Academic Vs. Business Writing: Differences & Things You Shouldn’t Do

You are probably familiar with the standard rules of academic writing. But how does it differ from other writing styles? For example, business writing. Business writing can be a part of a professional or studying routine. It is especially relevant when business studies take a practical turn. Read this article to understand the peculiarities of academic and business writing. We will discuss both types and explain how to avoid mistakes. Explore the differences and similarities in the tone, word choice, structure, and writing goals. Contents
  1. ⚑ Academic Vs. Business Writing
  2. πŸ“— Academic Texts Rules
  3. πŸ”  Academic Writing Mistakes
  4. πŸ’± Business Texts Rules
  5. πŸ”’ Business Writing Mistakes
  6. βš–οΈ Differences & Similarities
  7. πŸ“ Examples
  8. πŸ”§ Writing Tools
  9. ❓ FAQ

⚑ Academic Vs. Business Writing

What are the differences and similarities between academic and business writing?


  • Sphere of usage.
  • The goal of writing.
  • Text formatting.
  • The audience of the text.
  • Sentence length.


  • A certain degree of formality.
  • Professional terminology.
  • Writing patterns and templates.
  • Credible references and examples.
  • Focus on a particular idea.

We will further discuss each of them more closely.

πŸ“— Academic Texts – Main Rules

Academic writing is a formal, concise, and clear writing style mainly used by students, professors, and researchers. Like any other, academic text has its structure and character. However, it also has specific patterns that we regard below:

Rule #1 Each academic paper needs an outline that will define text structure and its main points.
Rule #2 Better use only professional, concise language. Slang and clichΓ© are not appropriate.
Rule #3 Support the claims you provide with scientific data or relevant examples.
Rule #4 Generally, academic writing is impersonal and requires a third-person point of view.
Rule #5 All the information taken from sources needs proper referencing. Otherwise, it becomes plagiarism. Academic papers also require citation styles such as APA, MLA, Chicago, or Harvard.
Rule #6 Every academic paper centers on a particular research question, hypothesis, etc. Pick a perfect topic for academic writing.

Types of Academic Writing

Here are the main types of academic writing. Usually, you will need to combine several to write a paper.

Type of academic writingDescriptionTypical words you can see in the instructionsExamples
Descriptive writingThe easiest type of academic writing. Its main goal is to provide facts or information about an object, process, or person.Record, define, identify, report, summarize.Conference paper, review, annotated bibliography, essay, book report.
Analytical writingAims to organize the information into categories and assess its significance and meaning.Analyze, evaluate, examine, relate, compare, contrast.Review, dissertation, academic journal article, book report, essay, thesis, term paper.
Persuasive writingJustifies claims or argumentation lines. Its goal is to present an author’s point of view and prove it using evidence.Discuss, take a position, argue, evaluate.Essay, academic journal article, thesis, term paper.
Critical writingImplies studying and evaluating at least two points of view.Critique, evaluate, disagree, debate.Critical paper, review, dissertation, essay, academic journal article, book report, thesis, term paper.

Want to find a perfect topic for any kind of academic paper? Use our research title generator.

Academic Writing Tips

Follow these tips to improve your academic writing:

  • Use formal language. Choose words that show your professionalism rather than emotions.
  • Rely on logic. All the information you present should prove your thesis statement, not contradict it.
  • Keep a mystery. Don’t disclose all the content of your paper in the introduction.
  • Be succinct. It is useless to repeat the same ideas or long sentence transitions. Your goal is to say more in fewer words.
  • Work on syntax and word choice. The complexity and variety of your language indicate your fluency and academic awareness. You can use this paraphraser tool to avoid repetition.
  • Provide solid argumentation. Your claims should look legit and persuasive in the readers’ eyes. Use data from reputable sources, statistics, and peer-reviewed publications.
  • Be polite. Make sure the tone you use is unbiased and inclusive. Avoid offensive statements about any religious, political, or personal beliefs.
  • Control the accuracy. Present the information and your conclusions clearly. Don’t distort or falsify any facts to support your position.

πŸ”  Typical Academic Writing Mistakes

Here, we will list the most common academic writing mistakes and how to avoid them:

  1. Vague structure. Most academic papers require an introduction, at least three body sections, and a conclusion.
  2. Bad sources. Use only accurate data from official or peer-reviewed credible sources.
  3. Referencing mistakes. Study the manual of the formatting style to cite the sources correctly.
  4. Grammar inaccuracies. You can use special software tools to proofread your texts or do it manually.
  5. Topic choice. Ensure the topic is not too narrow or broad and you can find enough sources to study it.

