We all have some bad habits to leave behind in 2021. Some may ask to write my paper for me, others miss commas. The nature may differ, but the result is similar – poor writing. The one thing is true for all who write – we want to write better. To do so, we need to carefully analyze our bad writing habits and learn to spot them.
Improving on bad habits would not make us good writers in an instant. Still, finding new solutions to old problems is always a good way to change our approach toward writing tasks. To make them more accessible to our readers.
Hedging happens when a writer uses words like “seemingly, apparently, kind of” and similar. If a writer is insecure about a particular statement they make, they apply to hedge. This approach may be used in the analysis of fictional literature or characters.
However, one should avoid such statements in academic writing. Double-check the necessary information, including a citation if necessary, to make your statement sound more reliable. Otherwise, try to rearrange your statement to make it clearer and more straightforward.
Writers may tend to add superlatives like “very, really, extremely” before an adjective. This method aims to make an expression more believable, to persuade the reader of something. Usually, the result is the opposite.
When a writer uses a superlative instead of a binary idea (true or false), they create a range of possible values. It creates confusion and misleads the reader. You don’t have to watch over these entries constantly. But pay attention to them during proofreading.
Description and Prescription
Each of these concepts can be used in your writing. However, an author should understand how these descriptive and prescriptive writing works to avoid mistakes and confusion of readers. Descriptive writing introduces ideas in the text and gives context for them. Prescriptive writing gives suggestions on what should be there.
Descriptive writing works in the essay’s body when you provide facts for analysis and any other relevant data. Prescriptive writing is the best option for the conclusion and the analysis itself.
Reintroduction of the Issue
When we explore a certain problem in our essays, we present it with an issue. Therefore, the thesis statement should express a particular resolution for the problem or a solid reason for its absence.
When we conclude an essay, we should repeat the thesis statement. However, you should not repeat the problem itself. The conclusion should wrap up all the analyses and contribute to the writing.
Starting Sentence With “This” Without a Subject to Follow
It is not a crucial mistake, but it will make your text look sloppy. When you develop a lengthy thought and start the next sentence with the adjective “This,” don’t forget to include a subject to follow.
- This is a valuable insight – an incomplete example.
- This experiment provided a valuable insight – a clear and more detailed explanation.
This subject brings a lot of arguing and controversy. Usually, writers are told to avoid passive voice as much as possible. However, passive voice may become a valuable tool in the writer’s toolkit.
Try to use passive voice only when you want to draw attention toward the object of some action but not an agent.
This bad habit is hard to catch. Signposting is an obvious explanation of the same written work. Writers may use signposting in introduction paragraphs. For example: “This article will discuss the following subjects” or “Moving to the next thought.”
An additional explanation is an easy way to reach the necessary word count. However, these explanations make your text look choppy and less presentable. To avoid them, try to choose alternative transitions toward the necessary idea.
Verbification and Nominalization
The process of turning verbs into nouns (nominalization) and nouns into verbs (verbification) may contribute to the academic look of your text. However, they stir to read your text. A reader has to pay extra attention to crawl through unnecessary clericalisms.
The rule of thumb, in this case, is to use the verbs in their original meaning and find an appropriate substitution if necessary.
Using Etc. at the End of the List When You Have Run Out of Ideas
Placing etc. at the end of a shortlist when you have run out of entries is a sign of bad writing. Etc. in the end leaves the reader to wonder what else you had to say.
For example, the list of necessary materials includes educational videos, credible articles, studying books, etc. All these entries differ in nature, and “etc.” does not make the situation clearer.
To avoid such a situation, try to include all the entries that you can in the list and don’t make it too long. If the list consists of more than five similar entries, you may add “etc.” as a way to emphasize this similarity.
This bad habit may be quite intricate. Buzzwords are complex words that have limited application. Therefore, using too many buzzwords leaves them without impactful meaning. Such words as “revolutionary, strategic, innovative, cutting edge” may lose their meaning if a writer uses them too much.
The bad habit of using buzzwords goes beyond the lack of vocabulary. It makes the writer use words in an inappropriate context. Therefore, try to be careful with buzzwords and use them when they benefit the most.
Getting rid of bad habits may be difficult. It is even harder to cultivate useful ones. Professionals and novice writers have bad habits, big and small, critical and insufficient. However, the most severe bad habit is not to improve on your writing. Whether you are a student, a blogger, or a novelist, you need to constantly improve if you work with texts.
Let someone else read your work and point out pieces that are hard to read. Return to your previous works and edit them yourself once again, pointing out which elements of your writing style need refining.