Words to avoid in academic writing style


The rules of grammar and usage have developed over centuries of use. Many so-called "rules" in English are borrowed from Latin and are not really appropriate for English. However, people do tend to write in certain ways when writing certain types of documents. Awareness of these tendencies will make you sound more like you belong as a member of a particular community. Teenages use words to distinguish themselves from other groups. Many other groups do the same thing including academics.

Here are a list of words that I DO NOT recomend using in academic research writing. They are not wrong in the grammatical sense but just don't sound right.


Words that are too casual


lots of  (use many or much depending on whether the noun in uncountable)

kind of  (use type of)

at once -> simultaneously 



Use single word verbs of a latin origin rather than phrasal verbs if possible.

Find out--> determine

Words that have a different use

"According to" is used for government documents and general sources of information. It is also very common in journalism. However, it should not be used to often when reporting references unless you are continuing discussion of an opinion you have already introduced. To see how it is used:


Danger words

When I review student papers, I am on alert when I see these words as far too often they signal that the student lacks clarity in what they are writing about. Use another word before them at least to narrow the meaning. Again this is just a guideline.