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  • 40 Useful Words and Phrases for Top-Notch Essays

words to use instead of us in an essay

To be truly brilliant, an essay needs to utilise the right language. You could make a great point, but if it’s not intelligently articulated, you almost needn’t have bothered.

Developing the language skills to build an argument and to write persuasively is crucial if you’re to write outstanding essays every time. In this article, we’re going to equip you with the words and phrases you need to write a top-notch essay, along with examples of how to utilise them.

It’s by no means an exhaustive list, and there will often be other ways of using the words and phrases we describe that we won’t have room to include, but there should be more than enough below to help you make an instant improvement to your essay-writing skills.

If you’re interested in developing your language and persuasive skills, Oxford Royale offers summer courses at its Oxford Summer School , Cambridge Summer School , London Summer School , San Francisco Summer School and Yale Summer School . You can study courses to learn english , prepare for careers in law , medicine , business , engineering and leadership.

General explaining

Let’s start by looking at language for general explanations of complex points.

1. In order to

Usage: “In order to” can be used to introduce an explanation for the purpose of an argument. Example: “In order to understand X, we need first to understand Y.”

2. In other words

Usage: Use “in other words” when you want to express something in a different way (more simply), to make it easier to understand, or to emphasise or expand on a point. Example: “Frogs are amphibians. In other words, they live on the land and in the water.”

3. To put it another way

Usage: This phrase is another way of saying “in other words”, and can be used in particularly complex points, when you feel that an alternative way of wording a problem may help the reader achieve a better understanding of its significance. Example: “Plants rely on photosynthesis. To put it another way, they will die without the sun.”

4. That is to say

Usage: “That is” and “that is to say” can be used to add further detail to your explanation, or to be more precise. Example: “Whales are mammals. That is to say, they must breathe air.”

5. To that end

Usage: Use “to that end” or “to this end” in a similar way to “in order to” or “so”. Example: “Zoologists have long sought to understand how animals communicate with each other. To that end, a new study has been launched that looks at elephant sounds and their possible meanings.”

Adding additional information to support a point

Students often make the mistake of using synonyms of “and” each time they want to add further information in support of a point they’re making, or to build an argument . Here are some cleverer ways of doing this.

6. Moreover

Usage: Employ “moreover” at the start of a sentence to add extra information in support of a point you’re making. Example: “Moreover, the results of a recent piece of research provide compelling evidence in support of…”

7. Furthermore

Usage:This is also generally used at the start of a sentence, to add extra information. Example: “Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that…”

8. What’s more

Usage: This is used in the same way as “moreover” and “furthermore”. Example: “What’s more, this isn’t the only evidence that supports this hypothesis.”

9. Likewise

Usage: Use “likewise” when you want to talk about something that agrees with what you’ve just mentioned. Example: “Scholar A believes X. Likewise, Scholar B argues compellingly in favour of this point of view.”

10. Similarly

Usage: Use “similarly” in the same way as “likewise”. Example: “Audiences at the time reacted with shock to Beethoven’s new work, because it was very different to what they were used to. Similarly, we have a tendency to react with surprise to the unfamiliar.”

11. Another key thing to remember

Usage: Use the phrase “another key point to remember” or “another key fact to remember” to introduce additional facts without using the word “also”. Example: “As a Romantic, Blake was a proponent of a closer relationship between humans and nature. Another key point to remember is that Blake was writing during the Industrial Revolution, which had a major impact on the world around him.”

12. As well as

Usage: Use “as well as” instead of “also” or “and”. Example: “Scholar A argued that this was due to X, as well as Y.”

13. Not only… but also

Usage: This wording is used to add an extra piece of information, often something that’s in some way more surprising or unexpected than the first piece of information. Example: “Not only did Edmund Hillary have the honour of being the first to reach the summit of Everest, but he was also appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.”

14. Coupled with

Usage: Used when considering two or more arguments at a time. Example: “Coupled with the literary evidence, the statistics paint a compelling view of…”

15. Firstly, secondly, thirdly…

Usage: This can be used to structure an argument, presenting facts clearly one after the other. Example: “There are many points in support of this view. Firstly, X. Secondly, Y. And thirdly, Z.

16. Not to mention/to say nothing of

Usage: “Not to mention” and “to say nothing of” can be used to add extra information with a bit of emphasis. Example: “The war caused unprecedented suffering to millions of people, not to mention its impact on the country’s economy.”

Words and phrases for demonstrating contrast

When you’re developing an argument, you will often need to present contrasting or opposing opinions or evidence – “it could show this, but it could also show this”, or “X says this, but Y disagrees”. This section covers words you can use instead of the “but” in these examples, to make your writing sound more intelligent and interesting.

17. However

Usage: Use “however” to introduce a point that disagrees with what you’ve just said. Example: “Scholar A thinks this. However, Scholar B reached a different conclusion.”

18. On the other hand

Usage: Usage of this phrase includes introducing a contrasting interpretation of the same piece of evidence, a different piece of evidence that suggests something else, or an opposing opinion. Example: “The historical evidence appears to suggest a clear-cut situation. On the other hand, the archaeological evidence presents a somewhat less straightforward picture of what happened that day.”

19. Having said that

Usage: Used in a similar manner to “on the other hand” or “but”. Example: “The historians are unanimous in telling us X, an agreement that suggests that this version of events must be an accurate account. Having said that, the archaeology tells a different story.”

20. By contrast/in comparison

Usage: Use “by contrast” or “in comparison” when you’re comparing and contrasting pieces of evidence. Example: “Scholar A’s opinion, then, is based on insufficient evidence. By contrast, Scholar B’s opinion seems more plausible.”

21. Then again

Usage: Use this to cast doubt on an assertion. Example: “Writer A asserts that this was the reason for what happened. Then again, it’s possible that he was being paid to say this.”

22. That said

Usage: This is used in the same way as “then again”. Example: “The evidence ostensibly appears to point to this conclusion. That said, much of the evidence is unreliable at best.”

Usage: Use this when you want to introduce a contrasting idea. Example: “Much of scholarship has focused on this evidence. Yet not everyone agrees that this is the most important aspect of the situation.”

Adding a proviso or acknowledging reservations

Sometimes, you may need to acknowledge a shortfalling in a piece of evidence, or add a proviso. Here are some ways of doing so.

24. Despite this

Usage: Use “despite this” or “in spite of this” when you want to outline a point that stands regardless of a shortfalling in the evidence. Example: “The sample size was small, but the results were important despite this.”

25. With this in mind

Usage: Use this when you want your reader to consider a point in the knowledge of something else. Example: “We’ve seen that the methods used in the 19th century study did not always live up to the rigorous standards expected in scientific research today, which makes it difficult to draw definite conclusions. With this in mind, let’s look at a more recent study to see how the results compare.”

26. Provided that

Usage: This means “on condition that”. You can also say “providing that” or just “providing” to mean the same thing. Example: “We may use this as evidence to support our argument, provided that we bear in mind the limitations of the methods used to obtain it.”

27. In view of/in light of

Usage: These phrases are used when something has shed light on something else. Example: “In light of the evidence from the 2013 study, we have a better understanding of…”

28. Nonetheless

Usage: This is similar to “despite this”. Example: “The study had its limitations, but it was nonetheless groundbreaking for its day.”

29. Nevertheless

Usage: This is the same as “nonetheless”. Example: “The study was flawed, but it was important nevertheless.”

30. Notwithstanding

Usage: This is another way of saying “nonetheless”. Example: “Notwithstanding the limitations of the methodology used, it was an important study in the development of how we view the workings of the human mind.”

Giving examples

Good essays always back up points with examples, but it’s going to get boring if you use the expression “for example” every time. Here are a couple of other ways of saying the same thing.

31. For instance

Example: “Some birds migrate to avoid harsher winter climates. Swallows, for instance, leave the UK in early winter and fly south…”

32. To give an illustration

Example: “To give an illustration of what I mean, let’s look at the case of…”

Signifying importance

When you want to demonstrate that a point is particularly important, there are several ways of highlighting it as such.

33. Significantly

Usage: Used to introduce a point that is loaded with meaning that might not be immediately apparent. Example: “Significantly, Tacitus omits to tell us the kind of gossip prevalent in Suetonius’ accounts of the same period.”

34. Notably

Usage: This can be used to mean “significantly” (as above), and it can also be used interchangeably with “in particular” (the example below demonstrates the first of these ways of using it). Example: “Actual figures are notably absent from Scholar A’s analysis.”

35. Importantly

Usage: Use “importantly” interchangeably with “significantly”. Example: “Importantly, Scholar A was being employed by X when he wrote this work, and was presumably therefore under pressure to portray the situation more favourably than he perhaps might otherwise have done.”


You’ve almost made it to the end of the essay, but your work isn’t over yet. You need to end by wrapping up everything you’ve talked about, showing that you’ve considered the arguments on both sides and reached the most likely conclusion. Here are some words and phrases to help you.

36. In conclusion

Usage: Typically used to introduce the concluding paragraph or sentence of an essay, summarising what you’ve discussed in a broad overview. Example: “In conclusion, the evidence points almost exclusively to Argument A.”

37. Above all

Usage: Used to signify what you believe to be the most significant point, and the main takeaway from the essay. Example: “Above all, it seems pertinent to remember that…”

38. Persuasive

Usage: This is a useful word to use when summarising which argument you find most convincing. Example: “Scholar A’s point – that Constanze Mozart was motivated by financial gain – seems to me to be the most persuasive argument for her actions following Mozart’s death.”

39. Compelling

Usage: Use in the same way as “persuasive” above. Example: “The most compelling argument is presented by Scholar A.”

40. All things considered

Usage: This means “taking everything into account”. Example: “All things considered, it seems reasonable to assume that…”

How many of these words and phrases will you get into your next essay? And are any of your favourite essay terms missing from our list? Let us know in the comments below, or get in touch here to find out more about courses that can help you with your essays.

At Oxford Royale Academy, we offer a number of  summer school courses for young people who are keen to improve their essay writing skills. Click here to apply for one of our courses today, including law , business , medicine  and engineering .

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Words to Use in an Essay: 300 Essay Words

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Hannah Yang

words to use in an essay

Table of Contents

Words to use in the essay introduction, words to use in the body of the essay, words to use in your essay conclusion, how to improve your essay writing vocabulary.

It’s not easy to write an academic essay .

Many students struggle to word their arguments in a logical and concise way.

To make matters worse, academic essays need to adhere to a certain level of formality, so we can’t always use the same word choices in essay writing that we would use in daily life.

If you’re struggling to choose the right words for your essay, don’t worry—you’ve come to the right place!

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of over 300 words and phrases to use in the introduction, body, and conclusion of your essay.

The introduction is one of the hardest parts of an essay to write.

You have only one chance to make a first impression, and you want to hook your reader. If the introduction isn’t effective, the reader might not even bother to read the rest of the essay.

That’s why it’s important to be thoughtful and deliberate with the words you choose at the beginning of your essay.

Many students use a quote in the introductory paragraph to establish credibility and set the tone for the rest of the essay.

When you’re referencing another author or speaker, try using some of these phrases:

To use the words of X

According to X

As X states

Example: To use the words of Hillary Clinton, “You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health.”

Near the end of the introduction, you should state the thesis to explain the central point of your paper.

If you’re not sure how to introduce your thesis, try using some of these phrases:

In this essay, I will…

The purpose of this essay…

This essay discusses…

In this paper, I put forward the claim that…

There are three main arguments for…

Phrases to introduce a thesis

Example: In this essay, I will explain why dress codes in public schools are detrimental to students.

After you’ve stated your thesis, it’s time to start presenting the arguments you’ll use to back up that central idea.

When you’re introducing the first of a series of arguments, you can use the following words:

First and foremost

First of all

To begin with

Example: First , consider the effects that this new social security policy would have on low-income taxpayers.

All these words and phrases will help you create a more successful introduction and convince your audience to read on.

The body of your essay is where you’ll explain your core arguments and present your evidence.

It’s important to choose words and phrases for the body of your essay that will help the reader understand your position and convince them you’ve done your research.

