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Academic Communication

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Report writing

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Language and style

A report is usually written in the third person - this means not using 'I' or 'we'. For more information on this, see our topic ‘Choice of person in academic writing’.

Check your grammar, spelling and punctuation. Avoid jargon and conversational colloquialisms, and keep sentence construction simple.

Aim for a clear, objective and logical presentation of your material. Also consider your ‘voice.’ For a report written in the workplace, you might have to be careful not to offend others. Neither would you want to sound over-confident. Report writers typically use cautious language. For example, presenting recommendations as 'coulds' or 'possibilities'.

‘Problem x could be rectified by initiating….’
‘Another possibility would be…’

There is some useful guidance on cautious language, and suitable phrases in the ‘Manchester Phrasebank’ resource.

Web resource

Manchester Phrasebank – being cautious
Other information: This section of the Phrasebank gives lots of examples of ‘cautious’ phrasing.