Today’s post is going to be all about curating the perfect essay. Writing skills can be applied to many courses throughout high school and college, and are essential to crafting an A-worthy paper. Use these tips and you’ll be cranking out the perfect essay in no time!
- Do your research: Collect information from credible sources- websites that end in .edu or .gov are best. Research-based PDFs can also be found via Google Scholar and JSTOR. Reliable information is the basis of what you will be writing about.
- Use quotations: Quotations are a great way to add depth to your essay. They serve as concrete evidence to back up your ideas, not to mention, they can increase your word count. 😉 Make sure you integrate your quotes into your paper by properly introducing them. Make a statement that your quote will defend and let the quote follow after a colon. And, always remember to cite your sources using the correct format! Here is a great resource for citations.
- Have your paper proofread: Ask a teacher, peer, parent, or friend to proofread your paper for you. They might see mistakes that you’ve read over so many times you just missed. Also, reading your paper aloud is tremendously helpful in determining whether sentences flow.
- Use a rock-solid thesis statement: Your thesis should introduce your topic and determine your argument on the subject. It should be brief, widely applicable, and it should include the topics you will discuss in your body paragraphs. If you need help with developing your thesis, ask your teacher for guidance.
- Use transitions: I usually write out my paragraphs first, and add transitions at the end. However, do not skip this step! Transitions are important in establishing a flow between your ideas.
- Use active voice: Active voice refers to the noun doing a verb versus a verb being done to a noun. For example: He threw the ball versus the ball was thrown by him. Active voice is preferred because it is more commonly used in speech and is therefore more natural to the reader. A great resource for detecting passive voice is Hemingway App.
- Use a third-person, formal tone: Stay away from “you,” “I,” “we,” and other first person pronouns in formal papers. If this means you need to change your sentence structure, then do it.
- Use a thesaurus: Don’t keep repeating the same word again and again. Look up similes to add more interest to your paper. However, make sure the definition of the simile aligns with what you are trying to say. Here is a link you can use.
- Cite all sources: When in doubt, cite your source- even if you paraphrased. Using intellectual property, even in your own words, can count as plagiarism. Better safe than sorry! Some formats even require a Works Cited page, which you can read more on here.
- Make sure you’re addressing the prompt: Sometimes it’s easy to lose the forest in the trees. After you’ve written a draft, comb through each sentence and make sure it aligns with your thesis and the prompt you have been given. Don’t get so lost in the sauce that you forget what your essay is really about!
Part Two is coming soon! I hope this post was helpful to all my students out there. Sharpening your essay-writing skills will take you far- I promise. 🙂
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