Friday, 15 February 2013


Common Essay Mistakes: 

Using colloquial language
You should not use:
-short forms (e.g. I'm, It’s) except when these are part of a quotation
-colloquial expressions, phrasal verbs, idioms
(e.g. lots of, put up with, be over the moon about…)
- simplistic vocabulary (e.g. Experts say they think this is bad….)
- a series of short sentences (e.g. Many people think so. They are wrong.)
- simple linking words (e.g. and, but, so) except for variety
- use very emotional language (e.g. I absolutely detest people who…)
- express personal opinions too strongly (e.g. I know…); instead, use milder expressions (e.g. It seems to me that…)
- use over-generalisation (e.g. All politicians are…)
- refer blindly to statistics without accurate reference to their source (e.g. "A recent study showed…" - which study?)
- use cliches (e.g. Rome was not built in a day.)
- use personal examples (e.g. In my school…)

Works consulted
"Successful Writing Proficiency" by Virginia Evans

The 15 Most Common Mistakes:
  1. Diving right into writing without first thinking or planning. This is definitely the most common mistake.
  2. Thinking that the longer your essay is, the higher your score will be, regardless of organization or use of language.
  3. Not thoroughly understanding the scoring rubric and how readers will use it to score your essay. It all starts with the scoring rubric. The rubric determined the Essential Concepts we presented to you and formed the Essential Strategies and step method you’ve just learned.
  4. Not practicing the step method—reading this book is not enough!
  5. Not mastering the essential concepts, both of building a strong argument and of language.
  6. Worrying about constructing the perfect argument expressed in perfect language. You’re writing a first draft!
  7. Not taking a particular position on the issue.
  8. Not thoroughly supporting your position with an argument made up of well-chosen reasons and examples.
  9. Not varying your sentence structure accurately and appropriately.
  10. Using fancy-schmancy words inappropriately without knowing their precise meaning.
  11. Deviating from your outline in the middle of writing your essay. Take the time to get your thoughts straight before writing.
  12. “Overwriting”—using highfalutin sentences incorrectly. You won’t impress anyone. Vary your sentences, but vary them appropriately and correctly.
  13. Being “cute.” Don’t aim to be boring, but don’t take any chances with structure or language on the essay. Structured does not equal boring.
  14. Writing on another topic. That will get you a score of zero.
  15. Writing illegibly. That will also get you a score of zero.

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