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Using an objective and neutral tone

How can I write with an objective and neutral tone?

Academic writing is about reporting rigorous research and scientific analysis, so it should be objective and emotionally neutral in tone. Anything that implies personal judgment or bias has no place. To ensure your paper features objective and neutral language, do the following:

  1. Remove adjectives and adverbs that imply a value judgment

In most cases, readers and reviewers are interested in facts, results and findings, but not in your personal stance on these or anything else. When reporting the work of others in your Literature review, you should avoid passing judgment on quality (unless your goal is to criticize or praise a work). The same goes for assessing your results: neutral reporting is often more suitable than mentioning whether something is interesting or worth noting. So keep an eye for emotional adjectives and adverbs such as ‘great/greatly’, ‘horrible’, ‘wonderful’, ‘powerful’, ‘revealing’, ‘luckily’, ‘remarkably’, etc, in relation to studies, observations or findings.

  1. Avoid overstatements

Exaggerating the relevance or significance of your findings will make you seem arrogant and unserious. Furthermore, it is unlikely that your study alone has brought definitive answers to major research questions. Stay modest and use measured language when reporting your findings and conclusions. Be careful of intensifiers like 'very’, ‘really’, ‘greatly’, ‘definitely’, ‘the most’, ‘the least’, etc.

  1. Avoid generalizations

Be cautious of using sensational language, especially in your title and Abstract where grabbing attention is the goal. Your paper should be read as a measured, rational piece of writing. If you are making a bold statement, ask yourself if it can be backed up with evidence. If you say that something is ‘always’ or ‘never’ the case, ask yourself if it really is so. If you can think of possible exceptions, it is best to remove these words from your sentence.

To make sure your writing is neutral, use Writefull’s automated copyediting app. It gives you language feedback and writing support widgets, tailored to academic writing.