Difference Between Academic Writing and General Writing

Have you ever pondered how academic writing differs from other writing styles? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a comprehensive guide for you to grasp the underlying distinctions in structure, style, and tone.

So, let’s dive right in!

Academic VS General Writing

The core distinction between academic and non-academic writing is that the former is a systematic and rather impersonal way of writing aimed at a scholarly audience, while non-academic writing is any writing aimed at the general public.

Research papers and scholarly essays are considered academic writing, while general (non-academic) writing can encompass blogs, memoirs, newspaper articles, novels, and more.

Intros: Straightforward | Creative

The opening to a quality academic paper should shed light on and summarize the topics and arguments you’re covering. There isn’t much room for surprises or creativity here; your duty is to define and depict the strengths of your reasoning. A smart strategy to always stay ahead of your writing game is to check out essay examples offered by trustworthy service providers who adhere to all the rules of academic writing, including solid structure, good research, and scholarly tone. 

Your introduction could be structured as follows:

  • First, you should present your central argument;
  • Present three or four strands of arguments to back up your point;
  • What theorists are you going to reference? What do they say that is pertinent to your topic?
  • Finish with your thoughts on the topic at hand and how it may help people better grasp the overall issue.

When you’re writing for a wider audience, you’d want to craft an enticing introduction that shall win the hearts of your readers. Because you’re not writing for an academic audience only, you can be far more imaginative. However, keep your creativity in check to avoid overcomplicating your introduction.

Style: Impersonal | Personal

Academic writing should adhere to a specific framework and layout, including an introduction, thesis, a list of topics covered, and a convincing conclusion. Academic essays are intended to demonstrate your critical thinking abilities as well as your in-depth understanding of the subject matter.

The primary goal of academic writing is to inform the audience while offering unbiased information and providing good proof to back up your arguments. Yet there are myriad changing trends in academic writing that you should leverage for better results, including smart error-checking software, increased emphasis on visual content, and more.

In contrast, general writing can be significantly more personal, expressive, and subjective in tone. Non-academic writing employs informal or colloquial language; you may even use slang if it effectively conveys your point.

Editing: Essential to Both

You should always allow time for editing, regardless of what you write. Whether it’s a scientific article or a personal blog, your work should be error-free. This will ensure that your text is logical and easy to comprehend. Allowing the material to settle in your thoughts for a while and then editing the next morning is a smart method for detecting more errors.

The Bottomline

Before you attempt anything with the pen, you should understand the specificities of the type of writing you’re going to undertake. Because certain expectations already exist in people’s minds for both academic and general writing, failing to adhere to those can ruin your piece, however imaginative it might be.

We hope our guide shall serve as a great starting point for you to grasp all the key distinctions between academic writing and general writing.


Charlotte Banks is a writer, educator, and researcher passionate about helping people develop their writing prowess. Charlotte has an extensive background in higher education; she presently supervises doctoral-level research theses. Her blog posts are always fun and motivating.

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