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Academic Phrases to Use in Your Essays

What is academic writing?

Okay so, academic writing - oof, this ones a biggie. No matter what you end up doing as an adult or which school you attend, chances are you have probably taken some academic writing course or, at the very least, have had to learn academic writing skills. If you want to improve your essays, let’s take a look at what academic writing is. essay_types  

Definition Examples Other Names
Academic Writing A formal writing style Critical essay, persuasive essay, descriptive essay, etc. Essay, research paper, report, dissertation, etc.

  In modern terms, the academic writing style is better known as an essay. While you may think that the essay dates back to the early stages of human writing, the essay is actually a relatively modern writing technique. The work below is widely considered to be the first essay.  

Notable Work Author Date Description
Essais Michel de Montaigne 1580 The French word ‘essais’ means attempts - or tries.

  When Montaigne wrote this new style, it was starkly different from the rigidly structured essay we think of today. Montaigne wrote freely about topics, often citing ancient Greek and Latin texts for support.   So, what exactly is academic writing today? While there are many different types of essays today, there are 4 main categories you are likely to encounter today. essay_categories  

Essay Type Description
Argumentative States a thesis and builds up evidence for this thesis. This is the most common essay type you’ll encounter and the one most often written.
Critical Evaluates a text by analysing it, rather than trying to make an argument, it tries to understand the meaning of the text (be it a movie, book, etc.)
Expository Gives an explanation of a specific topic without trying to prove a point, but rather to give an objective view of the matter.
Persuasive Presents a point to the reader and tries to persuade the reader towards believing that point.


How can I make my essay sound better?

If you’re interested in academic writing help, look no further. In this section, we’ll go through the most basic building block of essay writing: words. In order to make your essay sound better, you’ll need to employ some common academic phrases for essay writing. categories_tones  

Technique Description
Formal tone Usually, casual language you use in everyday conversation is emitted from essays. (Although this is up to the discretion of the writer and their subject)
Specific language A diverse and precise vocabulary can be used to better convey your points.
Sources Sources should be cited following commonly used citation frameworks.
Point of view Usually, essays are written from the third person. However, this also depends on the subject and author.

  If you make sure to at least have the basics listed above, your essay will already sound a lot better. So, what are some common academic writing phrases or words?  

Purpose Examples
Explaining points In order to, in other words, central to the text is, etc.
Supporting an argument Moreover, furthermore, another key aspect, coupled with this fact, etc.
Contrasting On the other hand, examining this in another light, considering this from another angle, etc.


What are introductory phrases examples?

If you’re wondering: how many words should an introduction be, what words should I use in an introduction - here are some academic writing tips dealing with introductions. There are two types of introductions you’ll need in academic writing, explained in the table below. introductions_literature  

Type Description
Introduction of Essay When you’re starting an essay, no matter what type of essay you’re writing, you should always have an introduction.
Introduction of Ideas In academic writing, you will be writing about various different ideas, resources, themes and more. You will need to introduce these elements to your audience.

  If you’re wondering what introductory phrases you should use, you should think about what type of introduction you’re doing. Let’s take a look at some examples of either of the two types of introducing.  

Introduction Type Example
Argumentative essay Intro to an essay Policies aimed at reducing the harm that smoking causes should also, therefore, focus on reducing the second-hand smoke breathed in by non-smokers.
Citing a movie Intro of an idea Directed by Craig Gillespie, the film I, Tonya recounts the events surrounding the 1994 attack on Nancy Kerrigan.
An idea Intro of an idea In visual art, the fourth wall is the idea that there is a fictitious wall separating the story from real life.


What are some good linking words?

If you’re in need of some academic writing examples dealing with linking words, you’re in the right place! Linking words are vital in academic writing, however what exactly are they? Let’s define linking words. linking_words   Linking words are words that connect two ideas together. It’s as simple as that! However, there are different linking words that you can use depending on what kind of ideas you’re trying to link together. There are four main categories where linking words can be used. Let’s take a look at these.  

Category Description Example
Support When you want to support an idea using another one. Additionally, the driver did not express sadness.
Contrast When you want to contrast two ideas. In contrast, we do see sadness from the passenger.
Emphasis When you want to emphasize an idea with another idea. Clearly, the passenger is more affected by the exchange.
Sequence When you want to order a sequence of ideas. Subsequently, the audience knows these effects will last a lifetime.

  Here are some more examples of linking words you can use with these categories: linking_word_examples  

What words are not used in academic writing?

There are many different words you should avoid when writing academic papers. When it comes to phrases and words to avoid, you will get many differing opinions from teachers and academic writing services alike. However, here are some general words and phrases to avoid.

