English professors and teachers can be very tough graders when it comes to papers. Some teachers may be easier than others, but it is important for all students to learn how to write a good, concise English paper. These five tips will have you on your way to making that A.
1. Carefully, Carefully Read Your Assignment
English teachers love the written word, but this can sometimes be to your disadvantage when they write assignments that are hard to understand. By using vague but impressive words, they sometimes may confuse you about what you are supposed to be writing about. If you don’t know, the best thing to do is ask your teacher directly. If they are still evasive, then you need to start using examples. Write out some ideas for what you are going to write about and ask him/her if you’re on the right track early on.
2. Specific Topic, Not Too Broad
Many students new to English classes make the mistake of trying to write about everything in their paper. The professors hate this and will penalize harshly. Choose a very specific topic or idea to address and stick with it. You may feel like you won’t have enough to write four pages about, but once you set it all up and find your evidence, you will be surprised how specific and concise your paper is, which is what professors are looking for.
3. Find Good Evidence
Another common mistake is to flip through your book until you find a neat passage and stick it in as evidence to your argument by using some clever wording to make it seem like it fits. This is not a good idea. English professors are smart and they know the difference between good and bad evidence. And in case you don’t know, the difference is that good evidence will prove your argument or part of it. The best evidence is the kind that is so obvious that it seems redundant to explain why it proves your point.
4. Let Every Sentence Lead To The Next
Nothing bothers an English professor like have a sentence that doesn’t seem to belong within a paper. When writing a paper, avoid the temptation to use the space to add extra things that you have learned from the class. This is not what your professor wants; he/she wants a concise, specific argument to be addressed within your paper and any extra sentences will just be distracting. Remember to follow logically throughout your paper. To make sure you’re doing this, read it, possibly aloud to see if any sentences seem to get off the point, or not make sense in the position that they are in. Moving sentences around is a good idea if you want to keep a certain sentence.
A good paper is orderly and logical. After each topic or proposal you make, you should prove it by citing evidence, if necessary. After the evidence, you should explain what the evidence means and how this proves your point. Do not be afraid of stating the obvious. A good paper should make no assumptions about what the reader knows. Define terms that may not be known by everyone and state important concepts multiple times with different evidence to push your point. Your first paragraph should end with a thesis statement that explains your argument. Your last paragraph should restate this or summarize your conclusion. Don’t forget to include a works cited page, if necessary. Remember to create new paragraphs when you begin new ideas and keep sentences a good length.
Follow these simple tips and you’ll soon be writing English papers what will astound and delight even the most strict professors or teachers.