The title pretty much sums it up: is it permissible to use the words "just as well" in a formal academic paper?

For instance:

The exchange might just as well have taken place in Abu Dhabi.

2 Answers 2


I don't see why you couldn't use that phrase. To make it less colloquial-sounding, simply take out the superfluous "just":

The exchange might as well have taken place in Abu Dhabi.

And then it is in a plenty good enough register for an academic paper.

  • Thanks. If you don't mind me asking, what's the kanji in your avatar? Apr 30, 2011 at 23:08
  • @Chris Astley: It means "dream" — pronounced ゆめ (or yume "you-meh").
    – Robusto
    May 1, 2011 at 3:04

Since you mention it, it does sound a little informal to me, and the phrase "might as well" would be a little distracting to me since it sounds like the idiom, like "might as well get used to it".

You could try "could as well" instead, but then it wasn't too bad to begin with, either.

  • "Could as well" sounds dodgy, and has a different meaning from the OP's phrase even if it could be made to fit a sentence.
    – R160K
    Aug 27, 2014 at 0:14
  • 1
    "The conference might as well have been in Abu Dhabi" means that certain qualitative facts about the conference were more usually connoted with Abu Dhabi, i.e. "There were so many Arab investors at the Birmingham conference, it might as well have been in Abu Dhabi." The implication is that it might have been better to hold it in Abu Dhabi. "The conference could just have well have taken place in Abu Dhabi" means there were equally few barriers to holding the conference in Abu Dhabi as there were to holding it where it was actually held. It would be equally easy to hold it in Abu Dhabi.
    – R160K
    Aug 27, 2014 at 0:19

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