Students come from diverse backgrounds and regardless of the main language they have studied, English for academic purposes, in a university-level assignment, is different. English requires a specific style and capacity of language that many new academics may find tricky at first. However, English for academic purposes can be studied by natives as well as students who are pursuing higher education like bachelor’s or master’s degrees. This program gives a clear picture to students about language appropriacy, understanding nuances, and the dos and don’ts of academic English.
If you are planning to improve your English for advanced-level studies or wish to learn the skills required to excel in academic English, then read this article as we discuss how you can both learn as well as improve English for Academic purposes.
How can you learn and improve your English for academic purposes?
- Using formal language. English used for academic purposes is more formal which means that it avoids colloquial words or slang, idioms, and contractions. Often, students are expected to follow certain formatting rules. Formatting can imply the way texts look in books- the font, the margins, spacing, footnotes, punctuation, use of italics, referencing, and other formalities that are more specific in the case of writing.
- Avoid the personal. In academic sentences, you should avoid using words that imply being personal about something. Avoid words like “I think” or “I believe”. Instead of these words use logic, reasoning, and data (textual evidence) to showcase your writing skills and how you reflect objectively.
- More structured. Academic writing and speech need to be more organized and structured. Students are expected to frame sentences and connect the paragraphs in a careful manner. Papers and presentations need to be accurately cited too. These papers usually move in a linear fashion, following a straight line from point A to B, and connecting all the other dots. There must be an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
- Less opinionated. Academic English writing aims to be more objective and less personal, presenting more facts and arguments and balancing various perspectives. Avoid writing assertive sentences like “A is certainly true”, instead suggest that A may be true because of so and so. Opinions can be structured by arguments and can be openly revised.
- Reading with a purpose– Read your texts with a purpose. You can rush through regular chapters and slow down and patiently study crucial passages. This is particularly helpful for writing and finishing your assignments.
- Ask questions, as a reader, about the text before and after finishing reading it.
- Distinguish the main points from the supporting points.
- Distinguishing the facts from opinions.
- Analyzing and thinking critically about the ideas while you read. Pay attention to reasoning and evidence to structure your arguments.
- Evaluating sources. Always evaluate the citations used by authors, if they are reliable and strong enough.
- When you come across unfamiliar vocabulary, take the help of a dictionary and make notes.
It is alright if your way of studying is different from your peers. If you are learning and improving, you are going the right way.