Writing well is one of the most important skills used in higher education. Unfortunately, many high school students still make writing mistakes that are unacceptable as they transition into college.
Here are some writing tips that will help you avoid writing errors and improve your writing communication for college.
1. Avoid Grammatical Errors – The most common grammar mistakes made by college students are in verb agreement, using passive voice, and depending on ambiguous pronouns.
• Verb Agreement: Often students forget there are many subject pronouns that are singular. Although these pronouns may sound plural (everyone, everybody, each somebody), they are singular. Everyone is, not are! Also, subjects cannot be in prepositional phrases. One of the cars is expensive. One is the subject, not cars.
• Passive Voice: You should be using active verbs as much as possible. The tests in his class have been hard. Why not say: His tests punish your brain.? Make your subject act with active voice.
• Ambiguous pronouns: Stay away from it, they, these, and some. It is a difficult process. What, exactly, is difficult in the process?
2. Stay Away from Unclear Prose – Always be concise. Make your sentences short and clear, not rambling. Use effective vocabulary, not vocabulary only to impress. Divide your thoughts into paragraphs with one idea. Make arguments by supporting three or four strong detailed arguments rather than piling on weak reasons.
3. Don’t Give in to Weak Thinking – Many studnets really don’t know the answer to an essay question or what they want to say. Think before writing. Make sure you start with a thesis, that is, as strong focus. Then support or develop your single statement or answer by staying in one direction with ideas that connect and explain that thesis.
At college your will need to express complex ideas, sometimes in a short period of time. Keep it simple and clear, well-reasoned, and correct.