Writing an essay can be an intimidating task for many students. Whether you are writing an essay for an assignment, exam, or college admission, it is important to know the basic dos and don’ts of essay writing

In this article, we discuss the essential dos and don’ts of essay writing that will help you set yourself up for success. From writing techniques to proofreading tips, we cover it all to ensure that your essay is well-written and ready to make an impact.

Table of Contents

Do: Make Sure To Choose a Good Topic And Understand It

Choosing a good topic and understanding it is the first and most important step for successful essay writing. After all, how can you write about something if you don’t know anything about it? Selecting a good topic requires research and a clear understanding of the subject matter. Once you have chosen a topic, you must analyze it to understand it thoroughly.

If you do not have a clear understanding of the topic, your essay will lack focus and organization. If you cannot provide meaningful evidence to support your claims, your essay will not be convincing. 

You should research the topic thoroughly to ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the material. You can also ask your professor or peers for advice when selecting a topic. Finally, a good topic will help you engage with your audience and keep them interested.

A well-chosen topic you have studied and can write about confidently will give you the best chance of success. It will also make the process of writing the essay much more straightforward.

Do: Properly Conduct Your Research

Research for writing an essay is the process of gathering information and finding credible sources to support your arguments or claims in the essay. It is essential to properly research the topic of the essay to create a compelling and well-informed argument. Without proper research, your essay will lack structure, accuracy, and substance.

Proper research is necessary to ensure that the facts and claims made in the essay are backed up with evidence from credible sources. Without proper research, the essay can be based on opinion or hearsay and may not be persuasive or valid. 

To do research properly for writing an essay, it is important to start by coming up with a research question or query. This will help to narrow down the focus of the research and make it easier to find relevant and reliable sources. 

Then, it is important to look for sources from respected and authoritative sources, such as academic journals, books, and articles from reliable news outlets. It is also important to take notes while researching and cite the sources used. Finally, make sure to review the research and make sure that it is relevant and accurate.

Do: Follow The Provided Formatting Guidelines

Whether it is an argumentative essay, a research paper, or a creative piece, it is important to follow the provided formatting guidelines to get the best grade possible.

The guidelines provided by instructors typically include the type of font and size, the number of words, the margin size, and the citation style. Having a standard format for essays helps instructors quickly evaluate the work and easily identify any potential issues. 

Following the provided formatting guidelines is also important because it ensures that the essay is professional looking and well-organized. When an essay has a consistent format, it is easier for the reader to follow the argument and understand the ideas presented in the essay. 

It shows that the student has taken the time to format the essay correctly and take the assignment seriously.

Do: Keep Your Content Simple And Easy On The Eyes

When it comes to essay writing, “simple and easy on the eyes” should be your motto. Keeping your content simple and easy to read is an essential part of creating a successful essay. After all, if your reader can’t understand your content, then it’s not doing its job. 

The key to making content simple and easy on the eyes is to use language that is easily understood. Avoid big words and long sentences. 

If you have trouble using simple words in your content due to not knowing the right simpler alternatives, you can use hard words instead. And when you’re done, you can simply grab a thesaurus and reword the hard parts to make things a little more understandable.

Of course, you can make this process easier with the help of a sentence rephraser. These tools are designed to make different types of changes to the content to make it look different but without disturbing the actual meaning.

In the next step, break down your essay into shorter paragraphs, and use headings and subheadings to make your content easier to scan. Using bulleted lists, graphs, and other visuals can help to make your content more appealing and easier to read. 

Do: Use Visuals Where Necessary

Visuals are an essential part of essay writing as they can help to make your essay more engaging and easier to understand. Visuals can include pictures, graphs, charts, and drawings. They can be used to illustrate points, provide evidence, and even explain complex concepts.

Using visuals in your essay can help to make your argument more convincing. For example, if you’re discussing a scientific concept, using a graph or chart can help to illustrate the data more clearly than if you were to use words alone. 

When it comes to choosing visuals for your essay, it’s important to choose ones that are relevant to the topic you’re discussing. This means that you should pick visuals that accurately represent the data or concept you’re discussing.

Finally, be sure to explain your visuals clearly in your essay. This will ensure that your readers can understand the information presented in the visuals, as well as how it relates to your argument.