Let’s look at some different types of words and phrases that you can use in the body of your essay, as well as some examples of what these words look like in a sentence.

Transition Words and Phrases

Transitioning from one argument to another is crucial for a good essay.

It’s important to guide your reader from one idea to the next so they don’t get lost or feel like you’re jumping around at random.

Transition phrases and linking words show your reader you’re about to move from one argument to the next, smoothing out their reading experience. They also make your writing look more professional.

The simplest transition involves moving from one idea to a separate one that supports the same overall argument. Try using these phrases when you want to introduce a second correlating idea:


In addition


Another key thing to remember

In the same way


Example: Additionally , public parks increase property value because home buyers prefer houses that are located close to green, open spaces.

Another type of transition involves restating. It’s often useful to restate complex ideas in simpler terms to help the reader digest them. When you’re restating an idea, you can use the following words:

In other words

To put it another way

That is to say

To put it more simply

Example: “The research showed that 53% of students surveyed expressed a mild or strong preference for more on-campus housing. In other words , over half the students wanted more dormitory options.”

Often, you’ll need to provide examples to illustrate your point more clearly for the reader. When you’re about to give an example of something you just said, you can use the following words:

For instance

To give an illustration of

To exemplify

To demonstrate

As evidence

Example: Humans have long tried to exert control over our natural environment. For instance , engineers reversed the Chicago River in 1900, causing it to permanently flow backward.

Sometimes, you’ll need to explain the impact or consequence of something you’ve just said.

When you’re drawing a conclusion from evidence you’ve presented, try using the following words:

As a result


As you can see

This suggests that

It follows that

It can be seen that

For this reason

For all of those reasons


Example: “There wasn’t enough government funding to support the rest of the physics experiment. Thus , the team was forced to shut down their experiment in 1996.”

Phrases to draw conclusions

When introducing an idea that bolsters one you’ve already stated, or adds another important aspect to that same argument, you can use the following words:

What’s more

Not only…but also

Not to mention

To say nothing of

Another key point

Example: The volcanic eruption disrupted hundreds of thousands of people. Moreover , it impacted the local flora and fauna as well, causing nearly a hundred species to go extinct.

Often, you'll want to present two sides of the same argument. When you need to compare and contrast ideas, you can use the following words:

On the one hand / on the other hand


In contrast to

On the contrary

By contrast

In comparison

Example: On the one hand , the Black Death was undoubtedly a tragedy because it killed millions of Europeans. On the other hand , it created better living conditions for the peasants who survived.

Finally, when you’re introducing a new angle that contradicts your previous idea, you can use the following phrases:

Having said that

Differing from

In spite of

With this in mind

Provided that




Example: Shakespearean plays are classic works of literature that have stood the test of time. Having said that , I would argue that Shakespeare isn’t the most accessible form of literature to teach students in the twenty-first century.

Good essays include multiple types of logic. You can use a combination of the transitions above to create a strong, clear structure throughout the body of your essay.

Strong Verbs for Academic Writing

Verbs are especially important for writing clear essays. Often, you can convey a nuanced meaning simply by choosing the right verb.

You should use strong verbs that are precise and dynamic. Whenever possible, you should use an unambiguous verb, rather than a generic verb.

For example, alter and fluctuate are stronger verbs than change , because they give the reader more descriptive detail.

Here are some useful verbs that will help make your essay shine.

Verbs that show change:


Verbs that relate to causing or impacting something:

Verbs that show increase:

Verbs that show decrease:


Verbs that relate to parts of a whole:

Comprises of

Is composed of




Verbs that show a negative stance:


Verbs that show a negative stance

Verbs that show a positive stance:


Verbs that relate to drawing conclusions from evidence:



Verbs that relate to thinking and analysis:




Verbs that relate to showing information in a visual format:

Useful Adjectives and Adverbs for Academic Essays

You should use adjectives and adverbs more sparingly than verbs when writing essays, since they sometimes add unnecessary fluff to sentences.

However, choosing the right adjectives and adverbs can help add detail and sophistication to your essay.

Sometimes you'll need to use an adjective to show that a finding or argument is useful and should be taken seriously. Here are some adjectives that create positive emphasis:


Other times, you'll need to use an adjective to show that a finding or argument is harmful or ineffective. Here are some adjectives that create a negative emphasis:






Finally, you might need to use an adverb to lend nuance to a sentence, or to express a specific degree of certainty. Here are some examples of adverbs that are often used in essays:






Using these words will help you successfully convey the key points you want to express. Once you’ve nailed the body of your essay, it’s time to move on to the conclusion.

The conclusion of your paper is important for synthesizing the arguments you’ve laid out and restating your thesis.

In your concluding paragraph, try using some of these essay words:

In conclusion

To summarize

In a nutshell

Given the above

As described

All things considered

Example: In conclusion , it’s imperative that we take action to address climate change before we lose our coral reefs forever.

In addition to simply summarizing the key points from the body of your essay, you should also add some final takeaways. Give the reader your final opinion and a bit of a food for thought.

To place emphasis on a certain point or a key fact, use these essay words:






It should be noted

On the whole

Example: Ada Lovelace is unquestionably a powerful role model for young girls around the world, and more of our public school curricula should include her as a historical figure.

These concluding phrases will help you finish writing your essay in a strong, confident way.

There are many useful essay words out there that we didn't include in this article, because they are specific to certain topics.

If you're writing about biology, for example, you will need to use different terminology than if you're writing about literature.

So how do you improve your vocabulary skills?

The vocabulary you use in your academic writing is a toolkit you can build up over time, as long as you take the time to learn new words.

One way to increase your vocabulary is by looking up words you don’t know when you’re reading.

Try reading more books and academic articles in the field you’re writing about and jotting down all the new words you find. You can use these words to bolster your own essays.

You can also consult a dictionary or a thesaurus. When you’re using a word you’re not confident about, researching its meaning and common synonyms can help you make sure it belongs in your essay.

Don't be afraid of using simpler words. Good essay writing boils down to choosing the best word to convey what you need to say, not the fanciest word possible.

Finally, you can use ProWritingAid’s synonym tool or essay checker to find more precise and sophisticated vocabulary. Click on weak words in your essay to find stronger alternatives.

ProWritingAid offering synonyms for great

There you have it: our compilation of the best words and phrases to use in your next essay . Good luck!

words to use instead of us in an essay

Good writing = better grades

ProWritingAid will help you improve the style, strength, and clarity of all your assignments.

Hannah Yang is a speculative fiction writer who writes about all things strange and surreal. Her work has appeared in Analog Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, The Dark, and elsewhere, and two of her stories have been finalists for the Locus Award. Her favorite hobbies include watercolor painting, playing guitar, and rock climbing. You can follow her work on, or subscribe to her newsletter for publication updates.

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  • Tips & Guides

How To Avoid Using “We,” “You,” And “I” in an Essay

  • Posted on October 27, 2022 October 27, 2022

Maintaining a formal voice while writing academic essays and papers is essential to sound objective. 

One of the main rules of academic or formal writing is to avoid first-person pronouns like “we,” “you,” and “I.” These words pull focus away from the topic and shift it to the speaker – the opposite of your goal.

While it may seem difficult at first, some tricks can help you avoid personal language and keep a professional tone.

Let’s learn how to avoid using “we” in an essay.

What Is a Personal Pronoun?

Pronouns are words used to refer to a noun indirectly. Examples include “he,” “his,” “her,” and “hers.” Any time you refer to a noun – whether a person, object, or animal – without using its name, you use a pronoun.

Personal pronouns are a type of pronoun. A personal pronoun is a pronoun you use whenever you directly refer to the subject of the sentence. 

Take the following short paragraph as an example:

“Mr. Smith told the class yesterday to work on our essays. Mr. Smith also said that Mr. Smith lost Mr. Smith’s laptop in the lunchroom.”

The above sentence contains no pronouns at all. There are three places where you would insert a pronoun, but only two where you would put a personal pronoun. See the revised sentence below:

“Mr. Smith told the class yesterday to work on our essays. He also said that he lost his laptop in the lunchroom.”

“He” is a personal pronoun because we are talking directly about Mr. Smith. “His” is not a personal pronoun (it’s a possessive pronoun) because we are not speaking directly about Mr. Smith. Rather, we are talking about Mr. Smith’s laptop.

If later on you talk about Mr. Smith’s laptop, you may say:

“Mr. Smith found it in his car, not the lunchroom!” 

In this case, “it” is a personal pronoun because in this point of view we are making a reference to the laptop directly and not as something owned by Mr. Smith.

Why Avoid Personal Pronouns in Essay Writing

We’re teaching you how to avoid using “I” in writing, but why is this necessary? Academic writing aims to focus on a clear topic, sound objective, and paint the writer as a source of authority. Word choice can significantly impact your success in achieving these goals.

Writing that uses personal pronouns can unintentionally shift the reader’s focus onto the writer, pulling their focus away from the topic at hand.

Personal pronouns may also make your work seem less objective. 

One of the most challenging parts of essay writing is learning which words to avoid and how to avoid them. Fortunately, following a few simple tricks, you can master the English Language and write like a pro in no time.

Alternatives To Using Personal Pronouns

How to not use “I” in a paper? What are the alternatives? There are many ways to avoid the use of personal pronouns in academic writing. By shifting your word choice and sentence structure, you can keep the overall meaning of your sentences while re-shaping your tone.

Utilize Passive Voice

In conventional writing, students are taught to avoid the passive voice as much as possible, but it can be an excellent way to avoid first-person pronouns in academic writing.

You can use the passive voice to avoid using pronouns. Take this sentence, for example:

“ We used 150 ml of HCl for the experiment.”

Instead of using “we” and the active voice, you can use a passive voice without a pronoun. The sentence above becomes:

“150 ml of HCl were used for the experiment.” 

Using the passive voice removes your team from the experiment and makes your work sound more objective.

Take a Third-Person Perspective

Another answer to “how to avoid using ‘we’ in an essay?” is the use of a third-person perspective. Changing the perspective is a good way to take first-person pronouns out of a sentence. A third-person point of view will not use any first-person pronouns because the information is not given from the speaker’s perspective.

A third-person sentence is spoken entirely about the subject where the speaker is outside of the sentence.

Take a look at the sentence below:

“In this article you will learn about formal writing.”

The perspective in that sentence is second person, and it uses the personal pronoun “you.” You can change this sentence to sound more objective by using third-person pronouns:

“In this article the reader will learn about formal writing.”

The use of a third-person point of view makes the second sentence sound more academic and confident. Second-person pronouns, like those used in the first sentence, sound less formal and objective.

Be Specific With Word Choice

You can avoid first-personal pronouns by choosing your words carefully. Often, you may find that you are inserting unnecessary nouns into your work. 

Take the following sentence as an example:

“ My research shows the students did poorly on the test.”

In this case, the first-person pronoun ‘my’ can be entirely cut out from the sentence. It then becomes:

“Research shows the students did poorly on the test.”

The second sentence is more succinct and sounds more authoritative without changing the sentence structure.

You should also make sure to watch out for the improper use of adverbs and nouns. Being careful with your word choice regarding nouns, adverbs, verbs, and adjectives can help mitigate your use of personal pronouns. 

“They bravely started the French revolution in 1789.” 

While this sentence might be fine in a story about the revolution, an essay or academic piece should only focus on the facts. The world ‘bravely’ is a good indicator that you are inserting unnecessary personal pronouns into your work.

We can revise this sentence into:

“The French revolution started in 1789.” 

Avoid adverbs (adjectives that describe verbs), and you will find that you avoid personal pronouns by default.

Closing Thoughts

In academic writing, It is crucial to sound objective and focus on the topic. Using personal pronouns pulls the focus away from the subject and makes writing sound subjective.

Hopefully, this article has helped you learn how to avoid using “we” in an essay.

When working on any formal writing assignment, avoid personal pronouns and informal language as much as possible.

While getting the hang of academic writing, you will likely make some mistakes, so revising is vital. Always double-check for personal pronouns, plagiarism , spelling mistakes, and correctly cited pieces. 

