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Extended Investigation (VCE): Words to avoid (in Academic Writing)

Too informal


Taboo Example Alternative
A bit The interviews were a bit difficult to schedule The interviews were (difficult/somewhat difficult) to schedule
A lot of, a couple of A lot of studies (Many/several/a great number of/eight) studies
Country names A researcher in America A researcher in (the United States/the US/the USA)
Isn’t, can’t, doesn’t, would’ve (or any other contraction) The sample isn’t The sample is not
Kind of, sort of The findings were kind of significant The findings were (somewhat significant/significant to some degree)
Til, till From 2008 till 2012 From 2008 (until/to) 2012
You, your


(i.e. the second-person point of view)

You can clearly see the results One can clearly see the results


The results can clearly be seen

Too subjective

Taboo Example Alternative
Beautiful, ugly, wonderful, horrible, good, bad A review of literature yielded many good articles A review of the literature yielded many relevant articles
Naturally The participants naturally wanted to know The participants wanted to know
Obviously, of course The results obviously indicate The results clearly indicate

Informal sentence starts

You can replace these with appropriate transition words or simply remove them from the sentence.

Taboo Example Alternative
Also Also, the participants were in agreement on the third question (Moreover/Furthermore), the participants were in agreement on the third question
So So it can be concluded that the model needs further refinement Therefore it can be concluded that the model needs further refinement
And And the participants were all over the age of 30 The participants were all over the age of 30
Besides Besides, we asked all the participants to sign an agreement Additionally, we asked all the participants to sign an agreement

Too vague

Taboo Example Alternative
Stuff People are concerned about their stuff People are concerned about their (belongings/possessions/personal effects)
Thing The report presents many things The report presents many (details/findings/recommendations)
A long time, a while This topic has interested researchers for a long time

This topic has interested researchers for more than 30 years



Taboo Example Alternative
Has got/have got This dissertation has got four chapters This dissertation has four chapters
Serves to, helps to This chapter serves to explain This chapter explains

Too unsophisticated

Taboo Example Alternative
Bad bad result (poor/negative) result
Big, humongous big sample (large/sizable) sample
Get This model gets attention This model receives attention
Give This chapter gives an overview This chapter (provides/offers/presents) an overview
Good good example (useful/prime) example
Show The below figure shows The below figure (illustrates/demonstrates/reveals)

Too exaggerated

Taboo Example Alternative
Always, never Researchers always argue that Researchers (frequently/commonly/ typically) argue that
Perfect, best, worst, most (or any other superlative) The perfect solution to the problem (An ideal solution/one of the best solutions) to the problem
Very, extremely, really, too, so (or any other intensifier) This theory is extremely important This theory is (important/critical/crucial)


Taboo Example Alternative
Literally The students were literally dying to participate The students were (dying/very eager) to participate
Would of, had of The study would of considered The study would have considered


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