The teacher starts reading the research paper and immediately notices the thesis is not clear and several words are clearly misspelled, she frowns as she shakes her head. This student probably put the research paper together at the last moment. She slowly marks a "D" across the paper.
There are several common mistakes made in papers that can be avoided with a little work from the students. Errors on a paper will probably reduce the grade earned during the semester.
Plan your paper well and support it with proper citations, Choosing and supporting three main points is a vital part of a paper.
- The materials from sources should make the points of the essay strong.
- Use quotes but do not overuse long quotes. When a quote is taken from a source, it is important to use the exact words that appear in the original.
- Use quotation marks with these and cite the works either with MLA, APA, or other citation form.
- Do not mix what you have to say with quotes or sources without giving citations in the paragraph and in a works cited page.
- Often misunderstanding of different concepts can lead to plagiarism, which has serious consequences.
- The best way to prevent this is to write quotes on note cards with the source listed. Write a quotation with the exact words written while a paraphrase is your own words expressing the thoughts of a source.
- The citation must be noted with quotes and paraphrases.
Just about every writer unconsciously leans on a "crutch" word. Crutch words are usually unremarkable. That's why they slip under editorial radar - they're not even worth repeating, but there you have it, pop, pop, pop, up they come. Readers, however, notice them, get irked by them and are eventually distracted by them, and down goes your book, never to be opened again.
The same goes for repeats of several words together - a phrase or sentence that may seem fresh at first, but, restated many times, draws attention from the author's strengths.
Flat writing is a sign that you've lost interest or are intimidated by your own narrative. It shows that you're veering toward mediocrity, that your brain is fatigued, that you've lost your inspiration. So use it as a lesson. When you see flat writing on the page, it's time to rethink, refuel and rewrite.
Actually, totally, absolutely, completely, continually, constantly, continuously, literally, really, unfortunately, ironically, incredibly, hopefully, finally - these and others are words that promise emphasis, but too often they do the reverse. They suck the meaning out of every sentence. In dialogue, empty adverbs may sound appropriate, even authentic, but that's because they've crept into American conversation in a trendy way. If you're not watchful, they'll make your characters sound wordy, infantile and dated.
Don't take a perfectly good word and give it a new backside so it functions as something else.
The "ness" words cause the eye to stumble, come back, reread: Mindlessness, characterlessness, courageousness, statuesqueness, preciousness - you get the idea. You might as well pour marbles into your readers' mouths. Not all "ness" words are bad - goodness, no - but they are all suspect.
The "ize" words are no better - finalize, conceptualize, fantasize, categorize. The "ize" hooks itself onto words as a short-cut but stays there like a parasite.