The REAL Differences Between a Statement of Purpose and a Personal Statement

Confused about the differences between a statement of purpose and a personal statement? This article contains all the information you need to make sure you nail your admissions essay.

Difference between a statement of purpose and a personal statement

Every applicant to grad school will likely be asked to write some kind of statement to support his or her application.

In some cases, you’ll be asked to write a personal statement; in others, you will be requested to write a statement of purpose. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll be asked to write both (and maybe an additional admissions essay to boot!).

Off the bat, you need to know this: There is a difference between a statement of purpose and a personal statement.

In fact, there are several differences.

So now we’ve established that a statement of purpose is not the same as a personal statement, let’s take a look at some of the ways in which the two essays differ.

Differences Between a Statement of Purpose and a Personal Statement

Difference between a statement of purpose and a personal statement

SOPs and personal statements differ in three broad ways:

1) The purpose

While the fundamental purpose of your statement of purpose is to explain why you want to study a given subject, the purpose of the personal statement is to explain why you are the right candidate for the program.

2) The perspective

The statement of purpose is forward-looking. It is concerned with your overall purpose (clue in the title guys). In this case, admissions committees are looking for specific detail on your future career plans and research goals. The personal statement is more of a reflection; as such, it is predominantly backwards-looking. It is concerned with what you have done in the past to prepare for study or a career in your chosen field.

3) The focus

The focus of your statement of purpose should be firmly placed on your credentials, qualifications, and interests. The SOP should explain why you are the right candidate for a program of study and why the institution is right for you. The focus of your personal statement should be on the person you are today. Explain how your personal and academic experiences have shaped you into a unique, exceptional candidate.

While both essays share the same ultimate objective—to secure your admission to the university by convincing the admissions committee that you have the potential to be a success on the program to which you are applying for admission—the expectations differ. It is imperative that you know what these expectations are to ensure you give the admissions committee members the information they are looking for.

Quick note: Need your statement of purpose to be as strong as it can be? Ivy League editors are here to help. Our college essay experts can help you shine. Check out our SOP editing services now.

So, now we’ve provided a high-level overview of the differences between a statement of purpose and a personal statement, it is worth looking at some of the features these two essays have in common.

Similarities Between a Statement of Purpose and a Personal Statement

Regardless of whether you are writing a statement of purpose or a personal statement, you will need to ensure you meet six basic requirements.

List of things that need to be included in a college essay

1) Suitable length

Unless the specific school states otherwise, both types of admission essay should be between 1-2 pages (single-space pages in 12 point font). Some schools will provide a word limit. In those cases, you should strictly adhere to the requirement. In other cases, you may be given free rein. Brevity is key. While you may be tempted to write a four-page monologue that gives extensive details of your suitability for the program, this approach is typically ineffective and will not maintain the reader’s attention.

Bear in mind that admissions committees receive thousands of applications for every place on a given program. They appreciate concise, well-written essays that focus on your uniqueness. Think of it as an elevator pitch. You only have a couple of minutes to persuade the reader that you will bring value to the program. Make every word count.

For more details on how to format a statement of purpose, check out our guide to the statement of purpose format.

2) Free of errors

Even if you do not go the whole hog and engage the services of an expert SOP editing service, you should enlist the services of a third party to proofread your final essay. Mistakes are unforgivable and will result in your well-crafted personal statement or statement of purpose being tossed on the reject pile.

3) Authentic

Don’t try to use words you don’t understand or flowery language that would rival a Shakespearean sonnet. Just be you. Write in your natural voice and be true to yourself. This approach will ensure that your personal statement of SOP is much more relatable to the reviewers.

4) Truthful

Do not tell lies in your admissions essays. Admissions committee members are experts at weeding out the truth. Any white lies could cost you the place at the university of your dreams.

5) Adheres to instructions

Follow all the provided instructions to the letter. Don’t try to be smart or creative by circumventing the requirements. The reviewers will initially screen your essay against these requirements; if they have not been met, your admissions journey will come to an end.

6) Demonstrates by example

Show, don’t tell. Instead of claiming that you are a strong communicator, for instance, provide a solid example that demonstrates your strong communication skills in action.

