Academic language- useful phrases to use

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(Last updated on: 19/04/2022)

Academic language doesn’t need to be complicated, it just needs to make sense, flow logically and be used in the correct context (good spelling helps here too)! In this article I share with you some helpful phrases that you can use in your academic writing to help produce a well-formed paper or essay. Ready to improve your academic language? Read on…

Why improve your academic language?

You may have the right ideas, but if these are not articulated appropriately this will be difficult for you to evidence, and therefore be credited for. Academic language is something that many students find challenging and it is common for students to try too hard in this domain too- using complex language incorrectly or using complicated sentences that are difficult to comprehend. Whilst using long words is great, my advice is not to use them unless you actually understand what the word means!

Improving your academic language could be the difference between grade boundaries and it is something that you can do relatively easily. Below, I have provided a few stock phrases and sentences that you can use during the various parts of your work to help to produce work that flows well and that takes the correct form for an academic piece of work.

How to design a questionnaire

Academic language at the beginning of your work

As you develop your argument, you will need to move from point to point and from paragraph to paragraph. In order to do this, you can use linking phrases, which serve as signposts to help the reader follow your line of argument. The following phrases are useful methods of signposting and also help the reader to see who is providing the argument.

  • This report/assignment will discuss …
  • In order to answer this question, it is necessary to look at/discuss….
  • This report will focus on…
  • In order to answer this question, it is necessary to define….

Academic language in the main body of your work

There are many phrases that can help the main body of tour work flow better, here are some examples-

  • Furthermore
  • Another aspect of this argument/discussion is…
  • In the same way Jones (1998) argues that…..
  • A similar example is….
  • It could also be argued/suggested/proposed/said that…..
  • To develop this argument further…..
  • Having considered A it is important to/necessary/useful to consider B…..
  • Another aspect to consider is……
  • An alternative view is put forward for Smith (1997) who states that
  • On the other hand, Glassman (1998) argues that…
  • On the other hand, it is argued that…..
  • In contrast…
  • Alternatively…

Using phrases such as these will naturally encourage you to be critical and to look at a range of sources- which are two important aspects in academic writing!

Academic language at the end of your work

The conclusion is the last part of your work (other than the reference list or bibliography) that the person who is marking your work will read, therefore you want to use this opportunity to emphasise the value of your work and why it deserves a good grade! Here are some phrases that you may wish to use-

  • In summary…
  • As this essay has argued
  • In conclusion therefore….
  • Finally….
  • To conclude, it is suggested that……

Academic language- further reading

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