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Writing Style – The Differences Between Academic and Casual Writing
Everyone knows that you should write your feature articles differently than your Facebook posts, and your newspaper submissions should be written differently than newspaper columns. What exactly are the differences between casual and academic writing? Between formal and informal writing?
The biggest difference
The most important difference between casual writing and academic writing is style. That is, casual writing does not need to adhere to any published style guide. Academic writing, or any formal writing for that matter, requires that you adhere to a style guide. Some schools and teachers will go so far as to specify which style guide to use.
What is a style guide?
A style guide is a manual, or document, that specifies a set of rules and standards, followed by writers to facilitate clear communication. The guide for EzineArticles.com is a web page that shows how to write articles to be included in the EzineArticles directory, for example. Each school and corporation may have their own custom style guide.
Major style guides do exist, however.
1. The Chicago Manual of Style was one of the first style guides published in the United States. Currently (since 2010) in its 16th edition, this style guide was first published in 1906. People often refer to it as “Chicago style”, but people also refer to it as CMS or CMOS.
2. U Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is in its sixth edition (since 2010). This style guide was developed so that teachers and students could read documents more easily – and thus comprehension was increased. APA Style requires only two fonts in a paper, and the body of the paper should be written in Times New Roman 12 point. Underlining, bold and italics are allowed in some places.
3. The elements of style it was written to help people write clearly. While the book has its critics, it is one of the shortest style guides.
4. U MLA Style Manual, 3rd Edition, is the style guide of the Modern Language Association. First published in 1985, this handbook is used by many universities, colleges and students.
5. Microsoft wrote The Manual of Style for Technical Publishingand this document is used for Microsoft’s internal and external documentation.
Common style guide conventions versus informal writing
In general, it is okay to use contractions (like this) in informal writing. Academic writing requires you to write both words.
If you are writing informally to a group of people in your same field, you may use technical terms often and never explain them. If you are writing to a group of people who do not have a relationship with your industry at all, try to take the technical words in general. If you are writing academically, you should explain the term the first time you use it.
Active / Passive
This is no different between informal and academic writing. Most often, active sentences are better. Both the APA and the Chicago style guides agree with this.
The grammatical person is the point of view, or you may have heard phrases like first person, second person, third person and fourth person. The first person perspective contains many “I” or “we” statements such as “I fed the dog.” First person is the writer’s perspective. The second person is you, the person the writer is writing to. The third person is associated with pronouns such as he, she, it, and them. The third person is not me (the writer) or you (the reader). Sometimes academics use fourth person sentences like “One should always behave when one is in public”.
Informal and casual writing uses the first, second, and third person points of view as appropriate. While academics often write in the fourth person, I have yet to find a basis for that writing style in style guides. Style guides make it easier to write clearly and in the fourth person, a statement is not clear.
The grammatical person required for a sentence often depends on whether the sentence is active or passive.
Academic writing requires citations. If you have been “X is true”, you need to cite either where you found that statement. If you have created that statement, your words must clearly demonstrate this.
The length of the sentence
Casual writing tends to have short sentences. (Casual writing poorly executed sentences.) Academic and formal writing uses longer sentences. Be careful though. The goal of any piece of writing is to get a point across, and if your sentence is too long, you defeat that goal.
Colloquial expressions and clichés
While “awesome”, “da bomb”, “the bee’s knees”, “kids”, “nose to the grindstone” and “dude” permeate Facebook, these words and phrases are not used in academic writing.
All your friends may know what LOL (and in the case of the ferret community, DOL), but every time you use an abbreviation in an academic paper, you first need to write it down and connect to the abbreviation so that people he knows what you are. talk about
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