7 Worst Essay Writing Mistakes You Should Avoid

 

There are mistakes that do not amount to much in and of themselves, and then there are mistakes that can sink your grade to the bottom even if everything else about your essay is at the top of its form. A lenient or well-meaning teacher may overlook the former; but if your mistakes are really bad, you are in trouble no matter who grades your paper. A good portion of essay writing mastery lies in recognizing such mistakes and avoiding them at all costs. So what are the worst crimes you can commit while writing an essay? Let us take a closer look.

Ambiguous Thesis Statement

A thesis statement expresses the main idea of your essay, condensed into a single sentence. Usually, it follows the introduction and serves a very specific purpose – it gives the reader a clear idea of what your essay is about and what your point of view on the subject is. A good thesis statement meets the following requirements:

  • It should be short – no longer than a single mid-sized sentence;

  • It should be specific and to the point – it should show what your essay is about and keep the topic manageable. E.g., “Second World War broke out for a number of different reasons” is too vague. “The main reason for Second World War was German revanchism after the loss in the First World War” is a more specific alternative;

  • It should be specific and to the point – it should show what your essay is about and keep the topic manageable. E.g., “Second World War broke out for a number of different reasons” is too vague. “The main reason for Second World War was German revanchism after the loss in the First World War” is a more specific alternative;

  • It should make a stand, i.e., express an opinion;

  • It should stick to a single idea.

  • If your thesis statement does not meet any of these requirements, it is going to be a serious drawback both in itself and due to the way it will influence the rest of the essay.

Failing to Address the Question

All essays are supposed to answer questions, even if the task you received does not pose a question as such. Before you start writing, you should clearly understand what question you should answer and whether you get it right. You will be amazed how many students forget about the initial issue they were dealing with and go off on a tangent, never to return to the original topic.
If you want to avoid it and see how a high-quality essay is supposed to be written, you can always look for assistance from one of many affordable academic help services like Affordable Papers. There you can always find experienced writers who can prepare top-notch essays exactly meeting the requirements set by your tutors or professors.

Overquoting

Quotations are a tool. Just like any other tool, when used properly, they can greatly improve the quality of your work. The important thing here is to avoid overusing them – which is an extremely common mistake, especially among beginners. You feel that the source you are using expresses a thought perfectly and want to demonstrate that you processed information from multiple different books and articles, so you stuff your essay full of quotations. Unfortunately, such an approach gives the reader an impression that you do not have anything of your own to say and can only repeat the words of others. Therefore, use quotations sparingly and only if you really think it will benefit your essay. Even in this case, prefer using paraphrases.

Overly Complicated Style

Many students believe that complicated, long-winded style using multiple-clause sentences and polysyllabic words gives their writing a sense of sophistication. Unfortunately, in reality, it immediately betrays your status as an amateur. More experienced writers try their best to simplify their language to make their texts more readable and easier to navigate. The use of long sentences and long words shows that you are not sure about your message and are more concerned with how you say what you say than with the meaning of your words. Avoid this at all costs. Break up complex sentences. Do not use a five-syllable word where a one-syllable word will do.

Low-Quality Evidence

Even if you write a non-persuasive essay, your writing is supposed to have a message you want to impart to the readers. To do so, you need evidence. One of the easiest ways to decrease the value of your essay in the eyes of your tutor is to approach evidence collection and presentation half-heartedly. If your evidence is irrelevant, non-representative, objectionable or highly biased, it means that everything you say immediately becomes suspect. Research your sources. Study where they get their information and whether it is corroborated by anything else. Make sure your argument cannot be shot full of holes simply because you failed to check the provenance of your data.

Referencing Mistakes

These may look like a mere formality, but academia views them in an extremely serious light. Failing to reference a source, even if you do it accidentally, can lead to accusations of plagiarism, and it means much greater problems than just a poor grade. Study the formatting style you are supposed to use, check and double-check every sentence to see if you missed quotation marks anywhere.

Overusing a Thesaurus

TA thesaurus is an alright tool if you want to avoid using the same word over and over again and want to remind yourself of a few synonyms. Some students, however, take it a step further and try to intersperse their entire essay with words borrowed from a thesaurus. Usually, it makes a sad impression, and any tutor will recognize such an attempt immediately.
These are among the worst things you can do while writing an essay. Avoid them, and you will certainly increase your chances of getting a decent grade.

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