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The University of Southampton
English for Engineers Understanding assessed tasks

Engineering writing style

For academic writing, you need to get a balance between being too informal and being too formal.

Too  Informal Appropriate academic style Too formal (forced formality)



Chatty or personal

2-word verbs when there is a single alternative

And/so/but after a full stop.





Simple (Clear)

Excessive nominalisation

Wordy phrases e.g. in view of the fact that

‘Showy’ phrases e.g. 'commence' rather than 'start'

Distorted passive e.g. the measuring of the length was repeated three times.

See Bailey, S, 2003, Academic Writing: A Handbook for International Students.  London: Routledge. P105-8

See Civil Engineering Writing Project (Portland State University)

See Beer, D and McMurrey, D, 1997, A Guide to Writing as an Engineer.  New York: John Wiley & Sons. P18-24

Engineering writing style

This video gives an overview of engineering writing style. For more videos, see our You Tube Channel

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