What kind of language should I use?


Language ranges from very spoken to very written.
i.i Informal (spoken):
I would like to show you...
i.ii Formal (written):
The experiment demonstrates that...


The choice of very spoken (colloquial or chatty) to very written (formal academic) language impacts on choices of style, register and the design or cohesion of the writing. In formal, academic engineering writing, the aim is to be precise, nuanced and clear: the hallmarks of formal, academic writing. Your language decisions should be made based on the three elements of register: the field (the subject matter), the tenor (the relationship between the writer and the reader(s)) and the mode (the delivery method for the communication). As can be seen, the context is vitally important: how information is shared in a specific situation is context-dependent. What is acceptable in the HDR office or over lunch, is not acceptable in a public document on which you will be evaluated as an expert in your field of Engineering. Your writing then, has a social, cultural purpose. You are writing in English for English Language Academic Journals/Universities: you are therefore expected to write appropriately for this purpose or your work will be returned.

Examining the details of layout and order of your journal/specific university approach to thesis writing, will enable you to nuance your response to the genre of academic writing and increase your chances of having your work accepted.


What does this look like?
Special PurposeGenre: exposition, report or presentation
Context of SituationField or Register - the voice of the piece
Language SystemExpressing Ideas: the ideational function of the piece