Words to Avoid in Academic Writing

Phrasal verbs

Carry out ➑️ Perform
Set up ➑️ Establish


Don’t ➑️ Do not
Shouldn’t ➑️ Should not


UK ➑️ United Kingdom
Quote ➑️ Quotation
Note: certain abbreviations are acceptable in the academic community (AIDS, NATO, WHO)


I think that ➑️ Doe et al. (2021) state that


A hot topic ➑️ There are more than 500 research articles on this topic.
In modern society ➑️ In the last ten years.

Value judgment

Brilliant marketing solution➑️ Marketing solution led to higher brand recognition among millennials.
Boring speech ➑️ 80% of the audience did not listen to the speech till the end (Doe et al., 2021).


The best actor ➑️ The highest-paid actor in 2021, according to Forbes.
Extremely fast car ➑️ The car can reach the speed of 70mph in 10 seconds.

Plain words

Good decision ➑️ The implemented decision led to a 10% revenue growth in October 2021.
Bad solution ➑️ The solution did not eliminate the problem.

The Tone in Academic Writing

Writing tone is the voice of academic papers. It indicates the writer’s attitude and personality traits. In academic writing, your manner should be unbiased and formal. Check the difference between academic and non-academic sentences:

Daily speech: Grandfather says you could hardly see black people in their part of the city.
Academic writing: The segregation of blacks and whites in the United States officially started in 1877, when Jim Craw laws were adopted.

Daily speech: Eat your veggies if you want to feel good.
Academic writing: Healthy eating habits, including a substantial intake of fruits and vegetables, play an essential role in an individual’s immune system (Doe et al., 2021).

You can see that academic writing uses more advanced vocabulary. Also, it is obligatory to reference all the information you get from outside sources.

πŸ’± Business Texts – Main Rules

Business writing involves internal and external professional communication. It can take many forms as there are different levels of communication. Here are the main rules of business writing:

Rule #1 Plan the content of your text.
Rule #2 Put the primary information first.
Rule #3 Use straightforward wording.
Rule #4 Choose your tone according to the audience.
Rule #5 Keep your message concise.
Rule #6 Call to action or include recommendations if necessary.
Rule #7 Proofread the text and get rid of unnecessary details.

At some point, business and academic writing can merge. It happens quite often when students study how to use professional communication.

Types of Business Writing

Here are the four basic types of business writing and their characteristics:

Business writing typeDescriptionExample
InstructionalProvides directions or guidelines.Memos.
InformationalProvides data, analysis, or other pieces of knowledge.Reports, press releases.
PersuasiveConvinces the readers about specific solutions, choices, and strategies.Business reports, articles, and strategy plans.
TransactionalInvolves day-to-day business communication.Emails, letters.

Learn how to write a business essay and what are the best business paper examples.

πŸ”’ Typical Business Writing Mistakes

Inefficient business communication leads to financial losses. Let’s examine the typical mistakes:

  1. Wrong tone. Some words or phrases might be inappropriate for your audience. Before writing, think about the recipients and their values.
  2. Long introduction. Start with the most relevant facts. Provide clarifications and background details only if it is necessary.
  3. Long sentences. It is easier to read short sentences. Try to use not more than 15 words in one sentence.
  4. Grammar mistakes. Proofread your texts before sending them. Spelling mistakes, wrong syntax, and even typos can discredit your image.
  5. Vague terms and cliches. Bad word choices might lead to misunderstanding or a wrong impression. Try our essay-changing tool to rephrase your statements.

βš–οΈ Academic Vs. Business Writing – an Ultimate Comparison

Now you know the fundamentals of both types of writing. It’s time to compare business and academic writing. We will explain the key differences and similarities in this section.

Differences Between Academic and Business Writing

Academic WritingBusiness Writing
PurposeTo demonstrate knowledge, ability to analyze, and critical thinking.To reach specific goals. To establish a connection, communicate within a workplace, introduce or sell something, etc.
AudienceInstructors, students, and other researchers.Different stakeholders can be useful for the business.
ToneA formal tone indicates the writer’s knowledge.A tone that is the most appropriate for the chosen audience and business’s image.
StyleComplex sentences and long paragraphs provide explicit details about the matter.Shorter sentences and paragraphs make the texts easier to read.
StructureUsually, there is an introduction with a thesis, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.The structure might be different depending on the type and goal of the text.
ContentAll the points support the thesis (the last sentence of the introductory paragraph).Only the information that the audience should know.
FormatUsually, students use such citation styles as APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago.There are no specific citation guidelines for business writing. Texts often contain paraphrased information from their organization without any references.

