The Difference Between Academic Writing and General Writing

Whether you write for college, business, or simply as a therapeutic activity to boost your mental well-being, you must be aware of different forms of writing and their peculiarities. In other words, you should be aware of the difference between academic writing and general writing.

Take a look at our comprehensive list of the major distinctions between academic writing and general writing to ensure that you never confuse the two and produce stellar content each time!

Characteristics of Academic Writing

The purpose of academic writing is to demonstrate your ability to think critically about a subject at hand and to present your ideas logically. This means going beyond simply reiterating what you’ve read; if all you do is repeat other people’s arguments, you’ll never become a skilled academic writer.

Because academic writing is intended for a scholarly audience, it is essential to brush up on your writing skills and provide error-free content. The best strategy is to use a pro essay service that can help you boost your academic writing skills in no time by providing expert help from industry professionals. While some grammatical mistakes are fine when writing an astrology blog for your close friend’s circle, such errors are not acceptable in academic writing.

Some of the other essential aspects of academic writing are:

  • Academic writing should concentrate on a specific academic subject and refer to already-existing academic papers covering the same topic;
  • It should stem from thorough academic research;
  • Its goal is to provide reliable proof to the readers;
  • It should be structured in a formal manner;
  • It should include ample citations – usually in APA, MLA, or Chicago format.

​​Academic writing includes research papers, book reports, dissertations, essays, journal articles, and more. 

Characteristics of General Writing 

General writing is any form of writing that is not intended for an academic audience. It could be a letter to your colleague, a novel, or a promotional blog post. Even though solid writing skills are essential for both academic and general writing, the latter is more welcoming of creativity, eccentricity, and errors. 

While academic writing allows you to portray the best of your systematic thought and ability to form arguments, general writing can help you develop your unique writing style and connect with your readers emotionally. 

Here are some of the most important features of general writing:

  • General writing can be formal or informal; you have complete control over the length, tone, and style of your writing. Even slang is OK if it properly conveys your argument.
  • Its purpose is to inform, entertain, or persuade the readers.
  • You don’t need to include citations and references.

The Bottomline

Despite the differences, both general writing and academic writing require well-developed writing skills to effectively communicate with the audience. Even though you have more flexibility in general writing to develop your style, it is critical to always improve your writing skills in order to provide compelling content. Poor style and bad grammar will irritate an academic audience just as much as anyone else.  

So, whether you’re writing an academic paper for your midterm or a sci-fi novel, set aside many hours a day for skyrocketing your writing skills by constant reading, writing, and consulting with professionals!


Barbara Fielder is a journalist and blogger. Her expertise ranges from political journalism to creative writing to how-to blogs. Barbara is equally well-versed in a variety of academic writing formats. In her spare time, she loves to write instructional blog posts to help others boost their writing skills as well as use writing for self-therapy.