There are quite a few question on this site (well, one of them being mine) which are basically word-request / word choice questions in an academic publishing scenario.

Examples of such questions:

  1. Usage of w.r.t in academic papers Also specifically see discussion in the comments on this question.

  2. Alternative to 'hype' for an academic paper

  3. Abbreviation n.d. in citation

Would it be good to have an 'academic-writing' or similar meaning tag for such questions? There are some existing tags such as 'formality' and 'technical', but they don't seem specific enough to me as far as academic publishing is considered.

Edit: Another argument - There exists a tag specifically for business language which is described as 'Terminology, etiquette, and conventions used when doing business in English'. Similarly, an academic writing/language tag could be defined as 'Terminology, etiquette, and conventions used for academic publishing in English'.

  • Oh, why downvote?
    – user13107
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 17:01
  • 4
    meta voting is different, it just means they disagree.
    – Mitch
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 17:03
  • Thanks for the clarification.
    – user13107
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 17:05

3 Answers 3


It's been a while since I visited the groves of academe, but I seem to remember each field (and sometimes each journal) has its own conventions concerning abbreviations, citations, and the like. To the extent that questions refer to a 'general academic' style (and so can be answered here), is it anything beyond 'careful formal English'?


The tag would appear to be most useful when asking about words or phrases which are used in business language; that is, when it's necessary to translate from corporate-speak into everyday English.

"Space" as a synonym for industry, sector or business segment
Is it "Sales collateral" or "Sales collaterals"?
Use of "deadpool" as a verb

While there may be a corresponding use for an tag, and it could apply to Abbreviation “n.d.” in citation? which you refer to, the tag is actually more suitable there.

Your own question which you reference mentions writing for an academic paper, but the question is just "How would I describe non-optimal conditions," and would be much the same under any circumstances.

As TimLymington says, there is no special "academic language" in the same way as there is "business language".


To expand on my downvote to the question, I don't think academic writing would be a useful tag.

Of OP's three examples, the first two needn't have mentioned academic publishing at all - they're just asking for "less slangy/informal" alternatives to some proposed form.

The third one is primarily a matter of "house style", where personally I think you just decide (or find out) what guide you should be using, and look it up there. Asking on ELU doesn't seem particularly "constructive" to me, since style guides (and people's opinions) can vary wildly.

We do actually have a few questions tagged style-manuals. I've no problem with that tag itself, though I can't say I'm likely to find such questions "interesting".

  • Ok. But the fact that they specifically referred to their requirement as academic publishing, means that such a tag could be useful. Of course, a convincing argument for academic-writing tag would be examples of words which are formal, yet not used that frequently in academic writing. Will have to think of something.
    – user13107
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 17:35
  • I've edited the question with an additional argument.
    – user13107
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 17:47

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