 You can prevent and correct mistakes using a plagiarism checker at any time, completely for free.

Quetext is a platform that helps you with all those tasks. Check out all resources that are available to you today.

Sign Up for Quetext Today!

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Should I Use “I”?

What this handout is about.

This handout is about determining when to use first person pronouns (“I”, “we,” “me,” “us,” “my,” and “our”) and personal experience in academic writing. “First person” and “personal experience” might sound like two ways of saying the same thing, but first person and personal experience can work in very different ways in your writing. You might choose to use “I” but not make any reference to your individual experiences in a particular paper. Or you might include a brief description of an experience that could help illustrate a point you’re making without ever using the word “I.” So whether or not you should use first person and personal experience are really two separate questions, both of which this handout addresses. It also offers some alternatives if you decide that either “I” or personal experience isn’t appropriate for your project. If you’ve decided that you do want to use one of them, this handout offers some ideas about how to do so effectively, because in many cases using one or the other might strengthen your writing.

Expectations about academic writing

Students often arrive at college with strict lists of writing rules in mind. Often these are rather strict lists of absolutes, including rules both stated and unstated:

  • Each essay should have exactly five paragraphs.
  • Don’t begin a sentence with “and” or “because.”
  • Never include personal opinion.
  • Never use “I” in essays.

We get these ideas primarily from teachers and other students. Often these ideas are derived from good advice but have been turned into unnecessarily strict rules in our minds. The problem is that overly strict rules about writing can prevent us, as writers, from being flexible enough to learn to adapt to the writing styles of different fields, ranging from the sciences to the humanities, and different kinds of writing projects, ranging from reviews to research.

So when it suits your purpose as a scholar, you will probably need to break some of the old rules, particularly the rules that prohibit first person pronouns and personal experience. Although there are certainly some instructors who think that these rules should be followed (so it is a good idea to ask directly), many instructors in all kinds of fields are finding reason to depart from these rules. Avoiding “I” can lead to awkwardness and vagueness, whereas using it in your writing can improve style and clarity. Using personal experience, when relevant, can add concreteness and even authority to writing that might otherwise be vague and impersonal. Because college writing situations vary widely in terms of stylistic conventions, tone, audience, and purpose, the trick is deciphering the conventions of your writing context and determining how your purpose and audience affect the way you write. The rest of this handout is devoted to strategies for figuring out when to use “I” and personal experience.

Effective uses of “I”:

In many cases, using the first person pronoun can improve your writing, by offering the following benefits:

  • Assertiveness: In some cases you might wish to emphasize agency (who is doing what), as for instance if you need to point out how valuable your particular project is to an academic discipline or to claim your unique perspective or argument.
  • Clarity: Because trying to avoid the first person can lead to awkward constructions and vagueness, using the first person can improve your writing style.
  • Positioning yourself in the essay: In some projects, you need to explain how your research or ideas build on or depart from the work of others, in which case you’ll need to say “I,” “we,” “my,” or “our”; if you wish to claim some kind of authority on the topic, first person may help you do so.

Deciding whether “I” will help your style

Here is an example of how using the first person can make the writing clearer and more assertive:

Original example:

In studying American popular culture of the 1980s, the question of to what degree materialism was a major characteristic of the cultural milieu was explored.

Better example using first person:

In our study of American popular culture of the 1980s, we explored the degree to which materialism characterized the cultural milieu.

The original example sounds less emphatic and direct than the revised version; using “I” allows the writers to avoid the convoluted construction of the original and clarifies who did what.

Here is an example in which alternatives to the first person would be more appropriate:

As I observed the communication styles of first-year Carolina women, I noticed frequent use of non-verbal cues.

Better example:

A study of the communication styles of first-year Carolina women revealed frequent use of non-verbal cues.

In the original example, using the first person grounds the experience heavily in the writer’s subjective, individual perspective, but the writer’s purpose is to describe a phenomenon that is in fact objective or independent of that perspective. Avoiding the first person here creates the desired impression of an observed phenomenon that could be reproduced and also creates a stronger, clearer statement.

Here’s another example in which an alternative to first person works better:

As I was reading this study of medieval village life, I noticed that social class tended to be clearly defined.

This study of medieval village life reveals that social class tended to be clearly defined.

Although you may run across instructors who find the casual style of the original example refreshing, they are probably rare. The revised version sounds more academic and renders the statement more assertive and direct.

Here’s a final example:

I think that Aristotle’s ethical arguments are logical and readily applicable to contemporary cases, or at least it seems that way to me.

Better example

Aristotle’s ethical arguments are logical and readily applicable to contemporary cases.

In this example, there is no real need to announce that that statement about Aristotle is your thought; this is your paper, so readers will assume that the ideas in it are yours.

Determining whether to use “I” according to the conventions of the academic field

Which fields allow “I”?

The rules for this are changing, so it’s always best to ask your instructor if you’re not sure about using first person. But here are some general guidelines.

Sciences: In the past, scientific writers avoided the use of “I” because scientists often view the first person as interfering with the impression of objectivity and impersonality they are seeking to create. But conventions seem to be changing in some cases—for instance, when a scientific writer is describing a project she is working on or positioning that project within the existing research on the topic. Check with your science instructor to find out whether it’s o.k. to use “I” in their class.

Social Sciences: Some social scientists try to avoid “I” for the same reasons that other scientists do. But first person is becoming more commonly accepted, especially when the writer is describing their project or perspective.

Humanities: Ask your instructor whether you should use “I.” The purpose of writing in the humanities is generally to offer your own analysis of language, ideas, or a work of art. Writers in these fields tend to value assertiveness and to emphasize agency (who’s doing what), so the first person is often—but not always—appropriate. Sometimes writers use the first person in a less effective way, preceding an assertion with “I think,” “I feel,” or “I believe” as if such a phrase could replace a real defense of an argument. While your audience is generally interested in your perspective in the humanities fields, readers do expect you to fully argue, support, and illustrate your assertions. Personal belief or opinion is generally not sufficient in itself; you will need evidence of some kind to convince your reader.

Other writing situations: If you’re writing a speech, use of the first and even the second person (“you”) is generally encouraged because these personal pronouns can create a desirable sense of connection between speaker and listener and can contribute to the sense that the speaker is sincere and involved in the issue. If you’re writing a resume, though, avoid the first person; describe your experience, education, and skills without using a personal pronoun (for example, under “Experience” you might write “Volunteered as a peer counselor”).

A note on the second person “you”:

In situations where your intention is to sound conversational and friendly because it suits your purpose, as it does in this handout intended to offer helpful advice, or in a letter or speech, “you” might help to create just the sense of familiarity you’re after. But in most academic writing situations, “you” sounds overly conversational, as for instance in a claim like “when you read the poem ‘The Wasteland,’ you feel a sense of emptiness.” In this case, the “you” sounds overly conversational. The statement would read better as “The poem ‘The Wasteland’ creates a sense of emptiness.” Academic writers almost always use alternatives to the second person pronoun, such as “one,” “the reader,” or “people.”

Personal experience in academic writing

The question of whether personal experience has a place in academic writing depends on context and purpose. In papers that seek to analyze an objective principle or data as in science papers, or in papers for a field that explicitly tries to minimize the effect of the researcher’s presence such as anthropology, personal experience would probably distract from your purpose. But sometimes you might need to explicitly situate your position as researcher in relation to your subject of study. Or if your purpose is to present your individual response to a work of art, to offer examples of how an idea or theory might apply to life, or to use experience as evidence or a demonstration of an abstract principle, personal experience might have a legitimate role to play in your academic writing. Using personal experience effectively usually means keeping it in the service of your argument, as opposed to letting it become an end in itself or take over the paper.

It’s also usually best to keep your real or hypothetical stories brief, but they can strengthen arguments in need of concrete illustrations or even just a little more vitality.

Here are some examples of effective ways to incorporate personal experience in academic writing:

  • Anecdotes: In some cases, brief examples of experiences you’ve had or witnessed may serve as useful illustrations of a point you’re arguing or a theory you’re evaluating. For instance, in philosophical arguments, writers often use a real or hypothetical situation to illustrate abstract ideas and principles.
  • References to your own experience can explain your interest in an issue or even help to establish your authority on a topic.
  • Some specific writing situations, such as application essays, explicitly call for discussion of personal experience.

Here are some suggestions about including personal experience in writing for specific fields:

Philosophy: In philosophical writing, your purpose is generally to reconstruct or evaluate an existing argument, and/or to generate your own. Sometimes, doing this effectively may involve offering a hypothetical example or an illustration. In these cases, you might find that inventing or recounting a scenario that you’ve experienced or witnessed could help demonstrate your point. Personal experience can play a very useful role in your philosophy papers, as long as you always explain to the reader how the experience is related to your argument. (See our handout on writing in philosophy for more information.)

Religion: Religion courses might seem like a place where personal experience would be welcomed. But most religion courses take a cultural, historical, or textual approach, and these generally require objectivity and impersonality. So although you probably have very strong beliefs or powerful experiences in this area that might motivate your interest in the field, they shouldn’t supplant scholarly analysis. But ask your instructor, as it is possible that they are interested in your personal experiences with religion, especially in less formal assignments such as response papers. (See our handout on writing in religious studies for more information.)

Literature, Music, Fine Arts, and Film: Writing projects in these fields can sometimes benefit from the inclusion of personal experience, as long as it isn’t tangential. For instance, your annoyance over your roommate’s habits might not add much to an analysis of “Citizen Kane.” However, if you’re writing about Ridley Scott’s treatment of relationships between women in the movie “Thelma and Louise,” some reference your own observations about these relationships might be relevant if it adds to your analysis of the film. Personal experience can be especially appropriate in a response paper, or in any kind of assignment that asks about your experience of the work as a reader or viewer. Some film and literature scholars are interested in how a film or literary text is received by different audiences, so a discussion of how a particular viewer or reader experiences or identifies with the piece would probably be appropriate. (See our handouts on writing about fiction , art history , and drama for more information.)

Women’s Studies: Women’s Studies classes tend to be taught from a feminist perspective, a perspective which is generally interested in the ways in which individuals experience gender roles. So personal experience can often serve as evidence for your analytical and argumentative papers in this field. This field is also one in which you might be asked to keep a journal, a kind of writing that requires you to apply theoretical concepts to your experiences.

History: If you’re analyzing a historical period or issue, personal experience is less likely to advance your purpose of objectivity. However, some kinds of historical scholarship do involve the exploration of personal histories. So although you might not be referencing your own experience, you might very well be discussing other people’s experiences as illustrations of their historical contexts. (See our handout on writing in history for more information.)

Sciences: Because the primary purpose is to study data and fixed principles in an objective way, personal experience is less likely to have a place in this kind of writing. Often, as in a lab report, your goal is to describe observations in such a way that a reader could duplicate the experiment, so the less extra information, the better. Of course, if you’re working in the social sciences, case studies—accounts of the personal experiences of other people—are a crucial part of your scholarship. (See our handout on  writing in the sciences for more information.)

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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How to Replace I in Essays: Alternative 3rd Person Pronouns

replacing I in essays

replacing I in essays

Learning how to write an essay without using ‘I,’ ‘We,’ or ‘You,’ and other personal languages can be challenging for students. The best writing skills recommend not to use such pronouns. This guide explores how to replace ‘I,’ ‘We,’ or ‘You’ in an essay and the methods to avoid them.

For those of us who have been able to overcome this, you will agree that there was a time when you experienced a challenge when finding alternatives to clauses such as “I will argue” or “I think.”

The good thing is that there are several methods of communicating your point and writing an essay without using ‘I’ or related personal language.

words to use instead of us in an essay

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Why Avoid Using Pronouns in Formal Writing

Before identifying the communication methods without using personal language like “I,” it is best to know why we should avoid such language while writing essays.

The most important reason for avoiding such language is because it is not suitable for formal writing such as essays. Appropriate professional English should not include any form of personal pronouns or language.

