When writing an essay, students are limited to their fantasy and the credibility of their sources. However, apart from the content that you are going to deliver, you should also pay attention to the form and words that you use. Academic writing presupposes rather strict rules and demands to words that should be used and those that should be omitted. So, we decided to prepare a list of words you should cut from your writing immediately.


We are all used to using contractions: we can hardly imagine someone saying “I am okay,” for instance, instead of regular “I’m okay.” But academic essays do not presuppose contractions: you should write full words. A pleasing bonus is that you will have more words when avoiding contractions. Below you can see the examples of how contractions should be changed. 

Don’t —> do not
They’ll —> they will

Emotional words and evaluations 

In most cases, essays should not include your evaluation. Emotional words make your text more vivid and bright; however, in academic papers, you should stay objective. You should write about facts, not your attitude when you are working on an academic essay. How can you make your essay less emotional and more objective? Check the examples below:

The horrible war started —> The World War 2 started
The Great Depression led to horrible results —> The results of the Great Depression included increased prices, unemployment issues, and the downfall of personal income.  

Of course, there can be exceptions: if you write an opinion essay, your ideas and thoughts should be added. 

Personal pronouns

We use lots of personal pronouns in our everyday life — so it’s pretty difficult to exclude them from your text. However, with some practice, everything is possible. How to get rid of numerous “I”, “you”, and “we”? Rephrase the sentence. You can use passive voice (but don’t use it too often) or just choose a different subject. 

You should write about your expectations when applying for work —> Make sure to write about your expectations when applying for work.
After making an analysis, I can make the following conclusion… —> A conducted analysis leads to the following confusion…

“It goes without saying” and other empty phrases

“It is a well-known fact that”, “It is widely accepted”, “everyone knows that” and other phrases only weaken the credibility of your text. If everyone knows that, you should not mention it. Make sure to exclude well-known, obvious, or general facts from your text. Moreover, the higher academic level you have, the more such facts would exist. For instance, if you write about Lincoln in high school, you might wish to mention the dates of his life. In a college essay, you should write only information from his life that is related to the topic of your essay. In a Master’s level paper, you should mention only those biographical facts that are tightly connected to your analysis. 

We all know that studying is difficult —> Students with a low level of initial preparation may consider studying difficult.


Idioms make your language more vivid. Especially if English is not your native language. However, idioms will not improve the quality of your academic papers. You have to sound clear and concise, so leave idioms for Instagram posts or personal narratives. 

To add insult to injury, that year was very cold —> Cold weather only made the situation worse.
Winston Churchill kicked the bucket in 1965 —> Winston Churchill died in 1965.


No doubt, you use these words millions of times in your essays. That is totally understandable — they are so basic that we think about them in the first place. Still, if you want to sound professional and write something exceptional — try to find synonyms or paraphrase your sentences.

This book was very interesting —> The plot of the book was gripping
He had a good idea —> His idea saved thousands of people,

“Some” and Other Uncertainties 

Your essay should be clear — so instead of general words and phrases, provide facts. In that way, you will be more persuasive and will have fewer chances to misinterpret specific events or facts. In addition, when writing about some people, you show that you did not conduct proper research or did not come to clear conclusions. Here is an example of how you can avoid it. 

Some people cannot find a job —> People with low self-esteem and lack of proper education face difficulties when finding a job. 


Have you started at least one of your essays with quotes of some famous people? You may think that it’s a good idea — many writers do so — but it’s better to leave such a “hook” for the fiction writers. In academic papers, quotes should be added only when they are really necessary. 

You can add a quote if you are analyzing it — or if you need to provide an example of the author’s writing style. In other words, if you have no chance not to use this quote. In the rest of the cases, always paraphrase. For instance, you may include a quote from a Rose for Emily to analyze it (You can check a free sample here)

Passive Voice

Passive voice is a way to get rid of personal pronouns in academic essays. The painful truth is that it’s not a panacea. And that you shouldn’t use passive voice constantly. The problem is that it makes your essay sound like a very boring business document that no one is going to read. Passive voice can be used sometimes — but you should be really careful with it. Here is how you can manage this issue:

Samsung gadgets are produced in Korea —> Korean factories produce the majority of Samsung gadgets.
Results of their actions can be traced —> Results of their actions included

You may wish to expand the list of these words and phrases, adding other elements that are not necessary for academic essays. We hope that this list will be useful for you, helping you to polish your writing. You can also request the help of our editors, placing the order on our website with editing services.