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Academic Writing
Impersonal Language

WHY avoid personal language in academic writing?

Personal language is usually avoided in academic writing because it is subjective and therefore may decrease the authority of the argument; for example:

bullet the use of personal pronouns "I, we, our" makes the reader aware of the writer's presence in the text.

bullet The use of judgmental words, "I believe", "I disagree", exacerbates the issue of the writer's presence in the text because the reader becomes aware of the writer's personal feelings about the argument.

bullet The use of emotive words, "repulsive", "undignified", creates text that is persuasive, increasing the subjective and personal nature of the text.

Academic writing is all about expressing opinion, yet this opinion needs to be presented as an objective, educated position based on sound evidence. Your text should provide and reference this supporting evidence.

This unit will show you how to present your opinion in impersonal language thus achieving the objective tone of academic writing.

Further information on expressing attitude and opinion in academic writing is available in this module.


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