Do you often start sentences with the words ‘This is’? If so, you might be making your reader sweat, while missing a chance to underline or refine the point you’re making. When you write ‘this is’, your reader is often forced to try to remember whatever it was in the last sentence you were talking about.
So remind them. This . . . what? This belief, this breakthrough, this reappraisal, this campaign, this experiment, this opportunity . . . You need to figure out precisely what you were talking about and then tell the reader in one single, crucial word. This is about more than just reminding the reader. (Actually, that sentence should be, ‘This technique is about more than just reminding the reader.’)
When you add a word between ‘this’ and ‘is’ you force yourself to reimagine, in an abstract way, the underlying nature of whatever it is you are describing. And that little move towards a higher-level evaluation of what it’s really all about, is the very essence of academic thinking.
21 February 2019
Always check your writing for over-long sentences and insert a full stop.
According to Dr Alison Yeung Yam Wah at the University of Surrey, who researches the writing strategies of academics, ‘readability’ is one of the key ingredients of successful academic papers. Yet academic writers frequently make their text hard to read by seeding it liberally with abstract nouns. These are nouns that express an idea, quality…
Connect with your writerly self and try thinking about your writing in the way that professional writers do.