When one asks something like, “What tips can you give me to improve the quality of my academic writing?”, one usually does not get a very promising answer. Writing is a tough job. To write better, you have to practice all the time. You have to read essays and papers written by professional authors. Do it for a long, long time, and probably you will get better at this sort of thing. But what about quicker results? Is there a way to improve your writing skills without long hours of practice spread over months or years?
Well, unfortunately, no, not really. There is no way to become a top-notch writer overnight, no matter how many tips you read, how many thematic websites you research, and how many writing guides you buy. There are, however, ways to improve some aspects of your writing right now, which can get you a better grade and give you time to practice with less urgency. Here are some of them.
1. Hire a Skilled Essay Proofreader
It pays to know how to be your own corrector, proofreader, and editor, but if you need results right now, you do not have time to learn the ropes. Meanwhile, hiring somebody skilled at this sort of thing to edit and proofread your essay is a cheap and fast way to get the quality of your paper up a notch without spending any time on it. Many professional writers hire editing and proofreading experts to go over their works, so do not think that you are doing something wrong or ill-advised. There is nothing wrong with getting help when you need it, and these days you can easily find multiple online services offering the assistance of this kind at an affordable price.
2. Use Plain English
You may think that using complex language, multi-syllable words, and compound sentences with multiple interdependent clauses makes your writing look sophisticated and intelligent. However, normally it is the other way around. Most readers prefer writing that is plain, easy to understand, straightforward, and concise. Do not use a long word if there is a shorter one with the same meaning. Break up long and complicated sentences into shorter and simpler ones. Remove excessive words altogether whenever possible. Do not use rare words that some readers may not recognize. In other words, the next time you see a thesaurus on sale, better spend your money on something else.
3. Write and Edit Separately
When you sit down to write an essay, focus on writing the rough draft first. In it, you should express all your ideas in more or less the way you want them to look on paper. Even if you feel the need for correction in the part you already wrote, do not fall into this temptation and keep on writing. You will have enough time to edit your essay afterward when it is finished. If you constantly jump around correcting and rewriting things, it breaks up your train of thought, disrupts your logical connections, and in general, slows down your writing.
4. Add Variety to Your Sentences
Previously we said that you should break up long sentences into shorter ones. This, however, does not mean that you should make all your sentences uniformly short and simple. If you do it, your writing will look monotonous and boring to read. Instead, vary your sentences: intersperse shorter ones with longer ones, use different structures and types of sentences. Do not shy away from using an occasional question and command to further spice things up. The more variety there is in your sentences, the better impression your writing makes upon the reader.
5. Trim Your Writing Down
In writing, less is usually more. Do not use five words when you can express the same meaning with one. For example, do not say “due to the fact that” or “bring the matter to a conclusion”. Say “because” and “complete”, respectively. If you find it difficult to do it with your own writing, look for a website offering this kind of service. Some sites even use automatic algorithms to go over your text and point out the words and structures that seem extraneous or superfluous. However, do not trust them too much – it is better to rely on your own judgment or hire an expert.
While these tips will not make you into another Mark Twain or Charles Dickens overnight, you can start implementing them right now, and it will immediately have a positive effect on your writing. It can even make a difference between a failing and a passing grade. However, if you really want to become a better writer, you will have to practice, and practice a lot. Nevertheless, introducing these practices into your academic texts is a good place to start.
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