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Academic Writing Style & Grammar Sophia Butt 16 February 2015.

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1 Academic Writing Style & Grammar Sophia Butt 16 February 2015

2 Learning Objectives The thesis-writing workshops this week are designed to help you to: Outline the key features of academic writing Identify the differences between formal spoken and formal written English Paraphrase, summarise & reference effectively Use punctuation correctly Understand the differences between formal and informal register, avoiding the latter in writing specifically… Sophia Butt 2015

3 Learning Objectives (cont’d) Today’s lesson should help you to gain a better understanding of how to… Replace phrasal verbs with formal alternatives Appreciate the importance of collocation Avoid colloquialisms in written English Differentiate between formal spoken and written register Avoid idiomatic expressions in formal writing Sophia Butt 2015

4 Warm-up Exercise Work with a partner to list 10 key characteristics of academic writing. You have 3 minutes. Sophia Butt 2015

5 Common Features of Academic Writing Writing for the reader/audience Fulfilling the purpose Recognition of genre-specific features Clear structure & organisation Use of the passive voice Nominalisation (prevalence of noun phrases) Relevance; exemplification; citations Cohesion & coherence Use of a variety of grammatical structures Absence of colloquialisms/slang/idioms Sophia Butt 2015

6 Phrasal Verbs Phrasal verbs are idiomatic expressions comprising of a verb and particle (preposition or adverb) Meanings vary, even with the same verb, e.g.: ▫ put up – to accommodate ▫ put up with – to tolerate ▫ put down – to criticise They are very common in spoken English Avoid phrasal verbs in academic writing Sophia Butt 2015

7 Exercise 1: Phrasal Verbs [i] Researchers looked at the way strain builds up around a fault. [ii] Researchers observed the way strain accumulates around a fault. Replace the phrasal verbs given in the 10 sentences of exercise 1 on your handout with a more formal single verb equivalent. Ensure that you retain the semantic value of each sentence; e.g.: the following is unsuitable: ▫Incentive schemes are often set up [favoured] in companies to improve employee morale. Sophia Butt 2015

8 Collocation Words which commonly co-occur to form meaning by association are called collocates The more general the word, the broader its collocational range (= weak collocates) The greater the specificity, the more limited the collocations (= strong collocates) Words used in different senses have a larger number of associations, and therefore a broader range of collocates (i.e.: for each sense) Sophia Butt 2015

9 Blankety-Blank... kith and kin = strong-cotton shirt = weak curly hair = weak -digital camera = strong Collocates are not always synonymous, e.g.: fast food...not quick food... a quick shower...not a fast shower... Look at the words below and think of a collocate... salt and......cream vcream… marketing…v…marketing business…v…business Sophia Butt 2015

10 Exercise 2: Collocations Read the sentences in exercise 2. Replace the italicised part of each sentence with a formal single verb equivalent that does not alter the meaning of the sentence. Before choosing the verb, identify the word with which the replacement should collocate... Sophia Butt 2015

11 Exercise 3: Colloquialisms Colloquial English reflects spoken expressions: it tends to be idiomatic, conversational and may contain slang e.g.: [i] No wonder that national culture, cultural dimensions, and cultural differences have been the subject of multiple studies since the 1960s. [ii] It is unsurprising, therefore, that national culture, cultural dimensions, and cultural differences have been the subject of multiple studies since the 1960s. Find a suitable alternative for the colloquial expressions italicised in exercise 3 Sophia Butt 2015

12 Exercises 4 & 5: In/Formal Style Informal writing has certain common features (e.g.: contractions, direct questions, brackets...) Recognising the features of formal and informal styles of English is imperative for a good writer Discuss the items listed in exercise 4 with a partner. How can the informalities be avoided? You have 6 minutes. Now, rewrite the sentences given in exercise 5. Sophia Butt 2015

13 Idiomatic English Idioms are commonly used by speakers and/or writers for one of the following effects: To communicate more colourfully To engage in word play To put someone at ease (including in a formal spoken setting) To be amusing or witty To be different Idioms are unsuitable for use in formal written English – for all the above reasons… Sophia Butt 2015

14 Exercise 6: Idiomatic English Read through the examples in exercise 6, and replace the idiomatic phrases with formal equivalents which retain the meaning of each sentence. Exercise 7 contains a text with some informal language. Identify these expressions, and change them to formal language. Sophia Butt 2015

15 Questions...? Sophia Butt 2015


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