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The ASI Library

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Practical Academic Tips Issue No. 3

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Writing Academically

All of us write in one way or another. We write e-mails, reminders to ourselves, daily journals or diaries (among the digital savvies, it’s now called blogs). We write essays, reports, office memos, and others. Even when we send a brief SMS or text, we write. So what makes ‘writing academically’ different from writing an e-mail or a report? Well, the first difference is, academic writing is formal. When we write e-mails or texts, we tend to be informal and casual. We shorten words, change spellings, abbreviate, and even create new words that become part of the everyday texting or digital writing lexicon. For example, ‘later’ becomes ‘l8r’; ‘laugh out loud’ abbreviates to ‘LOL’; ‘by the way’ changes to ‘BTW’; ‘you’ becomes ‘u’. Notice that there’s a certain ‘playfulness’ in the way I wrote the phrase ‘you becomes u’. That playfulness is called tone or register. What about reports? They’re usually more formal than e-mails, but, do you write an office report using an academic style? I bet not.

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