  1. Do: Citations Where Required

Citing sources is an important part of essay writing. Citations show the reader that you have done your research and are aware of where your information comes from. They also provide evidence for the validity of your argument and help to strengthen your points.

When it comes to citing sources, the most commonly used formats are the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA). Each format has its own set of rules and guidelines, so it’s important to know which one to use. 

For example, in the MLA format, a citation must include the author’s last name and page number. If you were quoting from a book by John Smith, you would write “(Smith, p. 23).”

In the APA format, a citation must include the author’s name, year of publication, and the page number. For example, if you were quoting from a book by John Smith published in 2020, you would write “(Smith, 2020, p. 23).”

It’s important to note that all citations must be properly formatted and placed in the correct position in your essay. It’s necessary to include a bibliography at the end. 

Do: Always Proofread

Proofreading is a crucial step that should never be overlooked or ignored. Proofreading involves a thorough review of your essay for errors. This includes grammar, punctuation, formatting, spelling, and sentence structure. By proofreading, you can ensure that your essay is free of any errors that could diminish its overall quality.

When proofreading your essay, it’s important to read it through several times. This will help you catch any mistakes you may have missed on the first read-through. 

Pay close attention to your spelling and grammar, as these are important elements of any well-written essay. Check for any formatting issues. Make sure that your essay follows the style guide that you have been given.

Having someone else read your essay can be beneficial. Having a fresh set of eyes review your work can help you identify any mistakes that you may have missed. You can also use online grammar checkers to proofread the content.

Do: Find and Remove Plagiarism

Plagiarism in essay writing is the act of using someone else’s words or ideas without properly citing them. It is a form of academic dishonesty and can have serious consequences for both the plagiarizer and the person whose work has been plagiarized.

To find and remove plagiarism, it is important to use a reliable plagiarism detector. It will compare your essay to billions of online sources and highlight any potential sources of plagiarism. Once the potential sources are identified, it is important to go in and edit your essay to ensure that all of the sources are properly cited.

Let’s say you’re writing an essay about the history of the American Revolution. In your essay, you mention the importance of Thomas Jefferson’s role in the revolution. If the tool detects a source that makes the same point, you should cite the source.

This will help your readers know where the information came from, and it will also protect you from any potential accusations of plagiarism. If you don’t, you are plagiarizing.

Don’t: Choose A Very Broad And Extensive Topic

When it comes to essay writing, most students are tempted to go big or go home, choosing a very broad and extensive topic to cover in their essays. While this may seem like a good idea on paper, it’s not always the best strategy for success.

A broad and extensive topic for an essay covers an immense amount of information, making it difficult to properly cover all of the material in one essay. For example, if you were writing an essay on the history of the United States, you would be writing about each year’s events in America from 1776. This kind of essay would require extensive research and would be nearly impossible to do justice to in a single essay.

Instead of choosing a broad and extensive topic, it’s better to narrow your focus. By narrowing your topic, you can create an essay that is more focused and easier to research and write.

For example, rather than writing an essay on the history of the United States, you could write an essay on the history of the American Revolution. This narrower topic allows you to focus your research and writing on a specific period and makes it easier to develop an argument.

Don’t: Start Writing Without Proper Research

When it comes to writing, proper research is just as important as writing itself. Without the right research, your work can be incomplete, inaccurate, and even misleading.

Take, for example, a student who is writing a paper about the history of the United States. He may think he has a good idea of the topic, but without researching the history, he may not get all the facts right. He may be missing important details or even making incorrect assumptions about the topic.

So, don’t start writing until you have done the proper research. Take the time to explore the topic and find reliable sources to use as evidence. This will help ensure that your writing is accurate and convincing.

Don’t: Speculate

Speculating in essay writing is when a writer makes statements or assumptions without providing any evidence or facts to back them up. When it comes to essay writing, it is important to be well-researched and provide evidence for any claims that you may make. Speculating without providing evidence can weaken the impact of your argument and make your writing appear less credible.

For example, if you were writing an essay about the effects of global warming on sea levels, it would not be appropriate to speculate that sea levels could potentially rise by 10 feet without providing any facts or evidence to back it up. This could be considered an unfounded statement and could hurt the credibility of your essay.

