Top 10 Difference Between Academic & Business Writing


In a categorical context, an academic or business writing, should both convey their message clearly to the reader. However, these types of writings differ in nature as they belong to two varying fields. Their purpose, audience, and subject matter are some of the aspects that do not match each other. To explore these and further differences, we have laid out all the major factors that set them apart.

1. Prompt
Academic writings are written by students who are prompted by their teachers. The assignment is designed by the instructors. Academic writing is basically more about completing the requirements of the teacher.
Business writers, on the other hand, write upon personal initiative or when their organization needs them to. A professional writer is at liberty to define and create their own writing tasks.

2. Purpose
The purpose of academic content is for students to demonstrate how much knowledge they have gained. Teachers expect essays or research papers to reflect everything learned in class. A student needs to show that they are able to apply different concepts through their writing.

Business writings are meant to make things happen like attract customers, report sales, and solve issues among many others. Unlike academic writing, it does not monitor or develop the growth of the writer’s potential.

3. Audience
The audience of academic writing is most often just a professor. Sometimes experts of a particular field might read it too. But business writing has a vast array of target audiences. It consists of stakeholders, clients, employees, managers, agencies, lawyers, and more. Non-academic writing caters to the interests and needs of a lot of people.

4. Genre
Term papers, journals, essays, oral reports, exam answers, etc. all come under the category of academic writing. Business writing consists of memos, proposals, letters, reports, business plans, and performance evaluations. Audit reports, contracts, marketing plans, handbooks, and manuals also belong to the same genre.

5. Ownership
The sole owner of an academic piece is the student who has written it. The failure or success of the writing only affects its owner. While a business writer is creating content for the company. Therefore, anything they write is owned by the company. It might often include confidential and vital information.

6. Constraints
Academic writing is more flexible in most cases. Through the writing process, a student is free to choose the environment they want to write in. They also have the independence to show their own perspective as long as they stay within the premises of the topic.

As a business writer meeting, urgent deadlines is crucial. These deadlines are set by employers to cater to the needs of their company. There are many distractions at the workplace where business content is written. Moreover, the writer is rarely allowed to include their own honest opinion on the material.

7. Process
Students have to complete an assignment on their own unless it is a group project. Once finished the writing is delivered straight to the instructor. So, the whole process does not have many people involved.
A business document usually goes through various hands to provide feedback before being published. Professionals often have to work in tandem to compose effective business writing.

8. Structure
This difference might be one of the most significant of all. An academic paper must have an introduction with a thesis statement, a body, and a conclusion. The body lays out all the arguments connected to the thesis. And lastly, the conclusion sums it up and paves the way for a future study. This sort of writing is based on the requirements of the subject, thesis, and the teacher’s expectations.

The structure of business writing is entirely different. It includes a table of contents, company description, executive summary, industry/strategic analysis, and recommendations. It is based on what the audience needs to know or what they should do.

9. Content
An academic writer can add any point to their work, that is relevant and helps in supporting their thesis. A business document is bound to only include information that the readers need to be informed of. The rest of it is omitted or included in an appendix.

10. Design
Students have to follow the academic format given to them by their instructor. The content usually has to be double spaced, with 12-point font, page numbers, and a title. It creates a blocky and dense style that has paragraph indentations. A business document should be attractive in the visual sense. Furthermore, it allows its readers two ways of reading the document: skimming or observing in detail.

A business writing has very often white spaces incorporated into its structure. The headings and subheadings are prominent and information is listed out as bullet points. Images like logos, charts, graphs, photos, or maps can also be included in a business document.

These were the 10 major differences between academic and business writing. One is certain to come across both of these writing genres at some point in their life. So, it is important to know the basic differences in order to develop the skills for each of them. When writing for the business you need to mold your writing style according to the target audience. Your basic goal is to be able to deliver a concise message in the correct tone to the reader. Paragraphs need to be no more than eight lines longer in print form to make it easier to read through.

While writing for academic purposes, you need to be more concerned about stating your ideas in the strongest way possible. The more learned you are about the field, the better your arguments will be. It can be quite lengthy, unlike a business document, which should be brief to keep the reader’s attention engaged. To enhance your professional writing skills, it is a good idea to enlist in a business writing course. They give you a detailed insight on what would please your manager and make your writing impactful.

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