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Writing Guide: Academic language

This guide covers: understanding the essay question; searching databases and organising research; the writing process: critical thinking and note-taking; referencing and citing in text, and using academic language.

Important Things - Language

Academic Writing Style

Using Academic Language

As you read through your weekly readings and research for assignments... be on the look out for words, phrases and language that  builds coherence and unity to the work.

Glue words and hedging expressions

Activity: Can you identify transition signals (glue words) and hedging expressions in the paragraph below?

Tip: mouse over the text to see the answers.

Topic: Alcohol does more damage than any other recreational drug.

Despite its legal availability, the detrimental effect that the culturally embedded consumption of alcohol has on Australian society and the national health system make it more dangerous than its illicit counterparts"Despite" is an academic word used to introduce contrasting or opposite ideas. Other works used to introduce opposite ideas include although, in spite of, alternatively, on the other hand…. Due to its legal availability, the consumption of alcohol is a widely condoned, almost mandatory activity. Consequently, a culture of social binge-drinking has developed in Australia (often from the early teenage years) resulting in high levels of alcohol abuse and dependence"Consequently" is an academic word used to introduce a result or implication. Moreover, these high levels of abuse and dependence create equally high levels of alcohol-related violence and domestic violence: things that tear the very fabric of society"Moreover" is an academic word used to introduce an additional idea or piece of evidence to support the thesis statement. Additionally, the injuries that occur as a result of alcohol- related violence, combined with the high level of drink-driving accidents resulting in injury and death, place an enormous strain on the national health system"Additionally" is used to introduce more evidence to support the thesis. Furthermore, young teenagers often need their stomachs pumped following over-consumption of alcohol, and the continued abuse of alcohol results in cirrhosis of the liver and liver failure: conditions that place further strain on the health systemThe word "furthermore" is an another example of an academic word to introduce an additional idea. Unlike illicit drugs, whose availability is often limited (and whose consumption is covert), alcohol is widely and available and consumed, and therefore, abused. However, it can be argued that the danger lies not in alcohol itself, but in the culture that has grown up around itThe word "however" is a more formal academic word equivalent to ‘but’. It allows the writer to communicate additional complexities around the topic.

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