In order to avoid speculating in your writing, it is important to ensure that you are well-researched and provide evidence to support any claims or statements that you make. 

This can include referencing credible sources such as scientific journals or government documents to provide evidence for your claims. If you are unsure of the accuracy of a statement, it is best to leave it out of your essay. 

Don’t: Leave Out Accreditations

When it comes to essay writing, accreditations are an essential part of the process. Accreditations are the sources you use to back up claims and statements in your essay. They can be anything from books and articles to interviews and surveys. By including these sources, you show your reader that the information you are presenting is valid and reliable. 

Leaving out accreditations in your essay is a huge mistake. Without credible sources to back up your claims, your essay will lose credibility and your reader will be left wondering if the information you are presenting is true. 

For example, if you were writing an essay about the dangers of smoking, you would need to cite sources from studies or interviews that have been conducted on the topic. Without these sources, your essay would not be as persuasive or convincing.

To avoid leaving out accreditations in your essay, make sure to research extensively and take notes of all the sources you use. Also, make sure to cite all sources accurately, using the proper style guide. 

Don’t: Take Inspiration Too Directly

Taking inspiration too directly means copying someone else’s ideas or language without giving it any thought or effort. Not only is this dishonest and unethical, but it can also lead to unsatisfying essays. For example, if you try to incorporate a famous quote directly into your essay, it may not fit in context or be meaningful in the way you intended.

Instead of taking inspiration too directly, it’s better to use it as a jumping-off point. Start by writing down your thoughts on the subject, and then look to others for ideas on how to craft your own unique argument. 

Take the time to read other people’s work, and use their ideas as a way to build your own. This will ensure your essay is both engaging and original.

Finally, it’s important to remember to cite any sources you use for inspiration, whether it’s a book, blog post, or article. This will help to ensure that you’re giving credit where it’s due, as well as helping to avoid plagiarism.

Don’t: Use Informal Sentences

When it comes to writing essays, it’s important to remember that formal language is the way to go. Informal sentences in essay writing can weaken the overall quality, so it’s important to avoid them.

Informal sentences in essay writing are those that are too casual, or use colloquial language, such as phrases like “gonna,” “kinda,” or “sorta.” They often lack the proper grammar and punctuation, making them difficult to follow. Informality in academic writing can make it seem less professional and credible.

For example, let’s say you’re writing an essay about the importance of healthy eating. Replacing “eat healthy” with “eat healthier” or “consume nutritious foods” can make your essay sound more formal and professional.

So, if you want your essay to be taken seriously and make the grade, it’s best to avoid informal sentences. Instead, always use clear and concise language. Make sure to use proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. This will make your writing more effective, and will also make it look more professional.

Don’t: Make Your Sentences Too Complex And Convoluted

Complex and convoluted sentences are those that are overly long and difficult to grasp at first glance. They are often written in a way that can be confusing and hard to understand. They can contain multiple clauses, difficult syntax, and various complicated words.

It is important to avoid making your sentences too complex and convoluted. Not only does this make it difficult for the reader to comprehend, but it can also make your writing seem overly long-winded and tedious. 

For example, let’s look at this complex and convoluted sentence: “The customer, who had already been informed of the updated terms and conditions, was still unsatisfied with the customer service they had received.”

This sentence can be simplified by breaking it down into two simpler sentences: “The customer had already been informed of the updated terms and conditions. They were still unsatisfied with the customer service they had received.” 

When writing, it is best to use simple, concise language that is easy to understand. Try to avoid long, winding sentences and opt for shorter, simpler sentences instead. Keep your sentences direct and to the point, and don’t be afraid to break them down into smaller, more digestible pieces.

Final Words

Essay writing can be a daunting task, but with the right guidance, it is possible to create an effective and engaging essay. By following the dos and don’ts of essay writing, you can create a well-crafted essay that gets the point across without losing the reader’s interest. 

From choosing an interesting topic to ensuring that the essay structure is clear and consistent, many factors come into play when crafting an essay. By following the tips in this article, you can write an essay that is sure to be successful. Good luck!