The Difference Between Academic and Business Writing Styles

When you are ready to enter the business world after graduating from school, you will find out that writing in a business environment is different that writing the essays you had to write for a class. While good grammar, spelling and structure are important for both business and academic writing, the type of writing you do will be very different in most cases. In the business world, you make be asked to write a number of different documents, including:

  • Letters
  • Memos
  • Emails for the Company
  • Press Releases
  • Executive Summaries
  • White Papers

These types of documents are much different from the research papers or essays that you had to write in your English or history class.

Academic Writing

The focus of writing an essay for a class is usually on facts and issues rather than the writer's opinion of a topic. The writing style is more formal and it usually written with the reader's viewpoint in mind. The language is more precise and formal, with usually no use of slang, jargon and abbreviations.

Writing an essay or paper for a class usually requires a lot of outside research to be done so you can present facts to back up an argument for or against the topic of your paper. Some examples of what you may write for a class include:

  • Essays
  • Book Reports
  • Dissertations
  • Thesis
  • Abstracts

Business Writing

The style of writing for business purposes isn't as formal as it is for academic purposes, but it should be professional and be focused on the subject of the memo or email. The focus of business writing is clarity so that the reader will understand the reason for the communication and the information that it contains.

Qualifiers should be avoided to keep the message of the writing from seeming weak and words that suggest action should be used for business writing. The sentences should be shorter and simpler, making them easy for the reader to understand.

Comparing the Writing Styles

Similarities do exist in business and writing for the classroom in that the ideas should be communicated in a way that the reader has a clear understanding of the subject matter. The tone should be serious whether you are writing a research paper or making recommendations at work. Whether you are writing an essay for school or a memo at the office, your writing should contain well-developed ideas that the reader should be easily able to understand.