What Language You Should Avoid in Essays


It seems that academic writing has more bans than actual rules how you should do everything. Of course, there are numerous recommendations, accessible even online, but our essay writing service, for example, finds it easier to enumerate what you should not write in your papers rather than what you should. That is why we offer this comprehensive instruction on the language you had better avoid when working on an academic assignment. And remember that even if you fail, we are always there for you.



Contractions are very convenient in oral speech and friendly chats, but they are absolutely out of place when it comes to your essays. It is not the case when merging two words into one will help you do the job quicker, as it is with typing messages to your friends. Academic writing must be free of contractions of any kind, except for the cases when you quote somebody else’s words. Your own thoughts must be presented in a formal manner, which is the first thing you should note for yourself about essay writing.

Taboo words for academic writing

Another taboo is inappropriate words – the ones with strong informal connotation. Colloquial expressions, once again, should be left for your friends and relatives, so spare your professor from reading them in your papers. Besides, you will rarely find an informal word or phrase that does not have a formal equivalent. Examine this list to understand in what way you could replace your colloquialisms:

  • recently instead of in recent years;

  • easily instead of hands down;

  • to reach an acceptable compromise instead of to reach a happy medium;

  • everywhere instead of far and near;

  • definitely instead of without a slightest doubt;

  • to some degree instead of sort of.

Well, you got it.

Rhetorical questions

Rhetorical questions help you get and then retain readers’ attention, highlight a certain thought or idea that you believe to be important. They present a powerful tool in oratory, but there is one “but”. These things are true for oral speech and journalism, where to touch the reader means to win. Rhetorical questions are just another in a series of bans when we are talking about essay writing. They simply do not fit in the pattern of academic English, and there is nothing more to it.

Word order

Academic writing requires the direct word order, and you should pay special attention to the place of adverbs. Whereas in a work of fiction you can write with impunity something like, The process slowly went on, in an essay you should stick with the next variant: The process went on slowly. In other words, put your adverbs after verbs, and everything will be OK.

Of course, you should stay away from other unnecessary changes in your word order. In nursery rhymes and fairy-tales you can come across phrases like:

  • up they went,

  • down they would go,

and similar ones. There is no need for such structures in papers. Basically, you should follow the classical rules of English grammar if you want to get a good grade for your writing task. Subscribe to the newsletter from Smart Essay Rewriter to get tips that improve grammar competence right in your mailbox!

Lengthy sentences

You should learn how to express yourself clearly and concisely. Each your sentence must hit the point, without vague descriptions and idle speculation. That is why it is important to reduce to a minimum the number of parentheses. Leave only the ones that form the structure of your essay:

  • words to introduce arguments, like first, secondly, thirdly, then;

  • words that show logical connections between ideas: therefore, however, nevertheless;

  • expressions that indicate introductory and concluding parts.

What you should not include in your essay is words that express your doubts: maybe, probably, likely and so on. Nobody wants to read about your speculations, so try to back your thoughts by actual facts instead; it is highly appreciated in academia.

If you find your sentences big and difficult to comprehend in the process of editing, try splitting them into several smaller ones. It should help in making your text readable. Avoid excessively bureaucratic wording: if you can convey the same idea using a smaller number of words, then do it. These examples illustrate what we mean:

  • diet instead of nutritional management;

  • to instead of in order to;

  • explains instead of helps to understand.

Brevity is the soul of wit, so do not scatter your words around.

The passive voice

They tell you that academic style must be impersonal and dry, and you would naturally assume that the hint is using the passive voice, but you would be wrong. Although the passive voice really is impersonal, the tendency in modern academic writing is to avoid it. When making up passive structures, you automatically produce a text that is cumbersome to the reader. Moreover, it may show lack of knowledge – when the doer is unknown, many questions arise, which doubt the author’s credibility. Let’s have a look at these examples:

  • Numerous mistakes were made.

  • It was established that…

  • It is shown in the picture that…

The first two sentences cry for the doer. When we do not know who made the mistakes or who established something, we start having thoughts that the author tries to conceal information. In the third case, you can easily transform the sentence into the active voice without losing meaning, and even gaining readability. Therefore, you had better say:

  • The picture shows that…

Develop a habit of employing the passive voice only in situations when you cannot convey the idea in a different way.

All kinds of mistakes

In one of our previous posts that deals with ignorance of grammar we pointed out that your mistakes can make you look stupid. And this you do not want, considering your academic ambitions. Just so that you know, even if your professor says nothing about grammar when providing you with recommendations on essay writing, they always imply it as something that goes without saying. Degree seekers are supposed to have a good command of the language, which in turns means being able to write texts free of mistakes.

Keeping in mind everything we just said, it is only reasonable to double-check each piece of your academic writing. You can either do it on your own or apply for professional help at our company. We have vast experience of enhancing college essays and papers, that is why we know how to leave our clients satisfied. With Smart Essay Rewriter and our professional services, you will get rid of every single mistake in your texts.