Impartial and objective English

Successful academic writing requires the use of English that is impartial (neutral) and objective, and uses language that is fair and balanced.

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….

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