Writing A Decent Paper

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Ellie Culin

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Writing A Decent Paper

Google Common License

Google Common License

Google Common License

Google Common License

Whether you’re a freshman or a senior, you will be asked to write a paper at some point in the year. It can be stressful, regardless of if you’re writing a five paragraph essay or a fifteen-page research paper. If you know you have a paper due in the near future and you want to make sure it’ll at least be decent, here are some things you should do.

 

It may seem obvious, but know your point. If you’re writing an argumentative essay about who’s to blame for the tragedy in Romeo and Juliet, figure out who you’re blaming. When your teacher says to always relate your topic sentences to your thesis, she just means that you want to make sure your topic sentence has a point. It’s the difference between “In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet kills herself after she sees Romeo’s dead body,” and “Romeo encourages Juliet’s love and takes advantage of her naivety in order to achieve his own desires, ultimately causing their deaths.” One topic sentence is summary, one topic sentence has a point. If you write a topic sentence without a point, you’re likely to fall into the trap of summarizing the text for no reason, which has little to no purpose in a body paragraph. Every line in your body paragraph should clearly be related to your topic sentence and, ultimately, your thesis statement.

 

Along this line, make sure you know your source text. Very rarely will you write an essay in your English or History classes without using examples to support your point (if you don’t use examples to support your points, you should probably do that). Make sure the quotes you’re using or paraphrasing are relevant to your topic sentence and try not to use quotes that are overly long. Your English teacher will definitely be able to tell if you’re picking long quotes for no reason other than to fill up word count or to seem smart.

 

Lastly, word choice and grammar are vital. Please don’t try to enhance your essay by using the most complicated words thesaurus.com has to offer. It’ll just make your paper incomprehensible jargon that your teacher will be able to see through instantly. Of course, you don’t want to use slang either, and stay out of the first person. Equally important is good grammar. This may be repetitive, but knowing the difference between things like their, they’re, and there is imperative. An easy way to check your spelling and grammar is to download Grammarly!

 

If you’re still freaking out about writing your essay, just remember this. Sure, the ‘right answer’ not be as clear in a book as it is in a math problem. However, one of the best things about writing a paper is that you can trick your teacher into thinking you know what you’re talking about if you support your argument well. More often than not, a student with a mediocre point and a well-written essay will get a higher grade than a student with a great point and a garbage essay. To put it simply, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re right or wrong- as long as you support your argument. If you follow this advice, your essay might not be good, but it will at least be decent.

 

Sources:

https://collegeinfogeek.com/6-writing-tips/

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