  • Contractions
  • Cliches
  • Place-holders
  • Passive verbs

  Take a look at the following image for an example of each of the above. avoid_in_essays

Instead of saying 'this piece of text makes the reader want to read on, you could alternatively say: 'this piece of text....'intrigues the reader captures the reader's imaginationcommands the reader's attentionencourages further readingsustains the reader's attention and interestenhances the readabilitydemands the reader's attention
03 October 2014
also :  ...entices the reader's curiosity ... entices the reader to continue ...
Sarah R.
03 October 2014
I would say "the reader experiences a profound and exciting need to continue further into the text". Is this formal enough? Jen
07 October 2014
Thanks! These all helped 
11 October 2014
What about 'draws the reader in' ...'engages the reader'?
14 October 2014
Engages the read
26 October 2014
There are a few different ways to communicate this in a more formal manner, for example 'entices the reader to continue' or 'grasps every aspect of the readers attention'.
Antonia M.
27 October 2014
I would suggest the following:The reader is enticed to continue reading...The reader's attention is drawn to carry on to the next section because...The text is designed to coax the reader to read further due to...The narrative arc of the text moves the reader from this section to the next by...
31 October 2014
You can simply describe the text as 'compelling' or 'engaging,' which would convey the same message. Other ways of expressing this phrase include:commands the reader's attention engages the reader bolster's the reader's attentionseduces the reader's imaginationcaptivates the reader's attention/imaginationimmerses the reader into the textforges a strong readerly interestabsorbs the reader deep into its textual webs draws the reader in 
Augustine C.
03 November 2014
Entices the reader to continue, engages the sense, provokes curiosity, 
15 November 2014
Hi Honeybadger. I would advise you against using the phrase at all, even other versions of it. The reason for this is that it comes across as though you have nothing to say about the text and that you are using this to fill space.  Instead, you need to be discussing the connotations of individual words and phrases, considering why the author/poet selected them.  This is a more advanced way of considering a text.If you have to use it, I would say: "The author included the phrase '...', as it engages the reader and makes the theme of '...' explicit."  You then need to go into detail about the quotation; by making vague comments, you are likely to get a D/E grade.I hope this helps. Let me know if you have more specific questions about a text.
16 November 2014
I would agree with Katherine H. Talk about specific parts in the text. Lead in with "the author invests the reader by/using/discussing/demonstrating". Its always best to avoid ambiguity wherever possible and focus on content. 
19 December 2014
Hello Honeybadger, I know this post is from a while back now, but I really wanted to add my thoughts on your question. I'm sorry to say that this phrase really drives English teachers and examiners to distraction! Remember that a writer has never, in the whole history of writing, written something that they hope "the reader" will give up half-way through. If you do want to give up reading it, it is either terrible writing (unlikely if you are studying it for A Level), or you are reading something that you are not particularly interested in (okay-this could happen!). This means that this comment can (and is, unfortunately. Sigh.) written about every single text that you will ever see in school, college and university. Why would anybody want to study a subject for which every question could be answered with the same answer? That would be tedious beyond belief, surely? The fact is, the authors we are reading are particularly adept at the skills of drawing us deeper into their writing in endlessly varied ways. You need to explore and explain all of this in specific detail.   It is worth remembering that no writer of English Literature did or does so with GCSE or A Level students in mind. I guarantee that Jane Austen never sat down to write thinking "I'd better stick a metaphor in here. That'll make the reader want to read on." It is about much, much more than that and will be as individual as if you had direct access to the author's mind. Which you do. Luckily, you are a human being, so you know what it is like to have a human mind. Think about how complicated it is in your own mind and then try to imagine your author as all that and then add in all their talents, skills and experiences as well.  As you develop in your study of English, you will learn to explain and evaluate an author's skills and the nuances of the resulting work. English Language and literature is beautiful, endlessly rewarding and can also be fiendishly tricky to understand as I'm sure you are discovering. It is very much worth it, not just for the qualifications and so on that you will gain, but the access to the incredibly rich source of human achievement that you are tapping into and which you are part of. Have a lovely 2015! 
Melinda B.
31 December 2014
Hello! I see your problem, I had the same thing doing A level English! Try to use phrases such as "this entices the reader due to..." And "helping to maintain the reader's interest" or just " the story remains engaging". As long as you vary your phrasing you will be fine! :) 
28 May 2015
Hi,I would scrap the phrase entirely and concentrate on the ideas the writer is conveying, especially at A-level. Ask yourself:-If this is a particularly tense moment, why is it so? What is happening at this point in the story and why is it significant? As others have said, all writers want readers to 'read on' and find their work interesting. The question is, why? What ideas and messages might the text contain?Hope this provides food for thought!
28 June 2015
Engages the readerGains/holds their attention
Amy C.
05 July 2015
It captivates or intrigues the reader this way you are implying that it "makes the reader want to read on" without actually directly saying it.Hope this helps.Jess
Jessica P.
10 December 2015
Add an answer

Similar questions

What can I write instead of "this makes the reader..."?

