Write in a Clear Style

Many students fall into the trap of writing in an unnatural style. They mistakenly feel they should adopt an academic air, which can result in a dull, long-winded, and boring essay. They write to impress the professor with a learned tone that’s old-fashioned and full of stylistic problems.

Does this sound like your first experience writing a college essay?
You look at the question set, go to the library and photocopy sheets of material on the subject, spend hours anguishing over the subject, write a formal, academic-sounding essay to impress the professor with your newly gained knowledge. You count your words and find you’ve only drafted 2,200 of the required 3,000-word minimum. So you go over your paper, adding some quotations, expanding your points and padding out your style to get to the all-important word count. The result is a C-grade at best. Why? Because you have fallen into the classic errors of most students.

Error 1 You are writing to impress the tutor rather than express your information and ideas.

Error 2 You think academic-sounding prose means good marks.

Error 3 You are confusing length with quality.

The best writing style shows the author is on top of the subject, understands its meaning and writes about it with confidence. The best writing does not need ways to dress up ideas in a complicated or abstract style. Good writers use short sentences, active verbs, specific information and a natural language. They use examples and analogies to make writing varied, interesting and memorable. They cut out every redundant word and replace complex words with simpler words to produce a clear, concise and readable document.

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