Avoid You I and Me

The second and equally important reason to avoid using personal language while writing an essay is to sound impersonal, functional, and objective.

In formal English, personal pronouns conflict with the idea of being impersonal, functional, and objective because they make redundant references to the writer and other people.

Personal pronouns will make an essay seem to contain only the writer’s perspectives and others they have deliberately selected. Again, they will make the work appear subjective.

Another reason to avoid personal language while coming up with an essay is to avoid sounding as if you have an urgent need to impress the reader through wording.

Personal pronouns like “you” and “I” tend to suggest something important that is away from what the writing is all about.

By continually using “I,” “we,” or “you,” you are taking the reader’s attention from the essay to other personal issues. The essay becomes all about the writer. 

That being said, let’s explore how to replace “I” in an essay.

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Ways of avoiding pronouns “i,” “you,” and “we” in an essay.

You can replace the pronouns ‘I’, ‘You’, and ‘We’ by replacing them with acceptable wording, applying passive voice instead of pronouns, Using a third-person perspective, adopting an objective language, and including strong verbs and adjectives.

In our other guide, we explained the best practices to avoid using ‘you’ in essay writing and use academically sound words. Let us explore each of these strategies in detail.

1. Replacing it with an Acceptable Wording

This is a very good strategy for replacing “I” in an essay. The problem is that it is often difficult to find the right word to replace the personal pronoun. Though this is the case, “I” has some alternatives.

For example, if the verb that follows it revolves around writing and research, such as “…will present” or “…have described”, it is best to replace “I” with text-referencing nouns such as “the essay.”

If you wanted to say “I will present” or “I have described”, then the alternative will be “the essay will present,” or “as described in the essay.”

Another method of replacing “I” in an essay is using appropriate wording like “this writer” if the verb’s action is not within the text.

While this is sometimes acceptable, it is often advised to have no words here by using passive verbs or their equivalents.

A wording that may also be used but rarely suitable is “the researcher”. This alternative can only be used when your actions as a writer are completely detached from the writing.

2. Using Passive voice Instead of Pronouns

passive voice

Another way to replace “I” and other personal pronouns in an essay is to use passive voice. This is achieved by transforming an active verb passive.

Though this is the case, the strategy is often difficult, and it may create sentence structures that are not acceptable in formal writing and language.

The sentences in which “I” can be successfully changed using this strategy is when an active verb describing an object is transformed into its passive form. 

3. Using a Third-Person Perspective

This is a very important and applicable strategy when replacing “I” in an essay. This is where you avoid using first-person and second-person perspectives.

When referring to the subject matter, refer directly to them using the third person. For example, if you were to write, “I think regular exercise is good for mind and body”, you can replace it with “Regular exercise is good for mind and body”.

4. Use of Objective Language

Objective language is lost when a person uses informal expressions like colloquialisms, slang, contractions, and clichés. It is the reason why we discourage the use of contractions in essay writing so that you can keep things formal.

While informal language can be applicable in casual writing and speeches, it is not acceptable when writing essays. This is because you will be tempted to use a first-person perspective to convey your message.

5. Being Specific and using Strong Verbs and Adjectives

In most cases, essays that have been written using a lot of personal pronouns tend to be imprecise. When you want to avoid using “I” in your essay, try to be exact and straight to the point.

Personal pronouns tend to convey a subjective message, and it is up to the writer to explain their perspectives through writing.

Here, a writer will use a lot of “I think…” or “I believe…” to express their opinion. By doing so, the writer will end up wasting a lot of time explaining a concept.

Instead of doing that, it is best to look for appropriate verbs and adjectives to explain the points. Also, use objective language. Refer to the suggestions given by credible evidence instead of basing your arguments on what you think.

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Words to use Instead of Personal Pronouns like “You” and “I”

As noted, it is important to avoid using personal pronouns such as “You” and “I” when writing an essay.

By eliminating them or finding alternatives to them, your essay will be formal and objective. You can decide to eliminate them in a sentence.

replace You and I

For example, you could be having a sentence like “I think the author makes a valid point concerning capitalism.”

In this example, you can eliminate the personal language and write, “The author makes a valid point concerning capitalism.”

The second sentence goes straight to the point and is objective.

Other words to use instead of personal pronouns, like “You” and “I,” can be created when personal judgment words are avoided.

Instead, it is best to replace those words with those that refer to the evidence.

Examples of Ways to Replace Personal Pronouns

Below are examples of how personal judgment words can be replaced by words referring to the evidence.

  • I feel – In light of the evidence
  • From I think – According to the findings
  • I agree – It is evident from the data that
  • I am convinced – Considering the results
  • You can see that – From the results, it is evident that

Using the third-person or “it” constructions can be used to replace personal pronouns like “You” and “I.” Such words also help to reduce the word count of your essay and make it short and precise.

For example, if you write “I conclude that, “replace those words with “it could be concluded that. ” Here, “it” constructions are helping replace personal pronouns to make the sentence more objective and precise.

To be more specific, words to replace personal pronouns like “I” include “one,” the viewer,” “the author,” “the reader,” “readers,” or something similar.

However, avoid overusing those words because your essay will seem stiff and awkward. For example, if you write, “I can perceive the plot’s confusion,” you can replace “I” by writing, “Readers can perceive the plot’s confusion.”

Words that can be used instead of personal pronouns like “You” include “one,” “the viewer,” reader,” “readers,” or any other similar phrases. It is similar to words that replace first-person pronouns.

For example, if you write “you can see that the poet’s tone is serious and urgent,” you can replace “You” by writing “readers/one can see that the poet’s tone is serious and urgent.”

Words to use Instead of “My” in an Essay

Since “My” demonstrates the possessiveness of something, in this case, the contents or thoughts within an essay, it makes the writing subjective. According to experts, writing should take an objective language . To do this, it is important to replace it.

Replacing My in your essay

You can replace the word “My” with “the”. For example, if you write, “My final thoughts concerning the issue are”, you can write, “The final thoughts concerning the issues are”.

In this case, the article “The” makes the sentence formal and objective.

Another method is eliminating the word “My” from the sentence to make it more objective and straight to the point.

In the same example above, if you write “My final thoughts concerning the issue are”, you can write “Final thoughts concerning the issue are”.

The major difference here is that the word “my” in the first example makes it subjective, and eliminating it from the sentence makes it sound formal and objective.

Final Advice

Therefore, when writing an essay, it is important to avoid personal pronouns like “You”, “I,” and “My.” Not all papers use third-person language. Different types of essays are formatted differently, a 5-paragraph essay is different from a 4-page paper , but all use third-person tones.

This is because an essay should be written in formal language, and using personal pronouns makes it appear and sound informal. Therefore, writing an essay without using ‘I’ is good.

Formal language makes your essay sound objective and precise. However, do not remove the first-person language when writing personal experiences in an essay or a paper. This is because it is acceptable and formal that way.

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With over 10 years in academia and academic assistance, Alicia Smart is the epitome of excellence in the writing industry. She is our managing editor and is in charge of the writing operations at Grade Bees.

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words to use in an essay

Top Helpful Words to Use in an Essay

To truly get the message across to your reader – the professor – your essay has to have brilliant wording. You could make a great point but if you say it poorly, your grade won’t be as good as you hoped for. There are some good words to use in essays that could make all the difference.

Here are some of those essay words.

Explaining words

In order to.

This phrase can be used to introduce an explanation for the purpose of an argument.

In other words

You can use this phrase when you want to explain something but in different words to make it easier to understand.

To put it another way

This phrase is another way of saying “in other words” and it’s used to simplify complex points.

Additional information – replacing “and”


This is one of the best words to use in an essay – it’s used to add more information.

This word is also used to add more information, but in this case that information is similar.

This phrase can replace the words “also” and “and”.

What’s more

Use it the same way you would use “moreover” or “furthermore”.

Use this when you want to add something that agrees with your previous point.

Demonstrating contrast – replacing “but”

Use this word in your essay when you want to introduce something that disagrees with something you just said.

On the other hand

This phrase can be used similarly to “however”.

Use this phrase to cast doubt on something.

Having said that

You can use this phrase in the same way you would use “on the other hand”.

Use this to introduce a contrasting idea.

General explaining


Use this phrase to introduce a point that stands despite the lack of evidence.


Use this word to introduce or highlight something important.

You can use this word the same way as “significantly”. You can also use this word instead of “in particular”.

For instance

This phrase is most commonly used to introduce an example of the previous statement. You can also use “for example” or “to illustrate the point”.

Closing your essay

In conclusion.

You can use this phrase to introduce a closing paragraph or a sentence in an essay. It summarizes your main points.

All things considered

This phrase means “taking everything into account” and it introduces a conclusion based on all of the information you have provided.

This phrase introduces your main point, the main conclusion and the main message of your essay.

There you have it – some of the best phrases to include in your essays. They can replace mundane words and add more flair to your style of writing.

transition words and phrases

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words to use instead of us in an essay

60+ Ways to Replace “That”: A Word List for Writers

Ways to Remove That From Your Writing

This post continues my series about the most repeated words in writing. Today’s culprit is that .

If that is a word that plagues your WIP, I’m here to tell you that there are methods that you can use to cure that plague.

The That vs. Which Controversy

One way to trim a few occurrences is to replace that with which .

You may have encountered the following guideline: If a clause is restrictive (vital), use that ; if it’s non-restrictive (optional), use which followed by a comma.

The parcels that are marked “Fragile” go into the third bin.

Not just any parcels go into the third bin, but the fragile parcels. Without the underlined portion, the sentence would refer to all parcels — a considerable change in meaning.

The parcels, which were received this morning , go into the third bin.

All the parcels go into the third bin. The underlined portion provides optional information about the parcels, but if it’s left out, it doesn’t change the fundamental meaning.

Vi T al: T hat

O pt I onal: [c O mma] wh I ch

Writers from Great Britain might dispute this. However, keep it in mind if you’re a UK writer with a global audience.

Another Controversy: That vs. Who

Although some sources disagree, it’s recommended that writers select who when referring to

  • other sentient beings (such as AIs in science fiction, Ents in The Lord of the Rings , or talking animals in fantasy fiction)

How many occurrences of that could you remove from your WIP if you were to adopt this approach?

The woman that who thought of this is a genius.

The alien that who piloted the third ship in the fleet turned purple when the star exploded.

The emergency medical hologram that who served on USS Voyager sometimes saved the crew from disaster.

The dog that who won the race was my dog, Swifty. I never doubted him for a second.

See also: “That” or “Who”? Which Word Is Correct?

Some Verbs May Not Require That

You can often remove that after these bridge verbs and their relatives.

A to W assume, believe, claim, comment, decide, declare, establish, feel, figure, hear, hope, imagine, insist, know, posit, remark, report, respond, say, suggest, suppose, think, understand, write

Read the sentences below out loud, with and without that . Does deletion make an appreciable difference?

He believed that he could write the book in a month.

The patient claimed that he was no longer ill.

I figured that it was the best way to proceed.

The shoppers heard that there was a sale.

I imagine that the parcel will arrive on Saturday.

He insisted that he was fit to drive, even though I saw a dozen empty beer cans in the back seat.

The tech knew that nobody would understand the complex algorithm but tried to explain it anyway.

He said that nobody showed up.

I suggest that you go to bed before your father gets home!

I suppose that you expect a surprise party.

He thinks that he can string her along even though he’s dating three other women.

I understand that you’re upset, but let me explain why I did it.

Sometimes rewording is the best approach.

he was unaware of the fact that he didn’t know about

I wonder why that is. Why?

in spite of the fact that although, even if, even though

owing to the fact that because, since

Why did she try to keep something like that from her doctor? Why did she try to keep such a thing from her doctor?

It was that that made the difference. [A specific incident] made the difference.

It’s something that we should all do. We should all [provide details].

The cake wasn’t that bad. The cake wasn’t so bad.

That was the last straw. [A specific incident] was the last straw.

On that matter, he refuses to compromise. On [specific issue], he refuses to compromise.

She insisted that she should pay the tab. She insisted on paying the tab.

