Emoji in Your Essay: Why It Is Inappropriate

Various tips on the web would recommend you to avoid emojis in your essays at all costs. You may have wondered why it is so crucial. The Royal Editing team has prepared for you a brief research (you can also call it detailed explanation) regarding these smiling faces, so popular in our modern culture. We will tell you the history of emojis and explain what the concept of “bathos” is and how it concerns emojis in academic writing. But let’s not rush things, we will get to it step by step.

The history of emojis

Emojis, or smilies, are icons used in online conversations. To create them, people type punctuation marks, numbers and letters. These icons indicate certain emotions: initially happiness, but now any other feelings as well.

Emojis are not inventions of the whole humanity. They have their own author. American artist Harvey Ball was the first one to depict a yellow smiling face. It was in December 1963, in the USA, when several large insurance companies merged together. It had an unexpectedly negative impact on corporate ethics of their employees, and customers’ spirits drooped, too. The corporate culture needed to be urgently supplemented with a special symbol, which would embody positive emotions.

This was the reason Harvey Ball received an order to create an uplifting logo. He spent no more than ten minutes to produce a round yellow smiley with two black dots instead of the eyes and a curvy smile. They paid the artist $45, which was a mere trifle compared with the following success of the invention. Both employees and clients were only happy to get these smiling faces depicted on badges, which were produced in the amount of 10 000.

Now we send emojis without even thinking how they became so widespread. However, now you know the history of their invention, and we can move on to analyzing why smilies should not be used in essays of any type.

The goal of an essay

When you get an essay assignment, the professor wants to know your level of proficiency in a certain scientific issue. He expects to receive a well-structured paper, in which you describe your position regarding the given topic.

The purpose of an essay is to develop such skills as creative thinking and presenting your thoughts in the form of written statements. You also train your ability to deal with academic English, because writing tasks additionally reflect your qualities of an author.

To sum it up, we can single out next goals of an essay:

  • to develop a topic;
  • to show your own opinion;
  • to make your statements clear;
  • to practice academic English.

It is the latter that goes in contrast with using emojis. When you insert them, you automatically make your text less academic and more conversational. It does not influence the essence of your writing, but neither does it not correspond to the formal criteria you should stick to. What are they? You will get to know in the following paragraph.

The features of academic style

Academic English is characterized by logical sequence of arguments, orderly system of connecting different parts of speech, attention to grammatical details, author’s tendency to being accurate, laconic and unambiguous. At the same time the author has to produce impressive and unique content.

There are 3 main requirements of academic style concerning its contents that we want to draw your attention to:

  • Logic: it implies the presence of semantic connections between successive blocks of a text.
  • Sequence: you should make sure that your conclusions are derived from the content, that the text is divided into several parts, and your thoughts move either from the particular to the general or from the general to the particular.
  • Clarity: the quality of scientific language, which presupposes that it is understandable.

As for the formal criteria, you should watch your vocabulary. No contractions are allowed in an essay, nor should you use colloquial words and phrases. But where does the urge to use emojis come from? It is because usually you are recommended to make your language rich in stylistic devices to persuade your reader that your point of view is right. But you must do it lexically, not graphically. You can achieve it by employing similes (mind you, not smilies!), idioms and special syntactic constructions. Make your language lively and avoid overdrying it with gobbledegook.

The concept of bathos

Bathos is a term that comes from literary criticism. We believe that it is the best word to describe what happens when you place smiling faces in your essay. Bathos means an abrupt transition from serious and sublime style to something trivial, ridiculous and even vulgar. It is either accidental or deliberate. The former speaks of the poor level of your education, while the latter implies that you intentionally violate the rules.

Keep in mind that when you submit an essay with smilies in it, your professor will not find them amusing. On the contrary, it would appear as if you were trying to undermine basic principles of academic writing. You should stick to the formal style in all respects, so do your best to leave emojis for online chats with your friends.

Ways to render emotions with words

Please keep in mind that we do not discourage you from showing your feelings in your essays, especially when that was the task. We simply want to teach you how to do it differently. If you think that emojis are the only way to express how you feel about a certain statement, then you are wrong. The English language has more than 1 million words! You can easily pick out one, which would replace an emoji without losing the connotation you need. We have prepared a simple guide how to convey the meanings of different smilies using the lexis of English.

  • :-) → fortunately, they were glad to know, it makes somebody happy that, it is great that, I am delighted to tell you etc.
  • :-( → unfortunately, to one’s regret, I feel sorry about, it worries people that, it really disappoints everyone that etc.
  • :-D → it is ridiculous that, I find it funny, it was an amusing example, it looks rather absurd etc.
  • :-| → it made me angry that, some would ardently disapprove, it is irritating that, such behavior is annoying etc.
  • :'‑( → it makes you want to cry, to find oneself mourning over something, it was a great disappointment for everybody etc.
  • O_o → it confuses me that, they were stunned, could you imagine that?, what was meant by? etc.

We hope that you got the general idea. Emojis are not the only option when it comes to expressing your feelings. Discovering how you can render the sense of a smiling face with different words is also a great exercise for your mind. You will expand your vocabulary and learn how to express yourself better.

We come to the conclusion that essays are the best means of showing your academic knowledge and awareness to a professor. You are given enough time to produce a high-quality piece of writing, which has to impress its reader. Students must include logical and appropriate arguments in their essays, sticking with formal writing style while presenting them. That is why we strongly advice you against putting emojis in your essays. They will distract the reader and show your general unawareness of the main goal of such a task. Every essay proofreader will delete all the emojis in your works because otherwise these icons would make your work less academic and excessively familiar.