Academic Tone and Diction

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Academic Tone and Diction




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Presentations text content in Academic Tone and Diction

Slide1

Academic Tone and Diction

A Write Place edition

Slide2

Slash the Slashes,

Replace slashes with “and,” or “or.”

To participate in the class museum trip, students must have permission from

parents/guardians

parents or guardians.

Instead of etc., say “and so on” or offer the rest of the list.

She went to Target to buy pencils, paper, paper clips

etc

and so on.

She went to Target to buy pencils, paper, paper clips,

etc

. pens, highlighters, and other office supplies.

Slide3

Don’t Use Contractions

Contractions present a conversational tone.

Example of what

not

to do: I

don’t

know what

he/

she’s

implying here.

Example to follow: I

do not

know what

he or

she is

implying here.

Slide4

When To Abbreviate

Appropriate

Specific organizations

or institutions

Example

:

USA = United States of AmericaFBI= Federal Bureau of InvestigationsNOTE: The first time an unfamiliar acronym is used, spell it out and put the acronym after. For all succeeding references, use the acronym. Example: The Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a measles warning this afternoon.

Inappropriate

Conversationally acceptable terms of communication

Example

:

w/o = without

w/Jon = with Jon

asap

= as soon as possible

yr. old = year old

b/c = because

Slide5

Throw Clichés and Regionalisms Out the Window

Be creative with your metaphors and analogies, avoid the clichéd phrases such as….

Fast as lightning

,

a stitch in time

,

against the grain

, beating like a drum, there is no “I” in team, standing the test of time, a cold winter’s night,

once upon a time

,

a needle in a haystack

,

in no time

,

walking a fine line

,

walking on thin ice

,

dancing with the devil

,

hell on earth

,

when pigs fly

,

crystal clear

,

clear as a bell

,

clear as day

,

plain as day

,

in plain sight

,

hind sight is 20/20

,

making a mountain out a mole hill

,

a penny saved is a penny earned

,

cute as a button

,

taking it one day at a time

,

easy does it

,

time is of the essence

,

talk is cheap

,

you get what you pay for

Slide6

Clichés, Regionalisms (cont.)

“at all” (Do you want any coffee

at all

.)

Y’all

You

betcha

Hot dish“go with” (Mom went to the drugstore. I went with.)Borrow someone money. (I borrowed loaned Sally $20.)

Slide7

Hyperboles Are T

he Worst

Using extremes compromises the author’s credibility. Instead, let the

research

speak for you

.

Examples

The parking at St. Cloud State is much worse than any other university! On average, St. Cloud State University students spend an additional 10 minutes more per day searching for a parking slot than students at any other MNSCU institution.

Slide8

Integrate Quotations Effectively and Seamlessly

Always say who said the quoted words to separate your voice from the author’s.

Example

To be successful in a challenging class, begin written assignments as soon as possible. “Remember that there is no virtue in delay.” Rushing at the last minute causes sloppy work.

To be successful in a challenging class, begin written assignments as soon as possible. Keith

Hjortshoj

advises, “Remember that there is no virtue in delay.” Rushing at the last minute causes sloppy work.

Vary your signal verb. Avoid “states.” Try not to overuse “says.”Example

Keith

Hjortshoj

states (or says)

, “Remember that there is no virtue in delay.”

Keith

Hjortshoj

advises

, “Remember that there is no virtue in delay.”

Keith

Hjortshoj

writes

, “Remember that there is no virtue in delay.”

Only use quotations when the wording is unique or when you would like to emphasize the words of a well-known authority to give your argument credibility. Nonetheless, use quotations sparingly and paraphrase instead.

Slide9

Quotations (cont.)

Only use quotations when the wording is unique or when you would like to emphasize the words of a well-known authority to give your argument credibility. Nonetheless, use quotations sparingly and paraphrase instead.

Even within her own Communist Party, language was often co-opted by the masculine, as terms like “‘

proletarian’ and ‘manly’ were used interchangeably

” (

Obermueller

48). In her book,

Better Red: The Writing and Resistance of Tillie Olsen and Meridel Le Sueur, Constance Coiner explains that Le Sueur and Olsen “problematize the patriarchal nature of the Left and the masculinist

assumptions of proletarian literature” (7). Le Sueur complicates the patriarchal norm not only by portraying women as interesting and textured characters, but also by repeatedly employing the metaphors of maternity, birth, growth, and death in writing about the value of the working person’s experience, and as Erin

Obermueller

explains, in doing so “

she also historicizes and politicizes the body

” (49).

Consider using a

quotation sandwich.

Introduce your quotation in your own words. Insert quotation. Then comment on quotation and transition into next part.

Slide10

Quotations (cont.)

Consider using a

quotation sandwich.

Introduce your quotation in your own words. Insert quotation. Then comment on quotation and transition into next part.

Example

In his “I Have a Dream” speech, Martin Luther King Jr. makes a strong case for hope, saying

“With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discord of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood” (359).

Barack Obama’s themes of collaboration and inclusiveness recall King’s words.

Slide11

The Giant Dangling Modifier

Wrong.

In Sandra Lee’s book,

How to Navigate Rough Academic Waters

, she says . . . “

Correct.

In her book,

How to Navigate Rough Academic Waters, Sandra Lee says . . . “Sandra Lee’s book, How to Navigate Rough Academic Waters, says . . . “

Slide12

Words/Phrases to Avoid

Basically

States

Awesome

You

Totally, very, extremely (useless intensifiers)

Put him or her down (try denigrate, humiliate, insult, belittle, disparage)

Anything with “the fact.” Due to the fact = becauseIn spite of the fact = despiteBecause of the fact = because

Slide13

Words/Phrases to Avoid

Empty or Redundant words and phrases

At all times = always

At the present time = now, currently, today

At that point in time = then

At this point in time = now

In order to = to

In the event that = ifFor the purpose of = forRed in color = redLiterally = avoid this word. Most things are literal

Slide14

Other Academic Language and Tone Advice

Use synonyms for the author to avoid sounding repetitious.

The author asserts . . . “

Jones asserts . . . “

The article (or essay or book) asserts . . . “

Don’t use stuffy, overblown, or jargon-filled language unnecessarily. Quality academic writing is clear and information is easily understood by the target audience.

“Pursuant to the recent memorandum issues August 9, 1987, because of financial exigencies, it is incumbent upon us all to endeavor to make maximal utilization of telephonic communication in lieu of personal visitation” (Williams 85).

“As the memo of August 9 said, to save the company money, use the telephone as much as you can instead of making personal visits” (Williams 85).

Slide15

Other Advice (cont.)

Avoid pompous language (use sparingly)

Endeavor = try

Utilization = use

Termination = end

Cognizant of = aware of

Desirous of = wants or desires

Transpires = happensEnvisage = think, regard, imagine, seeEventuate = happenDeem = think

Slide16

Other Advice

Don’t belabor the obvious.

States the obvious.

Imagine a mental picture of someone engaged in the intellectual activity of trying to learn what the rules are for how to play the game of chess.

Concise.

Imagine someone trying to learn the rules of chess.

Slide17

Interactive Examples

Revise the following:

Because of the fact that cats are independent creatures, they lead extremely private lives at all times.

A student should turn in his/her research paper, annotated bibliography, etc. w/o delay.

She didn’t get rid of all of her English books and notes because she didn’t want to burn her bridges totally.

At all times, one should be cognizant of the subtle transitions of color and temperature in the passing of the seasons as fodder for one’s poetry.

In my mind, I am of the opinion, that standing in the cold without outerwear can lower your body temperature, hence causing

body shaking.


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