Essay Writing: Correcting Common Mistakes
Avoiding Errors Helps Readers Understand One’s Paper
The art of essay writing is a cornerstone of academic and professional communication. However, crafting an error-free essay and effectively communicating your ideas can take time and effort. Common mistakes such as incorrect grammar, plagiarism, repetition, and unclear thesis statements often creep into essays, undermining their quality and effectiveness. It is where hiring essay writers online can become a game-changer, providing you access to professional’s adept at avoiding these pitfalls.
In this article, we will explore these common mistakes in detail and guide you on avoiding them, whether you are writing the essay yourself or considering hiring essay writers.
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All sentences must have a subject and a verb (for example, “he talked” or “the dog ran”) to be considered a complete sentence. Sometimes, a writer may need clarification on whether a sentence is done. Still, he will often “add” another sentence to a thought that is only a fragment and should be incorporated into the previous or next sentence.
Here is an example of a sentence fragment: High school teachers very often only have one planning period in which they must grade papers, prepare for other classes, etc. Which is why they must utilize this time wisely.
The second “sentence” is only a fragment. Viewing the phrase as a fragment may be easier when you pull it out of context: Which is why they must utilize this time wisely. By itself, writers can usually see that this phrase is not a complete thought.
There are several ways this error can be corrected. One way is to combine the two sections: High school teachers very often only have one planning period in which they must grade papers, prepare for other classes, etc., which is why they must utilize this time wisely.
Another way is to make the fragment into another complete sentence: High school teachers very often only have one planning period in which they must grade papers, prepare for other classes, etc. They must utilize this time wisely to get all of their work done.
Relying Solely on Spell Checkers
While word processing programs’ spelling and grammar checkers (found in Microsoft Word, for example) can be helpful, don’t rely on them to always be accurate. Writers should always use their judgment and look at a dictionary if necessary. Peer reviews are also helpful because sometimes classmates will find mistakes a writer and his spell checker have missed (writing labs and tutors can also provide helpful feedback).
Writers should remember that when writing a college (or even high school) essay, their speech should be more formal than talking with friends. For example, instead of writing conversational phrases such as “being that” or “being as how,” writers can try a more precise, more straightforward phrase such as “because.” Which one would sound better in an essay?
COLLOQUIAL: “Being that it is a foreign film, we didn’t understand the subtext.”
FORMAL: “Because it is a foreign film, we didn’t understand its subtext.”
A writer should read through his essay, looking for colloquial phrases that seem out of place in an academic essay. Again, taking one’s paper to a writing lab or having a tutor review it can help with this problem.
Loose Instead of Lose
One of the most common errors in internet and casual writing is using loose instead of lose.
X Incorrect: I hope I don’t loose too much money at the casino.
✓ Correct: Don’t lose your sunglasses.
✓ Correct: Those screws are loose.
Entitled Instead of Titled
Because entitled sounds professional, many people use it instead of titled. Entitled means to give right to.
X Incorrect: The piece entitled “The Love of the Camera” won an award.
✓ Correct: Her story titled “A Long Lost Carrot” did not make it to the finals.
✓ Correct: Joan is entitled to her opinion, but I still don’t agree with her.
Alot for A Lot
A lot should only be used in casual writing to mean a large quantity of and is always two words. The actual word allot has two Ls, means distributed among, and is most often used in the past tense.
X Incorrect: The teacher gave us alot of time.
✓ Correct: Jillian had a lot of complications during the pregnancy.
✓ Correct: Finish the routine in the allotted time or you will be disqualified.
Better Than Using Then
Then should be used when talking about a time sequence, and than should be used when comparing items.
X Incorrect: It’s not true that one person is better then another.
✓ Correct: Nobody makes pie better than my grandmother.
✓ Correct: Wash the dishes and then you can go.
Your for You’re
You’re is a contraction for “you are” and your is possessive. If the sentence makes sense replacing you’re with “you are,” use the contraction.
X Incorrect: Your welcome.
✓ Correct: You’re one of the greatest things to happen to this place.
✓ Correct: I like your shirt.
Effect for Affect
Effect is a noun; affect is a verb.
X Incorrect: The hurricane will effect many people along the coast.
✓ Correct: Her scores can affect her future.
✓ Correct: His abuse has caused an incurable effect on her personality.
Except for Accept
Except is an exclusion and accept is to affirm, welcome, or hold true.
X Incorrect: We except cash or credit cards.
✓ Correct: I did not accept her excuse.
✓ Correct: The entire team had a great attitude except for Johnny.
It’s Instead of Its
The only time it’s with an apostrophe should be used is when it’s could be replaced by “It is” or “it has.” Its without an apostrophe signifies possession and can be replaced in a sentence with “his” or “her.” Never should its’ be used.
X Incorrect: The cat licked it’s paw.
✓ Correct: The club cheered for its team.
✓ Correct: It’s five hours until my birthday.
Could of, Would of, Should of
Although we often speak “I could of made it on time,” never should the word of be used following could, would, or should.
X Incorrect: Jimmy should of listened to his mom’s advice.
✓ Correct: Dianne wouldn’t have shoplifted had she realized she was being filmed.
✓ Correct: Jaelin could have gone to Harvard, but he chose Princeton instead.
Lay for Lie
Lay means to place and lie means to recline. Therefore, use lay with an inanimate object or something being acted upon, and use lie for a person, animal, or thing acting upon itself.
X Incorrect: I told her to go lay down.
✓ Correct: She should lie on the couch while I fix some soup.
✓ Correct: Lay that set of papers on my desk.
Aim for Professionalism
If writers continually try to improve their papers, they will begin to correct their most common writing mistakes. The fewer errors they have in their essays, the easier readers will find their papers to read. Easy reading often translates to a better grade.