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Many academic English (and IELTS) text books teach linking words such as ‘moreover’ and ‘in addition’. The reason for teaching these words is so that students connect their ideas together clearly and logically when writing. Using linking words is one way to connect your ideas, but there are other ways like using reference words such as it, this, they and their (see the post on reference words for more information). It is important not to use too many linking words otherwise your writing does not sound natural. Unfortunately, many students use link words too much in their academic writing (and IELTS writing). Good essay writing does not need to have a link word in every sentence.

So, we have made a list of words and phrases which you should not use too much.

1. Moreover and besides: These words are quite unusual in essay writing so try not to use it too much in your academic writing. Try using In addition, Also or too to add extra information to an idea.

2. In a nutshell: This is not suitable for academic writing – we use it more in spoken English. It has the same meaning as In conclusion or To sum up so use one of these phrases instead.

3. Every coin has two sides: This is an idiom which is used in spoken English; it is not suitable for essay writing so try not to use it. Use On the other hand or However to introduce an alternative point of view.

Remember to check you have written On the other hand correctly – there are many ways to make a mistake in this phrase E.g. In the other hands, On another hand etc.

Do you know any phrases that you should avoid using in academic writing?

Fiona

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One thought on “… avoid using ‘moreover’ in academic writing

  1. Most of this post is spot on but the focus on ‘moreover’ is strange – this word features in the UCL Academic Keyword List and is not uncommon in academic writing.

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