This booklet has been structured into main sections: (I) Punctuation and Grammar, and (ii) Reasoning. These are preceded by sections on Structuring an Essay and Parts of Speech (essential reading if you have forgotten how to tell your noun from your verb). In addition there are also sections on Useful Tips, Commonly Confused Words, Writing Support at Essex, and Further Reading. It can be read from cover to cover, or can be dipped into with a specific problem in mind.If you want to be true to yourself – to be faithful to what you really think by expressing yourself clearly and precisely -? then you should care about language.
.. Irrespective of the fact that it will improve your grades. In a recent survey, academic staff at the University identified the interrelated skills of essay-writing and reasoning as the two most important skills for success in higher education; when asked which skills students most often lacked, essay;writing was again at the top of their list.
Needless to say, writing ability is also highly prized by employers.The purpose of this booklet is to provide a reference guide to some of the most common mistakes in academic writing and to heighten your appreciation of the logic and beauty of language, a good command of which will help you to think more clearly and deeply, and have a positive impact on every aspect of your academic work, not just assignments. The examples that feature in this booklet are adapted from an analysis of first-year academic work, covering all faculties.
The analysis found that most students are making the same mistakes.The good news is that these mistakes can be easily corrected by learning some simple rules, and it is never too late to learn. Writing is at the very heart of academic life. Good writing makes a good student. This booklet provides useful guidance and helpful tips certain to set you on course to a clear expression of the plain sense of things, not only at university but in the outside world s well. An assimilation of its content will bring immediate benefits. Recommend that you read it carefully before you write your next essay! Dry Leon Burnett, Dean of Faculty of Humanities and Comparative Studies 1.
Structuring an Essay 2 2.Parts of Speech 4 3. Punctuation and Grammar (the most common mistakes) 6 3. 1 Bad syntax 3. 2 Inappropriate use of tense 3. 3 Incorrect use of prepositions 3. 4 Incorrect use of colons and semi-colons 3.
5 Incorrect use of apostrophes 3. 6 Incorrect use of speech marks 3. 7 Confusing singular and plural 3. 8 Using unnecessary words 3. 9 using inappropriate or informal phrases . 10 Not starting new sentences when appropriate 3. 11 Incorrect use of commas 3.
12 Mixing pronouns 3. 13 Inappropriate use of definite article 3. 14 Inappropriate or incorrect use Of capital letters 3. 15 Using ‘and’ instead of ‘to’ 3. 16 Insufficient proof-reading 4.Reasoning (the most common mistakes) 4. 1 Poor structure 4.
2 poor referencing techniques 4. 3 Poor or unclear reasoning 4. 4 Generalizations 4. 5 Speculations and assertions 4. 6 Poor choice of vocabulary 4. 7 Misusing or misquoting a well-known phrase 4. 8 Making indirect assumptions 4.
9 Inappropriate or inadvertent use of metaphor 10 12 13 4 16 5. Useful Tips 17 6. Commonly Confused Words 18 7. Writing Support at Essex 19 8. Further Reading 20 Conclusion 1. Structuring an Essay The conclusion is where you remind the reader of what you have done – the main issues you have addressed and what you have argued.The conclusion should contain no new material.
Your conclusions should be clear, leaving the reader in no doubt as to what you think; you should also explain why your conclusions are important and significant. As Stella Cottrell (2003: 154) suggests, it may also be a good idea to link your final sentence to the question contained in the title. In size, the conclusion should be no more than 10% of the essay. Before we explore the micro issues of writing (grammar and punctuation), it may help to think about the macro issues, especially essay structure.While your grammar and punctuation may improve gradually over time, you can take immediate and easy steps to improve the way you structure your essays, for which the following may be useful. Reference list and/or bibliography Introduction The introduction is where you provide a Rotterdam for the reader and make clear how your argument will develop (see opposite). One effective approach is to outline the main issues hat you seek to address in your essay.
