Do you often run into trouble when writing an essay? Are your essays constantly full of structural mistakes? Do you have no idea how to improve your writing? If so, it is often better to focus not on what you have to do to produce better academic writing, but on what you should avoid doing. If you know what practices should not be used and steer clear of them, you automatically improve your writing while evolving your natural style. Of course, you can always hire an essay editing service to bring your essay to completion – but you can just as easily do it yourself if you know what you are doing.
In this article, you will find some of the typical mistakes almost all newbie writers make – avoid them, and you will quickly and dramatically improve the quality of your writing.
Omitting the Thesis Statement
The thesis statement is the main idea of your essay, boiled down to a single sentence. It is a central concept of any academic text; nevertheless, students often forget to include it altogether. Make sure you formulate it before you even start writing and include it right after the introduction so that the reader immediately knows what you are going to talk about. In addition, try to make it short (no longer than a single mid-sized sentence), straightforward (avoid ambiguity), and specific (stick to a single most important point).
An Irrelevant or Generic Title
The first thing the reader sees about your essay is its title, and it to a significant degree determines their attitude towards the rest of your writing. It should reflect the contents of your paper – if the title is misleading or if you steer away from the declared topic, it is not going to give you extra points with your professor. Generic titles are another common mistake – students often simply delineate what they write about, without trying to add any individuality to it. Make sure the title of your essay makes it stand out.
Repeating the Introduction in the Conclusion
Many students are unclear about what purpose the conclusion serves, and cannot think of anything better than to restate the ideas presented in the introduction using different words. Instead of repeating what the reader already knows, the conclusion should summarize what you have learned in the process of researching and writing the essay, raise new questions, explore the implications of your findings, offer potential avenues for further research – in other words, show that you learned something while writing the essay.
No Transitions between Paragraphs
Each paragraph should contain a single main point with a few supporting details, pieces of evidence, etc. However, individual paragraphs should flow into each other naturally and have logical connections between them. These are achieved with transitional words and phrases such as “therefore,” “as a result,” “consequently,” and so on. Try reading your essay aloud and see if transitions between paragraphs feel natural. If the flow of the text is stilted and bumpy, polish the transitions until it feels smooth.
While you have to prove your point by offering viable proof, it does not mean that you have to introduce all the evidence you can find. If you do so, you will bury the reader under a minute and often inconsequential details, while being unable to pay sufficient attention to any single point due to the word limit. Learn to filter your information. When adding anything to the essay, ask yourself whether it really pushes your argument forward. Stick only to the most important and persuasive pieces of evidence. It is better to pick a few important points and cover them extensively than spread yourself thin.
Overcomplicating Your Writing
Many students mistake complex and intricate writing styles for sophistication, but these two things have little in common. When you consistently use overly complicated sentence structures and five-syllable words, it does not help you achieve recognition in the eyes of your professors – it simply makes your essay hard to follow. High-quality academic writing is laconic, simple to understand, and straightforward. You should be concerned with getting your point across, not with sounding fancy.
Of course, these are not the only mistakes newbies make; however, they encompass a huge portion of what students often do wrong. Pay attention to whether you are prone to making any of them, and you will see your writing improve in no time!