The Features of Academic Writing

Academic writing is for sure another type of writing that impels students, researchers and scholars follow certain standards. In fact, it has a number of characteristics and features that make academic pieces of writing stand out from the crowd. This article will walk you through what makes academic writing different and what features should academic written blocks have.

Academic writing in English is linear, which means it has one major point with every part contributing to the main line of argument, without digressions or repetitions. Academic writing aims at informing rather than entertaining. There are several features of academic writing, but we are going to discuss the most pertinent ones.

Academic students

Academic writing is to some extent complex, formal, objective, accurate and responsible.


As you might know, written language is relatively more complex than spoken language. It is lexically denser and it has a more varied vocabulary. It uses more noun-based phrases than verb-based phrases. Written texts are grammatically complex, which means they include more subordinate clauses and more passives.


Academic writing is formal, which means that there is no room for colloquial words and expressions. Writers have to avoid abbreviations, asking questions, numbering and bullet-points in formal essays. Avoid words such as “stuff” “a lot”, “sort of” and “things”

Precision & Accuracy

Again, academic pieces of writing are both precise and accurate. In this context, facts and figures are given identically. Academic writing uses vocabulary accurately. Again, writers should avoid generalizations.


Written language is in general objective rather than personal. It thus has fewer words that refer to the writer or the reader. This means that the main emphasis should be on the information that you want to give and the arguments you want to make, rather than you. For that reason, academic writing tends to use nouns and adjectives, rather than verbs and adverbs.

Nobody really wants to know what you “think” or “believe”. They want to know what you have studied and learned and how this has led you to your various conclusions. The thoughts and beliefs should be based on your lectures, reading, discussion and research and it is important to make this clear.


You may not associate academic writing with responsibility, but in academic writing writers must be responsible for any claim they make. They must be able to provide evidence and justification for what they are discussing. You are additionally responsible for demonstrating an understanding of how to handle sources and references.

Organisation & Planning

Academic writing is well planned. It usually takes place after research and evaluation; it goes in accordance with a well-identified purpose and scheme. It is indubitably well organised. It flows easily from one section to the next in a logical fashion. A good place to start is the genre of your text. Once you have decided on the genre, the structure is easily determined.

The features discussed above are of great value for any piece of writing, but academic writing can never go without these characteristics. In fact, they help writers come up with informative, well-written block and mainly worth exploring journey. 


Biber, D. (1998). Variation across Speech and Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press