6 Do’s of Essay Writing
1. DO use transitions between paragraphs.
Sometimes paragraphs sound like separate pieces of the text put together. This is the wrong approach to writing. Your essay should be smooth and coherent, leading the reader from one point to another. This is why you should use transitions – the phrases that help to connect each idea with the previous one, serving like bridges between paragraphs. Examples of phrases you can use for transitions include:
2. DO cite examples.
Any example you use – from literature, scientific work, etc. – should be cited. Only examples from your own experience do not have to be cited. If you want to include a mention of something that you have read, even if you are not using a direct quotation, it is best to reference the source of information. This way, your examples will be more convincing and form more reliable evidence of the points you wish to prove.
3. DO discuss literature in the Present Tense.
When writing literary reviews or essays based on literary works, it is advisable to use present tense – historical present or narrative present, as it is called. It makes the storytelling more engaging and real, increasing the feeling of presence. Things that happen within the space of a text should be treated similarly to facts and generalizations. This applies to fictional narratives in books, films, plays, etc.
‘Romeo and Juliet experience true love the moment they see each other. Love makes them forget everything else. From the very beginning, they are somehow aware that they are doomed to die – they have given up their lives to love. Not only love, but every emotion in the play is heightened and leads to terrible consequences.’
(Book Reviewed by Amrita Dutta)
>>> Learn more about common tenses used in academic writing HERE
4. DO use advanced vocabulary.
The aim of an essay is not only to reveal your knowledge of the topic but to show your ability to choose appropriate vocabulary and show your language expertise. Word usage is also one of the critical criteria in the Writing and Speaking parts of many standardized tests such as the Cambridge Advanced exams or IELTS. Therefore, try to use a variety of words and phrases, synonyms and expressions, and do not repeat the same words. For example, instead of “good”, let’s use “excellent”, “spectacular”, “exceptional”, or other more appropriate synonyms that reflect the same shades of meaning.
5. DO respond to the prompt of the essay.
The prompt of the essay is intentional. No matter how much you want to ‘go with the flow’ and write whatever your inspiration dictates, you should remember you are writing an academic assignment and, as long as it has a prompt, you should stick to it. If the prompt is complicated and consists of several parts, analyze your final draft and check if you covered every point of the essay prompt.
6. DO choose the correct language.
The language you use in the paper indicates your ability to research and analyze the topic, prove your opinion, and explain your points clearly and vividly. It also shows the level of your language proficiency, knowledge of grammar and syntax, and ability to develop a rich vocabulary. It is important to remember the academic style of writing and use the appropriate language. The following phrases work well to introduce and support your points:
There seems to be no compelling reason to argue that …
The argument can be made …
Current research on [your topic] shows …
The most common argument in favor of (or against) is …
There is a growing body of evidence to support …