Starting an essay may be difficult but the real agony lies in finishing. Most students assume that the complexities of essay writing lie in figuring out the topic, creating a good thesis, presenting the facts and supporting your arguments. Well, this could not be further from the truth!
Granted, this part of the work requires a lot of effort and skill. However, the secret to writing a perfect essay lies in your editing skills. Editing requires more than the usual spell-check. Spell-checkers may fail to pick up a few errors that the human eye would. All the facts and statistics in the world would mean nothing if your final draft is boring or confusing to the reader.
Why it is important to edit your paper
Editing helps students to unmask problems with their writing that could affect their grades or future writing assignments. Editing goes beyond tweaking the finishing touches; it points you to flaws in your arguments or ideas.
Students often use professional essay writing services like https://www.customwritings.com which guarantee that highly qualified academic writers will edit their papers to perfection.
However, there are a few steps you can follow if you would like to edit your essay on your own. Here is our ultimate guide to perfecting an essay:
1. Take a break
It may be tempting to do all the work in one sitting but sometimes it is better to take a little break from your work and refresh your mind. Once you are done writing your first draft, get away from your computer and find a temporary distraction. A few minutes should be enough.
2. Read your essay out loud
It is easy to overlook some errors while writing because your mind is focused on finishing the paper. You may overlook these mistakes yet again while going through your essay silently. Read your essay aloud before you start editing so that you can get a feel of how it sounds. Be alert as you read. If anything sounds odd, note it. If anything sounds wrong, it is probably very wrong.
3. Start with the easy part
Check that you have adhered to all the formatting instructions. You may use editing software to fix any errors in formatting and punctuation. Your readers will thank you!
4. Check the structure of your essay
A perfect paper is coherent and has a clear structure. The sentences and paragraphs should also flow seamlessly from one to the next. The standard essay format includes an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
Each part of the essay has its purpose:
Introduction: Ensure your essay has an exciting introductory paragraph that is worthy of your reader’s attention. This paragraph should clearly highlight what you intend to talk about in your essay.
Thesis statement: Check that your essay has a clear well-drafted thesis statement that outlines the purpose of your essay. It is good practice to have your thesis statement as the first sentence of your second paragraph.
Body: A well-structured body covers all the relevant points relevant to your thesis statement. Remember, the goal is to prove your thesis correct.
Strong conclusion: Ensure your conclusion appropriately summarizes your entire writing. A strong conclusion is one that recaps all the strong points discussed in the main body of the paper. If you require the reader to take any further action, this is where you state it.
5. Get rid of unnecessary words and phrases
Some words and phrases take up space in your essay without adding any value to your paper; get rid of them. Loose and dull sentences are a great way to lose the interest of your readers; get rid of them too. Every word, phrase or sentence should add meaning. If you find phrases such as “in my own personal opinion” in your work, do something about them. Use words that make you appear authoritative to your readers. Replace words like “says” with words like “argues”, “suggests” or “claims”.
6. Stick to what you understand
Many students find themselves using big words and phrases in an effort to appear sophisticated. The danger in doing this is that you may end up being ambiguous or completely off-topic. Use specific words and phrases as these will add the most value to your essay. Resist the urge to try and appear smart by using unnecessary jargon. The average reader (especially your professor) is not likely to be impressed by puffed-up prose. People will be discouraged from reading your essay if it sounds too pompous. Besides, you do not want your reader to question your authority.
7. Get your facts straight
Check that any facts, figures or statistics used in your paper are accurate and well cited.
8. Let it go
Many people get tempted to sneak in their favorite words and phrases into their work just because they like how they sound. Do not rewrite a sentence or paragraph just so you can use your favorite phrase. Be ruthless to your most dazzling sentences as they will only point the reader to your novice.
9. Check again
Once you are done editing, go through your paper again. It is unlikely that you will miss anything if you follow our guide step-by-step but do this regardless.
10. Get a second opinion
Finally, have a friend or relative go through your paper. They may notice something you overlooked and point you to it. Be careful not to seek help from a classmate who may copy your work.
Sometimes students see their unique creative style in what, in fact, is wordiness and lack of focus. Many also insist on using the quotation they like even when it is redundant. Obviously, it is better to have a second opinion before handing in the writing.