Writing Better? or Better Writing?

Writing is not easy. If it was there would be no need for a tutor. lol As a tutor for over 15 years I have noticed a common list of writing issues. For example:

  • A paper needs a purpose. This purpose and/or argument needs to be clear, otherwise your reader will be confused. In College and University this reader is your professor. If he or she is confused this will usually result in a low mark. This purpose is usually defined in a thesis in the first paragraph, last sentence.
  • The content in the paper is not relevant to what the main argument is. If you stray off topic, then how do you expect your reader to follow what you have written?
  • Don't use unnecessary words. Whether you are using too many words and creating wordy sentences or using a thesaurus to replace simple words with bigger, more sophisticated words, don't do it. Like a College Professor once taught me, simple is better.
  • Know what format you are expected to write in and stick to it. Is it APA, MLA, Chicago style etc?
  • Also, make sure you have enough sources and that the sources are appropriate. For example, most papers need academic sources, not internet sources like Wikipedia or just some article found on the net. Just because it is on the internet does not make it true. The best academic sources are found at College or University Libraries and/or library databases.
  • Leave more white space above, than below headings.
  • Re: Punctuation. Put a period before the quotation mark at the end of the sentence, not after.
  • Watch comma and apostrophe usage, as well as semi-colon and colon use.

I could write pages of tips, but above are the main ones I have noted over the years. Like I said before, writing is not easy. Most of us are not born with the talent of writing well, but with the assistance of a professional tutor like myself, practice and years of honing the craft, writing does get easier.