in under 10 minutes. Next, all of their answers were photocopied. They were then given a set of jumbled sentences, which they were instructed to solve in as short a time as possible. I remained in the room while the learners did this...

Check your answer

Tip: The passive voice is used when the action is more important than the person doing it. It is also a way of avoiding the use of the first person; in other words, talking about 'what I did'..

3

In a report summary

This is part of a summary from a report by a student. Rewrite it in a way that does not use colloquialisms (slang).

His ideas should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Rewrite the text above into this box:

A suggested answer:

His ideas should be treated with scepticism.

Check your answer

Tip: 'Taken with a pinch of salt' is a cliché and should be avoided in formal writing.

4

Making a statement

The following is a statement made in a piece of academic text. Rewrite this in a more formal fashion.

People are talking about what they can do to make the National Health Service better.

Rewrite the text above into this box:

A suggested answer:

Discussions are being held regarding the way in which the National Health Service can be improved.

Check your answer

Tip: Again, try using the passive voice where the action of the people (in this case, we mean the talking) becomes the focus rather than the people.

5

Making a statement (part 2)

This statement explains that there has been a change of plans. Rewrite it in a more academic style.

We have had to delay introducing the latest virtual environment software.

Rewrite the text above into this box:

A suggested answer:

There has been a delay in the introduction of the latest virtual learning environment software.

Check your answer

Tip: Using the passive voice allows you to become an 'objective onlooker'. Focusing on 'delay' as a noun will enable you to remove yourself from the text.

Well done! You have completed the quiz!

Bibliography:

The following texts were particularly useful for writing this quiz.

COLLINSON, D, et al. (1992) Plain English, 2nd ed. Buckingham: Open University Press.

DUNCAN, T. (1983) Success in Electronics . London: John Murray.

GLENDINNING, E. H. and MANTELL, H. (1983) Write Ideas: An Intermediate Course in Writing Skills. Harlow: Longman.

HEWINGS, M. (1993) Advanced Grammar in Use. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Remember that The Centre for Learning and Study Support (CLaSS) offers a range of writing provision.

You can contact us at:

The Centre for Learning and Study Support (CLaSS), ground floor, Kimberlin Library.

Telephone: 0116 257 7042
Email: class@dmu.ac.uk

Go to the Centre for Learning and Study Support (CLaSS) pages on the Library web site for more information on the provision available to you.

Acknowledgement:

This quiz was written by David Boyden, Centre for English Language Learning, DMU