How to correctly write an essay in English? Here are a few rules that will make writing an academic essay in English easier and your texts will be rated higher by teachers.
Writing an academic essay does not arouse general enthusiasm. This conclusion is drawn after several years of observation of my students who participate in Academic Writing courses. “I do not like writing” – this is the most often repeated reaction. That’s why it’s worth learning a few rules that will make writing easier and your essays will be rated higher by teachers.
How to write a good academic essay? Here are some of the most important rules:
1. Use sources and inform the reader
When you write an academic essay, your main goal is not to pass new, groundbreaking theories. Unless you come up with it and you can prove it convincingly.
But even in this case, your main goal is to prove that you know the topic well. You can prove it by referring to external sources. Therefore, when writing, you should cite, paraphrase and summarize the content of other authors.
In each case, you can enter information about external sources twice:
in the form of a footnote (or an in-text reference),
in the form of an item in the bibliography.
In a sentence:
According to Don Marquis, the development of civilization usually transmutes vegetation into bleak and barren deserts.
before the dot should be the parenthesis with the name and page number (if the source is a book) or the address of the website from which the author took that thought.
At the end of the essay, you should create a bibliography where you can put a set of information about the sources.
There is not one correct “school” for creating a bibliography in an academic essay. It is important that you consistently stick to the one you choose.
Remember! Using sources without including information in the text is the basis for accusation of plagiarism.
2. Remember to create a thesis, or the spine written in English
Each essay, regardless of type, should have thesis (thesis statement). The thesis is a statement that is so detailed and general that you will be able to focus on its proving or refuting throughout the essay.
The thesis organizes the essay and justifies such and not a different division into paragraphs. The thesis should remind the most important sentences of particular paragraphs (topic sentences).
To the thesis, usually placed in the introduction, return in the end. You do not have to repeat it, but you should show the reader that you have not forgotten about it while writing.
In the following excerpt of the introductory paragraph:
The issue of progress in conservation of ecologists around the world. The big question is whether the humanity is damaging the globe beyond repair. Are the effects of overusing natural resources prevented? Or is our future in risk? I think I can tell you why.
the author clearly states what he intends to write in an essay (although he uses too colloquial language – the main problem here is the verb “tell”).
3. Avoid fat
Write specifically. Use as few ornaments as possible without additional content.
Do not overuse adverbs. Whenever you want to use “very”, consider whether the reader would notice the difference in meaning if it was not “very”. If you write extensively, give the reader a good reason to spend a lot of time on your argument.
Remember that you write and do not speak. It’s in speaking you need embellishments to give the brain a few more seconds to think about what you’re going to say. When writing, you do not need to “buy” extra time.
4. Avoid colloquial language and generalities
Words such as “thing”, “good” or “bad” can refer to so many concepts that they are often used automatically, with laziness or lack of the ability to name the concept more precisely.
“A thing” can refer to any state, object or feeling. “Stuff” – the informal equivalent of “things” – not only does it not mean precise meaning, it also transfers the reader into the register of the spoken language.
5. Use punctuation as signposts for the reader
In addition to a set of rules describing the use of commas, there is a common sense “breath pause”. A good test is to read aloud what you have written. In those places where you will make short (and logical) pauses to take a breath, you should find commas.
Commas, contrary to appearances, belong to inexhaustible resources. Do not replace them in random places with dashes. Dashboards, used much more often in Polish than English, are customarily used to introduce digression.
In this sentence, instead of a hyphen, the author should use a comma:
One of the most polluting industries – the energy industry is more and more overtaken by renewable energy.
And here, instead of a hyphen, use a semicolon or period:
Finally, a crowning achievement of all industrial and innovation projects. Masdar – is a building in the United Arab Emirates.
The choice of punctuation marks depends on the sentence structure, on whether we form subordinate or superior sentences. More information about punctuation (especially about commas).
Writing an academic essay in English may seem like a set of orders and prohibitions. But when you get to know all the rules, you gain a lot of room for maneuver. Ultimately, the evaluation of your essay depends on how consciously you apply the rules of academic writing.