How to avoid always writing " this makes the reader" all the time

This is a phrase that all too often slips out without much thought and it is one that teachers are sick of seeing in essays. The reason for that is writing "this makes the reader..." makes it look like you haven't put much thought into your writing and shows a lack of analysis of the text. Here are some better phrases to use instead of "makes the reader":

  • This invokes feelings of X in the reader.
  • This brings about the emotion of…. in the reader.
  • This further elucidates (disconsolate, sad, melancholic) emotions to the reader
  • This connotes a sense of (melancholy, sorrowful) feelings for the reader
  • This results in the reader experiencing…
  • This creates a sad, joyful, frightening... atmosphere
  • This moves the reader
  • This provokes the reader to believe/think/feel…
  • The reader is compelled
  • The reader is therefore made to feel sad, happy, stressed, anxious...
  • This entices the reader
  • This causes a sense of sadness, joy, bewilderment... in the reader etc…
  • The writer is trying to infer that…
  • The reader deduces from this that…
  • The use of the (metaphor/repetition/syntax etc.) demonstrates/ establishes/ highlights/ reinforces that…

It is also a good idea to consider the various interpretations of different readers, as they will differ depending on their social and historical context. As such, you could say: A female reader in the 19th Century may respond to this by feeling…

How can you describe a fairground?

What would you describe a fun fair?

At this point you may be wondering, how in the world will I come up with a description of a funfair? Descriptive writing can be difficult, whether you’re doing it for a hobby or for a class assignment. The best way to start getting those creative juices flowing is to identify the purpose of your writing. reasons_for_writings

Purpose Description
Creative writing If you’re in a creative writing class, want to write a novel, want to write a play, etc.
Promotion If you’re promoting a carnival on social media, on a brochure, for private parties, etc.
Professional If you want to organize, collaborate or take part in a fun fair.

  You will most likely be writing a description of a fair ground for creative writing purposes, so let’s start with some descriptive writing examples for creative writing. Take a look at some of the qualities you should describe.  

Quality Description
Characters Decide who your characters will be and what their occupation is: father, fair worker, student, etc.
Time of day What time of day will your scenes take place? Will this change the mood or the action of the fair?
Season Will the fair be seasonal? If so, which season will it be?
Type of fair Fairs come in all different shapes and sizes: Halloween-themed, children’s fair, holiday fair, etc.

  If your carnival description will be geared towards promotional material, your description will be a lot different than that of a story. You won’t need any characters or plot - you will need informational descriptions.  

Information Description
Fair audience What type of audience do you want to attract? Families, teens, adults, etc?
Times What times does the fair operate
Prices What are the prices and are there any promotions?
Dates The dates that the carnival will take place

  Finally, if you’re interested in professional descriptions of a fair, you will need different types of descriptions as well. Take a look at some examples below.  

Product Description
Collaboration You may want to collaborate with fundraisers or local businesses. This will require descriptions of benefits, promotional material, etc.
Costume design Fairs often require uniforms or costumes. You will need a description of carnival costumes.
Services Fairs require a couple of different services, such as food, rides and games. In order to engage different businesses, you will need to describe a business plan, logistics and more.
Official permits If you’re organizing a fair, you will need to describe a detailed operational plan such as number of expected attendees, days of operation, emergency plan etc.


What can you smell at a fairground?

If you’re interested in creative writing, this section is for you. If you find yourself having writer’s block, it might be helpful to complete some creative exercises in order to get some ideas flowing. Take inspiration from real life by thinking of your five senses: five_senses

Smell What can you smell at a fairground?
Sight What can you see at a fairground?
Taste What do you taste at a fairground?
Touch What textures do you encounter at a fairground?
Hear What can you hear at a fairground?

  As you can see, there are plenty of ways you can start to describe a carnival just by thinking of these five senses. Let’s start with the first one: what can you usually smell at a fairground?  

Food Funnel cakes, French fries, candied apples, candy, barbeque, etc.
Environment The forest, the rain, car exhaust, other people, etc.
Unexpected events Think of an event that would cause an unexpected smell at a fairground. One example: smoke from a fire.


What can you hear at a fair?

Let’s move on to another sense. What does one usually hear at a carnival? Let’s take a look at some of the things you might hear at a fair.  

Music You might hear the sound of carnival music, car music, music on the radio, ringtone music, etc.
People You can hear people’s laughter, conversations, yelling, announcements, etc.
Machines You can hear the creak of rides, the thumps of games, the sound of credit card machines, etc.
Services You might hear frying oil, ripping of paper and plastic, flapping of tarp, etc.

  What can make your story or promotional material more unique is to think of a word that describes an object, then think of another object that can have the same description using another sense. This is actually a literary device called synaesthesia.  

Definition Examples
Synaesthesia Describing something with a sense that is not normally attributed to it. The taste of pepper is loud. The sun is silent today.


What are some descriptive words?

When you’re reaching to find some descriptive words, it can be helpful to first pick a scenario. For example, it will easier to write a description of a fairground at night after you decide that the night is the time of day you want to portray. Let’s take a look at some other scenarios. three_principles_story Take a look at some descriptive words for each of the above scenarios.  

Scenario Examples Descriptive Elements
Time of day Night, afternoon, day, etc. You can describe the light of the day, the heat of the sun, the freshness of the air, the coolness of the night.
Location Forest, parking lot, campus, etc. You can describe the landscape, what you see or if you can’t see anything past buildings, trees, etc. You can also describe the colours.
Activity Playing, running, eating, etc. You can describe how it feels to perform the action, how long it takes, etc.