Eliminating most common mistakes when writing an essay

Posted by Damien Stark  • 

writing guidesIn order to push out writing assignments that have little to no errors in them, one must learn some basic habits when doing writing homework. In college and university, syntax, format and language errors are no small thing to be overlooked by your professor. Attention to detail and meticulous editing are essential, and so is knowing the major rules of writing a basic essay.

Common mistake: Straying off the topic

essay structure hints

Not reading the assignment correctly or straying off the topic path is often a main cause of frustration for teachers. Students often take the topic and turn it into something it was never intended to be.

Eliminate by... If your topic has been given to you, it’s not a suggestion. Your teacher or professor wants to know how well you take direction and how carefully you read instructions. Keep referring back to the topic to make sure you’re still on track. Even the best writers get sidetracked, so be careful.

Common mistake: Insufficient proofreading

When you’re finished, you’re not finished yet. So many students end their writing and click ‘save’ before even reading their work through. This makes essays hard to read which gets teachers despondent about getting to your assignment.

Eliminate by... Your essay should be proofread and edited at least twice. Put yourself in your teacher’s shoes and imagine reading your essay. Have you taken punctuation seriously? Are there spelling errors that need to be corrected? How’s the grammar? If you punish your teacher with bad syntax, they may in turn punish you with a bad grade.

Common mistake: Haphazard flow

When students write essays that don’t follow a logical direction, it’s enough to turn any essay—no matter how good the language is—into an empty series of words that go nowhere.

Eliminate by...

Three things to take note of in your writing are:

  • Logical order of events/arguments
  • Paragraphs should connect with each other
  • Your introduction shouldn’t give the plot/spoilers away
  • Your conclusion should have an element of finality

Common mistake: A bad understanding of word usage

There are lots of words that sound the same, but have different meanings. For your teacher who understands the differences between these words and knows how important it is to distinguish between them, seeing such errors can make the blood boil.

Eliminate by... Grab a list of same-sounding words from the internet and keep a copy on your homework desk. Every time you write an essay, keep a good eye out for these common errors and avoid them at all costs.