By: Teacher Joseph Palomares

Write essays but not these ways

These words indicate the pain of students around the world. They still hear the creepy whisper of the snake saying, you shall not pass. Most students are tired of writing essays. It is difficult, it takes time and energy, and it is demanding to complete. Dissertations, discussions, references, and conclusions are the basis of every essay. But what makes you gratified are the words you use to convince your readers. Words are a powerful weapon for demonstrating critical thinking and knowledge on the subject. Words help you identify with most of the other students writing on the same topic.

But here is the problem:

Not all words are handy. Some are clunky and verbose, while others produce incoherent writing. Some use it for word count rather than meaning, which makes the essay look complicated but empty. Do your best to avoid these words and phrases in your acceptance essay to write concise and meaningful sentences.

1) Contractions

In essays, avoid abbreviations such as don’t, can’t, and won’t. Academic works suppose using entire words, so write them rather than contractions.

2) Idioms

Set phrases enrich a language, but leave them for personal stories, blog posts, or fiction books. An admission essay is a task to check your formal writing skills, not your ability to entertain or wow professors with flourished vocabulary. Stay clear and concise.

3-5) So on, etc., and so forth

These run-on expressions demonstrate nothing but your inability to work with arguments, details, and examples. They scream, “I do not know what else to say!” Avoid them in your essays.

6) Clichés

Phrases a la “it’s an open secret,” “we all know,” or “sleep like a baby” are clichés used so often that have lost relevance years back. They are a poor attempt to strike as clever, but such words sound false in sober fact.

7-11) Using“Thing,” “stuff,” “good,” “bad,” and “big“

The problem with these words is colloquiality and vagueness, inappropriate for academic language. It’s okay to use them in everyday talk, but when in essays, they sound too elementary and make admission officers think of your poor vocabulary. Do your best to master paraphrasing and synonymization for writing more sophisticated words in academic papers.

12) Slang, jargon, teen-speak

Remember the audience. Even though admission officers might read Buzzfeed articles in their spare time, they will hardly appreciate such writing style in your formal essay. Leave slang where it’s appropriate.

13) Rhetorical questions

Asking them, you assume that readers know the answer. But why then do they need this information? What’s its value? Rhetorical questions don’t expect explanations, which is inappropriate for academic writing. What seems evident to you might not be so for a reader, so you should provide clear essay statements.

14-17) “In terms of,” “needless to say,” “in conclusion,” “it goes without saying“

Parenthetic words bring no surplus value to your writings. They may serve as transitional phrases in informal works but become redundant when used in academic essays. Professors will consider it a trick to complete a word count rather than add value to your work.

18) Quotes

Quoting and referencing are must-haves for academic essays, but this rule is about starting your work with a quote from a famous person. First, this trick is so overused that it drives professors nuts, and second, they want to hear from you, not Hemingway, Musk, or Obama. It is your essay, so its tone of voice and personality should be yours.

19-26)“Very,” “quite,” “really,” “totally,” “already,” “fairly,” “actually,” and “just”

All they are weak modifiers or redundant (Ly) adverbs with no meaning. When you need to write a 2,000-word essay, you might fight against the temptation to insert them; but the result will be low because such words are irrelevant and bring no surplus value to the statements you use in essays. These descriptive words: very unique, really interesting, and quite enough have nothing to do with efficient academic writings.

27) Passive voice

Most educators ask students to avoid passive voice because this grammar construction 1) weakens wiring and 2) “lacks explicit reference to who the actor is.” Use active voice to make all statements clear to readers.

Final Thoughts

When writing essays, let words be your allies. Use those powerful words to communicate your message to admission officers and overtake other students. Be concise, enhance your vocabulary, consider active verbs and clear sentence structure, and do not plagiarize ideas and texts from peers or online sources. Convey your skills and highlight strengths in your academic writings.

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