The writing of academic papers requires authors to comply with a number of conditions, one of which is strict adherence to an appropriate style. Research and scholarly articles differ from journalistic and artistic ones. They do not inherently include excessive creativity or the ornateness of lexical structures. On the contrary, the accuracy of facts and the clear sequence of specific data presentation characterize academic papers as high-quality, professional works. The non-observance of such stylistic principles questions the author’s capability in matters relating to the correctness of the compilation of scientific essays, literature reviews, critical reports, and other similar documents. Therefore, it is essential to study the guidelines and recommendations specifying the mistakes authors should avoid.
There are several stylistic mistakes that are often found in academic works, including issues of wordiness, redundancy, and unclear sentence constructions. These nuances, as a rule, do not completely distort the general meaning of the text but do provide evidence of an incorrect approach to the material presentation. As accuracy is one of the key criteria of a well-written academic paper, making the aforementioned errors is highly undesirable. For each category, it is possible to provide more detailed recommendations on how to avoid them.
How to Eliminate Wordiness
Problems of wordiness are a frequent phenomenon in the works of inexperienced authors who seek to emphasize their ideas at the expense of overly verbose lexical structures. The following mistakes can arise:
- Use of intensifiers
The application of intensifiers such as significantly, literally, actually, and other similar structures is a common technique in literary works. However, in academic writing accents that are placed through these lexical units are often unnecessary and undesirable. The ability to validate information through facts and figures is more valuable than using intensifiers.
- Nominalization and phrase complexity
Although academic texts are semantically complex, there is no need to overload them with complicated constructions that can be avoided. For instance, the phrase “to have an ability to do something” may be replaced easily by the modal verb “can.” The same applies to similar phrases that can be converted into one word (“to draw conclusions” – “to conclude,” “to take into consideration” – “to consider”).
Academic works are scholarly texts, and the use of the first-person and other elements of an artistic style are not welcome. Introductory constructions and clichés, which are permissible in everyday speech, are undesirable in research papers and essays. Examples of such phrases include: “as far as I am concerned” and “I am tempted to think that”.
How to Eliminate Redundancy
When offering recommendations to eliminate redundancy in an academic text, it is essential to consider the following:
- Implied meaning
Mixing semantically similar structures within a single phrase is a stylistic mistake. An example of such a construction is “to plan in advance”. “To plan” means drawing up a specific algorithm for future activities, which already suggests a sense that is identical to “in advance.” Therefore, the use of both elements next to each other is not required.
- Incomplete thoughts
Emphasizing a particular thought may be accompanied by a strong hypothesis or theory. Nevertheless, if there is no rationale for a specific proposal, such an assertion has no scientific value and cannot be considered a rationale for any intervention. For instance, the phrase “the task is significantly difficult” implies that the explanation of such a judgment is necessary so that a reader can have an idea of the reasons for the complexity. Otherwise, such incomplete hypotheses remain the authors’ personal and ambiguous ideas.
- Synonyms redundancy
In an effort to strengthen a certain statement, inexperienced authors often make stylistic mistakes associated with the redundancy of synonyms. Phrases become tautological, which is unacceptable in quality scholarly texts. An example of such a lexical structure is “various differences”; since both words have the same meaning, the construction is incorrect.
How to Eliminate Ambiguous Sentence Constructions
The problems associated with ambiguous sentence constructions can include:
- Excessive use of the passive voice
As a rule, the application of a passive voice is not prohibited. However, if a certain lexical construction becomes too passive due to this grammatical structure, it is better to avoid it. Moreover, an active voice makes it possible to convey a specific idea clearly, which is desirable in academic writing.
- The illogical separation of sentences
Although long sentences are usually harder to understand, information in individual phrases that тare too short can also sound awkward. In case there is an opportunity to combine two adjacent phrases into one, without violating the semantics of a specific text, this principle will help to avoid using unnecessary words and ensure clarity of ideas.
Recommendations regarding stylistic mistakes while writing academic works can aid authors in a number of areas. Wordiness, redundancy, and unclear sentence constructions are frequent issues. Inexperienced authors need to pay attention to the fact that their texts should not contain such errors. Quality scholarly works are distinguished by the observance of all the aforementioned norms of writing, a minimum occurrence of errors, and the clear presentation of ideas.