If that ’s all you have to say, we can get to the point. If you’re finished babbling, we can get to the point.

After that , everyone smiled and clapped. After [specific incident], everyone smiled and clapped. Afterward, everyone smiled and clapped.

Following that , he broke the vase. Following [specific incident], he broke the vase. [Next, then] he broke the vase.

Nouns or Pronouns + That

On your search-and-destroy mission, scrutinize sentences like the following. Does deletion of that change the meaning?

The rumor that the virus is no more deadly than the flu has been disproved.

The wonder that the woman displayed was contagious. Everyone fell to their knees .

My doctor told me that I have to self-isolate for another week.

There’s no doubt that the polar icecaps are melting at an unprecedented rate.

This isn’t the coat that I wore last week.

This is the package that he’s been expecting.

The book that I just published is a romantic comedy.

Adjectives + That

These senteces demonstrate how you can often remove that after adjectives.

It’s obvious that he’s lying.

I’m disappointed that she didn’t show up.

It’s tragic that the parachute didn’t open.

It’s unfortunate that he rejected the evidence.

She was afraid that the medication wouldn’t work.

The stew was so salty that no one would eat it.

His report card was so good that his parents gave him a computer.

Clichés, Idioms, and Trite Phrases

Stale expressions sometimes creep into writing. One here, another there … and soon they overtake a page or chapter. Although they may function well in dialogue, consider rewording when appropriate.

All that glitters is not gold: Appearances may be misleading. Don’t trust everything you see

at that point in time: next, subsequently, then

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt: Ditto. Likewise. Me too.

Can’t say that I have: No, I haven’t. I’ve never [specific incident].

Do you kiss your mother with that mouth ? Do you have to be so vulgar? Why are you so crude?

for all that: however, nevertheless, nonetheless, still

I’ll drink to that: Agreed. Certainly. Definitely. Indeed. Of course.

in the event that: every time, if, whenever

Is that a fact? Is that so? Are you sure? Really?

living proof that: confirmation of, corroboration of, verification of

Sorry to hear that: I sympathize. I regret what happened.

that said, having said that: even so, however, nevertheless

That’s a fact: Beyond doubt. Clearly. It’s true. Literally.

That’s a likely story: You’re lying. I don’t believe you.

That’s easy for you to say: [Specific incident] is difficult for me.

That’s fine by me: All right. I agree. OK. Sure.

That goes without saying: Certainly. Obviously. Of course.  Undoubtedly.

That’s news to me: I didn’t know; I had no idea

That’s that! I’m done. [Specific noun or pronoun] is finished. [Specific proper noun or pronoun]’s word is final

the straw that broke the camel’s back: the breaking point, the last straw, the final indignity, the limit

To bite the hand that feeds you: criticize, disparage rebuff, reject, turn against [an ally, a benefactor, a Good Samaritan, a patron, a provider]

with a face that would stop a clock: hideous, repulsive, revolting, ugly

When in Doubt

Read your work out loud. If omitting that sounds awkward, leave it in or reword your sentence.

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22 thoughts on “ 60+ Ways to Replace “That”: A Word List for Writers ”

I am reminded that English is a flawed language every time i am forced to use “that that” in a sentence. All the good faith that i had had had had no effect on the outcome of that sentence.

“I’m sorry” and “I apologize” mean the same thing, except when you’re at a funeral. See also: “Have a nice day” and “Enjoy the next 24 hours” don’t mean the same thing.

I had to look up the difference between “nobody” and “no one”. While it feels like there should be a difference, they appear to be synonyms.

Some days I think there’s an imp who invents new ways to make English funnier, more difficult, and even more exasperating. 😉

I found this information very informative and useful for my writing. Could you do one like this for wasn’t, couldn’t and other words like that

Thanks, Brixton.

How about this one?

Great help! Thank you, Kathy.

My pleasure, Marina. Thanks for stopping by!

Great explanations with great examples. 🙂

Thanks, Debby!

Thanks, Kathy. Always great information.

Glad to do it, Frank. Thanks for stopping by again.

This makes me so happy. 🙂 As a home school mom, I tell my kiddos to search for “that” in their paper & see if it can be eliminated. You gave some excellent suggestions here. Now I need to put it to use in my manuscript. 😉

Good luck with the kiddos, Barb. I’m glad that I was able to help. 😉

“That” gives me the most headaches when writing so this was enormously helpful.

Thanks, Michael. I’m glad you found it useful.

I use ‘that’ a lot – my brain is lazy when writing, and reaches for the easiest way to say something.

You wouldn’t want to read this version.

Rigorous self-editing – after Autocrit presents me with the tally of that and that’s and I blanch – and we’re back to something palatable.

A lot of your examples also shorten and tighten the sentences – useful and good.

Note: the dash is sometimes useful for ‘that.’

Thanks, Alicia. An em dash instead of that? I could see it work in some sentences, although I try to eliminate as many em dashes as possible. They cause unexpected formatting issues.

I wish I discovered your series earlier. Until recently, I would have written that sentence as “I wish that I discovered your series earlier.” Thanks for the concrete examples. You’ve simplified the “that” and “which” dilemma for me too.

Thanks, Pete. I’m so glad I was able to help!

‘That’ is an insidious little word that creeps unnoticed into our writing. (See, there’s one there that just crept in. Oh! And another!)

Heh heh. Ain’t that the truth!

This was my most over used word in my first book – 565 times in an 85K manuscript! The editing was excruciating! LOL!

That sounds like that would have been a monumental task that would have taken a long time to fix. 🙂


164 Phrases and words You Should Never Use in an Essay—and the Powerful Alternatives you Should

This list of words you should never use in an essay will help you write compelling, succinct, and effective essays that impress your professor.

Words and phrases you shouldn't use in an essay

Writing an essay can be a time-consuming and laborious process that seems to take forever.

But how often do you put your all into your paper only to achieve a lame grade?

You may be left scratching your head, wondering where it all went wrong.

Chances are, like many students, you were guilty of using words that completely undermined your credibility and the effectiveness of your argument.

Our professional essay editors have seen it time and time again: The use of commonplace, seemingly innocent, words and phrases that weaken the power of essays and turn the reader off.

But can changing a few words here and there really make the difference to your grades?


If you’re serious about improving your essay scores, you must ensure you make the most of every single word and phrase you use in your paper and avoid any that rob your essay of its power (check out our guide to editing an essay for more details).

Here is our list of words and phrases you should ditch together with some alternatives will be so much more impressive.

Vague and Weak Words

What are vague words and phrases.

Ambiguity pun

Vague language consists of words and phrases that aren’t exact or precise. They can be interpreted in multiple ways and, as such, can confuse the reader.

Essays that contain vague language lack substance and are typically devoid of any concrete language. As such, you should keep your eyes peeled for unclear words when proofreading your essay .

Why You Shouldn’t Use VAGUE Words in Essays

Professors detest vagueness.

In addition to being ambiguous, vague words and phrases can render a good piece of research absolutely useless.

Let’s say you have researched the link between drinking soda and obesity. You present the findings of your literature review as follows:

“Existing studies have found that drinking soda leads to weight gain.”

Your professor will ask:

What research specifically? What/who did it involve? Chimpanzees? Children? OAPs? Who conducted the research? What source have you used?

And the pat on the back you deserve for researching the topic will never transpire.

Academic essays should present the facts in a straightforward, unambiguous manner that leaves no doubt in the mind of the reader.

Key takeaway: Be very specific in terms of what happened, when, where, and to whom.

VAGUE Words and Phrases You Shouldn’t Use in an Essay

Flabby words and expressions, what are flabby expressions.

Unnecessary words pun

Flabby expressions and words are wasted phrases. They don’t add any value to your writing but do take up the word count and the reader’s headspace.

Flabby expressions frequently contain clichéd, misused words that don’t communicate anything specific to the reader. For example, if someone asks you how you are feeling and you reply, “I’m fine,” you’re using a flabby expression that leaves the inquirer none the wiser as to how you truly are.

Why Should Flabby Words be Removed from an Essay?

Flabby words are fine in everyday conversation and even blog posts like this.

However, they are enemies of clear and direct essays. They slow down the pace and dilute the argument.

When grading your essay, your professor wants to see the primary information communicated clearly and succinctly.

Removing the examples of flabby words and expressions listed below from your paper will automatically help you to take your essay to a higher level.

Key takeaway: When it comes to essays, brevity is best.

Flabby Words and Expressions You Shouldn’t Use in an Essay

Words to avoid in an essay: redundant words, what are redundant words.

Redundant words in essays pun

Redundant words and phrases don’t serve any purpose.

In this context, redundant means unnecessary.

Many everyday phrases contain redundant vocabulary; for example, add up, as a matter of fact, current trend, etc.

We have become so accustomed to using them in everyday speech that we don’t stop to question their place in formal writing.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Redundant Words in Essays

Redundant words suck the life out of your essay.

They can be great for adding emphasis in a conversational blog article like this, but there is no place for them in formal academic writing.

Redundant words should be avoided for three main reasons:

  • They interrupt the flow of the essay and unnecessarily distract the reader.
  • They can undermine the main point you are trying to make in your paper.
  • They can make you look uneducated.

The most effective essays are those that are concise, meaningful, and astute. If you use words and phrases that carry no meaning, you’ll lose the reader and undermine your credibility.

Key takeaway: Remove any words that don’t serve a purpose.

Redundant Words and Phrases You Shouldn’t Use in an Essay

Colloquial expressions and grammar expletives, what are colloquial expressions.

Colloquial play on words

A colloquial expression is best described as a phrase that replicates the way one would speak.

The use of colloquial language represents an informal, slang style of English that is not suitable for formal and academic documents.

For example:

Colloquial language: “The findings of the study appear to be above board.”

Suitable academic alternative: “The findings of the study are legitimate.”

What are Grammar Expletives?

Grammar expletives are sentences that start with  here ,  there,  or  it .

We frequently use constructions like these when communicating in both spoken and written language.

But did you know they have a distinct grammatical classification?

They do; the expletive.

Grammar expletives (not to be confused with cuss words) are used to introduce clauses and delay the subject of the sentence. However, unlike verbs and nouns, which play a specific role in expression, expletives do not add any tangible meaning. Rather, they act as filler words that enable the writer to shift the emphasis of the argument. As such, grammar expletives are frequently referred to as “empty words.”

Removing them from your writing can help to make it tighter and more succinct. For example:

Sentence with expletive there : There are numerous reasons why it was important to write this essay. Sentence without expletive: It was important to write this essay for numerous reasons.

Why Should Colloquial Expressions and Grammar Expletives be Removed from an Essay?

While colloquial expressions and grammar expletives are commonplace in everyday speech and are completely acceptable in informal emails and chatroom exchanges, they can significantly reduce the quality of formal essays.

Essays and other academic papers represent formal documents. Frequent use of slang and colloquial expressions will undermine your credibility, make your writing unclear, and confuse the reader. In addition, they do not provide the exactness required in an academic setting.

Make sure you screen your essay for any type of conversational language; for example, figures of speech, idioms, and clichés.

Key takeaway: Grammar expletives use unnecessary words and make your word count higher while making your prose weaker.

Words and Phrases You Shouldn’t Use in an Essay

Nominalization, what is normalization.

Normalization: Do alligators alligate?

A normalized sentence is one that is structured such that the abstract nouns do the talking.

For example, a noun, such as solution , can be structured to exploit its hidden verb, solve .

The act of transforming a word from a verb into a noun is known as normalization.

Should normalization be Removed from an Essay?

This is no universal agreement as to whether normalization should be removed from an essay. Some scholars argue that normalization is important in scientific and technical writing because abstract prose is more objective. Others highlight how normalizations can make essays more difficult to understand .

The truth is this: In the majority of essays, it isn’t possible to present an entirely objective communication; an element of persuasion is inherently incorporated. Furthermore, even the most objective academic paper will be devoid of meaning unless your professor can read it and make sense of it. As such, readability is more important than normalization.

You will need to take a pragmatic approach, but most of the time, your writing will be clearer and more direct if you rely on verbs as opposed to abstract nouns that were formed from verbs. As such, where possible, you should revise your sentences to make the verbs do the majority of the work.

