Monday, August 20, 2012
BTCG: General Guide to Writing an Essay
Today, we're offering some tips on how to write a good essay in college. Since I worked at my university's writing center, I saw students every day to help them improve their writing, and I quickly learned that there are several easy steps that everyone can take to improve writing quality. While I've labeled these tips for college papers, most of them work for anything that you write in college or out of college.
- As you begin, make sure that you follow the prompt, answer the question, or do whatever the assignments asks for.
- Make it clear to the reader exactly what your thesis or purpose is. You wrote the paper, and it makes sense to you. Since your reader can't read your mind, you must give your readers a topic sentence (thesis), supporting evidence, and a conclusion.
- Ask yourself if everything you've written is important to your thesis. If a sentence or even an entire paragraph is off topic, it needs to go (even if you need it to make your paper long enough.)
- After you've taken care of the content (the most important part of the paper), you can move to style. There are two changes I usually suggest for style. First, vary your sentence structure. All of your sentences shouldn't be simple, but they shouldn't all be super complex either. Second, check for overused words or repeated phrases and replace them.
- "I can't do grammar." You can fix more than you think simply by reading your paper out loud. You will probably be able to hear things that sound awkward and catch typos. Both of these are the easiest problems to fix.
- Finally, if you don't know a grammar rule either look it up, ask someone who knows, or use another construction that you do know.
All of these tips are very basic, but following them will greatly improve your writing. Since writing tips are an area that I know lots about if anyone has anything to add or any questions about other writing issues (whether you're in college or not) that I didn't cover, please leave a comment. I'll definitely respond, and I would love to write more detailed posts on a similar topic if there's any interest.
If you missed the first two parts to our guide be sure to see Microwave Recipe Treats and DIY Recycled Decorating Projects.