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University of Newcastle Library guides

FeedForward comments: Word usage - Informal use of language

This guide is for use by lecturing staff, providing you with feedback comments and information sheets for your students

Informal use of language

Informal use of language

Aim for gender neutral or inclusive language. Click here for more information

Avoid slang and clichéd phrases as they can confuse your readers and destroy the formal tone of your writing. Click here for more information.

Do not use phrases like 'a lot of people' or 'words like ‘things’. Be more precise in explaining key ideas and concepts. Click here for more information

Avoid first person (‘I’, ‘we’) and second person (‘you’). The only exceptions are reflective writing (learning journals) and descriptions of research in some types of dissertation. Use third person (they, their, them, it) to make your writing objective and evidenced based. Click here for more information.

Do not use personal expressions as sentence openers, such as ‘I feel’, ‘In my opinion’, ‘I believe’, ‘I think’. Expressions such as ‘I believe’ state the obvious (obviously you believe it because you are the one writing it). Click here for more information

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