Writing Conventions for Technical & Academic Writing (A Guide)

author By Mary Boies

Writing Conventions refer to writing mechanics, including punctuation, spelling, handwriting, capitalization, and paragraphing.

Successfully applying the mechanics of writing in academic, technical, and professional writing help to grab the attention of the readers as you meticulously consider the higher-order aspects of writing like word choice and idea generation. These conventions are specific, and you don't have to develop your own conventions.

In this guide, we go deeper into writing conventions and techniques so that you can follow the specific rules that make your written piece sense to the target audience or readers.

Importance of Writing Conventions

Writing conventions are important in all spheres of writing. You must incorporate correct grammar when writing a report, exam answers, books, or manuals. In a nutshell, spelling, proper grammar, rules of capitalization, and punctuation are the most important writing conventions used to achieve the following in your written works:

You might have noticed that you naturally follow specific principles such as writing in full sentences and using correct spellings and punctuation for words when writing a speech, narrative, story, or even a poem. You do so that you can appeal to your readers persuasively. 

Besides, you can tell the type of written work by looking at its structure. For instance, you can tell that a text is a play or movie script if there are stage directions, speech without quotations, and scenes. It is also easier to tell an expository essay from a technical passage, depending on its structure and how it answers the writing prompt.

Applying the conventions of writing in your CVs and resumes also increases the chances of you being considered for a position over other candidates when qualification alone is not a fact to check. You will make a clear point or statement. You can also avoid unnecessary critiques from an editor if you sufficiently address them in your written piece. But what are some of these writing conventions? Let’s now explore what this article or guide is about.

The most Fundamental or Basic Writing Conventions

The goal of writing is to communicate easily with the target audience; it could be for fun or fulfilling a set of instructions in a specific field. Academic writing conventions apply almost entirely in all other spheres (fictional or non-fictional) of writing.

The four main writing conventions used in academic, technical, and professional include grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Each serves a unique purpose and should be mastered to perfection, especially if you want to write high-quality research papers or essays with the best flow.


When writing, you must ensure that you use the correct capital words. Some rules govern titles, sentences, and paragraphs if you are typing.

You must ensure that the first letter of the first word in a sentence is capitalized. Likewise, you must provide the right title case for the titles (headings) and subheadings.

Words such as proper nouns should also begin with a capital word. Capital letters help to emphasize the importance of the words and to shorten longer words with acronyms to take less space if they are used often within the written work.

Besides, the acronyms are easier to remember once they are defined. Once you master capital letters correctly, you should not struggle to do the same when writing a piece.

The common capitalization rules or conventions examples dictate that you should capitalize:


Any piece of writing should adhere to the grammatical rules.

Such rules include subject-verb agreement; correct use of tenses; placing adjectives directly before nouns that they describe or after if separated by a verb; proper use of commas to connect two ideas; using the Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) format, treating collective nouns as singular or plural; using it and it’s effectively; using there, their, and they’re correct; and using your and you’re correctly. These grammar conventions examples apply when writing almost every piece of work, and they differ in specific genres.

Good grammar avoids using any wrong word in a formal text, so anyone can decode its intended meaning. Even when giving basic examples, ensure that you use the correct punctuation and grammar, no matter how many sentences you write.

Generally, grammar helps maintain a good word structure to write coherent and understandable sentences. Spoken and written English are not the same when you consider grammar. Therefore, your writing should be consistent so that your readers get the gist of your writing.

Some of the common grammar rules include:


Appropriate punctuation in a written work helps create a good flow and draw meaning out of the text.

You should ensure that you correctly use periods, exclamation marks, commas, semi-colons, colons, and other punctuation marks.

For instance, when listing items in an essay, use commas correctly. Besides, use exclamation marks when expressing your feelings or emotions. If you are writing interrogative sentences, you must include question marks. As a matter of fact, every sentence ends with a full stop or period and sometimes an exclamation mark or a question mark.

The idea is to give life and meaning to sentences. You should also use question marks at the end of rhetorical questions, which matters more if you are writing school exams. Students progress with punctuation conventions develops as they write many papers and any other formal text.


Spelling conventions are also fundamental in writing. If your paper is riddled with spelling errors, it isn't easy to read and understand. Spelling correctly makes your writing digestible. Correcting the spelling improves its flow and readability as you self-edit a paper.

A common challenge for using the correct spelling is when handling homophones. Therefore, you should be keen on the meanings if the words sound the same. Pay attention to your spelling, as it is an important writing convention, as are the other three.

Writing Conventions for Specific Genres or Fields

Different fields and genres of writing have a set of principles, rules, strategies, and approaches to follow when writing.

A technical report will not read the same as an essay, nor will it be the same as a narrative or expository writing. The same applies to a lab report that differs from a marketing plan.

The secret is to know what goes into each genre so that you touch the hearts and minds of the specific audience. You are good to go as long as you make your reader understand the text. Including the main writing conventions discussed above helps you to communicate effectively.

Let’s explore this further.

