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Five things to avoid in academic writing

Academic writing in a report, essay, dissertation or thesis often requires different qualities to other forms of writing. Unlike the average reader who may be reading for pleasure, academic readers read academic writing for facts and evidence. So, an academic writer must adopt a different approach to writing.

How to write good paragraphs

How to write paragraphsWe work alongside a wide range of writers with very different writing styles. Experience of working with this wide variety of writers reveals that some produce clearer texts than others. Although a lot of this clairty could be attributed to a writer's articulation and vocabulary, its often the case that clear writers are also able to organise their writing in better ways. So let's take a look at this in more detail.

Data is or data are? Is 'data' singular or plural?

How do you use the word 'data'?Problems often arise for non-native English language users when they try to apply the rules that they used to learn English to everything that they encounter later on. Languages are always evolving, often this is a uniform way that conforms with common rules, but sometimes they evolve to push everyday usage away from the rules that they were built upon.

Tips to write a good literature review

How to write a good literature reviewAll academics and students at university will have to write a literature review at some point. In a nutshell, a literature review is an attempt to create a complete account of what has been published on a topic. The literature review is usually placed near the beginning of the academic writing in a research paper, essay, research report or thesis.

Should writers take care when writing in a passive voice?

Active and passive forms of sentence structure can completely alter a reader's understanding of the same message. Active sentences tend to be more forthcoming with their meaning, whereas passive sentences aren’t as straightforward.

A study published on the Science Daily website discusses research carried out at Northumbria University. The research looked at how native speakers interpreted active and passive sentences. Dr Dabrowska’s comments on the results of the study included:

Proofreading with spell check is dead; long live text to speech?

That's right, I've just declared the death of spell check! My last post about the Cupertino Effect should be enough to convince you that relying heavily on spell check is like telling the world you have lost all self respect. If you have read that post and still don't know what I'm talking about then maybe it's time to call it a day.

The cupertino effect; spell check failure & "The The Impotence of Proofreading"

Whatis.com has published a page dedicated to the Cupertino Effect. This page includes errors which actually made it to press including this beauty:

"Quaker Maid Meats Inc. on Tuesday said it would voluntarily recall 94,400 pounds of frozen ground beef panties that may be contaminated with E. coli. (Reuters)."

How to add Harvard Referencing to Microsoft Word!

Easy Harvard Referencing in Microsoft Word!Academic referencing can be nothing short of a nightmare because there are so many different styles of referencing out there. Last year I went back to university for the first time in seven years and found that the simple mention of Harvard Referencing conjured up an old, yet familiar nauseous feeling in my stomach (which I hadn’t experienced in precisely seven years).

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