It is very important to keep “fit” if you are a freelance academic writer because the command of English doesn’t appear out of thin air. You need to constantly work on your skills especially if it’s not your native language. That’s why we’ve decided to hold a 10 Day Academic Writing Marathon on our FB page and posted some linguistic tips every day during the last September week and a half. And now we’ve gathered all this information in one blog post to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Read and enjoy!
Sometimes it is hard to determine where we have to use comma and where it is unnecessary. There are some simple rules that you should remember to know for sure where comma is needed.
We use commas:
We don't use commas:
These simple rules will help you to learn when and where comma is used as well as to do less punctuation mistakes.
While reading and writing sentences we can face essential and nonessential information. Essential information is called restrictive and nonessential is called non-restrictive.
Non-restrictive clauses can be omitted, but the main idea will be the same. Such clauses are separated from the rest of the sentence with the help of commas.
On the opposite, restrictive clauses are used to give us necessary information that is needed to understand a writer or a speaker. Restrictive clauses aren’t separated with any punctuation marks. If we take them away from the sentence we won’t understand what the writer is talking about.
There are 16 tenses in the English grammar. But not all of them are suitable for academic writing. Let’s have a look at the most common tenses that can be used while writing a paper.
1. Present Simple. Writers mostly mention in academic papers the facts, truths and generalizations, which are not affected by the particular passage of time.
2. Past Simple. Mostly, it can be seen in methods, conclusions and results, as we devote these parts of our paper to the experiments and procedures that happened in the past.
3. Future Simple. We use this tense to make some predictions for the future, but rather to use strict “will”, we use other modal verbs such as “may”, “would”, “could”, etc. to give a sense of caution to the paper.
4. Present Perfect. Mostly such a tense is used in literature reviews to show the relevance of conducted examination for the current paper.
5. Past Perfect is rarely used. The only relevant usage of this tense is in history and literature, when we need to make distinctions between different past events.
6. All the other tenses are rarely used, only when there is a specific need to emphasize the peculiarity of time.
When we talk about grammar tenses in English, verbs are an integral part here. Some of them are stative, and they complicate a bit the situation when you write academic papers. So, let’s figure out, what kind of verbs they are.
Stative verbs are verbs that express the state rather than an action. They are related to thoughts, emotions, relationships and states. These verbs are not usually used in progressive tenses, they have no “ing” endings. Let’s have a look at some categories of stative verbs and their examples:
Every intelligent person should be aware of these verbs in order not to make silly mistakes while writing. Remember, your reputation depends on your work performance! It is not a hard work to enlarge your knowledge.
There are some types of modal verbs in English, but not all of them are used in academic writing. Modal verbs can show strictness or caution. If we talk about academic papers, only verbs that show caution are used. Modal verbs are often used to make the writer's claims more or less tentative.
We use modal verbs in academic papers that express:
We don't use modal verbs in academic papers that express:
Respectable writers give slight predictions for what can happen, without being sure that it will happen. Strictness of the writing looks like the writer wants to impose his/her opinion on the reader or on the listener. Most people do not like when someone makes them thinking the way they do not. Watch it!
Sometimes we come across the sentences where there are two verbs, the first one is used in a particular tense and the second one is used in an infinitive form or as a gerund. Some words can be followed by both infinitives and gerunds. Let’s look at the most common words that are followed by gerunds or infinitives.
Words followed by infinitives: agree, aim, appear, ask, attempt, be able, begin, care, choose, continue, decide, expect, fail, forget, get, happen, intend, mean, offer, ought, plan, refuse, try, wait, wish, etc.
Words followed by gerunds: admit, avoid, can’t help, consider, deny, prefer, dislike, enjoy, finish, imagine, mind, miss, practice, quit, risk, spend time, suggest, waste time, hate, resume, postpone, appreciate, delay, escape, excuse, forbid, etc.
Of course, this is not a full list of the verbs. For more words, it is better to consult an up-to-date dictionary or a grammar book.
Never stop studying! Use all the possibilities to know more!
We can say sentences in three ways: affirmative, negative and interrogative. A negative sentence is opposite to an affirmative one, and here is one rule that everyone should follow: only one negation can be used in the sentence/clause. Two negations are used to express a positive idea rather than a negative one, as in mathematics. If you want to be grammatically safe rather than sorry, stick to this rule and you will not go wrong. There are different ways how to make sentences negative, but you should choose the only one of them:
Do not make your paper embroiled. It is not difficult to learn these 3 simple tips.
The number usage is a common thing in an academic paper, but it depends on what discipline the paper focuses on. Let’s look at some common rules how to use numbers in academic papers.
1. How to write different kinds of numbers?
Write word numbers for:
Write digital numbers for:
2. How to write digital numbers correctly?
2. How to write numbers correctly with the help of words?
Compound nouns are created by modifying the main noun with a word that works together with the noun to give it a different meaning. Compound nouns can be formed in such ways:
As we can see compound nouns can be one word, two words or two words connected with a hyphen. If you are not sure how to write a compound noun, you should consult an up-to-date dictionary in order not to make mistakes.
When we want to make a plural form of a compound noun, we usually add “s” or “-es” to the main word, but it is not always so. If it is impossible to name the main word, the ending is added to the end of the whole compound noun.
Do not neglect working with the dictionary. Do not expose your character to attack.
According to different subjects and kinds of paper, usage of personal pronouns can vary. Some kinds of academic papers require using “first person”, some can have restrictions, but it isn’t prohibited. But there are also some papers where such usage is forbidden. Nowadays, the personal pronoun usage is acceptable, but in any case you should consult with your instructor about it. Let’s have a look at different subjects and mull over the usage of “first person”:
Thus, we can see that in some cases personal experience is needed and in some it is not! If you have any doubts, consult with your instructor in order not to do the same task twice.
We hope that this information will serve you as a great guide and prevent you from making mistakes in the papers as you know the importance of quality in writing. Good luck to you this season!
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