Formal Writing Conventions

It is referred to as academic, scientific, or scholarly writing and is mostly used in academic settings. It has its own set of rules and principles. In most cases, when writing an academic or formal paper:

There are many other academic writing conventions you should acquaint yourself with.

Related Reading:

Technical Passage (Technical Writing)

A technical passage is written using technical writing conventions. It is mainly meant to quickly and effectively convey information to the readers, and it is shorter enough but adequately conveys the most pertinent information.

In most cases, technical passages are data-based, unlike expository writing focuses on proving whether an argument is true. It is not a story but a summary of a technical document, and technical writing targets a specific group of people already knowledgeable about a subject.

Technical passages can be reports, essays, white papers, or term papers detailing industry best practices, processes, procedures, and other pieces of information. They share facts without using an impersonal approach.

Technical passages sound more like a textbook, full of jargon and an extensive vocabulary, targeting a smaller audience. Using imperative verb commands is critical, as is correct grammar and spelling.

It is good to be objective, organized and composed when writing technical papers. You should use all the fundamental writing conventions to your advantage.

Narrative Writing Conventions

A narrative entails telling a short story. It can be done through written prose form, a book, novel, memoir, autobiography, movie, podcast, or TV show. It typically has characters, plot, speech, dialogue, soliloquy, and all the story elements.

Most narrative texts or writings follow the story mountain structure where there is a beginning (introduction), climax, resolution, and ending.

Some of these features should signal that you are reading a narrative. Using appropriate grammatical, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization rules are important.

Writing personal essays, admission essays, personal statements, biography, autobiography, and profile essays follow this format. When writing a narrative, ensure that the grammar, structure, and flow are addressed. All written works with a good flow are desirable to read.

Instructional Writing Conventions

An example of instructional writing is a manual or a process essay. The intent is to detail a step-by-step process or instructions to the reader so they can achieve a specific action.

You can use chronological order, spatial order, imperative verbs, and numbered lists to show the superiority of the steps.

Using instructional writing conventions helps you meet the aim of taking someone through a process so they can do it seamlessly, even without prior interaction or knowledge.

Letter Writing Conventions

People have substituted letter writing with emails and text messages in the internet and computing age and the new dawn of AI. Certain professions, careers, and organizations prefer letters, and government agencies and PR agencies are rife with using letters to address the status quo. Following the rules of letter writing ensures that the gist of writing is achieved and communicated. Some of these rules include the following:

Persuasive Writing Conventions

Unlike technical writing that shares information, persuasive writing intends to change the mind of the readers or audience to agree with the author's point of view or perspective.

The only way to achieve or approach persuasive writing is to have a solid thesis statement in the essay introduction paragraph and develop it through the body paragraphs before finalizing.

When writing persuasively, appeal to emotions (pathos), authority (ethos), and logic (logos). Technically, this means using evidence such as emotive language, rhetorical appeals or questions, and facts and figures.

Speech Writing Conventions

Writing a perfect speech is not a walk in the park. Whether you are writing a commemorative, persuasive, or informative speech, you must put in a lot of work.

Your speech must start with an engaging and motivational opening, have a well-structured argument with several points, and have a dynamic and memorable conclusion.

Use the writing conventions (spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization) to highlight the tone and make the content palatable to the audience.

You can use personal pronouns, anecdotes, rhetorical questions, and emotive language in a speech. Also, know how to handle objections in your speech by considering the opposition and dealing with it in the speech. Besides you can also include forceful language and imperatives.

Script Writing Principles

Writing a script is never the easiest, but enjoyable and fun if you understand what to do and how to do it. Scripts are written for short movies, stage performances, adverts, choreography, and skits. They help predict the characters' language, voice, actions, expressions, dramatization, and dialogue.

You can approach script writing differently, and there is a specific format to use. If you’re writing a screenplay:

Read more about scriptwriting conventions from NFI.

As you Exit!

Writing conventions are the rules that govern writing almost everything from technical writing to academic writing. They are the crux of writing essays for students. They make English understandable. Following the rules to the T means that you have wholly mastered the art of writing, and you will have the correct sentences, paragraphs, and papers. To become a seasoned writer using capital letters, the correct spelling, avoiding any wrong words, and making sure you spell correctly should come naturally. These conventions can be the only difference that gets your desires in college and job applications. Even middle and high school students need to master writing, and they can achieve it as young writers by mastering writing rules and mechanics. That way, the author’s point becomes apparent, making the readers understand the meaning. When writing in academic settings, it is imperative to avoid using fragments, avoid abbreviations, cite your sources correctly, and ensure subject-verb agreement.

Now that you know and understand writing conventions, you are sure you are a perfect writer. But that, too, comes with cyclical practice. Revising your written text should help you understand whether you have met the mark specified in the rubric. You can stay away from the common writing problems that students face.

If you feel confused or would like to get help with writing a paper, contact our customer service team. We are a leading essay help website with professional writers who have mastered the art and conventions of writing academic papers and assignments. Hire an online essay writer/tutor to work alongside you as you develop your writing skills.

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