Objectives of a Personal Statement

Your personal statement should achieve four broad objectives:

1) Tell a story

Regardless of whether you actually format your personal statement in story form, it should lead the reviewers through a journey by which they learn about you as a unique candidate.

2) Outline your motivations

Your task is to convince the admissions tutors that you understand the course and are a good fit for what they have on offer. Thoroughly research the program and the university and use your personal statement to demonstrate that you have taken the effort to find out about the school and the course of your choice.

What do you love about your chosen subject so much that has motivated you to choose it above anything else? Demonstrate your passion, intellectual curiosity, and enthusiasm.

3) Be succinct and compelling

The story you tell needs to be compelling and remarkable. By adding concise detail, you can catch the reviewer’s heart and leave a lasting impression.

Regardless of what story you choose to tell, make sure it is unique. Write as though you are talking directly to the reader.

4) To explain any weaknesses or challenges you have overcome

If there is an elephant in the room; i.e., something that you are concerned will have a negative impact on your application, the personal statement is the place to mention it. You may be tempted to ignore your weaknesses completely. However, if there is a chance the admissions committee will ask questions about something—for example, your grades, a gap in your work experience, or a health issue—you should use your PS to explain these weaknesses.

For instance, let’s say your GPA dropped significantly during your freshman year because you experienced an issue with your mental health. You can use your personal statement to discuss the adversity you encountered, how you overcame it, and most importantly, what you learned from the experience.

Regardless of the weakness or challenge you describe, make sure you present the story in a positive light. This will help the admissions committee to recognize that you are tenacious and have the potential to strive in the face of challenges.

Personal Statement Checklist

Personal statement checklist

Free PDF download: Personal Statement Checklist

An impressive personal statement should:

  • Tell your unique story
  • Outline your motivations
  • Be succinct and compelling
  • Address any weaknesses the committee may question

Objectives of a Statement of Purpose

When writing a statement of purpose, you should ensure that it meets six broad objectives:

1) Explain why you want to pursue this graduate degree

As we previously described, the most important part of your statement of purpose is the purpose. You need to clearly and succinctly explain why you want to pursue a given program of study.

Do you want to transition from the corporate world to academic but need to study your subject of expertise at a higher level to make this move? Or perhaps you want to complete an MBA to enable you to progress within the company you work for?

Regardless of what your goals are, you need to very clearly explain what is motivating your interest in pursuing a graduate degree.

2) Explain your interest in a given subject of interest

It’s not enough to simply state why you want to study a given discipline. You need to convince the admissions committee that you are dedicated to that particular field of study.

Briefly provide an outline of the experiences that have stimulated and maintained your interest in the subject. For example, work experience, voluntary work, internships, etc. If a mentor has inspired you or provided expert guidance that has fostered your motivation, talk about the impact the individual has had on your goals. Ensure you clearly communicate your preparedness for study.

3) Outline your strengths and suitability for the program

In this section of your SOP, you need to clearly outline any experience you have that will enable you to be successful on the program. Be it academic, professional, or internship experience, describe the skills and knowledge you have gained that have added to your understanding of the subject of interest and solidified your intention to study it at a higher level.

Ensure you explicitly spell out how your strengths will enable you to be successful on the program. This will help you to demonstrate that you have a clear understanding of what the program involves and will be a positive addition to the class.

4) Outline your medium and long-term goals

Clearly outline your medium- and long-term goals. What do you hope to achieve after completing the program of study?

What is your ultimate objective? For example, in the medium-term, you may wish to progress to become a team leader in the organization at which you work before ultimately becoming a division head. Or perhaps you want to dedicate your career to research to facilitate developments in your field of interest. Be specific.

5) Define your research interests

This section of your statement of purpose is particularly important. Describe what specifically you would like to research if you are admitted to the program. Most importantly, highlight how these research interests are aligned with the ongoing studies of the current faculty members.

Name the professors at the school who you are interested in working with and explain how their studies fit in with your objectives. This section will need to be tailored to each school. Although that means extra work for you, it reassures the admissions committee members that you understand the nature of the program and will bring value to the school.

6) Highlight why you are a good fit for the school

As stated earlier, thousands of applicants apply for every place on a given course of study. So why should the school choose you? Your goal is to convince the reviewers that you are the right candidate for them.

Specifically highlight how your values and motivations are aligned with those of the institution to which you are applying.