For example,

Use: “This essay analyses and solves the pollution problem.”

Not: “This essay presents an evaluation of the pollution issue and presents a solution.”

While normalized sentences are grammatically sound, they can be vague.

In addition, humans tend to prefer vivid descriptions, and verbs are more vivid, informative, and powerful than nouns.

Key takeaway: Normalization can serve a purpose, but only use it if that purpose is clear.

normalization You Shouldn’t Use in an Essay

That’s a lot to take in.

You may be wondering why care?

Cutting the fat helps you present more ideas and a deeper analysis.

Don’t be tempted to write an essay that is stuffed with pompous, complex language: It is possible to be smart and simple.

Bookmark this list now and return to it when you are editing your essays. Keep an eye out for the words you shouldn’t use in an essay, and you’ll write academic papers that are more concise, powerful, and readable.

English Recap

9 Words to Use Instead of “And” to Start a Sentence

words to use instead of us in an essay

Are you worried about consistently using “and” at the start of a sentence?

Perhaps you find it too repetitive, or you’re worried it’ll take your reader’s attention away from your words.

Fear not! This article is here to help.

We’ll teach you how to start a sentence without “and” to help spice up your essays and other academic writing pieces.

Should a Sentence Start With “And”?

You should try to avoid starting a sentence with “and.”

It is correct , but it’s not always a good choice. If you’re going to use it, you should only use it once or twice in an essay, if at all.

It is informal , though. So, you’ll need to account for that before using it in an essay.

You can use it when writing about yourself or other informal essay tropes. But still, it’s best to limit how often you do it if you want to sound proper.

Here are two examples showing you how it works:

I liked most of the things I did. And I’m sure I’ll find plenty of other ways to excite myself.

This is the best way to continue. And it’s clear that people aren’t looking for alternatives right now.

  • It’s an interesting way to start a new sentence informally.
  • It’s not very common as people avoid it, so it can help your essay to stand out.
  • Some readers see it as incorrect (even though it isn’t), which could take away from your content.
  • If used too much, it becomes very repetitive.

While there isn’t anything wrong with using “and” to start a sentence, that doesn’t mean you should stick to it. So, it’s time to explore some alternatives to see what else works.

Keep reading to learn what words to use instead of “and” when writing an essay or in other professional contexts. We’ve gathered some great options to help you.

What to Say Instead of “And”

  • Additionally
  • Furthermore
  • Nevertheless
  • To add to that
  • Alternatively

1. Additionally

One of the most common ways to replace “and” at the start of a sentence is “additionally.”

You can use this to keep things formal and direct . It shows you have something to add to a sentence, but you feel it’s worthy of a new sentence before adding it.

For the most part, this keeps the reader engaged .

So you can use it in academic writing . It shows you’ve got a few additions to make to a sentence, and you’d appreciate the reader’s full attention when doing so.

Here are some great writing samples to show you more about how to use it:

This appears to be the best way forward. Additionally , it makes the most sense, as it covers all angles.

I have thought about the opportunity for a while. Additionally , I’m sure there will be plenty of backlash.

2. Furthermore

You can spice up your formal writing by including “furthermore” instead of “and.”

This is a good synonym to start a sentence with, as it keeps things direct and clear . Most of the time, the reader will understand that you’re linking new information to the previous sentence.

Remember, whenever you start a new sentence with “and” or a synonym, it implies that it relates to the information you just shared.

The reader should be following along. So, this is just a way to keep things as clear as possible for them.

Here are some great essay samples to help you understand a bit more about it:

This could go either way. Furthermore , it’s important to let things settle before we try to fix anything.

I’m looking for some more variables. Furthermore , there are options to expand on the experiment that I can pursue.

3. Moreover

We also recommend using “moreover” as another way to start a sentence instead of “and.”

You can include this in an essay . It’s a great choice that will impress a teacher when used correctly.

Feel free to include it to keep things formal and direct . It shows you have more to add, and readers should be able to see more about what you’re trying to say.

However, as with many synonyms in this article, it’s best not to overuse it! Stick to using it just once or twice in an essay to keep things clear and readable.

Also, you can review these examples to learn a little more about it:

It’s clear that they haven’t thought about the direction. Moreover , they’ve been questioned on it and can’t decide what comes next.

I have decided that this makes the most sense. Moreover , it’s going to be the best way for us to handle it.

We also think it’s good to use “however” in your writing. However, it’s not quite as versatile as “and,” so you need to know the difference.

For starters, “and” adds information. It can add positive, negative, or contradictory information. It’s a completely open-ended word that changes the course of a few sentences.

With “however,” you can only contradict the previous sentence . So, it works well to replace “and,” but it’s more limited inf how useful it is.

Still, we recommend using it because it keeps the reader engaged when starting a new sentence.

You can also review these examples to learn a bit more:

I’m unsure if this is the answer to the question. However , I’m willing to explore it more to see whether it sticks.

It’s clear that they have multiple issues. However , they’re still worth supporting to see what comes next.

5. Nevertheless

You can also use “nevertheless” as an alternative to starting a sentence with “and.” This is a great way to contradict previous information in a sentence.

Generally, this keeps things formal and direct . It helps readers to understand that the information in the previous sentence does not directly impact the new sentence.

Therefore, it’s a good way to engage readers and show them that you’ve thought things through. The more well-thought-out your essay is, the better it’ll be overall.

Feel free to review these essay samples to learn more:

This is the best option for the situation. Nevertheless , I will still explore alternatives to see what else works.

I’m going to look into it. Nevertheless , it’s important for you to do the same to see what comes out of it.

6. Conversely

If you’re still struggling with what to start a sentence with instead of “and,” perhaps “conversely” is the one for you.

It works well when introducing a contradicting idea . Of course, this makes it a bit more limited than “and,” but it’s still a great alternative.

Generally, you can use this when sharing information with the reader that goes against the previous piece of information they learned.

It shows that you’ve explored alternative options. So, it works quite well when writing a persuasive essay .

You can also review the following examples to learn more:

It’s clear that this option works well. Conversely , plenty of others have pointed towards the other one as the best to move with.

I’m sure the statistics are correct. Conversely , there is a large margin for error here that we need to focus on.

7. To Add to That

Also, it’s good to use “to add to that” when trying to find a replacement for “and” in your writing.

It’s much more suitable in formal writing because it’s a phrase showing you’ll add further information. For the most part, this makes what you aim to achieve really clear.

Generally, readers will appreciate this . It’s direct and clear , making it obvious that you’re adding something new for them to pay attention to.

You can also review these examples to learn a bit more about it:

I’m not sure if they touched on the topic. To add to that , it’s not evident whether they’re willing to expand their search.

We have looked into it before. To add to that , there wasn’t much of a need for us to try harder.

8. Alternatively

It’s also good to write “alternatively” instead of “and” to start a sentence.

You can’t go wrong with this if you’re introducing an alternative idea . Generally, this means it relates to something from the previous sentence, but it comes about it from a different perspective.

You can use this when writing an academic paper . Generally, it’s a good way to explain something to a reader quickly.

Here are some examples if you still need help with it:

This seems to be the best move. Alternatively , we can look into other options before trying again.

It’s good to try it like this. Alternatively , we will have to find another outlet.

9. Meanwhile

And finally, we think it’s good to write “meanwhile” instead of “and.”

This works well at the start of a sentence because it helps you to group two sentences or clauses together.

And it helps that “meanwhile” sounds natural at the start of a sentence . So, most readers will already be used to it.

Here are some examples to help you:

This is a good choice. Meanwhile , there are other options that need to be explored fully.

I’m sure it’s going to work well for us. Meanwhile , can we look into some variations that might change the outcome?

  • 9 Professional Ways to Say “I Will Do My Best”
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  • 9 Formal Ways to Say “You Can Reach Me At”
  • 9 Polite Ways to Ask for an Update in an Email

We are a team of dedicated English teachers.

Our mission is to help you create a professional impression toward colleagues, clients, and executives.

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words to use instead of us in an essay

How To Avoid Overusing The Word ‘That’ In Your Writing

For a few years during elementary school, virtually every sentence my friends and I uttered included the word “like.” This awful speech habit led to plenty of well-deserved ridicule, which made me determined to stop overusing unnecessary words. I thought I was succeeding on this front for years, until I started doing freelance content writing assignments for a client who wasn’t a fan of superfluous words, including “that.” Then, I learned just how guilty I was of overusing the word “that” in my writing. It was basically my new, written version of “like.”

While phasing out “like” was pretty simple, removing unnecessary uses of “that” from my content writing proved challenging because this word legitimately belongs in many sentences. To help you avoid similar grief, today I’d like to share a few tips for avoiding overusing “that” and using “that” in a sentence correctly.

When to Use ‘That’ in a Sentence

First, it’s important to know when “that” is really needed in a sentence. This word frequently attaches dependent clauses to  independent clauses , and it is strictly necessary if a clause begins with certain subordinating conjunctions, such as  before, while  and  in addition to.  “That” also should be used before clauses that clarify a noun.

  • She said that although the sunrise workout sounded like a brilliant idea, sleeping in also sounded good.
  • The notion that their project would be finished by the original deadline was laughable.

“That” additionally should appear after certain verbs, such as  contend ,  estimate  and  point out . If you’re a native speaker, you can probably intuitively identify many of these verbs.

  • He enthusiastically declared that he would stop procrastinating tomorrow.

You also should use “that” if a sentence would sound awkward without it. If you’re in doubt, include it, since this does less harm than incorrectly omitting it.

When To Leave Out ‘That’

To decide whether you can omit “that” from a sentence, check how naturally and intelligibly the sentence reads without it. Usually, you can drop “that” if it follows a verb that essentially means “to say.” This omission mimics natural speech and shouldn’t change the meaning of the sentence.

  • The children claimed an ice cream break would help them study more effectively.
  • She insisted she wasn’t responsible for the houseplant’s untimely death.

However, it’s usually better to keep “that” if other words fall between the verb and the dependent clause.

  • The kids also said this morning that a television break would enhance their studying.
  • She admitted begrudgingly that she might have contributed to the plant’s demise.

You also can usually omit “that” if it precedes a simple relative clause.

  • Neither of them was particularly excited about the compromise ( that ) they reached.

Using ‘That’ Twice in a Row

When you’re trimming unnecessary uses of “that” from your writing, be sure to pay attention to sentences where it appears multiple times or even twice in a row (“that that”). These sentences can be grammatically correct but stylistically undesirable. For example, we use  Associated Press Style , which requires sentences to be constructed in a manner that eliminates consecutive uses of “that.”

  • He confessed that that plan had been formulated on three hours of sleep.
  • He confessed that they had only slept three hours when they formulated that plan.

Even if you’re not following a strict style guide, it’s often beneficial to try revising sentences to avoid using “that” too redundantly.

Using ‘That’ or ‘Which’

words to use instead of us in an essay

It can be tempting to cut back on “that” by replacing it with “which,” but these words aren’t actually interchangeable. “That” introduces information that is integral to the meaning of a sentence, while “which” precedes information that is non-essential and offset by commas.

  • The first kindergarten class  that all 31 students attended  was miraculously free of mishaps.
  • The first kindergarten class,  which all 31 students attended , was miraculously free of mishaps.

In this example, each sentence has a distinct meaning. The first describes a specific class when all 31 students were present for the first time, while in the second, the attendance of all 31 kids is a non-essential detail.

Got All That?

Striking the right balance between overusing the word “that” and omitting it improperly takes a little thought, but with practice, it should become second nature. What other common words do people overuse? Tell us about it in the comments section! If you’re looking for help on grammar rules, check out some of our other GrammarSpot posts.

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39 Different Ways to Say ‘In Conclusion’ in an Essay (Rated)

essay conclusion examples and definition, explained below

The phrase “In conclusion …” sounds reductive, simple and … well, just basic.

You can find better words to conclude an essay than that!

