5 Practical Tips To Rock Your Next Essay
Start writing a post
Student Life

5 Practical Tips To Rock Your Next Essay

College is tough, but writing doesn't have to be.

172
5 Practical Tips To Rock Your Next Essay

I'm an English major. I enjoy writing.

Wait. Let me rephrase that: I enjoy having written. Because, in all honesty, the writing process sometimes makes me want to bang my head against the desk until my brain finally gets the necessary words and inspiration to form a coherent thought.

"But you're an English major; doesn't that mean you're already really good at writing?"

Not necessarily! I love English (which is a gift in and of itself) and that motivates me to write well and write better. That being said, here are five tried-and-true tricks to produce quality essays and develop your writing skills.

1. Read it out loud.

A major problem with writing is that sentences can sound unnatural, forced, or too long. Maybe you used the adjective "eclectic" in every other sentence. Maybe you chose words that are overly long and will confuse your reader. When you read your writing out loud, you get a feel for how your reader (often a professor or TA) will hear your words.

2. Action verbs are better than passive verbs.

Is, are, was, were, had, have, has, be, been, being.

These are all very useful words, to be sure. How else am I supposed to say, "I am about to fall asleep while writing this article"? There are a few different ways to say it, but in this case, the word "am" states my sentence clearly and concisely.

In contrast, read the sentence: "The ball was spiked by our team captain who is named Katie."

Now read this one: "Katie, our team captain, leapt into the air and spiked the volleyball over the net."

Notice the difference? In the first sentence, the action is done by Katie, but Katie is not the subject of the sentence. In the second, I placed Katie as the subject, so that the verbs of the sentence communicate the action going on.

3. Use the "Find" feature in Microsoft Word.

After reading step two, you may be wondering how to remove every use of passive verbs in your latest paper... Never fear, the "Find" feature is here!

In Microsoft Word, you can use the "Find" feature to search for words in your essay. I use this most often to locate passive verbs in order to reword the sentences to contain more action. Simply type in words like "be," "is," or "had been" to find and replace them.

4. One paragraph = one idea.

Keep it clean, folks! Each idea deserves its own paragraph, and you'll only weaken your argument by combining two ideas into one.

5. Say what you want to say.

Like, yes, please do say what you want to – or at least what will get you an A.

But also, if you're having trouble explaining your point clearly, take a break for a second. Shut your laptop and simply say what you want to say out loud, as if you were explaining it to a friend. Oftentimes, you will find that your thoughts come out much more coherently when spoken because speech is the primary mode of human communication.

If you want to record your thoughts while talking, pull out the voice memo feature on your phone and record what you have to say. When you're done, pull out your laptop, play the voice memo, and see how much more clearly your thoughts flow!

And when all else fails, when you've stressed and edited and written and rewritten, sometimes all you can do is bite the bullet and submit it!

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Student Life

9 Things Tall People Are Tired Of Hearing

Yep. The weather is fine up here... I've totally never heard that before.

717
pexels

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE being tall. Sometimes I even wish I was taller. One of the downsides of being tall however, is having to put up with ridiculous questions and statements. I can assure that all tall people are tired of being asked what the weather is like "up here", but here are a few other things we don't want to hear anymore.

Keep Reading... Show less

We truly love it here in the Badger State. Here are a few things Wisconsinites can relate to.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Five Types Of People In Fall

From yummy pumpkin spice lattes to scary movies, fall has it all and then some.

2435
Destination Logan County Illinois

Oh fall, the most marvelous time of year...right? Every approaches fall differently, some pumpkin spice-tastically and some not so enthusiastically. We can't all be Autumn lovers, so here are five types of people in fall. Grab a cup of hot coca, sit back, and enjoy.

Keep Reading... Show less
https://unsplash.com/photos/XdbUsFkAwqA

If you're like me, by this time of year you're over summer. The beach, the sunshine, and the heat were all great, but now we're itching for blanket scarves, football, and pumpkin spice EVERYTHING! As the new season approaches, your relationship can benefit from some old traditional dates and some new fresh ideas! Here are a couple great date ideas for you and your boo to try out this fall.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

Social Media Or Soul Media

To the generation that cares way too much about affirmation.

5115
Emma Smith
  • This semester I am taking the ever so famous class, Writing 101. Walking into it, I had heard the horror stories about each major assignment. I have to admit, it’s not a class that I am fond of. But, major assignment #2 got me thinking, we had to create a research question based off of a topic that we are interested in.

Two weeks prior, I watched a very interesting documentary on Netflix. Miss Representation was recommended to me by one of my friends and I have to say the topic is absolutely mind blowing. Social Media and Female Body Image. How Social Media makes girls see this unnatural perfection of ‘beauty’ that really doesn’t exist. But female body image isn’t the only thing affected by social media.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments