Impartial and objective English
For further assistance, advice or tutoring/coaching in these skills contact Dr Bill Wrigley.
Avoid emotional, exaggerated or judgmental language
✖ The results from this study make the most wonderful contribution to the field.
✓ The results from this study provide an important contribution to the field.
✖ This treatment method will have enormous implications for the future.
✓ This treatment method is likely to have significant implications for the future.
✖ The response rate for the questionnaire was awesome.
✓ The response rate for the questionnaire was higher than expected.
Avoid subjective language involving the personal pronoun
Generally, it is advisable to limit or avoid using the personal pronouns – I, you, we, and us. This is because the personal pronoun can convey a personal, partial or subjective approach. However, some disciplines allow for the judicious use of personal pronouns in some essays, assignments and journal articles.
✖ I interviewed a total of nine students during the first semester.
✓ A total of nine students were interviewed during the first semester.
Avoid the use of ‘You’
It is important to avoid referring to the reader or people in general as you:
✖ You will be surprised to know from us that there are several species of this bird.
✓ It is important to know that there are several species of this bird.
✖ In public, you cannot wear what you want wherever you go.
✓ In public, people cannot wear what they want wherever they go.
✖ You will notice that the data for males has been omitted from Table 3.
✓ In Table 3, the data for males has been omitted.
Avoid using rhetorical questions
It is also important to avoid the use of rhetorical questions. A rhetorical question makes a point for which a reply is not expected. Clearly, this is not appropriate for academic writing, as the focus of an academic essay is to provide a logical argument on the topic.
✖ What is the current state of affairs with the economy?
✓ The current economy shows that….
✖ How can this be addressed?
✓ This essay will address the issue by….