You have a great idea and want to impress your teacher with your essay. Yet, your grades for papers never go higher than a “C” or “B.” What is the reason for this? Watch out—you can make typical mistakes in each new writing piece. Have a look at the list of them to find out what makes your texts weaker. In this article, we will also suggest some useful recommendations on how to improve your skills, and how to write a solid and accurate essay.
10 common mistakes in essay writing
If you want to learn how to compose a good essay, analyze your previous papers. Then, compare the corrections in each of them with the errors from the list below.
- Neglecting writing instructions. Before you start composing an essay, read the paper’s instructions carefully. If you are supposed to write a 5-paragraph essay, there’s no need to research 25 pages of information—even if the topic is very interesting to you. Your teacher’s time is limited and such a long paper will only cause irritation rather than delight.
- A weak introduction. Sometimes you may fail to make a good beginning to your essay. Imagine your teacher is a plain reader. Get them involved with your ideas, quote some famous person, mention relevant numbers. This will make your writing more specific and persuasive.
- Using extra words. Try to express your ideas clearly and avoid using unnecessary words in your essay. Remember that wordiness makes writing confusing and ambiguous.
- A lack of examples. When you don’t support the main ideas of your essay with examples, they don’t sound convincing. Moreover, adding practical illustrations is a good way to explain something and make your arguments more believable. So, ensure there’s a combination of theory and practice in your writing piece.
- Lengthy sentences. Long sentences and complex constructions make it difficult to understand the key points of your paper. Split compound sentences into shorter ones to make it easier to follow your ideas.
- Complicated vocabulary. Adding a couple of specific terms into the text is a good thing. Yet, try not to overuse them. Keep the language simple and opt for the words that are easy to perceive. For example, instead of saying: “The company is taking applications at this point in time” you can write: “The company is taking applications now.”
- No thesis statement. A thesis statement stresses the main idea of your essay. If you don’t include it in your writing piece, the whole text will be incomplete and won’t have any conclusion.
- No transition between ideas. Often, students write one abstract after another and don’t care much about presenting ideas smoothly. If you add a linking phrase when presenting every new thought, you will increase the flow of your content. As a result, all statements and arguments in your essay will be logically connected.
- Spelling mistakes. You can frequently mislead your teacher by using homophones in your paper. There are so many of them in the English language (e.g., their–they’re, right–write, your–you’re, etc.). Since every one of the suggested options is written correctly, it can be difficult to identify them with the help of the automated spell-check option. However, such inaccuracies can make your grade considerably lower.
- Plagiarized content. The content of your essay has to be original even if you use additional sources to write it. Keep in mind that paraphrasing is also classified as copied information. Your teacher will check your writing piece with the help of a special plagiarism-detection engine. So, don’t present someone else's ideas as your own. Rather, quote the ideas of authors properly and maintain an original opinion when considering a topic.
Useful tips to improve your writing
Despite your writing skills not being perfect, there are effective ways to make them better:
- Learn more about English grammar and spelling. Read the book “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk and E.B. White. This will help you find out practical recommendations on how to make your writing better.
- Take an online course or attend an additional class on writing. There, you will not only meet experienced writers, but will also have a chance to read your own text, then listen to comments and revise it accordingly. Thanks to such non-biased expertise, you will get to know how to make your writing more engaging.
- Follow a structural approach while writing. Start with making a plan, then move on to creating a draft. When the essay is ready, check it and add corrections. In such a way, you will stay focused and your writing process will be better organized.
- Be persuasive. Select strong arguments and be objective. Mention the results of the latest survey if your topic is connected with sociology, economics, politics, etc.
- Edit your essay more than once. When your text is finished, read it several times to check every aspect of it: spelling, punctuation, grammar, word choice, etc. Take more than one round to polish your writing in the best way.
Use these pieces of advice and follow them when working on your next paper. Hopefully, they will come in handy.
Writing an outstanding essay takes a bit of time and practice. However, you can create a good essay by using a list of useful recommendations. Also, you can contact a custom essay writing service and get expert help with your task. Anyway, if you are persistent and creative, your best essays will come.