- Craft your thesis carefully.
Answer the prompt. You may have an A+ idea, but you won’t get an A+ for not answering the question.
Make it an argument, not a summary. At the college level, your professor doesn’t want a book report. A thesis should connect ideas, propose or defend an insightful claim, or share an opinion.
- Vary your word choice.
Avoid using the same word or phrase over and over again; this makes your writing repetitive and less compelling to read.Refer to the Swift Synonyms resource for more help.
- Vary your sentence structure.
Replicated structure can also lead to repetitive writing. Remember to stay away from writing several short simple sentences in a row, as this makes your paper seem choppy and less fluid.
- Cut out unoriginal and boring phrases.
See these examples:
“In conclusion,” or “In summary,”
“Next, I will talk about…”
“My paper will be about…”
You should still include transitions, just not ones like these. Instead, you might want to introduce the book, article, or subject that you are discussing. Or share a brief connection between your latest point and what you were previously writing about.
- Undo your contractions, and do not use slang.
This adds necessary formality to your paper’s voice.
- Unpack your quotes.
Explain how the quote supports what’s in your paragraph or how the quote furthers your claim. It’s important to explain how the quote relates to your argument.See these examples:
Bad: Frost notes that “One had to be versed in country things/ Not to believe the phoebes wept.” *paragraph ends here or it moves on to the next point* Good: Frost notes that “One had to be versed in country things/ Not to believe the phoebes wept.” In order to appreciate the happiness of the birds in this context, a person must possess a state of mind that not all people have, one that can appreciate the ways of nature.
- Watch your paragraph length.
If a paragraph is taking up an entire page, it’s too long — break it up. If a paragraph is 3 sentences or less, it’s too short — add more content.
- Try not to slack off on the conclusion.
The last paragraph should briefly reiterate the most important parts of your paper. However, the wording should not be the same used in the paper’s body. You should not introduce completely new information in the conclusion.It’s usually a nice touch for the writer to leave the audience with an interesting final thought. This can be an extension of a previous idea or taking a previous idea and pointing it at your reader to be more thought-provoking.
See the Tips to Proofread Your Own Paper.