Article Essay

Academic writing doesn’t have to be – and shouldn’t be – boring.The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to make your writing more interesting, even though you can only do so much while remaining within the formal confines of academic writing. If there’s one thing guaranteed to inject interest into your writing, it’s actually being interested in what you’re writing about.

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For example, just as the opening sentence or paragraph of a novel is incredibly important in capturing the attention of the reader early on, so the first paragraph of your essay is essential in making your reader want to continue reading it.

Start with an attention-grabbing ‘hook’ to draw them in, such as a controversial statement, a tantalising snippet of information or a rhetorical question (more on these below).

Unfortunately, many students employ the passive voice in the belief that it makes their writing sound more academic or intellectual; in fact, it makes their writing sound boring.

Remember, the active voice is when the subject of the sentence “acts”, while the passive voice is when the subject is acted upon.

Here are some more techniques you can adopt from creative writing to improve your essays.

Your essay is bound to be boring if all you do is paraphrase what everyone else says about something.

As you read, think consciously about what the writer is doing to hold your interest, perhaps underlining or copying out certain phrases, techniques, sentence structures and so on. It’s the oldest trick in the book, but using the active rather than the passive voice will automatically make your writing more interesting to read.

It results in more direct, energetic writing that makes the reader feel more ‘in the moment’.

The subject in this example is “the scientists” and the “act” they are carrying out is “concluding”.

As you can see in this example, the active voice almost always results in neater and more elegant phrasing, which is more concise and enjoyable to read.

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