Here are nine tips on how to make an essay shine by paying attention to simple writing rules.
A good essay is not simply about content; the elements of style are equally important if a piece of writing is to receive top marks. An argument cannot be persuasive, incisive or elegant, if it is not lucid, and it will not be clear if it has not been redrafted, revised and rewritten several times over. The following reminders about writing will help produce well-rounded, and well-written essays.
Tip #1: Concise Essay Writing
In an effort to reach the required word limit, students often pad their essay with extra words mistakenly thinking that how much they write is more important that how they write. This is usually a sign that a student does not know what they want to say or are short on ideas. The result is papers that use lots of words but say nothing. A general rule is that less is more when it comes to essay writing. This does not mean that sentences should be short, but that students should make every word count
Three tips for eliminating wordiness includes:
1) use the active voice. "Shirley loves Bob" is concise and active. The passive form is longer and less concise, "Bob is loved by Shirley."
2) Avoid phrases such as "It can be seen that," or "due to the fact that," "In this essay I will argue that." These are wordy and unnecessary. An argument , for example, should be clear without having to announce it to the reader.
3) Prune. Read each sentence and eliminate unnecessary words; "there are many women who never marry" can be shortened to "many women never marry" without changing the meaning.
Tip #2 The Art of Writing is Re-writing
Rewriting is the essence of all writing. It involves evaluating and reading each sentence from the perspective of a skeptical critic – is it clear? Is it relevant? Does it serve the argument in the best way possible? Be honest. Then re-write. And re-read. And revise. After a bout of late-night writing, re-read everything in the cold light of morning. Do not be surprised if ideas no longer seem as brilliantly conceived, or as beautifully expressed.
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