Academic writing is an entirely different animal than creative writing. It requires appropriate candor and a particular voice. Today, as part of our academic proofreading and editing blog, we’re going to cover a few rules that are essential to establishing an academic voice. Take note, by the way, this article itself is not composed in an academic voice, since we are providing advice to you, our audience!



Use the Third Person, No “I” or “You” Statements

First off, it’s crucial to maintain a third-person voice. Avoid using “I” statements (since this embodies a first-person voice) and “you” statements (since this embodies a second-person voice). For instance, you may have worded the first sentence in this paragraph: “First off, I think it’s crucial to maintain a third person voice.” However, it’s more powerful and less personal when “I think” is eliminated from the text. In addition, you might be tempted to state, “First off, it’s crucial that you maintain a third person voice.” Structuring the sentence as such is too informal, and it implies a personal relationship between the author and the reader. It’s less academic and professional to use a second-person voice over a third-person voice.

Stay Formal

Using a third-person voice is one of many steps which ensure that a composition remains formal. In addition, it’s important to avoid opinionated statements. Refrain from providing your individual viewpoint; instead, make a statement and defend that declaration with factual evidence. Also, strive to use more complex sentences, since they tie a train of thought together with more cohesion than detached short sentences. The previous sentence, for instance, may have read, “Use more complex sentences. They are easier to follow. Short sentences are incohesive and detached.” Furthermore, don’t use colloquialisms; they sound inappropriate. Instead of saying “President Nixon was way out of line during the Watergate scandal,” state, “President Nixon abused his power and the constitution in the midst of the Watergate scandal.”

Take Authority

Established a formal third-person voice, and be authoritative with statements. It’s a bit redundant to say, but using an authoritative voice gives you authority as the author. You won’t have a second chance to defend your thesis after your reader has digested your paper, so an authoritative voice provides you with the distinct advantage of being an expert in the topic that you’re presenting. Make declarative statements, and support those statements with evidence that lends to your authority as an expert in your field. Readers place more trust in authoritative writers.


Panther Academic Editing

Uncertain about the voice of your writing? We can help. Academic writing is far from conversational, and it can feel unnatural to shift to an academic voice. Fortunately, you can count on Panther Academic Editing. We provide editing and proofreading services, and we can work with you to improve the voice of your composition, as well as its grammar, its clarity, and the thesis of your work. Submit a document with us today, and count on us to transform your work into a completed project.