What unique strengths will you bring to the faculty? How will you add value? Discuss the knowledge, skills, and experiences you anticipate accessing from the program and highlight how these will enable you to achieve your medium- and long-term goals.

7) Detail why the school is a good fit for you

Demonstrate that you have thoroughly researched the program on offer and the unique benefits of the school to which you are applying. Again, this section will be different for every application. Describing the attributes of the program and school that have attracted you will help you to craft an informed statement of purpose that the faculty members who are reviewing your application can relate to.

Statement of Purpose Checklist

Statement of purpose checklist

Free PDF download: Statement of Purpose Checklist

An impressive statement of purpose should demonstrate:

  • Why you want to pursue this graduate degree
  • Your interest in a given subject of expertise
  • Your strengths and suitability for the program
  • Your medium and long-term goals
  • Your research interests
  • Why you are a good fit for the school
  • Why the school is a good fit for you

Remember: Once you have written your first draft of your personal statement or statement of purpose, you will need to ensure it is thoroughly proofread. Our statement of purpose editors can help you to refine and perfect your SOP. In addition to correcting any spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors, they will help you identify any gaps in content, provide advice on how you can improve your statement, and identify any irrelevant content.

Statement of Purpose vs Personal Statement: Which Do You Need to Write?

Hopefully, you now have a clear understanding of the main differences between a personal statement and a statement of purpose.

But which one do you actually need to write?

The answer to this question will be down to which school and program you are applying for admission to. Some schools require either a personal statement or a statement of purpose, while others require both.

For example, MIT requires a statement of purpose, while Indiana University requires a personal statement.

In some cases, the school may require an essay that is a combination of both a personal statement and a statement of purpose. For instance, the London School of Economics requires a specific format for some programs of study.

In the worst-case scenario, you may encounter a school that uses the terms statement of purpose and personal statement interchangeably.

In this case, you should take into consideration the nature of the program for which you are applying. Generally speaking, research-based programs will expect an academic, formal statement of purpose (especially at PhD level), while undergraduate or scholarship applications typically require a personal statement.

If there’s any doubt, clarify the requirements. You should be able to find the details on the application itself or the school’s website. If this information is missing, contact the school directly to double-check the expectations.

Conclusion: The Difference Between a Statement of Purpose and a Personal Statement

There are major differences between a personal statement and a statement of purpose and its imperative that you know what these are.

Although both essays share the fundamental goal of securing you a place on the program of study of your choice, the information and requirements associated with the two statements are vastly different.

At a high level, the SOP is the more formal essay. It highlights your academic and professional background and what you have achieved. However, its biggest focus is on your purpose. As such, you should invest significant effort in defining your goals and how the program and school will help you achieve those goals.

The statement of purpose is typically less formal. It is heavily focused on you as a unique candidate. It should include some form of story that sets you apart as an exceptional individual who will add value to the program.

Regardless of whether you are writing a statement of purpose or a personal statement, make sure you do the following:

  • Read the instructions carefully
  • Use specific details and examples
  • Be authentic
  • Edit and proofread your final statement of purpose or personal statement!

 

The Indisputable Proof Rewriting Tools and Article Spinners Simply Don’t Work

The definitive proof that proofreading tools don't work

Rewriting tools, which are also known as article spinners, article rewriters, and paraphrasing tools, are designed to rewrite existing articles and website content so that it is completely unique.

A simple search for “rewriting tools” renders an estimated 17,900,000 results.

Woah!

Granted, not all of these will be article spinners. However, we’re left with zero doubt that there are tons of rewriting tools on the market.

Tons.

This, in itself, should ring alarm bells.

Software that is worth its salt, i.e., achieves the job it claims to achieve, isn’t readily available. The development costs are enormous, and it takes big companies years and years of development to refine tools of that nature.

We know language is complex.

Even those companies that do invest wads of cash in the development of language-based software and applications find it very, very difficult to produce tools that are accurate.

One prime example of such an organization is Google.

Google is one of the biggest companies in the world. It has plenty of cash to spare. However, we all know that you couldn’t rely on the Google Translate app alone to communicate with locals in a foreign country.

It’s great. But Google would be the first to admit that it simply isn’t 100% reliable. And that’s after a huge investment.

