When you write your next essay, you not only want to get your facts right, but you need to get your language right too. Here are a few things to think about for your essay writing:
Academic writing: False grandeur
You need to strike a balance between academic writing and pompous writing. You want to sound erudite, but not arrogant. The best way to learn how to achieve this balance is to read as many academic articles or chapters as you can by established and respected academics.
Equally, you don’t want to use long or complex words simply to show off or try to sound intelligent. The best plan is to stick to John H. Patterson’s advice: “Use small words, big ideas, and short sentences”.
Essay writing – Slang and expletives
You also need to avoid the opposite end of the spectrum. You don’t want your writing to be so informal that you use swear words, text speak or slang in your writing. Some text and slang can become so common that it can feel as though they are normal parts of language. Keep yourself alert to these and avoid them in your essays. Finally, watch out for local expressions. You don’t want to use a phrase that might be familiar in your home town, but is completely unintelligible to your university tutors! There is help elsewhere in this blog if you need help with your grammar for essay writing.
Persuasive essays – common usage
When you use a word you need to put it in the usual context for that word. Using a word in the wrong way is a common problem when writers choose a replacement word from a thesaurus. Novelists might be allowed to stretch the use of a word in an imaginative way. As an essay writer, you don’t have this luxury.
Essay writing – spelling phonetically
If you often use a word in speech, but have never used it in writing, make sure you check the spelling in a dictionary. It is all too easy to spell by sound rather than accepted usage, e.g. to use an ‘s’ where there should be a ‘c’, or an ‘f’ where there should be a ‘ph’.
Have you received a comment about your essay writing style that you don’t understand? Post a comment below if you need help or look at the essay examples on the Oxbridge Essays website.