College writing is not easy. That’s pretty clear. You’ve got to take a lot of aspects into consideration. The perfect paper has to be profound, properly formatted and interesting. And you’re confident that the next one definitely has all these features, but your professor gives you not exactly the grade you hoped for. You may have made one of the mistakes below. They might be not fatal, nevertheless, they don’t benefit your writing at all.
Thesis statement is the heart of your paper. Either it’s an essay, research or a term paper, thesis statement expresses the main idea of your work and presents your view on potential development of your topic. At times, writers fail to make it logical, compelling and interesting. Too much attention to a little sentence, right?
In fact, you should spend as much time as needed, to make your thesis statement a really good one. Review and rewrite ruthlessly. It’s a core of your paper, thus, it has to be as good as gold.
“Generally, scientists believe that majority of people start smoking for psychological reasons”. What’s wrong with this sentence? The right answer is: two words. “Generally” and “majority”. What are the names of scientists, sharing this belief? What percentage of people does this majority encompass? The weasel words don’t just confuse your reader. They actually ruin the impression from your paper.
The sentence above performs an illustrative function, thus, may be slightly exaggerated. Nevertheless, writing your next academic paper either replace these misleading impressions with factual information or don’t use them at all. They create the impression of “fluff” which you definitely don’t need.
If a single sentence in your work occupies more than 3 lines – that’s not a good sentence. Failing to fit your thoughts into a healthy word-limit demonstrates how shabby your thinking is. Plus, your readers are likely to lose the track of thought and not to make it till the final full stop.
Show mercy to your reader by reducing your sentences a little. No one says there’s a rigid limit you’ve got to stick to. Just try to avoid squeezing in too many ideas into a single utterance.
How do you check this parameter? Read your sentences out loud either to yourself or to a friend. If one of you gets befuddled – something needs to be done.
People tend to stick to passive voice, when it comes to writing a serious academic paper. In some cases this choice is absolutely relevant. In others, it makes sentences too bulky, in addition to creating an impression of avoiding responsibility.
Point out the agent of an action, when it’s possible and appropriate. You’ll be surprised with the effect: sentences will become more concise and will sound more natural. The same rule applies here: make your sentences easy to read. That’s the best possible recipe of success.
Writing academic papers obviously means using lots of terms and specific jargon. But what if your work is going to be read not just by your professor but also by wider audience? Leaving your readers lost and confused will totally ruin their impression from your writing. So you should do your very best to make sure that the paper is clear and understandable even for a person, who is not a specialist in your field of studies.
To check for obscure parts in your paper, ask a friend, who knows nothing about the subject of your research, to read the paper for you. If he/she gets at least general idea – your job is done pretty well. The feedback you get here is super-helpful, as it represents a fresh insight onto your work. Take it into consideration and polish your paper so that it is as clear as possible.
Mastering academic writing takes time. Knowing your enemies will help you eliminate them much quicker. So, check your next paper for the flaws described above and make it better. With a bit of attention and diligence you’ll become a skillful writer quite soon. Work hard and have as much fun as possible!