Posts Tagged ‘phrases’


Basic Essay Writing Tips

Effective essay writing is critical for a student to achieve academic success. It demonstrates to the professor that a student has a comprehensive understanding of the topic, good critical thinking skills and the ability to convey it all in writing. While tackling an essay assignment may seem like a difficult task, heeding a few tips and practicing the craft frequently will result in improved results.

Start Early

Don’t wait until the last minute before you begin writing your essay. Avoid the pitfalls of procrastination by getting started early and setting a schedule that gives you sufficient time for finishing before the due date. This way, if you run into unexpected issues in the course of writing your essay, or if you decide to change topics, you have enough time to get it done. Additionally, when you rush through the writing, the quality of your writing tends to decline.

Expect to Rewrite

Don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the little aspects of your essay on the first draft. The primary purpose of a rough draft is getting your ideas down on paper in raw form. Once you have accomplished this, go back and make corrections to your work repeatedly until you feel it’s a finished product. Remember that even the most gifted writers write multiple drafts before unveiling the end result. This will help take the pressure off as you first start your essay, lessening your desire to procrastinate.

Avoid Using Overly Technical Language

Experts in every industry typically understand their specialization so well that they have their own language, or jargon. Even if you find yourself becoming familiar with this language over the course of your research, avoid inserting unnecessary jargon into your essay. Depending on your assignment, you may be writing for a general audience that is learning about your topic as you present it. If you are giving readers just an overview of what you learned, throwing in technical terms may be inappropriate.

Don’t Plagiarize

Carefully organize all your research and give proper credit to your sources whenever it is appropriate to do so. Even if you aren’t using direct quotations, paraphrases and summaries require citations as well. Unless you are writing down an original thought or common knowledge, acknowledge the source you got the information from. Bear in mind that plagiarism is not only committed with the intent to steal the work of others; failing to give credit due to careless citation is no excuse.

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How To Improve Your Writing

Whether you’re pursuing a career as an entrepreneur, an academic writer, a marketer, or a blogger, few things are more important to your future than polishing your skills as a writer. A verbal pitch can go a long way, but at some point you’re going to have to put your ideas onto paper, or word document, and that’s when a project can get cumbersome. Even the process of corresponding with businesses or corporate financial entities becomes more fluid when you possess solid writing skills. If you’re applying for a Discover student loan, for instance, and you craft a compelling letter to the Executive Account Manager, your chances of success rise significantly higher. With that said, here are few time-weathered strategies for improving your written content:

Organize and outline. Do not start writing until you have a solid outline. This doesn’t just mean a few phrases scribbled in haste. Your outline should act as a guide to every section of your missive. Not only do you want a beginning, middle, and end to the content as a whole, you should work to build in beginnings, middles, and ends, to each individual section as well. This will keep your post feeling organized and on-point. Many papers, blogs and marketing copy go awry because they are disorganized, and because the author didn’t work off of a solid outline. You wouldn’t start building a tower without a blueprint, would you?

Have a thesis, and several sub-theses. Your paper, blog, pitch, or story should have an overall thesis that you are working toward illustrating. All of your points and examples should be supporting this central thesis. You should also have several smaller theses that back up the main one in different ways. If you’re writing a blog post or marketing pitch, your ‘headers’ would be your sub-theses. They are their own points, but work to affirm aspects of your overall point.

Write clearly, concisely, and powerfully. These are three characteristics that are hard to combine. Many people would think that if you write clearly and concisely, you can’t also write powerfully. But writing powerfully doesn’t mean using obtuse metaphors or stringing together Faulkner-like sentences that leave your readers feeling bewildered. Writing powerfully requires that you be clear and concise. Use adjectives sparingly. Be economical with page space. Don’t compare patently human endeavors with poetic cosmic cycles too often.

Being a good writer doesn’t require that you memorize the dictionary or try in vain to imitate classic authors. Being a good writer means scribing in an organized, concise, purpose-driven manner. You must treat the act of writing as craft, with structural components that you constantly work to improve upon.

By Jennifer Smith

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How to Avoid Most Common Writing Errors

Writing is a necessity in our society. However, according to Andrea A. Lunsford of Stanford University, most writers make similar mistakes. Luckily, you do not need a degree in English to amend common oversights. Recognizing the most common errors can help you improve your writing.

Where Do Commas Go?

The proper use of commas may seem difficult, but it really isn’t. The most common writing mistake is failure to separate two independent clauses with a comma and a coordinating conjunction. Plain English? When you write two complete sentences, sometimes you join them with an “and” or “but.” To be correct, a sentence like this needs a comma before the “and” or “but.” For example, “I went to the store, and I bought some bread.” Insert a comma before the “and” because the phrases on each side are complete sentences. Simple enough?

Another common error is the absence of commas around parenthetical phrases. Put commas around a phrase you could take out of the sentence without changing its meaning. For example, “My best friend, the sweetest girl in the world, will be visiting tomorrow.” Notice the commas around “the sweetest girl in the world.” You could remove that phrase, and the sentence would still make sense. If the phrase is necessary for the sentence to make sense, you do not use a comma. To illustrate, “My student Tom is very smart.” Unless there is only one student, the name is vital to the sentence.

Which Witch Is Which?

In English, it’s easy to confuse similar words. Learn the correct versions of common words. “There” is a place. “Their” is always possessive. “Their house is beautiful.” “They’re” has an apostrophe. It is a contraction for “they are.” “They’re coming tomorrow.”

“Too” refers to an excess or “in addition to.” It has two Os, as in “too much.” The word “to” is a transition word, usually referring to a place or a direction. “Go to the doctor.” And lastly, the number 2 is written as “two.” Think of the “W” as geometric to remind you.

You and Me… Me and You

Pronouns can be tricky. The following phrase in incorrect: “Me and Molly are going to the movies.” The pronoun “me” is incorrect. Take out the other person’s name, and read the sentence. You are left with, “Me are going to the movies.” You wouldn’t say that. You would say, “I am going to the movies.” The correct pronoun, in this instance would be “I.” To revise, “Molly and I are going to the movies.”

Here’s another example: “She wants to go with Sarah and I.” Once more, take away the other name. We are left with, “She wants to go with I.” To correct the sentence, change it to, “She wants to go with Sarah and me.”

Can I Be a Writing Expert?

The online writing lab of Purdue University offers many helpful resources. You can check out their proofreading section at No writer will ever be perfect, but you can avoid most common mistakes.

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