Learning to write academic papers can feel a bit like learning to write in a different language. While it is probably common knowledge that LOLs and OMGs should not be included in essays, there are many other phrases that have no place in academic writing. To help you with your future essays, we have put together a list of phrases banned from all academic writings and which phrases you should use to replace them.

Let’s Talk about “It”

While the word “it” may seen innocent, when used as a descriptor it starts off our list of words not to be used in academic papers. Phrases like “it is the largest mountain range in Europe” or “it is often found in Canada” are not appropriate for formal papers due their vagueness. In both sentences, the word it can be replaced with more descriptive phrases or completely rearranged to include the subject being described. The better choices for each sentences might be “The Scandinavian Mountains are the largest mountain range in Europe” or “The species is often found in Canada”.

Mind the Flow

The flow of your essay is extremely important to its overall readability. Phrases such as moreover, furthermore, and therefore are great for linking ideas in your article together or expanding on previously mentioned ideas. If you need to introduce an alternative point, phrases like alternatively, conversely, and contrary to are great ways to do this while keeping the flow of your article intact.

Giving Credit Where it’s Due

Referring back to sources and the wise words of experts in a given field is an important part of any academic paper. If you are searching for a clever way to through in a quick quote or reference, phrases like “according to”, “as supported by X’s research” and, “in the words of” can be used seamlessly integrate expert opinion.

Making a List

If you structure with essay structure and tend to write thick walls of text with a few pieces of evidence thrown in, words like firstly, secondly, and thirdly are your best friend. Using these words will stop your essay from becoming too repetitive and add some much needed flow.
Changing Things Up

Finding new ways to segue between ideas will keep your essay interesting to read. Instead of “in order to” try “to that/this end”. If you need to clarify a point, try using the phrase “that is to say”.

Highlight the Facts

When laying out important facts, words like significantly, notably, and importantly can be used to highlight information. These words signify to the reader that the information being presented is worth listening to and should be taken seriously. Use these words when you really want to drive a point home.

Wrapping it all Up

Many students find the conclusion of a paper to be the hardest part to write. Don’t be afraid to keep things simple and lean back into the tried and true “in conclusion” or “above all”. If you feel like using something a bit more non-traditional, words like pervasive and compelling can be used to describe evidence and reiterate your key arguments.