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Words that Undermine a Scholarly Tone!

Creating a scholarly tone in academic documents requires the use of formal verbs, phrases, and transitions. In fact, since transitional words and phrases are critical for maintaining a coherent, logical presentation of ideas, they permeate academic documents. Yet, some transitional phrases are too informal for academic writing. See the example below:


Sentence: ON THE ONE HAND, official reports confirm that outbreaks tend to concentrate in group living facilities, cities and regions. ON THE OTHER HAND, this official statistic does not fully consider the presence of outbreaks beyond these locations.


Edited Sentence: WHILE official reports confirm that outbreaks tend to concentrate in group living facilities, cities and regions, this official statistic does not fully consider the presence of outbreaks beyond these locations.


Explanation: In the initial sentence above, “on the one hand” and “on the other hand” are perfect examples of informal transitional phrases that detract from the academic tone of the document. Therefore, they are removed from the edited sentence, and the two sentences are combined into one sentence using one transition word. So, the first phrase (on the one hand) is replaced with the transition word “while,” and the second phrase is deleted. The new sentence structure shows the same relationship between the ideas expressed in the sentences without the use of the informal phrases (on the one hand…on the other hand).


When writing a draft, scholars should focus on a clear expression of ideas. However, when revising documents, scholars should check to ensure an academic tone is present throughout the work.


Until next week, Happy Writing!!!

Dr. V Writing Coach-Editor-Speaker Author of I'm Not a Writer...I am Just in Graduate School (order your copy at https://www.amazon.com/Not-Writer-Just-Graduate-School/dp/1533392919)

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