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8 Tips to Write Better Essays in English

Learning a foreign language is an overwhelming experience, especially if it’s one of the most widely spoken languages in the world – English.

Many people are under the impression that learning to read and speak in English is enough without realizing that written English skills are an equally vital asset to have.

From improving academics to boosting career prospects – the ability to write in English not only lets you communicate and express yourself better in today’s globalized world but also makes you more confident.

An effective way to improve your writing skills is to write essays. Wondering where to begin? We bring you eight useful tips to write better essays in English.

1. Keep a Vocabulary Notebook

Using the right vocabulary is an essential element of writing essays. When you make efforts to expand your vocabulary, you will be able to pick accurate words to take your writing to the next level.

Instead of coming across new words and forgetting about them, it’s a good idea to make a note of them in your vocabulary notebook. Doing this helps you remember the meanings of new words and you can also refer to it while writing essays.

So, give yourself a target to learn at least ten new words every day, which you can jot down in your diary and take baby steps in building a strong vocabulary.

2. Refer to Credible Sources

Research forms the first step in writing any kind of essay. The stronger your research, the better is the quality of your essay.

At a time when we have access to a wide range of data, it’s important to evaluate research sources carefully and only refer to credible ones. For example, Wikipedia is not a reliable source and should not be attributed to while writing essays.

Take the effort to read through published journals, research studies, scholarly papers, academic databases, and encyclopedias published within the last 10-15 years. It’s also important to assess the credibility of the author while evaluating the source.

3. Draft a Basic Outline

Once you’ve done your research, don’t rush to write. Take a moment to draft a basic outline for your essay and organize your research and findings.

“Is that necessary,” you ask? Very much.

Working on an outline lets you approach the essay in an organized manner. It serves as the skeleton of your paper while ensuring you’re not missing out on any information and that your points flow logically.

Most essays are categorized into – introduction, body, and conclusion.

The introduction is where you introduce the topic and give context. The body paragraphs need to include your arguments and research methodology (if any). The conclusion needs to reiterate the thesis statement and tie all the points together.

4. Hook the Reader

With attention spans getting shorter with time, it’s become all the more important to start with a bang and hook the reader from the beginning to ensure they are invested in your writing.

Essay hooks refer to the first one or two sentences of your essay which have the power to make or break the reader’s interest. The key is to write a hook that grabs the reader’s attention and reels them in.

From an alarming statistic and relevant quote to using humor and asking a rhetoric question – there are various tactics you can employ to keep the reader engaged.

If you’re unable to think of an impactful essay hook, don’t waste too much time on it. Finish the rest of your essay and come back to write a compelling hook later.

5. Use the Pomodoro Technique

It’s not easy to write an essay in one go, especially if it’s not in your first language.

A smart way to approach essay writing is to use the Pomodoro technique. This technique asks you to set a timer for 25 minutes to finish your task in question and then take a 5-minute break. After four cycles of repeating this, you get to take an extended 20-minute break.

So, start with breaking down the assignment into smaller tasks such as research, outlining, writing the different paragraphs, citing references and proofreading. You can then set the timer, start working on the essay as per the technique and track your progress.

Using this technique keeps distractions at bay and helps you stay more focused.

6. Pay Attention to Grammar Rules

You may raise interesting points in your essay, but poor grammar disrupts the reading experience and should be avoided at all costs.

Be careful when adding punctuations, check your sentence formations, avoid passive voice as much as possible and know the difference between adjectives, adverbs, nouns and verbs.

So abide by grammar rules to deliver a well-written and cohesive essay.

7. Write with Clarity

You might be tempted to use complex metaphors and jargons to impress the reader, but the truth is, none of that guarantees “good” writing.

One of the most important ingredients of effective writing is clarity. You don’t want to leave the reader confused and puzzled after reading your essay. So, use simple words, stop beating around the bush and explain concepts with the help of examples because clear writing always wins.

8. Reread the Essay

Finally, make it a point to proofread your essay (multiple times) to ensure you have covered all the aspects, cited references accurately and not made any silly errors.

It’s a good idea to read your essay out loud so you’re able to identify errors and awkwardly formed sentences with ease. You should also get a friend or family member to read your essay, to spot mistakes or discrepancies that you may have overlooked.

Written by Adela Belin for EnglishClub October 2019
Adela Belin is passionate about sharing stories with a hope to make a difference in people's lives and contribute to their personal and professional growth. She is regular contributor to this blog.

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