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Is there such a thing as an "academic style"? You may have come across this, or similar phrases, or you may have heard of "the Cambridge essay". However, academic style is difficult to describe definitively. There is no simple formula, and there are always exceptions to 'rules' such as "never use the first person". Between supervisors' individual preferences and students' individual writing styles, there is the possibility of a good deal of variation and flexibility. However, academic writing does have distinguishing features. It is a genre with its own conventions, although these vary between subjects and allow for personal taste. Therefore, the intention of this resource is not to be prescriptive about elements of style and tell you how you should write, but to help you to identify some of the characteristics of academic writing, consider the impact of style on your work, and make informed decisions about the way that you write.

Supervisor's view:

"Academic style isn't a single thing. We all write in different ways, and the right style for one essay might not be the same as for another. Some fields lend themselves to clear exposition and the arrangement of facts. Others lend themselves to the savouring of technical terms, or sophisticated metaphorical approaches to sophisticated metaphors. You should always try to think of your reader, though - complexity or bluntness for their own sakes aren't admirable."