So below I’ve outlined a list of different ways to say in conclusion in an essay using a range of analysis verbs . Each one comes with an explanation of the best time to use each phrase and an example you could consider.

Read Also: How to Write a Conclusion using the 5C’s Method

List of Ways to Say ‘In Conclusion’ in an Essay

The following are the best tips I have for to say in conclusion in an essay.

1. The Weight of the Evidence Suggests…

My Rating: 10/10

Overview: This is a good concluding phrase for an evaluative essay where you need to compare two different positions on a topic then conclude by saying which one has more evidence behind it than the other.

You could also use this phrase for argumentative essays where you’ve put forward all the evidence for your particular case.

Example: “The weight of the evidence suggests that climate change is a real phenomenon.”

2. A Thoughtful Analysis would Conclude…

My Rating: 9/10

Overview: I would use this phrase in either an argumentative essay or a comparison essay. As an argument, it highlights that you think your position is the most logical.

In a comparison essay, it shows that you have (or have intended to) thoughtfully explore the issue by looking at both sides.

Example: “A thoughtful analysis would conclude that there is substantial evidence highlighting that climate change is real.”

Related Article: 17+ Great Ideas For An Essay About Yourself

3. A Balanced Assessment of the Above Information…

Overview: This phrase can be used to show that you have made a thoughtful analysis of the information you found when researching the essay. You’re telling your teacher with this phrase that you have looked at all sides of the argument before coming to your conclusion.

Example: “A balanced assessment of the above information would be that climate change exists and will have a strong impact on the world for centuries to come.”

4. Across the Board…

My Rating: 5/10

Overview: I would use this phrase in a less formal context such as in a creative discussion but would leave it out of a formal third-person essay. To me, the phrase comes across as too colloquial.

Example: “Across the board, there are scientists around the world who consistently provide evidence for human-induced climate change.”

5. Logically…

My Rating: 7/10

Overview: This phrase can be used at the beginning of any paragraph that states out a series of facts that will be backed by clear step-by-step explanations that the reader should be able to follow to a conclusion.

Example: “Logically, the rise of the automobile would speed up economic expansion in the United States. Automobiles allowed goods to flow faster around the economy.

6. After all is Said and Done…

Overview: This is a colloquial term that is more useful in a speech than written text. If you feel that the phrase ‘In conclusion,’ is too basic, then I’d also avoid this term. However, use in speech is common, so if you’re giving a speech, it may be more acceptable.

Example: “After all is said and done, it’s clear that there is more evidence to suggest that climate change is real than a hoax.”

7. All in All…

Overview: ‘All in all’ is a colloquial term that I would use in speech but not in formal academic writing. Colloquialisms can show that you have poor command of the English language. However, I would consider using this phrase in the conclusion of a debate.

Example: “All in all, our debate team has shown that there is insurmountable evidence that our side of the argument is correct.”

8. All Things Considered…

My Rating: 6/10

Overview: This term is a good way of saying ‘I have considered everything above and now my conclusion is..’ However, it is another term that’s more commonly used in speech than writing. Use it in a high school debate, but when it comes to a formal essay, I would leave it out.

Example: “All things considered, there’s no doubt in my mind that climate change is man-made.”

9. As a Final Note…

My Rating: 3/10

Overview: This phrase gives me the impression that the student doesn’t understand the point of a conclusion. It’s not to simply make a ‘final note’, but to summarize and reiterate. So, I would personally avoid this one.

Example: “As a final note, I would say that I do think the automobile was one of the greatest inventions of the 20 th Century.”

10. As Already Stated…

My Rating: 2/10

Overview: I don’t like this phrase. It gives teachers the impression that you’re going around in circles and haven’t organized your essay properly. I would particularly avoid it in the body of an essay because I always think: “If you already stated it, why are you stating it again?” Of course, the conclusion does re-state things, but it also adds value because it also summarizes them. So, add value by using a phrase such as ‘summarizing’ or ‘weighing up’ in your conclusion instead.

Example: “As already stated, I’m going to repeat myself and annoy my teacher.”

11. At present, the Best Evidence Suggests…

My Rating: 8/10

Overview: In essays where the evidence may change in the future. Most fields of study do involve some evolution over time, so this phrase acknowledges that “right now” the best evidence is one thing, but it may change in the future. It also shows that you’ve looked at the latest information on the topic.

Example: “At present, the best evidence suggests that carbon dioxide emissions from power plants is the greatest influence on climate change.”

12. At the Core of the Issue…

Overview: I personally find this phrase to be useful for most essays. It highlights that you are able to identify the most important or central point from everything you have examined. It is slightly less formal than some other phrases on this list, but I also wouldn’t consider it too colloquial for an undergraduate essay.

Example: “At the core of the issue in this essay is the fact scientists have been unable to convince the broader public of the importance of action on climate change.”

13. Despite the shortcomings of…

Overview: This phrase can be useful in an argumentative essay. It shows that there are some limitations to your argument, but , on balance you still think your position is the best. This will allow you to show critical insight and knowledge while coming to your conclusion.

Often, my students make the mistake of thinking they can only take one side in an argumentative essay. On the contrary, you should be able to highlight the limitations of your point-of-view while also stating that it’s the best.

Example: “Despite the shortcomings of globalization, this essay has found that on balance it has been good for many areas in both the developed and developing world.”

14. Finally…

My Rating: 4/10

Overview: While the phrase ‘Finally,’ does indicate that you’re coming to the end of your discussion, it is usually used at the end of a list of ideas rather than in a conclusion. It also implies that you’re adding a point rather that summing up previous points you have made.

Example: “Finally, this essay has highlighted the importance of communication between policy makers and practitioners in order to ensure good policy is put into effect.”

15. Gathering the above points together…

Overview: While this is not a phrase I personally use very often, I do believe it has the effect of indicating that you are “summing up”, which is what you want out of a conclusion.

Example: “Gathering the above points together, it is clear that the weight of evidence highlights the importance of action on climate change.”

16. Given the above information…

Overview: This phrase shows that you are considering the information in the body of the piece when coming to your conclusion. Therefore, I believe it is appropriate for starting a conclusion.

Example: “Given the above information, it is reasonable to conclude that the World Health Organization is an appropriate vehicle for achieving improved health outcomes in the developing world.”

17. In a nutshell…

Overview: This phrase means to say everything in the fewest possible words. However, it is a colloquial phrase that is best used in speech rather than formal academic writing.

Example: “In a nutshell, there are valid arguments on both sides of the debate about socialism vs capitalism.”

18. In closing…

Overview: This phrase is an appropriate synonym for ‘In conclusion’ and I would be perfectly fine with a student using this phrase in their essay. Make sure you follow-up by explaining your position based upon the weight of evidence presented in the body of your piece

Example: “In closing, there is ample evidence to suggest that liberalism has been the greatest force for progress in the past 100 years.”

19. In essence…

Overview: While the phrase ‘In essence’ does suggest you are about to sum up the core findings of your discussion, it is somewhat colloquial and is best left for speech rather than formal academic writing.

Example: “In essence, this essay has shown that cattle farming is an industry that should be protected as an essential service for our country.”

20. In review…

Overview: We usually review someone else’s work, not our own. For example, you could review a book that you read or a film you watched. So, writing “In review” as a replacement for “In conclusion” comes across a little awkward.

Example: “In review, the above information has made a compelling case for compulsory military service in the United States.”

21. In short…

Overview: Personally, I find that this phrase is used more regularly by undergraduate student. As students get more confident with their writing, they tend to use higher-rated phrases from this list. Nevertheless, I would not take grades away from a student for using this phrase.

Example: “In short, this essay has shown the importance of sustainable agriculture for securing a healthy future for our nation.”

22. In Sum…

Overview: Short for “In summary”, the phrase “In sum” sufficiently shows that you are not coming to the moment where you will sum up the essay. It is an appropriate phrase to use instead of “In conclusion”.

But remember to not just summarize but also discuss the implications of your findings in your conclusion.

Example: “In sum, this essay has shown the importance of managers in ensuring efficient operation of medium-to-large enterprises.”

23. In Summary…

Overview: In summary and in sum are the same terms which can be supplemented for “In conclusion”. You will show that you are about to summarize the points you said in the body of the essay, which is what you want from an essay.

Example: “In summary, reflection is a very important metacognitive skill that all teachers need to master in order to improve their pedagogical skills.”

24. It cannot be conclusively stated that…

Overview: While this phrase is not always be a good fit for your essay, when it is, it does show knowledge and skill in writing. You would use this phrase if you are writing an expository essay where you have decided that there is not enough evidence currently to make a firm conclusion on the issue.

Example: “It cannot be conclusively stated that the Big Bang was when the universe began. However, it is the best theory so far, and none of the other theories explored in this essay have as much evidence behind them.”

25. It is apparent that…

Overview: The term ‘ apparent ’ means that something is ‘clear’ or even ‘obvious’. So, you would use this word in an argumentative essay where you think you have put forward a very compelling argument.

Example: “It is apparent that current migration patterns in the Americas are unsustainable and causing significant harm to the most vulnerable people in our society.”

26. Last but not least…

Overview: The phrase “last but not least” is a colloquial idiom that is best used in speech rather than formal academic writing. Furthermore, when you are saying ‘last’, you mean to say you’re making your last point rather than summing up all your points you already made. So, I’d avoid this one.

Example: “Last but not least, this essay has highlighted the importance of empowering patients to exercise choice over their own medical decisions.”

27. Overall…

My Rating: 7.5/10

Overview: This phrase means ‘taking everything into account’, which sounds a lot like what you would want to do in an essay. I don’t consider it to be a top-tier choice (which is why I rated it 7), but in my opinion it is perfectly acceptable to use in an undergraduate essay.

Example: “Overall, religious liberty continues to be threatened across the world, and faces significant threats in the 21 st Century.”

28. The above points illustrate…

Overview: This phrase is a good start to a conclusion paragraph that talks about the implications of the points you made in your essay. Follow it up with a statement that defends your thesis you are putting forward in the essay.

Example: “The above points illustrate that art has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on humanity since the renaissance.”

29. The evidence presented in this essay suggests that…

Overview: I like this phrase because it highlights that you are about to gather together the evidence from the body of the essay to put forward a final thesis statement .

Example: “The evidence presented in this essay suggests that the democratic system of government is the best for securing maximum individual liberty for citizens of a nation.”

30. This essay began by stating…

Overview: This phrase is one that I teach in my YouTube mini-course as an effective one to use in an essay conclusion. If you presented an interesting fact in your introduction , you can return to that point from the beginning of the essay to provide nice symmetry in your writing.

Example: “This essay began by stating that corruption has been growing in the Western world. However, the facts collected in the body of the essay show that institutional checks and balances can sufficiently minimize this corruption in the long-term.”

31. This essay has argued…

Overview: This term can be used effectively in an argumentative essay to provide a summary of your key points. Follow it up with an outline of all your key points, and then a sentence about the implications of the points you made. See the example below.

Example: “This essay has argued that standardized tests are damaging for students’ mental health. Tests like the SATs should therefore be replaced by project-based testing in schools.”

32. To close…

Overview: This is a very literal way of saying “In conclusion”. While it’s suitable and serves its purpose, it does come across as being a sophomoric term. Consider using one of the higher-rated phrases in this list.

Example: “To close, this essay has highlighted both the pros and cons of relational dialectics theory and argued that it is not the best communication theory for the 21 st Century.”

33. To Conclude…

Overview: Like ‘to close’ and ‘in summary’, the phrase ‘to conclude’ is very similar to ‘in conclusion’. It can therefore be used as a sufficient replacement for that term. However, as with the above terms, it’s just okay and you could probably find a better phrase to use.

Example: “To conclude, this essay has highlighted that there are multiple models of communication but there is no one perfect theory to explain each situation.”

34. To make a long story short…

My Rating: 1/10

Overview: This is not a good phrase to use in an academic essay. It is a colloquialism. It also implies that you have been rambling in your writing and you could have said everything more efficiently. I would personally not use this phrase.

Example: “To make a long story short, I don’t have very good command of academic language.”