What the situation with Google Translate tells us—and remember that this is highly sophisticated software that was only possible through millions of investment—is that a machine can produce a high-level translation of a given text that may communicate the general meaning. However, due to the high risk of mismatches, it will not provide anything that is specific and reliable.

And it is the same high risk of mismatches that means you can’t rely on the inputs of rewriting tools and article spinners.

The organizations that are churning out language spinning software don’t have access to the level of cash that is available to Google. As such, the offerings they produce are nowhere near sophisticated enough to process the complexities of the English language and paraphrase language effectively.

But don’t just take our word for it. Let’s take a look at what rewriting tools and article spinners do in more depth.

Frequently Asked Questions About Rewriting Tools

What are rewriting tools?

Rewriting tools, software, and applications typically offer to rewrite text so it is entirely unique. This involves completely removing all plagiarism.

They are available in a variety of forms.

Some are subscription-based packages, while others are available online completely free of charge.

Rewriting tools vary in levels of sophistication. Some require the users to input potential synonyms for the words they want to change (why bother when you can use the thesaurus in Word much more efficiently?), while others claim to be AI-based applications that can perform the function of the human brain.

How do rewriting tools work?

Rewriting tools and article spinners are pretty much souped-up thesaurus applications.

Again, the tasks performed vary in levels of sophistication, but article rewriters operate by replacing words and well-known phrases with a different word or phrase.  Take a look at our guide to how to rewrite articles to learn more.

Note, in the sentence above, I used the word different, not equivalent.

And this is where the problem lies.

The providers of rewriting software claim the tool churns out a new set of text that carries the same meaning as the original.

As we will see later, this is typically NOT the case.

Are rewriting tools reliable?

Short answer: No.

Long answer:

There are currently three fundamental issues with rewriting software, regardless of the underlying technologies.

  • As described above, machine-driven translators have a high chance of getting things wrong. Around 80% of the time, the suggested word replacements they generate will be completely inaccurate. This isn’t necessarily an issue for someone who knows the English language well. But if you’re an ESL speaker, you may not actually know that the words are wrong. Primarily, the process relies on the user having a strong understanding of the intricacies of the English language, which many users lack.
  • As you can’t rely on the accuracy, viability, or reliability of the outputs of rewriting tools, you have to extensively edit and proofread the output. This is incredibly time-consuming. In fact, it’s a complete waste of time. Your efforts would be better invested simply rewriting the article, essay, or blog post from scratch for yourself.
  • The majority of spinning tools do not remove sufficient plagiarism. Most of the time, the similarity score after spinning is still too high for search engines to treat the content as unique, and the text certainly won’t pass Copyscape or Turnitin. So, again, you have wasted your time and, in some cases, money.

Let’s look at some incidences of these issues in action.

For the purposes of this article, we will not refer to the names of the companies or applications that were used for these examples; we’re not in the business of flinging mud or damaging reputations.

Our objective here is to show you what the problems are with rewriting tools so you can then make an informed decision as to whether they suit your needs.

You can always try a few sample texts for yourself.

The text we used for this case study was as follows:

What the situation with Google Translate tells us—and remember that this is highly sophisticated software that was only possible through millions of investment—is that a machine can produce a high-level translation of a given text that may communicate the general meaning. However, due to the high risk of mismatches, it will not produce anything that is specific and reliable.

Rewriting Tool Case Studies

Case Study One: A Free Rewriting Tool

This example text was run through the application offered by the first company that appeared in a search for a “free rewriting tool.”

Here’s the exact output:

What the situation with Google Translate tells us—and bear in mind that this is often be} extremely subtle code that was solely potential through uncountable investment—is that a machine can turn out a high-level translation of a given text that will communicate the overall which means. However, thanks to the high risk of mismatches, it’ll not turn out something that’s specific and reliable.

Remaining plagiarism:

61.6%, of which 50% was identical.

Issues:

  • The text simply doesn’t make sense in some places. For example, “the overall which means.” The lack of adherence to grammatical structure means that the output is meaningless.
  • The meaning in one place is completely changed: “subtle code” means something entirely different from “sophisticated software.” This is because the program has mistakenly provided a synonym for the word sophisticated that is based on a different use of the word than that intended.
  • The plagiarism level is still 61.6%, 50% of which is completely identical. This is too high to pass as unique on Copyscape or Turnitin.

