Quick Tips for Four Common Writing Errors

Teach Students How to Quickly Improve Their Essays

Teaching writing can be challenging in both middle and high school. Students often need reminding of the same structural issues again and again. How can this be avoided?

While teachers likely provide students in advance with copies of rubrics, the information contained within may be less concrete than students need. That’s why providing quick tips to an essay writer can serve as a last-minute reminder about commonly violated essay writing standards. Here are some common writing problems and quick solutions.

Students Lack Essay Structure

Teachers should remind students that the essay structure should model the basic structure of the paragraph, containing a clear beginning, middle and end. Generally, each body paragraph in an essay should do the following:

  • state a topic sentence that relates back to the thesis
  • describe reasons and identify support
  • explain and analyze at least one example
  • summarize key ideas in a conclusion sentence

Teachers should remind students that this information serves as a guideline and can be adapted for specific essays.

Students Lack a Strong Beginning or Ending

Remind students that an introduction should pique the reader’s interest about the topic. This can be achieved by writing an anecdote, asking a question, or generally discussing the topic before delving into specifics. A good rule of thumb is to place the thesis statement at the end of the introduction paragraph.

A conclusion paragraph serves to summarize key ideas, but it should also leave the reader with an interesting thought to ponder. For this reason, students can be encouraged to do one or more of the following:

  • point to the future
  • suggest a future action
  • relate back to the thesis and its more general applications to the world
  • discuss the student’s personal opinion about the topic or how this opinion has changed

Teachers can ask students to brainstorm about unique ways to conclude specific types of essays, such as narratives, comparison/contrast essays and persuasive essays.

Students Do Not Effectively Introduce Quotes

Direct quotes should be integrated into an existing student-written sentence. Therefore, students should be familiar with a variety of ways to introduce quotes to avoid sounding repetitive or stilted. The essay writers from essaywritercheap.org prepared some suggestions.

  • Identify the speaker. Dionysis said, “…….”
  • Identify the author. According to Edith Hamilton, “…….”
  • Preview the content. In the following quote, a major conflict is presented: “…….”
  • Integrate quote with an original thought. Dionysis was different in both good and bad ways “because of his double nature of wine and so of the god of wine.”

Students Offer Scant Support for Their Claims

While some students can easily elaborate on their ideas, many struggle with providing sufficient support in their body paragraphs. Here are some suggestions for students who need to enhance the content of their papers.

  • Add more detail to any stated facts.
  • Add statistics and numerical data to back up claims.
  • Offer an opposing viewpoint and refute it with solid evidence.
  • Provide an additional example.
  • Further analyze existing examples by answering questions beginning with “why,” “how,” or “so what”.
  • Use logical, ethical and emotional appeals to convince readers of a specific point of view.

These suggestions are not intended to replace comprehensive revision and editing checklists; conversely, they are intended to supplement this information by addressing common problems students experience even after they have utilized writing checklists. Together, these resources can help middle and high school students achieve a higher standard of writing for their essays.

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Adam Ali