35. To Sum up…

Overview: This phrase is the same as ‘In summary’. It shows that you have made all of your points and now you’re about to bring them all together in a ‘summary’. Just remember in your conclusion that you need to do more than summarize but also talk about the implications of your findings. So you’ll need to go beyond just a summary.

Example: “In summary, there is ample evidence that linear models of communication like Lasswell’s model are not as good at explaining 21 st Century communication as circular models like the Osgood-Schramm model .”

36. Ultimately…

Overview: While this phrase does say that you are coming to a final point – also known as a conclusion – it’s also a very strong statement that might not be best to use in all situations. I usually accept this phrase from my undergraduates, but for my postgraduates I’d probably suggest simply removing it.

Example: “Ultimately, new media has been bad for the world because it has led to the spread of mistruths around the internet.”

37. Undoubtedly…

Overview: If you are using it in a debate or argumentative essay, it can be helpful. However, in a regular academic essay, I would avoid it. We call this a ‘booster’, which is a term that emphasizes certainty. Unfortunately, certainty is a difficult thing to claim, so you’re better off ‘hedging’ with phrases like ‘It appears’ or ‘The best evidence suggests’.

Example: “Undoubtedly, I know everything about this topic and am one hundred percent certain even though I’m just an undergraduate student.”

38. Weighing up the facts, this essay finds…

Overview: This statement highlights that you are looking at all of the facts both for and against your points of view. It shows you’re not just blindly following one argument but being careful about seeing things from many perspectives.

Example: “Weighing up the facts, this essay finds that reading books is important for developing critical thinking skills in childhood.”

39. With that said…

Overview: This is another phrase that I would avoid. This is a colloquialism that’s best used in speech rather than writing. It is another term that feels sophomoric and is best to avoid. Instead, use a more formal term such as: ‘Weighing up the above points, this essay finds…’

Example: “With that said, this essay disagrees with the statement that you need to go to college to get a good job.”

Do you Need to Say Anything?

Something I often tell my students is: “Can you just remove that phrase?”

Consider this sentence:

  • “In conclusion, the majority of scientists concur that climate change exists.”

Would it be possible to simply say:

  • “ In conclusion, The majority of scientists concur that climate change exists.”

So, I’d recommend also just considering removing that phrase altogether! Sometimes the best writing is the shortest, simplest writing that gets to the point without any redundant language at all.

How to Write an Effective Conclusion

Before I go, I’d like to bring your attention to my video on ‘how to write an effective conclusion’. I think it would really help you out given that you’re looking for help on how to write a conclusion. It’s under 5 minutes long and has helped literally thousands of students write better conclusions for their essays:

You can also check out these conclusion examples for some copy-and-paste conclusions for your own essay.

In Conclusion…

Well, I had to begin this conclusion with ‘In conclusion…’ I liked the irony in it, and I couldn’t pass up that chance.

Overall, don’t forget that concluding an essay is a way to powerfully summarize what you’ve had to say and leave the reader with a strong impression that you’ve become an authority on the topic you’re researching. 

So, whether you write it as a conclusion, summary, or any other synonym for conclusion, those other ways to say in conclusion are less important than making sure that the message in your conclusion is incredibly strong.


Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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10 Other Words for “This Shows” in an Essay

words to use instead of us in an essay

Showing how one thing affects another is great in academic writing. It shows that you’ve connected two points with each other, making sure the reader follows along.

However, is “this shows” the only appropriate choice when linking two ideas?

We have gathered some helpful synonyms teaching you other ways to say “this shows” in an essay.

  • Demonstrating
  • This implies
  • This allows
  • This displays

Keep reading to learn more words to replace “this shows” in an essay. You can also review the examples we provide under each heading.

Removing “this” from “this shows” creates a simple formal synonym to mix up your writing. You can instead write “showing” in academic writing to demonstrate an effect .

Typically, this is a great way to limit your word count . Sure, you’re only removing one word from your essay, but if you can find other areas to do something similar, you’ll be more efficient .

Efficient essays often make for the most interesting ones. They also make it much easier for the reader to follow, and the reviewer will usually be able to give you a more appropriate grade.

Check out these examples if you still need help:

  • The facts state most of the information here, showing that we still have a lot of work to do before moving forward.
  • This is the only way to complete the project, showing that things aren’t quite ready to progress.

2. Demonstrating

Following a similar idea to using “showing,” you can also use “demonstrating.” This comes from the idea that “this demonstrates” is a bit redundant. So, you can remove “this.”

Again, demonstrating ideas is a great way to engage the reader . You can use it in the middle of a sentence to explain how two things affect each other.

You can also review the following examples:

  • These are the leading causes, demonstrating the fundamental ways to get through it. Which do you think is worth pursuing?
  • I would like to direct your attention to this poll, demonstrating the do’s and don’ts for tasks like this one.

3. Leading To

There are plenty of ways to talk about different causes and effects in your writing. A good choice to include in the middle of a sentence is “leading to.”

When something “leads to” something else, it is a direct cause . Therefore, it’s worth including “leading to” in an essay when making relevant connections in your text.

Here are some examples to help you understand it:

  • This is what we are looking to achieve, leading to huge capital gains for everyone associated with it.
  • I would like to direct your attention to this assignment, leading to what could be huge changes in the status quo.

4. Creating

Often, you can create cause-and-effect relationships in your writing by including two similar ideas. Therefore, it’s worth including “creating” to demonstrate a connection to the reader.

Including “creating” in the middle of a sentence allows you to clarify certain causes . This helps to streamline your academic writing and ensures the reader knows what you’re talking about.

Perhaps these essay samples will also help you:

  • We could not complete the task quickly, creating a problem when it came to the next part of the movement.
  • I thought about the ideas, creating the process that we know today. I’m glad I took the time to work through it.

5. This Implies

For a more formal way to say “this shows,” try “this implies.” Of course, it doesn’t change much from the original phrase, but that doesn’t mean it’s ineffective.

In fact, using “this implies” (or “implying” for streamlining) allows you to discuss implications and facts from the previous sentence.

You will often start a sentence with “this implies.” It shows you have relevant and useful information to discuss with the reader.

However, it only works when starting a sentence. You cannot use it to start a new paragraph as it does not relate to anything. “This implies” must always relate to something mentioned before.

You can also review these examples:

  • I appreciate everything that they did for us. This implies they’re willing to work together on other projects.
  • You can’t always get these things right. This implies we still have a lot of work to do before we can finalize anything.

“Proving” is a word you can use instead of “this shows” in an essay. It comes from “this proves,” showing how something creates another situation .

Proof is often the most important in scientific studies and arguments. Therefore, it’s very common to use “proving” instead of “this shows” in scientific essays and writing.

We recommend using this when discussing your experiments and explaining how it might cause something specific to happen. It helps the reader follow your ideas on the page.

Perhaps the following examples will also help you:

  • They provided us with multiple variables, proving that we weren’t the only ones working on the experiment.
  • I could not figure out the way forward, proving that it came down to a choice. I didn’t know the best course of action.

7. This Allows

Often, when you talk about a cause in your essays, it allows an effect to take place. You can talk more about this relationship with a phrase like “this allows.”

At the start of a sentence , “this allows” is a great way to describe a cause-and-effect relationship . It keeps the reader engaged and ensures they know what you’re talking about.

Also, using “this allows” directly after expressing your views explains the purpose of your writing. This could show a reader why you’ve even decided to write the essay in the first place.

  • Many scenarios work here. This allows us to explore different situations to see which works best.
  • I found the best way to address the situation. This allows me to provide more ideas to upper management.

8. This Displays

It might not be as common, but “this displays” is still a great choice in academic writing. You can use it when discussing how one thing leads to another .

Usually, “this displays” works best when discussing data points or figures . It’s a great way to show how you can display your information within your writing to make things easy for the reader .

You can refer to these examples if you’re still unsure:

  • We have not considered every outcome. This displays a lack of planning and poor judgment regarding the team.
  • I’m afraid this is the only way we can continue it. This displays a problem for most of the senior shareholders.

9. Indicating

Indicating how things connect to each other helps readers to pay attention. The clearer your connections, the better your essay will be.

Therefore, it’s worth including “indicating” in the middle of a sentence . It shows you two points relate to each other .

Often, this allows you to talk about specific effects. It’s a great way to explain the purpose of a paragraph (or the essay as a whole, depending on the context).

If you’re still stuck, review these examples:

  • There are plenty of great alternatives to use, indicating that you don’t have to be so close-minded about the process.
  • I have compiled a list of information to help you, indicating the plethora of ways you can complete it.

10. Suggesting

Finally, “suggesting” is a word you can use instead of “this shows” in an essay. It’s quite formal and works well in academic writing.

We highly recommend using it when creating a suggestion from a previous sentence . It allows the reader to follow along and see how one thing affects another.

Also, it’s not particularly common in essays. Therefore, it’s a great choice to mix things up and keep things a little more interesting.

Here are a few essay samples to help you with it:

  • You could have done it in many other ways, suggesting that there was always a better outcome than the one you got.
  • I didn’t know what to think of it, suggesting that I was tempted by the offer. I’m still weighing up the options.

martin lassen dam grammarhow

Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here .

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words to use instead of us in an essay


14 Other Words for “Said” in an Essay

words to use instead of us in an essay

You want to sound as engaging and interesting as possible when writing an essay, and using words like “said” might prevent that.

So, if you’re about to use “said” for the umpteenth time, you’re in luck!

We have gathered some alternatives to show you other ways to say “said” in an essay that are bound to keep the reader entertained.

Other Ways to Say “Said”

Key takeaways.

  • “Stated” is a great essay word that shows you are quoting a specific statement from a trustworthy source.
  • “Declared” is a great way to describe an announcement or official quote.
  • “Mentioned” is a bit simpler and allows you to highlight a quote that’s relevant to your essay.

Keep reading to find out how to quote what someone said in an essay. We’ll go over the three most effective terms to help spice up your academic writing.

One of the most common ways to replace “said” in an essay is “stated.” It’s a great formal synonym that helps to keep things direct and clear for the reader.

It works well before a quote. You should write “stated” to clarify that you’re about to run a quote by the reader.

Of course, you can’t claim that someone “stated” something without backing it up with evidence.

The last thing you’ll want is for the reader to look into the quote and find out it was never actually said.

But, as long as you’ve done your research, this works well. Good academic phrases that start with “stated” help you to establish a clear quote relating to the bulk of your essay.

These essay samples will also help you understand it:

It’s clear that he stated “time is the killer of all things.” However, nobody really understood the prophetic meaning behind it.

She stated that “it’s time to make the changes you want to see in the world.” That’s what led most people to join the revolution.

For a more impactful alternative, you can use “declared.”

You won’t find “declared” quite as often as “said,” but it’s still an incredibly good term to include.

It’s a formal synonym. It also shows that someone announced something important .

Generally, “declared” comes before compelling quotes. It might be more suitable to use it when quoting a famous politician or monarch of some kind.

It’s a surefire way to engage the reader and spark their imagination.

We highly recommend it when you’re certain that it belongs before a quote and will allow you to establish a more powerful meaning behind it.

Perhaps these essay samples will also help you with it:

The king declared “good things will come to those who ask me for them.” He was a very proud man.

She declared that “this was going to be the only time she offered her services to those in need.”

Feel free to use “mentioned,” too. It’s another word you can use instead of “said” in an essay that’ll keep things engaging for the reader.

It’s much subtler than the other phrases. It suggests that someone has made a brief comment about something, and you’d like to quote it for the reader.

Don’t worry; it’s still a good formal synonym. However, you should use it when the quote isn’t the most important part of your essay.

Quotes are there to add a bit of context for the reader. So, they’re not always needed to improve an essay.

“Mentioned” is a simple word that allows you to include a short but interesting quote . However, it usually isn’t as impactful as saying something like “declared” or “exclaimed.”

You can also refer to these essay examples:

The politician mentioned that “we cannot know what we haven’t already experienced.” That resonated with me.

It was clear that he mentioned “things were bound to change soon,” so they had to figure out what he meant.

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