What Are the Basic Academic Essay Writing Rules?
Essay writing may seem complicated and time-consuming, but it is a valuable skill that you should learn. It is not as hard as you might think if you follow the basic academic essay writing rules described below.
- Although an essay describes an author’s own position, it is better to keep subjectivity to a minimum. Write in third person and support your statements with clear arguments.
- Avoid generalizations like “this is obvious” and “everyone knows that...” in your essay. This is an academic piece of writing, so you should provide facts and referenced evidence.
- Your text should be readable and neat; use 12 pt, and Ariel or Times New Roman font. It is also recommended to double-space the text and list of works cited.
- A common mistake in student essays is that they often use bullet points and subheadings instead of discussing the ideas. Your text should be descriptive or at least narrative.
- This type of writing must have a clear structure. Each essay consists of an introductory paragraph, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion. A simple essay consists of five paragraphs.
- It is a rule to write about one major point per paragraph. When you change a topic or move to another point, you should start another paragraph as well.
- Evidence from different sources should support your main idea. Your task is to demonstrate awareness of several main aspects of the subject. It is a bad idea to provide definite opinions. You have to apply a critical approach instead and show that you have considered several options.
- In common cases, an essay has quotations. It takes some time to pick the ones that illustrate your ideas well. They should not do the talking for you, but rather accent your own analysis.
- Speech abbreviations should be written in full. Do not write something like “won’t” or “they’ve.”
- An essay is a formal paper. Therefore, you are not allowed to use slang, jargon, and phrases commonly used in spoken language.
The last rule to mention, though just as important, is that your grammar and punctuation is as vital as your essay’s content. Do not forget to check grammar and spelling mistakes, correct misprints, and apply a proper formatting style. It is a good idea to complete your paper and proofread it later, or ask a friend for some help.