How Does Academic Writing Differ from a Business Letter?


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Often students think that if they manage to learn how to write academic essays, they are done with writing skills forever. Many never even stop to wonder about how academic writing differs from a business letter.

A team of professional academic writers from letter writing service will examine these crucial differences in writing styles.

But here are the primary ways academic and business writing differ.

#1 Difference: Purpose

The major difference is in purpose — business letter has a very specific aim of informing your colleagues or business partners about something or get to know more about some business issue.

Academic writing has as a purpose revealing and elaborating on a particular issue from an academic point of view, mostly using the variety of research methods.

#2 Difference: Form

By form, academic assignments are always much longer than business letters.

The form of a business letter can be more or less formal, but when it comes to academic writing, you can’t just skip the rules if you have a good relationship with a professor — you have to stay formal. Very formal.

#3 Difference: Language

Vocabulary for business essay writing and academic writing, in general, is different. Of course, if you are writing a presentation in Management, you will use similar words you would use crafting a business paper.

However, in any other cases, academic writing has much more specializations in terms of language.

#4 Difference: Passive Voice

Academic writing is still very much based on passive voice.

Though now and then, you can see different tips on how to reduce passive voice usage in your paper, it is still there as it is considered to make essays more “academic.”

When it comes to business letters, the passive voice is used much less, as it reduces “energy” of the letter. Business requires action.

#5 Difference: Audience

When you write an academic paper, be it an essay or research proposal, your audience is your professor, thesis advisor, committee members, etc. Academic community.

Business letters are written to your colleagues, workers, partners, bankers, investors, clients, etc.

In short, when writing an academic paper, you write to be assessed by your audience, and when writing a business letter, you write to cooperate.

#6 Difference: Length

Academic writing always takes more space than business letter writing. We bet you can’t imagine a business letter long enough to be considered an essay or research paper.

It doesn’t mean that writing business letters is much easier and faster because when you need to send a message in several sentences, it is often much harder than to explain something in two pages.

#7 Difference: Originality Requirements

Originality and absence of plagiarism is an absolute must for academic writing.

You can’t allow yourself even to submit a paper with 80% originality, it should be at least 98% excluding quotes.

However, when it comes to business letter writing originality is not the top priority. You can use samples and templates, no one will care, until it works fine for both sides of communication and is efficient.

#8 Difference: Formatting

Academic texts have much more strict demands when it comes to formatting.

You have to use manuals, like APA, MLA, etc. to provide your professor with a quality paper. When it comes to business letter writing, formatting is still valuable, but not critical.

However, if you want to have a reputation of a neat and accurate person, you will care a lot about the formatting of your business letters.

#9 Difference: Personal Touch

Business letter writing still requires some personal touch, and it differs based on the audience and purpose of your letter. In academic writing, your personality is much less valuable.

You should not get discouraged if you feel like you will never be able to get all these differences and learn how to use them to your benefit.

The major idea is to follow the general structure of this or that assignment, get to know the most common mistakes and avoid them, and have as much practice as you can.

Of course, we all want to write well from the very beginning, but it hardly ever happens.

However, the experience you get with business letters, for example, is a good background for more business writing, so it all builds up!

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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