Thing is one of the most overused words in Academic English. You’ve probably written something like: “This essay will discuss several possible things” OR “One thing which affected the results one…” Right?
The reason why thing is used so much, is because it’s a beautifully versatile word which can be used in so many situations.
It’s also really lazy.
In everyday conversations, there’s no real problem. If you say ‘thing’ too much, it’ll be annoying, but that’s all.
In academic language, it’s another story. In academic writing and speaking, you’re trying to convince your audience that you know what you’re talking about.
That’s one reason why academic language is so formal.
So, here are some pretty useful alternatives that you can use instead of ‘thing’. They’re all nouns, so you use them the same way that you use ‘thing’. Think of them as being academic versions of ‘thing’.
There are two basic steps to using these ‘thing replacements’. Of course, it’s still easier to use ‘thing’… but we don’t want to use thing’ anymore!
Step 1: Decide which ‘thing replacement’ is suitable for your context. Use the definition to help you.
Step 2: Use the ‘thing replacement’:
Note: Try to always use a ‘replacement’, especially in your thesis statement.
The next time you use ‘thing’, see if you can replace it with one of the words here!
Are there any words or phrases that you use too often? Leave a comment in the box below!
Sam is the founder and creator of English For Study. He's also lecturer in EAP/Academic English. Apart from making Academic English easy, he likes learning languages, lifting weights and eating good food.
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