There is a variety of writing styles that people follow for different prompts. Leading organizations recognize certain writing formats as the industry standard and they set the guidelines for everyone to follow. Similarly, diverse writing styles such as technical writing, scientific writing, creative writing, academic writing, and more, have their own set standards that writers have to follow.
Special conditions are established in areas like academia where formality and objectivity are given more importance than anything else. Here are some of the major differences between academic and general writing.
The main focus of writing an academic paper is to prove or disprove a theory with concise experimentation and clear results. The viewpoint is proven using methods and noted with objectivity. For general writing, there is no particular subject in focus. If you write an essay, you must stick to the topic. In turn, writing something like a blog post may allow some more creative freedom.
Academic writing is largely formal and very objective in nature. There is a predetermined structure in place that dictates the format to be followed in each piece of academic writing. General writing doesn’t follow a very strict structure. The style can be informal, formal, or casual, depending on factors such as:
- Author’s personal choice.
- Place of publication.
- Purpose, etc.
Language and grammar
Proper punctuation and grammar rules that come with basic writing skills are strictly followed in academic writing. The same is expected to be followed in general writing as well but the personal writing style and the inclusion of modern slang are permitted in formats such as blogs, journal entries, informal journalistic writings, etc.
Academic writing is used largely for research projects and academic purposes. Academic papers are published to teach other members of the academic world and students about a particular topic. General writing ranges from letters, lists, notes, emails, and other basic writing forms to something as creative as blogs and other narrative-based writings.
The users of academic writing are usually other people in the same discipline or field, which is why such writing may often consist of technical language that laypersons cannot understand. General writing is open to consumption by everyone and isn’t strictly limited to a particular category of people.
Use of contractions
Contractions, also known as short forms, are usually avoided in a writing style as formal as academic writing. However, there are some approved contractions for technical words that are universally followed. In general writing, the use of contractions isn’t encouraged but is permitted.
Referencing and citations
In academic writing, facts and statistics as well as any other important information are referenced with the sources clearly mentioned. Academic writing follows the rule of referencing and citing sources very strictly. In general writing, one can make a claim or mention a fact and doesn’t necessarily have to mention where they found that information. This is especially true for fictional writing where a lot of the material is derived from imagination.
Academic writing is usually pursued by scholars, professors, college students, and other academicians to fulfil a purpose. Sometimes, the purpose is to be published in a respected academic journal, textbook, or report. Some academic writers also have their work published in college magazines.
General writing such as novels, stories, essays, and other prose are also written keeping in mind publishing but are not limited to specific formats of media. They could be published in print media such as magazines or digital media such as an online blog.
The differences between academic and general writing are vast, but today we have covered the most important ones. To truly understand the intricacies of academic writing, one must study the different formats of writing and their use. Academic writing can provide students and scholars with the necessary skills to communicate information concisely and effectively. Hopefully, after reading this article you have a better understanding of the differences between academic and general writing and are inspired to keep researching this topic further.
Author Bio: Joanne Elliot is an accomplished academic and technical writer. Her experience in the field of academics gives her enough expertise to educate students on the specific nature of academic writing. Her passions include reading novels, writing essays for students on Lords of Paper, and writing short stories of her own. Joanne’s goal is to spark people’s interest in writing.