Similarities Between Business Writing and Academic Writing

Let’s discuss the similarities now:

TopicTexts need to have a theme or an argument they address.
Clear ideasBoth types of writing include straightforward messages conveyed to their audiences.
Formal toneThe degree of formality might differ. Usually, both academic and business texts are rather traditional.
LiteracyMistakes of any type are inappropriate. Also, using slang or rude words of any kind is irrelevant.
TerminologyAcademic and business writers use specific vocabularies connected with their spheres.
Supporting examplesArgumentation lines require strong external evidence from reputable sources.
FrameworkThere are specific writing patterns and structure templates for academic and business texts.

πŸ“ Business Writing VS Academic Writing Examples

Now we will provide ten examples of academic and business writing. Compare these sentences:

  1. Academic writing: The sales increased significantly due to the economic reforms in the United States (Doe et al., 2021).
    Business writing: Our company witnessed significant sales growth because of the recent reforms.
  2. Academic writing: Supply optimization is one of the profiles of ABC, Inc. (Doe et al., 2021).
    Business writing: My name is Jonh Johnes. I am a supply manager at ABC, Inc.
  3. Academic writing: Doe et al. (2021) argue that the implemented decisions led to advancements in ABC, Inc.’s marketing strategies in the 2021 fiscal year.
    Business writing: The marketing strategies implemented in 2021 are highly efficient.
  4. Academic writing: In this study, the author suggests the following decisions to address information security problems (Doe et al., 2015).
    Business writing: We suggest a list of decisions to solve the company’s information security problems.
  5. Academic writing: According to the study, regular physical activities enhance concentration and overall intellectual activity among office workers (Doe et al., 2015).
    Business writing: We encourage physical activities among our employees and will compensate for fitness expenses.

Learn more about the business report writing format.

Academic Writing Examples

Check the following essay samples to see how an academic paper might look:

  1. Organizational change management in criminal justice institutions.
  2. Workforce planning in the Australian public sector.
  3. Burj Khalifa project management case study.
  4. Nelson Mandela: A historical case study of negotiations.
  5. Accounting information system: Summary.
  6. Sydney Opera House: Project management case study.
  7. Project management: A strategic managerial approach.
  8. Eurostar Company: The competitive strategy.
  9. Sifers-Grayson: Security strategy.
  10. Argumentative essay about global warming.
  11. Social control essay – Surveillance, censorship, and sanctions.
  12. Singapore economic analysis.
  13. Corporate social responsibility: Investment and strategies.
  14. Liner shipping strategy.
  15. Business ethics and environmental laws: A case analysis.

πŸ”§ Best Academic Writing and Business Writing Tools

These tools will save hours of your time and enhance your productivity:

  • Grammarly. Use this service to proofread your texts.
  • FocusWriter. This tool helps to eliminate distractions when you write.
  • Plagiarism Checker. Use this tool to see if your writing contains too many quotations or unintended plagiarism.
  • Google Docs or any other cloud-based documents. It will allow you to cooperate with other students and edit your writing instantly.
  • WordCounter. You can use a website or a built-in word count in Google Docs. It helps track your productivity and check the length of sentences or paragraphs.
  • Google Scholar. It searches for all the publications with the keywords you need. The search results are not limited to one research database or journal.


Why Does Academic Writing Require Strict Formatting?

Academic writing requires strict formatting to maintain consistency and credibility. This makes it easier for students worldwide to understand publications from any journal. It helps to avoid any kind of confusion. Also, following the guidelines of a formatting style enhances the chances of your work being published.

Why Is Academic Writing Important?

Academic writing indicates a student’s knowledge and understanding of the topic. It demonstrates one’s research and writing skills. This kind of assignment trains students’ ability to think critically and filter a lot of information. Academic writing also enhances the craft of transforming your thoughts into writing.

How Is Business Writing Different from Academic Writing?

Business writing is usually less formal and uses shorter structures. Business writing aims for profit for the business it represents. Academic writing seeks to analyze the existing ideas and add the writer’s perspective and findings.

What Are the Similarities Between Academic Writing and Business Writing?

Both types of writing are rather formal and provide professional information focused on a particular topic. They require knowledge and professionalism to conduct ideas concisely and clearly.

πŸ”— References

  1. What is academic writing? | Academic writing | Library | University of Leeds
  2. Definition of Academic Writing With Examples
  3. Types of academic writing – The University of Sydney
  4. Writing | 301 | The University of Sheffield
  5. Tone – Scholarly Voice – Academic Guides at Walden University
  6. Business Writing – The Writing Center β€’ University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  7. How to Improve Your Business Writing | Harvard Business Review
  8. Definition and Tips for Business Writing Best Practices
  9. 8 Examples of Business Writing |
  10. Five Business Writing Mistakes to Avoid | SCORE
  11. 4 Common Business Writing Mistakes
  12. Comparison of Business and Academic Writing
  14. How Are Academic & Business Writing Similar?
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