essay writing tips

Basic essay format: what mistakes to avoid

The basic format of an essay involves three parts -- an introduction, two or three fact paragraphs and the conclusion. This format has been used for generations. It will continue to be the case where high schools and colleges ask students to write about a topic using a basic essay format. A cardinal mistake made by millions of students is that they fail to find out just what the basic essay format is. This is the easiest part of any essay. What is the format of the essay you require me to write? Always ask that question.

For example, some teachers require the middle section of the basic essay to have two fact paragraphs and some require three fact paragraphs. Everyone requires an introduction and a conclusion. So if your essay requires a total of four paragraphs in the format and you present a brilliantly written essay using five paragraphs, your brilliance will be dented by your failure to stick to the essay format.

The format and the content are both important

Of course getting the format right is elementary. But if you do that but then make simple mistakes with regard to the content, then you are equally shooting yourself in the foot. The sorts of things you'd need to avoid like the plague in your basic essay format are as follows.

  • repetition
  • plagiarism
  • spelling and grammatical mistakes

It seems incredible that a student writing an essay will make the same point over and over again. Yes you do offer a summary of the points you made when you write your conclusion. But during the body of the essay you do not make the same point more than once. Repetition is a basic mistake in any essay format.

It goes without saying that plagiarism is not allowed. It is so easy today to pick up use of plagiarism by a student writing an essay. It is simply not worth it. Of course you are allowed to make quotations using other people's work but when you do that you must use the proper citation.

And finally, simple spelling and grammatical mistakes do so much to undo all the hard work you have already produced in writing what is otherwise a brilliant essay. It is not difficult to get the basic essay format correct. Know the format required by your school or college and make sure you meet all the requirements.

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