Discussion: Conversational Style and Academic Writing Style

Discussion: Conversational Style and Academic Writing Style

People communicate using different methods. Information is communicated using speech, formal writing, or even informal writing, among other methods. According to Frohlich et al. (2019), the method of communication depends on the type of information being passed, the audience, and the literacy level. For instance, formal writing communicates information to a knowledgeable audience.

Informal communication can be used for knowledgeable and illiterate audiences, depending on the information communicated. Differences exist between daily speech patterns and formal/academic writing styles. This discussion presents the differences that I have noticed between my daily conversational style and academic writing.

The language used in daily conversations and academic writing differs. Conversational language is usually simple and understandable since it is mainly used in ordinary daily situations. On the other hand, the language used in academic writing is detailed and often incorporates academic jargon depending on the field of writing. Conversational language may be a bit casual and often incorporate slang.

The language in formal academic writing falls into levels such as college level and graduate level. In contrast, language use in conversations does not necessarily have to fall under a certain level. Language use in academic writing is structured and requires proper grammar use. In contrast, in daily conversations, proper grammar is not mandatory, provided the information put across can be understood.

The intentions and purposes served when using daily conversational style, and formal academic writing style also differs. The conversational style may be used when writing casual emails, chatting with friends, letters to family, or posting something on social media. On the other hand, the formal academic writing style can be used when writing scholarly articles, job application letters, and formal presentations.

The formal academic writing style uses a different tone and choice of words compared to the daily conversational style. The formal writing style may use a less personal tone, and words like I and we are less likely to be used since formal writing is mainly in the third person. Conversely, the conversational style uses a personal tone since it is casual and mainly targets friends and family. Formality is, therefore, not mandatory in casual conversations.

The use of punctuation and structure also differs between conversational and academic writing styles. The conversational style does not require serious punctuation; one can use emotive punctuation such as exclamation marks and ellipses. The academic writing style, in contrast, requires a solid application of proper punctuation and structure (Poe, 2022).

Conversational style writing may include shorthand, while academic writing style always requires the writer to organize ideas in well-structured paragraphs. For example, when writing an email to a friend, you can go straight to the point after greetings, while an academic essay requires an introduction, body, and conclusion.

The content flow in conversational writing style is not necessarily required, while academic writing style requires a smooth flow of content. I notice that when I write text messages, I tend to assume that the other person knows what I mean and might get off subject.

However, I must keep the subject content flowing in academic writing. Using topic sentences and transitional words from one paragraph to another keeps the content flowing in an academic writing style, which is not necessarily used in a conversational style.

In conclusion, both conversational writing and academic writing styles are important based on the context and purpose of usage. It is also essential to note the differences and avoid mixing the two. The differences discussed above show the distinction between the two styles’ intentions, language use, tone, and punctuation.                        


Fröhlich, M., Sievers, C., Townsend, S. W., Gruber, T., & van Schaik, C. P. (2019). Multimodal communication and language origins: integrating gestures and vocalizations. Biological Reviews94(5), 1809-1829. https://doi.org/10.1111/brv.12535

Poe, M. (2022). Learning to unlearn the teaching and assessment of academic writing. Discourse and Writing32, 161-190. https://doi.org/10.31468/dwr.977