Almost every student wants to get A’s on his or her essays. It’s hard to do! A grade of A means that your writing is superior.
What, then, is “superior” writing? It comes down to three main things…
Effective and Logical ORGANIZATION:
- The writing prompt is addressed thoroughly yet succinctly.
- Every part of the question is addressed; the writer doesn’t drift into areas that are irrelevant or pointless.
- The essay is structured with purpose and style; it doesn’t follow a stiff, mechanized format.
- The main idea has a clear and direct connection to the other ideas in the essay and vice versa.
- Appropriate and specific evidence is used to support the writer’s claims.
- No key words or ideas are repeated anywhere in the paper.
Clear yet Sophisticated SYNTAX:
- The essay is 100% free of errors in punctuation, mechanics, and usage.
- Sentences vary in length and type; the writer shows a mastery of the four basic sentence patterns.
- Sentences are easy to read; the writer knows how to write with fluency and clarity.
- Grammar and punctuation are used for rhetorical and persuasive purpose. (Having all the commas in the right places isn’t enough!)
- Overall, the writing is easy to read. That is, phrases and clauses are arranged with fluency and clarity. The reader doesn’t have to reread anything.
Specific and Appropriate VOCABULARY:
- Words are used correctly and in the proper context.
- The writer’s diction complements and enhances his syntax; he understands the parts of speech and how they work.
- The writer avoids trite, overused expressions (cliches).
- Vague and hazy adjectives, passive verbs, and other filler words are absent from the essay.
Words To Avoid In Academic Writing
We all use different kinds of language in different settings. In academic writing, it’s not so important to use “big” words as it is to use the right words. There are LOTS of words that don’t really mean anything at all. Below is a list of words that (with some exceptions) shouldn’t appear in important writing assignments: