academic writing vs business writing

Academic Writing vs. Business Writing

Most people think that business writing and academic writing are similar enough to each other, but that’s not the case at all. The goal of writing is to inform people and exchange ideas.

However, how you do that differs between different spheres of communication. One of the things you learn as you write is that your audience’s perception of your writing will change depending on who your target is.

As a student, you could get a professional online essay writing service at, if you search for a place to “write my essays for me.” Knowing what type of writing you need will help you get what you want. Let’s examine these types of writing in detail.

What Is Business Writing?

If you’ve ever read a report or an email that a company has produced, you’ll realize that it’s not typical writing. Business writing has the perspective of communicating with shareholders, customers, or internal business departments. While there are many reasons why business writing is unique, the one that stands out when comparing it to academic writing is the purpose. Business writing pushes people to take action.

And What About Academic Writing?

As a student, you probably have done your share of projects and papers to hand in to your lecturers. You will immediately realize that your writing distinctly differs from business writing in several ways.

Academic writing doesn’t really seek to inform others. Instead, it aims to express knowledge gained by informing oneself. While a few academic writing pursuits, such as theses and reports, are made to educate others, they are primarily designed to show off what the writer learned.

The Major Differences Between Academic and Business Writing

Now that we have an appreciation for both academic and business writing, we can examine how they differ. We already covered that the purpose of these types of writing is different, but the differences are more comprehensive than just their target audience.

1. Tone and Style of the Piece

When you examine academic and business writing, they both have shades of formality in their tones. Academic writing is done from a third-person perspective. There are also no colloquialisms or slang words in an educational writing project since this might affect the student’s grade.

Academic writing also uses a lot of industry-specific jargon to show that the writer knows what they’re talking about. On the other hand, business writing is supposed to connect with an audience and spur them to action. Instead of the long, poetic sentences one finds in academic writing, business writing is terse and to the point. It’s likely to have many bullet points in its structure. This leads to it seeming less formal than academic writing.

• Business writing usually consists of short, direct sentences focusing on action.
• Academic writing is built up of complex sentences that don’t shy away from jargon and demonstration of knowledge.

2. Structure

Everyone should be aware of how academic pieces are structured. From the shortest essay to the long papers that take up entire weeks to research, these writing assignments have three main parts: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. However, it’s almost immediately apparent that business writing doesn’t approach things in the same way.

Because there are so many methodologies of business writing (brochures, landing pages, etc.), there’s no clear-cut way to structure these blocks of text. Some business writing might be targeted to a buyer, while others might be a report for the company’s board of directors. These are structured differently, with inclusions of phrases that will drive the reader to do something. Thanks to this wide range of potential uses, business writing offers much more flexibility in delivering ideas.

• Academic writing is rigid in its structure: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion.
• Business writing is flexible, allowing writers to experiment with styles to target their selected audience.

3. Audience

We briefly mentioned that there are different audiences for academic and business writing. Academic writing is usually focused on informing peers or lecturers within the setting of an educational facility. Business writing can be used to target anyone inside or outside the company.

Some common uses of business writing are internal communications between departments at a large corporation and press releases distributed by entrepreneurs. Both target different audiences, so their wording and tone may need to change to better connect with that audience.

• Business writing typically targets several audiences ranging from inside the business to the average consumer.
• Academic writing targets peers or lecturers within an educational setting.

4. Document Design

Many educational institutions have their preferences when it comes to their reports and essays. Most default to size 12 Times New Roman font, with lines either double-spaced or at 1.5 spacing, depending on the lecturer’s preferences. These rigid rules help lecturers deal with the number of scripts they need to go through, making it easier for them to make notes.

On the other hand, business writing can be as informal or formal as the application demands. For example, a report that will be circulated to shareholders may be designed like a magazine, with columns of text to make a more friendly approach. A presentation may instead be formatted into a series of slides, with many different font and image options to keep the viewer’s attention.

• Academic writing typically has strict rules about what is allowed in document design.
• Business writing allows for more flexibility in document design based on what the readers will use the document for.

5. Citations or Sources

Academic writing defers to a set of standard citations for its papers and essays. For example, some educational institutions require students to cite their sources in MLA format, while others prefer the Chicago Style formatting for references. Academic institutions use several reference systems, typically standardizing all departments to use that reference methodology.

Business writing might be more flexible in its citation statements. Business writing often may not include citations aside from footnotes about where the author got their information for statistics. Business writers will follow whatever reference system their business requires when including sources. Sometimes, these reference systems may vary significantly between departments within the same company.

• Academic writing uses standardized citation systems across all of the institution’s assignments.
• Business writing varies its citation system from department to department.

Knowing the Difference Is Important

Whether you’re a student or someone in business, knowing the difference in types can help you to navigate the writing field. While there are many more differences between the writing types, these are the easiest to spot. Hopefully, they can inform you about academic vs. business writing.

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