Essay Writing

5 tips to improve your academic essay writing. Part II

Fourth tip when it comes to academic writing is using of active voice.

If you are in the sciences it’s okay to use the passive voice, don’t use it too much, I’ll explain what that is in a second. But if you are studying humanities, social, science, history, psychology – these types of subjects, do not use the passive voice, use the active voice. For most university writing we use the active voice. What is the passive voice and what is the active voice? Here is an example of the passive voice:

Healthcare reforms were implemented by Obama.

Notice, first we have a form of the verb to be, and then we have the past participle of implement in this case implemented, and then oftentimes we have the word by someone, so this is an example of a passive voice sentence. What is the problem with using the  passive voice? Well it takes away the fact that Obama is the one who implemented the reforms. The sentence is sort of weak, a little bit awkward, it would be much better, if we had the action who is Obama, the person – the verb and the object:

Obama implemented healthcare reforms.

This is the active voice. If you can have the subject, then the verb, then the object instead of the passive voice, here is another example of this:

The war was won by the French.

Here we have the form of the to be verb, here’s the past participle of win. This is again a passive voice sentence, but it’s still a little bit weak. In academic essay writing we want strong sentences and a strong sentence has the actor or the person performing the action at the beginning of the sentence. Instead a better sentence would be:

The French won the war.

The final tip in this article is: when you write academically, use strong verbs.

What is the strong verb and what is a weak verb? I’m going to give you an example, I could say:

He gave assistance to my friend.

This is a very weak way of saying he gave assistance to my friend. In a stronger way I could instead just say:

He assisted my friend.

What is the difference between these two sentences? In this sentence assistance is a noun, so a better way to write this sentence anytime you have a verb and a noun, and you look at the noun and it could be its own verb, use this in a verbal form instead. He assisted – this is stronger sentence.

Let’s look at another example where we have a weak verb made an objection:

He made an objection.

Again we have a verb and then a noun objection, but objection can be its own verb. Therefore, to make it stronger, we get rid of made and we turn objection into its verbal form objected:

He objected.

This is better sentence and stronger for your academic essay writing.

There you have it five tips that will quickly improve your academic writing so if you would like to practice some of these tips, start right now!