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ACADEMIC WRITING

IN ENGLISH
Rita Pacheco
Communication Service
October 2012

TOPICS COVERED

Prepositions

Writing numbers

Choosing British or American English

Relative Clauses

Being Succinct

Making your writing more formal

Taking the you out of your work

The Active and Passive Voice

End Focus

Using Grammar to Argue a Point

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

PREPOSITIONS

TriMARES is on the
water

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

TriMARES is at the
river
TriMARES is in the
water

PREPOSITIONS
Use ON with surfaces
e.g. ON the
ceiling/table/wall

Use AT with places


e.g. AT the bus
stop/door/cinema

Use ON with directions Use AT with places on a


e.g. On the left
page
e.g. AT the top of the page
Use ON with days of
the week
Use AT with times
e.g. On Monday
e.g. At midday/3.00pm
Use IN with spaces
e.g. IN a
room/building/garden
Use IN with water
e.g. IN the
water/river/sea
Use IN with lines

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

Use In with parts of the


day
e.g. In the
afternoon/morning
Use IN with months and
years
e.g. In 2001/June

PREPOSITIONS
Using grid services on software applications
i
Using values onn a database
i
n
This programme
is available in the internet
on
The use of rule induction algorithms on real
i
n
world problems
At the proxy field tick the box
I
n
Insert
the following text at the box below
i
n

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

PREPOSITIONS
Considered
as

Considered

Composed
by

Composed of

Consists in

Consist of

Compared
with

Compared to

According
with

In accordance
with OR according to

Based in

Based on

Focus in

Focus on

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

WRITING
NUMBERS
The comma and the decimal point is different to
other European languages in British and American
English :
One hundred = 100
One thousand = 1,000
One million = 1,000,000
One hundred and two pounds and fifty pence =
102.50
NOT

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

102,50

CHOOSE
AMERICAN OR
BRITISH ENGLISH?

Vs

DO NOT MIX THEM

International Journals American English


European projects British English
INESC Porto Website British English
Spell check

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

RELATIVE
CLAUSES

We use relative clauses to give


additional

information

about

something

without starting another sentence.

By combining sentences with a

relative clause, your text becomes more


fluent and you can avoid repeating certain
words.

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

HOW TO FORM RELATIVE


CLAUSES
A girl is talking to Tom. Do you know the
girl?

Do you know the girl?


wh
o

Do you know the girl


Tom?

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

is talking to

HOW TO FORM
RELATIVE
RELATIVE PRONOUN
CLAUSES

USE

EXAMPLE

Who

subject or object pronoun


for people

Which

subject or object pronoun


for animals and things
referring to a whole
sentence
possession for people,
animals and things

I told you about the


researcher who works at
INESC TEC.
Do you see the robot
which is on the floor?
He couldnt read which
surprised me.
Do you know the professor
whose work has been
awarded?
I was invited by the
professor whom I met at
the conference.

Which
Whose
Whom

That

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

object pronoun for people,


especially in non-defining
relative clauses (in
defining relative clauses
we colloquially prefer who)
subject or object pronoun
for people, animals and
things in defining relative
clauses (who or which are
also possible)

I dont like the article that


you wrote.

HOW TO FORM
RELATIVE
CLAUSES
RELATIVE

MEANING

USE

EXAMPLE

ADVERB

When

in/on which

refers to a time
expression

the day when we


met him

Where

in/at which

refers to a place

the place where we


met him

Why

for which

refers to a reason

the reason why we


met him

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

RELATIVE
CLAUSES TWO
TYPES
Defining Relative Clauses give detailed
information

defining

general

term

or

expression. Defining relative clauses are not


put in commas and are often used in
definitions.
Example: Do you know the student who is talking
to professor

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

Tom?

RELATIVE
CLAUSES TWO
TYPES
Non-Defining

Relative

Clauses

give

additional information on something, but do


not define it. Non-defining relative clauses are
put in commas.
Example: The researcher, who/whom we met
yesterday,

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

is very good.

RELATIVE
CLAUSES
Relative clauses with who, which, that as
the subject pronoun can be replaced with a
participle:
Example:
I told you about the researcher who works at INESC
TEC.

I told you about the researcher

working at INESC TEC.

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

BE SUCCINCT
Examples:
To carry out the verification on which method

To

verify which
method
A system that can realize estimations
that can

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

A system
estimate

CONNECTING
WORDS
Connecting word

Use

However

Introduce a contrasting idea

On the other hand*

Introduce a contrasting idea

Furthermore

Introduce additional
information

In addition

Introduce additional
information

Nevertheless

Introduce a contrasting idea

Consequently/subsequently/he Introduce a
result/consequence
nce
Thus/therefore

* too informal for published works

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

Introduce a
result/consequence

LINKING
PARAGRAPHS AND
SENTENCES

Use a topic sentence to begin each

paragraph

Eliminate very short paragraphs

Repeat key words for cohesion

Repeat sentence structure for cohesion

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

Splitting
Sentences:
Techniques
The results clearly show that the tests successfully revealed the
Thethe
charge
waswould gradually
results that the team had expected, that
charge
expected to
increase as the time decreased, which is what occurred, However,
although it
this result
did not occur consistently and did not show a clear repetitive pattern.

