Writing papers is a rite of passage for high school and college students throughout the United States. While you may not be a great writer or particularly like to write, learning to do so at an elevated level will make you a better communicator. Here are some serious mistakes to avoid when creating your next composition — your grades will thank you!
Spelling and Grammar Errors
There is no excuse for misspelling a word these days, because in most cases the program that you’re using to write your paper will underline words that are not spelled properly. These programs are also likely point out glaring grammar errors or questionable sentence structures in your prose. It is critical that you don’t make too many spelling or grammar errors as it can undermine your credibility. Your teacher or professor may also take points off for each error that you make, which can have negative consequences on your final grade.
While it is acceptable to quote other people in your paper, it is important that you acknowledge your source with a citation. Copying the work of another author is generally seen as intellectually and academically lazy. Plagiarizing has even more serious consequences if discovered in college essays, such as getting kicked out of your program or being expelled. Even if you aren’t a great writer, it is better to turn in mediocre work that you created as opposed to stealing content that the original author worked hard to create.
Repeating Yourself Over and Over Again
Every word that you write should add something to the narrative that you are creating. At best, your teacher or professor will catch on to the fact that you’re making the same point in a variety of different ways as a lazy method of reaching your required word or page count, and you’ll get a note about it. At worst, you will be asked to write the paper over again or get a failing grade. If you’re not sure whether your paper is too repetitive, ask a friend or family member to read the paper before you turn it in.
Failing to Stay on Topic
In many cases, you will be assigned a specific paper topic. For instance, you may be asked to analyze the root causes of the Civil War or the works of Mark Twain. It is important that you stay on topic if you hope to get a good grade as your teacher is likely looking to see how well you understand the material. Going off-topic is a good way to show your instructor that you either don’t understand the assignment or that you simply don’t care to follow instructions. Either way, not sticking to the assignment at hand is a quick way to get a poor grade on your paper.
Those who learn how to write well generally have an advantage both in school and in life afterward. Therefore, it is important that you do your best when writing a paper and that you ask for help if you are struggling to create a quality text.
For more helpful writing tips, read this post next: Practical Writing Tips: Ways To Get Higher Grades on Your Papers