Sorry, but I’ve got bad news for you—I can’t teach you how to write well in just a few paragraphs. The good news is that you’ll find no end to the resources available to assist you with comma placement, verb tenses, and other important aspects of English composition. I’ll give you a list of things to remember while writing your essay; if you don’t understand a writing rule mentioned here visit your local library to check out a book on the subject, or consult the Grammar Girl website.
I can‘t advise you against every dangling participle or explain each gerund clause in the English language, but here are a few tips for making your essay a winner:
- Use proper punctuation
- Write tight, clear sentences
- Vary your sentence structure
- Use active voice, not passive voice
- Avoid fragments and run-on sentences
- Make sure that your nouns and your verbs are in agreement
- Be careful about altering verb tense accidentally
- Transition smoothly from one paragraph to the next
- Finally, know the precise meaning of a word before you use it in your essay!
Perhaps more important than grammar is making sure that your essay has a clear and obvious point to make. By the time you sit down to write, you’ve probably already decided what message you hope you get across to the essay judges. Yes, the underlying theme is always “Give me the money, because I’m the best,” but there will also be some more direct point you need to make before you print out your finished document. Your essay’s main idea is typically referred to as your thesis. If you’ve never heard this term before, put down my book and go look it up. Now!
Once you’ve written the perfect thesis statement for your essay, you need to stick to it! Make sure that each point or idea within the body of your paper clearly relates back to the primary overall concept you‘ve established in the beginning. Don‘t let your words go wandering off on irrelevant tangents. Trust me; you won’t be able to confuse the judges into awarding you their scholarship.