Summary:

Using this tool would be a complete waste of time and effort. In addition to being presented with text that is meaningless in some cases and inaccurate in others, the changes are not sufficient to pass a plagiarism test or search engine requirement for unique content.

Case Study Two: An AI Article Spinner

For this example, we were interested in observing the output of a tool that claimed to be based on artificial intelligence comparable to the human mind. As such, we ran the sample text through the first rewriting application that appeared on a Google search for the phrase “AI rewriting tool.”

Here’s the output:

What the situation with Google Translate tells us — and remember this is highly sophisticated software that has been possible only through millions of investments— is that a machine can produce a high-level translation of a given text that can convey the general meaning. However it will not produce anything that is specific and reliable due to the high risk of mismatches.

Remaining plagiarism:

92.2%, of which 80% was identical.

Issues:

  • The text contains a grammatical error in terms of the use of the word investment.  This error resulted from the fact that the machine isn’t capable of understanding the context of the language in which it was used. Google may have executed millions of separate investments in their software; however, it’s highly unlikely. The software has treated the word investment as a countable noun; e.g., investment tools. However, in the sentence provided, it was referenced as an activity; i.e., the holistic act of investing money.
  • The software has incorrectly removed a comma.
  • The rest of the text reads well. But there’s a reason for that: It is pretty much exactly the same as the text provided. With a plagiarism content of 99.2% match (of which 80% was identical), using this tool would be a complete and utter waste of time. It simply doesn’t do what it claims to do.

Case Study Three: A Paid Membership Rewriter

For this example, we searched for a tool that was available for a fee. The assumption here was that software that users need to pay for to access would produce better results. Here’s what happened.

Output:

What Google Translate tells us—and keep in mind that that is highly sophisticated software program that was simplest feasible through thousands and thousands of investment—is that a machine can produce a high-level translation of a given text that may talk the general meaning. However, due to the high hazard of mismatches, it will no longer produce anything that is particular and reliable.

Remaining plagiarism:

80.4%, of which 69.6% was identical.

Issues:

  • Again, we have grammar issues abound. Some of the grammar is entirely amiss—for example, “simplest feasible,” while words are missing elsewhere, “keep in mind that this is highly sophisticated software program.”
  • In other places, the text is meaningless. What does “talk the general meaning” actually mean? Zilch to a native English speaker.
  • Again, the tool misunderstood the intended meaning of some words. In this case, “risk” is not quite interchangeable with “hazard.”
  • With a plagiarism level of 80.4%, of which 69.6% was unique, the paid-for rewriting tool didn’t even produce the lowest degree of similarity. Again, the plagiarism was still too high to get past Copyscape, Turnitin, or the algorithms that Google uses to detect unique content.

Summary:

Despite the producer’s claims, even the most expensive rewriting tool could not produce flawless spun content. In fact, it couldn’t even produce unique content, let alone text that is grammatically sound and cohesive.

So you may be wondering if it is even possible to rewrite text so that it is unique, grammatically sound, and conveys a comparable meaning to the source file.

It is.

But for that, you need a human brain.

Case Study Four: Human Rewriting

For the final case, we asked a human rewriter to paraphrase our text. Here’s what we ended up with:

The case of Google Translate provides a prime example of the limitations of language processing software. Despite the significant investment that has been made in this highly complex tool, it is only capable of generating a translation that conveys the high-level meaning of a phrase or paragraph. Due to the significant risk of translation and word-mismatch errors, it is unable to produce outputs that users can 100% rely on.

Remaining plagiarism:

0%

Issues:

None.

Summary:

Computers are no rival for a human when it comes to rewriting text.

Here’s the key thing you need to know here: These rewriting tools may serve a purpose for some people. However, they shouldn’t—and can’t—be relied upon.

Yes, some spinners and rewriting tools are better than others.

As such, if you really insist on using them, you’ll need to do some research to find out which apps produce the most reliable results. In addition to taking up valuable time, this will be very difficult if you’re not a native English speaker or don’t have an excellent grasp of grammar.

However, if you have plenty of time to edit and review the generated text, they may work for you.

The better option is to rewrite the text yourself. In the majority of cases, it will actually be quicker.

