It is fundamental that the students acquire from an early age the skills that allow them to develop a correct reading and writing ability. Thus when they reach higher education they can put those skills to use in order to write academic papers, essays, thesis and other works where good writing and reading skills are paramount. This will also help them later on in business where writing effectively and professionally is even more important. Here are some tips on how to improve said skills.

Avoid redundancy

When five words are enough to express the idea, there is no need to use twenty. Whenever you finish a sentence or paragraph, read it to see if words or sentences can be deleted; Your point will be very strong when you do it. In the academic community, concise writing is much more important than filling a page with text. The academic courses specify a minimum number of pages to ensure the writing essays in the proper depth, not to test whether you can say the same thing in a dozen different ways just to fill the space. So, avoid entangling and boring the reader with unnecessary redundancies. This will allow your audience to enjoy reading.

Be professional and diplomatic

When writing about another person’s work, always write as if they could read your document. Therefore, it is crucial to avoid pejorative, insulting and offensive terms such as “attempt to”, “waste of time”, “nonsense”, etc. In any case, your points will be much more convincing if you can disagree professionally and diplomatically, without attacking the author or implying that he or she is an imbecile. Finally, nobody will publish your work if it is only a diatribe and not a serious and reasoned argument. To avoid such problems, it might be good to pretend that you are said author and re-read your essay through their eyes. It should be easy to determine which parts would make you defensive or angry, and then you can reformulate them.

Organize your document

A formal document should be structured at all levels, regardless of whether the structure is made explicit using section labels or other visible clues. The standard format for an essay or academic paper is:

  1. Present a coherent thesis in the introduction
  2. Make every effort to convince the reader of the paper in the body of the document
  3. Reformulate the document in the conclusion so that the reader remains completely sure of what the point is, and so that he can decide whether he is convinced or not.

Using any other format for an academic article is almost invariably a bad idea. The introduction and conclusions should not always be labeled as such, but they should be there. Keep in mind that a summary is not a substitute for an introduction; the summaries act as a separate miniature version of the article, not as part of the introduction.

Each paragraph is a relevant subtopic

Each paragraph of a document should develop the central idea, clearly evident at the beginning of the paragraph. Also, it must be clearly related with the main theme of your document; If not, the paragraph must be deleted or the main topic revised.

Use complete sentences

Except in extraordinary circumstances, the sentences in the main text must be complete, that is, they must have a subject and a verb, so that they express a complete thought, not just a fragment or the beginning of a thought.

Use the appropriate punctuation between sentences

Two complete sentences can be divided with a period, a question mark or an exclamation point, or they can be weakly connected as clauses with a semicolon; but not with a coma. To see if your writing has this problem, consider each of the commas you have put. If you could replace the comma with a period, leaving two sentences complete and meaningful, then that comma is misused. Instead, use semicolons, in case you have two sentences that need to be linked in some generic way. Make the link explicit with a conjunction, or simply use a period, to leave two complete and independent sentences.

Mention what you promised or anticipated

In the introduction, conclusion and summary (if applicable), do not limit yourself to describing what you are going to say or have said. For example, do not just say: “I will discuss and evaluate this work”, if later you will argue that it is not convincing. Instead, state that the document is not convincing and, in summary, why you think that is the case. Then you can develop that point in later paragraphs.

All in all, writing well will make your life much easier, both during academic studies but also later on when you begin to work in a company. Hopefully these tips made you a better reader and the best essay writer and your next paper features all of them.

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