The 5 Worst Academic Essay Writing Mistakes to Avoid

Composing essays in up-to-date word processing programs has created a bad habit in students. They have become so used to auto-correct and error notifications that they don't even try to find and fix mistakes by themselves. However, it's impossible to completely rely on AI tools since they are not 100% right in all cases. Instead, you should always check your text for blunders manually.

Instructors who notice grammar and spelling errors in your essay may have a bad impression of your academic skills. This can result in bad grades and a low ranking position in the class. What's more, blunders interrupt the flow and take your teacher out of the content you were trying to create. Hence, it gets harder to get your idea across and to objectively assess your knowledge.

Writing an essay isn't a hard task, but some students still find it quite troublesome. For this reason, students seek academic writing help on essay sites like those reviewed by BetterWritingServices. Academic writing companies deliver essays without grammar errors, so students may feel tempted to entrust their assignments to a professional company. It might be a good idea if you have too many essays due, but if you want to write better essays in the long run, you're going to have to learn about the most common grammar errors in essay writing.

Apart from grammar and spelling errors, there are many other types of mistakes commonly made by students in their essays. Some of them are considered below, so keep reading the article if you want to learn more!

1 - Vague Thesis Statements

The thesis statement is the foundation of any essay. If it's weak, the overall paper is typically weak as well. On the contrary, with a strong and effective thesis also comes a decent essay. Unfortunately, students often create vague thesis statements that lack specificity and clarity.

It's essential to add specific details to your thesis statement, that will answer questions like 'why?', 'for what?', 'when?', and so on. The aim of a thesis statement is to clearly state the author's claim and guide the development of the entire essay. It shouldn't be too broad so it can provide the development direction of the rest of the paper. It should always reflect the essay's purpose, whether it's to give readers some information, to entertain them, or to persuade in something. Note that the tone and word choice of the statement largely depends on the purpose of essay writing.

2 - Non-debatable Thesis Statements

Sometimes, students base thesis statements on their own observations or on inarguable facts, and this is another big mistake. In fact, a thesis statement makes an assertion, which means it should not be just an observation of the writer or a commonly-known statement with no argument. Educators state that if a thesis statement cannot be argued, it is not actually a thesis statement. Instead, it's just a statement of fact.

As a writer, you need to take a stand and assert your claim that sounds debatable. So no matter what kind of essay you are writing, persuasive or expository, a thesis statement must be arguable in any case. Therefore, make sure that you formulate your thesis in a way that it's something readers might agree or disagree with. Additionally, check if it's really based on facts, not on your beliefs.

3 - Subject-Verb Disagreement

According to a Grammarly poll, subject-verb disagreement is one of the most common mistakes made in academic writing. In most languages, the subject of the sentence must align with the verb conjugation in terms of gender and number. But since English doesn't conjugate verbs to reflect the gender of the subject, you should care only about the number of the subject. While writing your essay, pay close attention to the noun forms, check if they are singular or plural.

To avoid subject-verb disagreement, you need to take into consideration rules about indefinite pronouns that require either singular or plural verbs and collective nouns that are singular in form, but plural in meaning. Note that when collective nouns act as one entity, you should use a singular verb but when they separate things, using plural verbs is obligatory. Also, remember that there are some plural nouns that are singular in meaning so they need singular verbs. No matter how long and wordy your sentence is, find the subject and verb and make sure they agree especially when they are separated. Always ignore the words in-between because they don't affect agreement at all.

4 - Pronoun-antecedent Disagreement

Pronoun-antecedent disagreement is another frequent mistake made in academic essay writing. This error occurs when the pronoun doesn't match the noun it refers to. Likewise for subject-verb agreement. This type of agreement also requires singular pronouns to match singular antecedents and plural pronouns to align with plural antecedents, so it becomes clear for the reader what each of them refers to.

To avoid this mistake, learn how to treat indefinite pronouns when they act like an antecedent. Typically, they are considered as a singular antecedent that requires a singular pronoun, but there are some exceptions that you need to learn. Also, note that collective nouns are usually considered singular, so they typically use the pronoun 'its'.

5 - Poor-quality Evidence

In some cases, students weaken their essay by providing irrelevant or not representative evidence. This problem usually appears when students write persuasive essays and fail to find the right arguments to back up their claims. Irrelevant evidence means that it doesn't have a definite relationship to the claim. It is one of the most common issues that misleads the readers and makes them confused. Another problem commonly occurring in academic writing is when the evidence doesn't represent the topic. Instead, it creates a distorted or incomplete picture.

To get the highest grade for your paper, always make the connection between your claims and evidence, so it is relevant. The relationship between these two does not have to be direct, but still, it has to be there. To ensure that representative evidence, try to choose typical examples and well-known facts so they are easily understandable for anybody. Note that representative evidence must accurately represent the whole topic, not just a small part of your writing.

Final Thoughts

It's probably impossible to avoid all writing mistakes, but you can minimize them for sure. If you pay attention to the most common errors made in essays, you will be more likely to avoid them. Hopefully, this article will help you improve your papers!