Some rhetorical features of academic proseIt is a common belief that academic prose in general and published research in particular is completely impersonal. It seems as if the objectivity sought for by the hard sciences, the social sciences and the life sciences would leave no room for the use of linguistic devices aimed at eliciting the reader’s sympathy and agreement, or at guiding the reader toward particular interpretations of research data and conclusions. However, linguistic analyses of contemporary published research papers have shown that authors do use a number of language items for persuasive purposes. Some of those findings directly contradict the prescriptions found in style handbooks or in the lore about academic prose, like “never use first person pronouns.” This memo summarizes research on the rhetorical features of published research papers with the goal of demystifying the knowledge about academic prose style received from handbooks and other prescriptive sources. We think that the descriptive findings presented here will be of help for those of us
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