Language Focus: The Vocabulary Shift

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LANGUAGE FOCUS: THE VOCABULARY SHIFT
A distinctive feature of academic writing style is choosing the more formal alternative when selecting a verb, noun, or other part of speech. Verbs
English often has two (or more) choices to express an action or occurrence. The choice is often between a phrasal or prepositional verb (verb + preposition) and a single verb, the latter with Latinate origins. Often in lectures and other instances of everyday spoken English, the verb + preposition is used; however, for written academic style, the preferred choice is a single verb wherever possible. This is one of the most dramatic stylistic shifts from informal to formal style. Researchers looked at the way strain builds up around a fault. (less formal style)

Researchers observed the way strain accumulates around a fault. (academic style)

Choose a verb from the list that reduces the informality of each sentence. Note that you may need to add tense to the verb from the list. assist reduce create investigate raise establish increase determine fluctuate eliminate

1. Expert Systems can help out the user in the diagnosis of problems. 2. This program was set up to improve access to medical care. 3. Research expenditures have gone up to nearly $350 million. 4. The use of optical character readers (OCRs) should cut down the number of problems with the U.S. mail service. 5. Researchers have found out that this drug has serious side effects. 6. Building a nuclear power plant will not get rid of the energy problem completely. 7. Researchers have been looking into this problem for 15 years now. 8. This issue was brought up during the investigation.

9. Engineers can come up with better designs using CAD.
10. The emission levels have been going up and down.

Reduce the informality of each sentence by substituting a single verb for the one in italics. 1. The...
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