Academic Writing

Features of academic writing

Complexity

Lexical density

Written English generally has a much denser pattern of  words, it is more lexically dense. If we define lexical density as the number of  content words in a clause, then written English has a higher lexical density than spoken English (Halliday, 1996, p. 347).

For example, the written text:

Obviously the government is frightened of union reaction to its move to impose proper behaviour on unions.

is more lexically dense than the spoken version:

Obviously the government is frightened how the unions will react if it tries to make them behave properly.