It may also be appropriate to explain how you interpret the question. In size, the introduction should generally be no more than 10% of the essay.Appended to your essay should be a list of all the sources you have referred to (a reference list) and/or a list of all of the sources you have consulted but not referred to within the essay (a bibliography). Find out which is required by your department and which referencing system is preferred; it may be that they require both, either separately or combined. Main body Tip You should be able to sum up the Asia opinion or argument of your essay in a couple of lines. It may help to do this before you start writing. It is up to you to decide on the best way to organism your essay.
Whatever you decide, make sure you adopt a systematic or logical approach that is transparent to your readers. Keep them informed about the steps in your exposition (the presentation of your viewpoint). You are not writing a mystery or thriller, so do not leave the reader in suspense until the end; make your argument explicit and make sure every paragraph in the main body of your essay links to the ones before and after it. If it alps -? and if it is appropriate -? you could divide your essay into sections and us bisections, giving each section a subheading or summary in a few words; you can always remove subheadings afterwards. However they are worded, all assignment titles contain a central question which has to be answered. Your main task is to apply what you know – however brilliant your piece of writing, if it does not ‘answer the question’ you may get no marks at all. ‘ (Cottrell 2003: 154) Essay Checklist What is an argument? You may have come across the term ‘argument’ in an academic context and felt confused, not fully understanding its meaning.
Outside of academia, ‘argument’ usually refers to a disagreement. It tends to be an event; a physical occurrence.This may be the sense of the word that is most familiar to you, but an ‘academic argument describes cometh ins quite different: it is essentially a point of view. 1. Essay Title Does the essay have the full and correct essay title? 2. Introduction Is there a significant introduction that identifies the topic, purpose and structure of the essay? Are key words or concepts identified in the introduction? A good argument (a ‘sound’ argument) is a point of view that is presented in a clear and social way, so that each stage of reasoning is transparent and convincing; it will include evidence and possible counter-arguments.It may even help to make the assumption that the reader is in disagreement with you.
3. Main Body Is there plenty of evidence that you have done the required reading? Have you put each main point in a separate paragraph? You will not only find arguments of this kind in academic contexts. Whenever you read a paper, or watch TV, or listen to a friend, you are presented with an argument – a point of view that has been articulated with the express purpose of convincing you of its Aladdin or truth.Almost anywhere where there is thought and communication, there is argument; although the same intellectual standards and formal structure that are imposed in an academic context may be absent. The editorial sections of quality newspapers are a particularly good place to look for arguments. Are the paragraphs logically linked? Is each main point/argument supported by evidence, argument or examples? Are the ideas of others clearly referenced? 4. Conclusion Is the conclusion directly related to the question? Is it based on evidence and facts? Does it summaries the main points? Is it substantial (a paragraph or more)?When constructing your argument, the first thing to do is to read the essay question, then read it again.
What does it ask you to do? Assess? Evaluate? Discuss? Compare? Each of these ‘question-words’ is different. Make sure that your argument matches the question-word. Once you are certain of your point Of view, Start thinking about the kind Of evidence that would stand up in court. 5. References Have you referenced all of your sources? Are all of the references accurate? Are all of the references in the essay shown in the bibliography and vice versa? 6. Layout Is it neat and legibly presented?Each word in a sentence can be role it plays. Defined bathe The different roles are known as ‘parts of speech’.
In order to fully understand the examples in this booklet, it may help to re-familiarize yourself the basic parts of speech. With Verb Adjective A verb is the part of speech that people tend to identify most easily. In schools it is known as a ‘doing word’ – an action word – which describes what the nouns in the sentence are doing, I. E. Swimming, walking, eating, thinking, growing, learning, drinking, misbehaving. In the sentence, ‘Sam studies in the library, ‘studies’ s the verb.An adjective is a describing word that gives the noun a quality that makes it more specific.
For example, any number of adjectives could be used to ‘qualify’ the noun ‘lecture’. It could be an ‘excellent lecture’, a ‘long lecture, or a ‘boring lecture’ – ‘excellent’, ‘long’ and ‘boring are all adjectives. Adverb Noun An adverb is a describing word, but for verbs, not nouns. For example, ‘quickly, ‘stupidly’ and ‘hurriedly’ are all adverbs (they often end in They are used with verbs to make the action more specific, e. G. ‘drink quickly, ‘behave stupidly, ‘work hurriedly.