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The language of thesis writing

Books and websites that offer advice on thesis writing commonly tell student writers to use a style that is clear, concise, and logical. They sometimes warn against trying to sound too 'academic', suggesting that the result is often overly formal, full of jargon, and difficult to follow. On the other hand, students may receive comments from their supervisors that their writing is too informal or too 'simple'. To steer a course between these extremes, you need to know (especially if English is not your first language) what features are expected of academic writing.

The main feature of this writing is that it seeks to appear objective; thus, it rarely uses personal pronouns, such as "I" or "you" and it avoids using emotionally expressive language. It also uses language precisely and accurately and is more formal in expression (in other words, it avoids speechlike or journalistic writing). This formality and precision is achieved through choice of vocabulary and grammatical structures. There is often a need to express complex relationships between concepts, which can be done through the process of nominalisation; this also helps to make the writing more concise.

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