Super Boring phrases for academic writing

I imagine the editor going to sleep. Image from Flunkmaster

I imagine the editor going to sleep. Image from Flunkmaster

I’ve been trying to write lately- write my thesis, write (re-write) a Journal article that  I drafted 3 years ago  and in re-reading some of what I’ve written – I’ve realised that it is boring as batsh*t

Ugh – if I have read another “I will explore….”  “I will illustrate”  – as this is my own work! [and I’ve not even read it that many times….]

I’ve got a list of “Cheat Sheet Phrases” that I compiled from the Thesis Whisperer Verb Cheat Sheet  and from They Say I Say   – it has been super useful throughout my writing – but I now realise that my writing is also super boring.

Just wondering how other people get around this – how to make your academic writing interesting? and does anyone have any phrases that they think are super boring.

Here’s my worst ones (truly taken from my draft article):

  • In this section, I will explore how …
  • I will draw on the empirical research to illustrate my point.  
  • These approaches draw on 
  • It is important to understand 
  • Four main areas to be discussed in this paper are 




About Sarina Kilham

I'm a Doctoral Researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney. Trained as a social scientist and with a Masters in Sustainable Agriculture, I'm interested in farmer's experiences of growing feedstock for biodiesel production. My research has focused on biodiesel production in Brazil and Timor-Leste. Also on Twitter @sarinakilham and blogging at
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1 Response to Super Boring phrases for academic writing

  1. Eleanor Glenn says:

    I’m also writing, and trying not to get too caught up in the micro right now (ie the wording in your dot point examples). I actually really like ‘signposting’ eg “Four main areas to be discusssed in this paper are…”. Is it those phrases that are annoying you or is it also what’s in the guts of the paper… I reckon focus on the content and making sure the content is interesting and important and then afterwards look at the ‘signposting’ and ‘intro’ bits (“this section explores how…”).

    Here’s what I’m trying, see if these mantras are useful for you too:
    I am sometimes my own worst critic. I just need to get the thing done. The perfect is the enemy of the good. 🙂

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