Using an objective style is recommended in academic writing. Emotive or emotional language should generally be avoided because it makes a piece of writing sound more subjective rather than objective. Emotive words, such as terrible, disgusting, luckily, surprisingly, thankfully, unfortunately, which show the writer’s personal attitude, appeal to emotions rather than to reason. Furthermore, emotive words do not help to create a reasonable and justified conclusion based on evidence.
In order to write in an objective style, the student-writer should use the following strategies:
- Instead of emphasizing feelings, emphasize ideas in writing, e.g.,
RIGHT: These findings indicate the model is valid.
WRONG: I believe this model is valid.
- Instead of evaluative words and phrases, use technical evaluations, e.g.,
RIGHT: She found that information from a reliable academic source.
WRONG: The source she got the information from is absolutely amazing.
- Instead of intense emotional language, use moderate evaluative language, e.g.,
RIGHT: Second hand smoke has some harmful effects on children’s health.
WRONG: Parents who smoke are obviously abusing their children.
- Use cautious language, e.g.,
RIGHT: There is evidence to support the possibility that second-hand smoke increases the risk of cancer.
WRONG: I think second-hand smoke causes cancer.
- Use authoritative sources, such as books or journal articles that support your point of view and refer to them in writing, e.g.,
RIGHT: As Halliday (1973) shows, language is intrinsically social.
WRONG: Language is, in my view, clearly something social.
For more information on emotive language, please refer to the following resources:
- http://www.monash.edu.au/lls/llonline/writing/arts/sociology/2.3.2.xml (Monash University)
- https://unilearning.uow.edu.au/academic/2dii.html (Uni Learning)
- http://sydney.edu.au/stuserv/learning_centre/help/styleStructure/st_objectiveView.shtml (Learning Centre: The University of Sydney)