How Not to Write: 14 Tips for Aspiring Humanities Academics

Writingby Lucia17 September 2020

Humanities Academics

Unlike good writers, most humanities academics are not fooled by plain English; they appreciate the power of incoherence, obscurity, and jargon. Humanities’ academic writing allows flexibility and voice while adhering to a specific format.

Writing in humanities aims to explain human values and experience. The humanities include religion, philosophy, history, literature, language, music, and art. Humanities academics in the UAE understand that these are broad subjects that examine how people express feelings, information, and ideas.

Writing in the Humanities:

Writing in humanities is divided into 3 classes; research writing, creative writing, and analytical writing. Research writing uses various sources to back-up your claims. You have to cite correctly and give credit for information and ideas that are not yours.

Analytical writing asks questions about why and how? It helps the reader to comprehend various events instead of focusing just on the summary. Creative writing aims to achieve an effect on people’s minds. Novels, short stories, and poems are creative writing.

Tips for Aspiring Humanities Academics:

Aspiring Humanities Academics

Academic writing in humanities gives you freedom in voice and style while still relaying your ideas. Here is how to do it;

1. Titles

Unlike in the past, where scholars thought titles should be brief and descriptive, you can now introduce your paper with unintelligible words. This is because you’ll be building confusion; this attracts attention.

2. Invent Words

Use your imagination to twist language; change an adjective into nouns and vice versa. If you want to excel in your university in Dubai, try standing from the crowd by being creative. Practice using great words.

3. Shudder Quotes

Language is versatile; it’s necessary to include shudder quotes around many words. These are identical to standard quotation marks; however, they do the opposite of quotation marks. They show uncertainty and irony. They suggest phrases that don’t mean what they appear to be.

4. Prefixes

Studying at a university in Dubai allows you to learn new ways of doing things. Use prefixes in your writing, for instance, eco-liberalism, techno-industry, etc. Try to use as many as possible.

5. Re-Prefix

Try to repeat and re-repeat verbs as many times as possible by using re-prefix. Imagine and re-imagine, frame and re-frame; this shows readers that you know where you are heading.

6. Verbs

Verbs are essential in any writing; use verbs and their passive together several times. In passive writing, the subject receives the action.

7. Dashes and Slashes

When you get stuck on the words to use, include all of them and separate each using slashes, such as church/clergy, freedom/power, etc. You can also have phrases on both sides of the slashes.

8. Obfuscation

Avoid writing about colonialism; the public is familiar with this subject. Focus on “coloniality,” “Eurocolonialists,” or “Semicolonialism.” Instead of writing about physical violence, write about “discursive violence.”

9. Use Very

Using the word “very” increases dramatic effects; it makes your writing sound profound. Dramatic effects increase the value of ordinary words. You can write with clarity, and have it interesting to make your work more captivating. Make use of vocabulary like “very” to describe complex events or objects.

10. Prepositions

Did you know that many verbs can take multiple prepositions? They enhance your work by showing the relationship between pronouns and nouns. Avoid writing mistakes like writing a verb after a preposition; it must always be followed by a pronoun or noun. You can use different types of prepositions like the phrase, double, simple, participle, and compound prepositions.

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11. Use French in your English Writing

If you’re a beginner, try starting with simple words, for instance, ancien régime, cause célèbre, Longue durée, fin de siècle, genre, belles-lettres, évolué, œuvre, etc. As you master the language, start leaving words in French. When you’re an excellent humanity academic, you can leave phrases in their original language without the need for translation.

12. Focus

This is one of the best ways to approach your writing; if you start with simple ideas, you can expand them later; however, if you start large, you might be unable to handle it. Keeping it simple allows you to communicate your opinions effectively.

13. Transform Incoherence into Elegance

Use the word “as” to link unrelated ideas without an explanation of why they are related. You can also use the phrase “of”; it makes 2 unrelated words seem related.  These phrases imply metaphysical links between 2 nouns.

14. Interruption

Excellent scholars know the importance of causing interruptions mid-sentence to clarify ideas. This allows you to be concise; you don’t have to use many words to relay your ideas. It also allows you to be specific.

Sometimes, it can be challenging to write in humanities; however, it is not impossible. Following simple tips like using prepositions correctly and using dashes and spaces can transform your writing and turn you into a star academic. Good English does not fool most academics.

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Lucia Patterson is the woman behind TheLegalGuides, a blog solely focused on legal guides, tips, and advice. Lucia loves essay writing and blogs at EssayWritingGuides from her college days.

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