Common Essay Writing Mistakes Made By Students

Essays are a common part of university education. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the art of essay writing to maintain your grades. In order to learn how to write better, you need to be aware of the common mistakes people often make while writing an essay so you can avoid them.

Content Mistakes

A good essay should have a captivating introduction, structured content, and a solid conclusion. Here are some tips you should follow to ensure your content is good enough to keep the reader’s interest:

1.      Lack of precision

Start writing once you have understood the central question of the essay and make sure all your content addresses it directly. Expand your ideas using relevant facts, specific examples, and concrete details.

2.      Boring introduction

A good introduction is necessary to give readers some context what the rest of the essay is about.

3.      Weak thesis statement

Keep in mind, a thesis statement acts as a hook that hangs the entire essay together. It expresses what the writer thinks about the topic. Your thesis statement should explain the following to the audience: what you will argue about in the essay and how you plan to do it. Expand on your ideas throughout the essay to support the thesis statement.

Avoid writing a thesis that you would not be able to support. It is crucial while planning the essay to make sure that you have adequate ideas to support the thesis statement you just formulated.

4.      Ideas not backed up with facts

Remember, it is crucial to prove the validity of your ideas using appropriate facts and specific examples.

5.      Weak conclusion

It is essential to end your essay with a powerful note. Your conclusion should be straightforward and emphasize the point you were trying to make in the entire essay. Avoid vague conclusions.

Stylistic Mistakes

Even if your essay has interesting content, it would all go to waste if you do not employ the right writing style. Here are some common stylistic mistakes students make in their essays:

1.      Word repetition

Using the same words, again and again, may make your essay seem childish and boring. Make sure you have a thesaurus at hand so you can avoid repetition.

2.      Excessive use of the passive voice

Passive voice may make your writing sound more objective and impersonal but it also makes it more difficult to read. In contrast, sentences with an active voice are direct and clear. A good essay should use both, but it is recommended that more than 80 percent of your essay should be in an active voice.

3.      Sentences too long/short

Excessively long sentences make your essay difficult to understand whereas sentences that are too short may ruin the logical development of your thoughts and ideas. Make sure your essay has a suitable balance of both short and long sentences.

4.      Sentences starting with coordinating conjunctions

Generally, coordinating conjunctions are used to link clauses and words in a sentence. They can also be used to start sentences. However, if you start a lot of sentences with conjunctions, your writing will come off as monotonous. Corresponding conjunctive adverbs such as however, moreover and nevertheless are a better option and more appropriate for formal writing.

Structural Mistakes

There are certain guidelines you are required to follow when it comes to writing an essay. These rules allow you to organize your thoughts systematically without limiting your creativity. It is crucial to structure your essay appropriately to ensure your ideas are easily understood by the reader. Some structural mistakes students often make include:

1.      Sentence errors

Run-on sentences and fragments are the most common sentence errors made by students.

Run-On Sentences: refers to when you connect two or more clauses together without using proper punctuation. These sentences may confuse your reader. All you need to do to fix this mistake is to divide the run-on sentences into different sentences, or include a subordinating or coordinating conjunction.

Fragments: refers to when groups of words are punctuated as complete sentences. As they do not have any independent clauses, they make it hard to understand what the sentence is trying to convey. You can correct this mistake by expanding any fragments into complete sentences (by adding the missing elements like verbs, clauses, and subjects) or by incorporating the fragment into the previous/next sentence.

2.      Text structure errors

A typical text structure error is not dividing the composition into proper paragraphs. Keep in mind that a good essay should have at least 4 paragraphs: an introduction, 2 main body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Grammar Mistakes

An impeccable essay should have perfect grammar. Some of the common grammar mistakes students make in their essays include:

1.      Noun form errors

Before you start writing, review the rules regarding uncountable and countable nouns. Learn how to appropriately use determiners with plural and singular nouns.

2.      Verb form errors

Keep the rules concerning the use of auxiliary and stative verbs in mind, and also how to use modal and infinitive verbs correctly.

The best way to avoid grammatical errors in your writing is by carefully proofreading it and checking whether all the sentences in your essay follow the basic rules of grammar.

Vocabulary Mistakes

Your essay is going to be a mess if it is filled with vocabulary mistakes. Some common mistakes students make include:

  1. Homonym misuse (e.g. whole vs hole, here vs. hear)
  2. Confused words (e.g. lose-loose, effect-affect)
  3. Wrong word form (e.g. disable people instead of disabled people)

The reason why such mistakes are so common is because spellchecks are not able to detect them. Therefore, it is crucial to manually proofread your essay.

Spelling Mistakes

It is crucial to thoroughly proofread your essay once you are done writing to correct any spelling mistakes. You can also use applications that detect and fix any spelling mistakes.

That is it for now. I hope these prompts aid you in writing an impeccable essay. However, if you still find yourself struggling, consider asking an essay writers UK for help.

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