Technique1: Repetition
Technique 2: Connecting words

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

MAKE YOUR
WRITING MORE
FORMAL
Get information

Obtain information

Do a study

Conduct a study

It seems to be

It appears to be

To show

To demonstrate

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

MAKE YOUR
WRITING MORE
FORMAL
Informal

Formal

Help
Stop
Begin
Show
Tell
Get
Need
Wrong
In charge
Point out

Assist
Cease
Commence
Demonstrate
Inform
Obtain
Require
Incorrect
Responsible
Highlight

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

PHRASES TO
AVOID
Etc

Too informal use such


as

Among
others

Too informal use such


as

i.e.

Too informal

So

Too informal

Like

Too informal
such as

Research
work

Redundant

A lot of

Vague

Manyand whereVague
Be precise
possible use dates and figures
A few
Vague
Some

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

Vague

TECNIQUES TO
REMOVE THE
AUTHOR
Why?

More credible

Less biased

More formal

Examples:
The authors used two methods to verify the results
Two methods were used to verify the results
I believe that this result will greatly contribute to the area.

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

This result will greatly contribute to the area.

TECNIQUES TO
REMOVE THE
YOU
Most people take drug overdoses because they find that it's
difficult to sort out their problems clearly. That's why you
should treat your patients in a clear way. That means you
should treat your patients in a way that helps them to tell
the difference between their problems and find ways to
deal with them.
Most overdoses are taken when individuals are finding it
difficult to resolve their life problems in a clear way. For
this reason, the approach to treatment must, above all
else, be a clear one; that is, one which helps the patients
separate out each of their problems and plan ways of
dealing with them.
Techniques
The passive voice but be careful
Focus on the research not the researcher e.g. The
results indicate

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

ACTIVE AND
PASSIVE VOICE
Although the passive voice is more common in scientific
writing, sentences in the active voice can be more concise.
Using the active voice for the majority of your sentences
makes your meaning clear for readers.
Overuse of the passive voice can cloud the meaning of
your sentences .

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

CHANGING
PASSIVE TO
ACTIVE
Examples from INESC TEC
Original:
In this paper it is proposed the introduction of sensory feedback (force and torque
sensing) in a robotic framework.
Revised:
This paper proposes the introduction of sensory feedback (force and torque
sensing) within a robotic framework.
Original:
The effectiveness of the proposed approach was proved through the experiments,
showing that force control improves significantly robot performance, making robots
more human-like, flexible and with capacity to make decisions.
Revised:
The experiments show that the proposed approach is effective. They have
demonstrated that force control can significantly improve the robots performance,
making it more human-like, flexible and giving it the ability to make decisions.

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

WHICH ONE? AND


WHEN?
Use the Passive Voice to write without using personal
pronouns or the names of particular researchers as the
subjects of sentences - the focus is on the action and not
on the agent.
BUT
Use the Active Voice when the agent is more important
than the action itself.
Use the Active Voice to make your message clearer.

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

END FOCUS
In each of your sentences place the most vital
word or part at the end of each clause /
sentence.
Compare these three sentences (the most important information
is underlined):

The result may be catastrophic, as shown by this study


As shown by this study, the result may be catastrophic
This study shows that the result may be catastrophic

The final two sentences have much more impact.

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

USING GRAMMAR
TO ARGUE A
POINT

Compare these two sentences:


1. Smith claims that language is innate; however, it is clear
that this is not the case.
2. Smith has claimed that language is innate; however, it is
clear that this is not the case.

By putting Smith in the past tense, the new


information is automatically considered more up
to date.

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

HOW ITS
DONE

Composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPV) are among


the most effective solutions for high pressure storage of
compressible liquid and gaseous fluids. Their characteristic
high stiffness-to-weight and strength-to-weight ratios make them
suitable for both static and mobile applications. However, since
operating higher pressures are continually sought to achieve higher
energy densities in storage systems, safety aspects become critical.

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

HOW ITS
DONE

The next sections will present an overview of such


developments according to specific concepts and sensing
platforms ().

The next sections review the progress in optical sensing


based on PCF ().

The COPV typically consist of an inner liner and an outer


composite overwrapped layer.

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012

BRINGING IT ALL
TOGETHER

Final Worksheet

See if you can spot any errors

ACADEMIC WRITING IN ENGLISH | SCOM 2012