Similarities and Dissimilarities between Academic and Business Writing

paper writing

Even if you are receiving excellent grades on your English papers in school, you may not have the same experience with other areas of writing. This means that you may not be able to transfer those skills to writing for your job someday. The reason behind this is the differences between these writing styles.

In the broad category of writing, there are several different types of writing that you are going to face throughout your life. It is important to keep in mind that these different writing styles have their own unique attributes. For example, you will not necessarily use the same writing techniques for a business paper that you would use for an academic piece. While there are differences between the two, there are also some similarities. This can complicate things slightly, but you should be able to catch on quickly once you learn the rules!

Today, we are going to take a look specifically at academic and business writings. There are countless other categories though, such as legal, technical, scientific, literary, and more. Each has its own features, and you have to learn how to recognize those, depending on your career.

In order to be a strong and effective writer, it is crucial that you know when to use each of the little pieces that go into each writing style. First, we need to get a good, basic understanding of what academic writing is and what business writing is. Next, we are going to take a look at the similarities and dissimilarities between the two!

Academic writing. This type of writing is completed for academic use, in the forms of essays like cover page written in MLA format , book reports, theses, and more.

Business writing. This type of writing is used for things like resumes, letters, press releases, memos, and more.


The Language

When it comes to professional writing situations, such as academic and business, you will need to work on cleaning up the language that you are using. Often, we speak using jargon or less formal types of the language. Avoid using slang terms, jargon, and contractions in your academic and business writing.

The Structure

When you are writing business or academic pieces, you have to follow a certain format. This varies, based on what type of writing you are doing under the categories of business and academic. For example, a press release has a specific structure to be followed. You may not use the free-form style.

The Format

Both business and academic papers fall under the category of formal writing. This means that they are serious and have to follow specific guidelines. Language, discussed previously, is a necessary characteristic of a formal piece of writing.


The Purpose

  • Academic paper. Generally, academic writing is done to inform others about a certain topic. It can also be done for the purpose of a student’s learning.
  • Business paper. Business writing is completed to get something done or changed. Sometimes, business writers write for the purpose of recommending actions for the company to take.

The Content

  • Academic paper. Academic writing is done to inform, so the content is typically information-based. It can also include an argument or a perspective on a topic. This is usually in-depth too, so that students may cover a topic in its entirety.
  • Business paper.Business writing is more shallow and focuses on just the most important information. Extra information is often left out.

The Audience

  • Academic paper. Usually, the only people who read a student’s work is their professors or teachers.
  • Business paper. A business writer’s audience will typically be a larger group. This can involve high-stakes situations, so the audience can be a very important factor in the writing.

The Length

  • Academic paper. Most academic writing assignments require a certain amount of words or pages.
  • Business paper. There is not usually a length requirement for business writings. The writer usually stops once they reach their point.

The Prompt

  • Academic paper. Students are required to write as a part of their classes. Papers are assigned by a teacher or a professor. Students are expected to follow the guidelines set by the instructor.
  • Business paper. Usually, business writers write because they want something to be done. It can also be because somebody else in their workplace wants them to write. At the business level, writers can generally set their own guidelines.

The Preparation

  • Academic paper. Academic writing is generally based on an outline, which is created by the writer. This also requires research.
  • Business paper. Business writing should be developed, but it requires less preparation than academic writing does.  

The Style

  • Academic paper. In academic writing, students are expected to write complex sentences. As a result, many of their paragraphs will be longer when compared to business writing.
  • Business paper. In business writing, the sentences and paragraphs are pretty short and simple. Sometimes business writers do not even use paragraphs.

While it may seem daunting at first glance, switching from academic to business writing can be done. But, it might take some time to adjust to the differences between the two, and there are certain rules that you will need to adapt to. Some of these can be confusing when you begin, but they will become more familiar and easier to remember over time.