As someone who wrote both densely academic prose and wispy personal essays this semester, I was curious as to how professionals and scholars separate academic and casual styles. I feel like it’s one of those you know it when you see it issues. I could definitely point out when something is academic and when it is more casual, but I don’t think I could create some all-encompassing definition of the two, or some checklist to verify which is which. I found a pretty interesting resource for (Would you believe it?) accounting students that points out the clear differences between academic, informal (casual,) and journalistic writing styles.
My quest for a (near) all-encompassing definition for each of the styles has not been fulfilled, but I don’t think it ever can be. Style is so complex. If there were a single checklist for each type of style, if there were even a complete list of each and every type of style, it wouldn’t be nearly as fun.