Very few tasks are as intimidating and exacting as writing a college essay. Before you can begin writing, you must have a clear picture of what you intend to say. Then, you must write a coherent paper with substantial evidence to support the claims you make in your writing. However, with some guidelines and lots of practice essay writing is a skill you can master.
Here are a couple of handy pieces of advice to help you write even better essays:
- Always Have an Outline Before You Begin Writing
It is vital to know what you will write about before you pick up a pen or start typing. Creating a structural layout of your essay will help you write more coherently and smoothly. The basic outline for an essay must include an introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs, and a proper conclusion. More importantly, an outline will make sure that you don’t leave out anything important. When your essay flows effortlessly, it becomes easier to intrigue the reader as they can follow your story through to the end.
- Be Mindful of Grammar, Punctuation, and Style
If you want your reader to understand your essay, and more importantly, take it seriously, you have to use proper grammar and style, and punctuate your sentences correctly. So, make sure you understand basic grammar rules such as subject-verb agreement and articles usage before you begin writing. Stick to concise sentences and avoid being wordiness or using unnecessary transitions. Learn how to use punctuations such as when commas, colons, semicolons and periods are needed. Finally, stick to active voice as much as possible and avoid passive voice whenever you can to add impact to the writing.
- Use a Variety of Sentence Structures
A sentence structure refers to the grammatical word arrangement in a sentence and can range from simple to compound and complex structuring. How you structure your sentences can either engage the reader or tire them. Common problems in sentence structuring include run-on sentences, sentences fragments, loose sentences, parallel structuring, choppy sentences and use of excessive subordinates. To keep your audience interested, mix your sentence structure. Use short, long, simple, and complex sentences in your essay.
- Use the Right Language and Vocabulary
Do you want to impress your readers by using big and unique words? Such words can have a negative effect on your paper if you use them improperly or too much. If you are in doubt regarding the meaning of a particular word, don’t use it. Also, avoid ambiguous language as it may obscure your argument or main points. Keep your essay simple, and to the point.
- Proofread a Day or Two After You Finish Writing
Examiners and professors are quite keen on spotting mistakes in essays. So, always finish your paper early to have time for proofreading. Once you complete the writing process, keep the assignment aside for maybe a day or even two and then go through it again. It is easier to identify spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes when you have taken a break in between writing and proofreading.
Writing a great essay is easy as long as you avoid the pitfalls mentioned here, and pay attention to these tips.