If you’re looking for a really professional job, use a human rewriting service. Human rewriters can give you a fresh perspective by combining several pieces of content. This will allow you to create a new article or blog post that isn’t merely the plagiarized work of others.

You’ll get great results and produce articles specifically tailored to your brand that actually convert customers as opposed to meaningless regurgitated spun content that turns visitors to your website off.

 

 

164 Phrases and words You Should Never Use in an Essay—and the Powerful Alternatives you should

This list of words you should never use in an essay will help you write compelling, succinct, and effective essays that impress your professor.

Words and phrases you shouldn't use in an essay

Writing an essay can be a time-consuming and laborious process that seems to take forever.

But how often do you put your all into your paper only to achieve a lame grade?

You may be left scratching your head, wondering where it all went wrong.

Chances are, like many students, you were guilty of using words that completely undermined your credibility and the effectiveness of your argument.

Our professional essay editors have seen it time and time again: The use of commonplace, seemingly innocent, words and phrases that weaken the power of essays and turn the reader off.

But can changing a few words here and there really make the difference to your grades?

Absolutely.

If you’re serious about improving your essay scores, you must ensure you make the most of every single word and phrase you use in your paper and avoid any that rob your essay of its power (check out our guide to editing an essay for more details).

Here is our list of words and phrases you should ditch together with some alternatives will be so much more impressive.

Vague and Weak Words

What Are VaGUE Words and Phrases?

Ambiguity pun

Vague language consists of words and phrases that aren’t exact or precise. They can be interpreted in multiple ways and, as such, can confuse the reader.

Essays that contain vague language lack substance and are typically devoid of any concrete language. As such, you should keep your eyes peeled for unclear words when proofreading your essay.

Why You Shouldn’t Use VAGUE Words in Essays

Professors detest vagueness.

In addition to being ambiguous, vague words and phrases can render a good piece of research absolutely useless.

Let’s say you have researched the link between drinking soda and obesity. You present the findings of your literature review as follows:

“Existing studies have found that drinking soda leads to weight gain.”

Your professor will ask:

What research specifically?
What/who did it involve? Chimpanzees? Children? OAPs?
Who conducted the research?
What source have you used?

And the pat on the back you deserve for researching the topic will never transpire.

Academic essays should present the facts in a straightforward, unambiguous manner that leaves no doubt in the mind of the reader.

Key takeaway: Be very specific in terms of what happened, when, where, and to whom.

VAGUE Words and Phrases You Shouldn’t Use in an Essay

Word/Phrase to Avoid in an Essay Much Better Alternative(s)
About/around Approximately, in combination with a range.
Use: “The event was attended by approximately 80-100 people.”
Not: “The event was attended by about 100 people.”
Almost Provide very specific detail in your essay.
Use: “When the clinical trials were complete.”
Not: “When the research was almost complete.”
Area State which area specifically.
Use: “There was a significant amount of flooding in the north of Miami.”
Not: “There was a significant amount of flooding in the area.”
Big/small/short/tall Use more specific adjectives to describe the person, place, or thing.
Use: “The elephant weighed 18,000 pounds and was 13-foot tall.”
Not: “The elephant was big and tall.”
Kind of Delete.
Use: “The interesting thing about the character was…”
Not: “The character was kind of interesting because…”
Meaningful Use: “The results add value to the existing body of knowledge on obesity among youths because…”
Not: “The results were meaningful because…”
More or less Replace with something more precise:
Use: “The character’s quest was unsuccessful because…”
Not: “The character more or less failed in her quest.”
Other(s) State exactly who.
Use: “These findings were replicated by Ghott et al. (1990).”
Not: “These findings were replicated by other researchers.”
Poor Qualify what you mean by “poor.”
Use: “The essay grade was ten points below a pass.”
Not: “The essay grade was poor.”
Situation Be specific about what situation you are referring to.
Use: “This essay will explain the political events that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall.”
Not: “This essay will explain the situation that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall.”
Something Specifically delineate the “something” you are referring to.
Use: “This finding teaches us that the ideal storage temperature is…”
Not: “This finding teaches us something.”
Sort of Qualify your opinion with more in-depth information.
Use: “The essay was interesting but could be improved by…”
Not: “The essay was sort of interesting.”
Stuff Explain what specifically you are referring to:
Use: “We added the salt powder to the solution.”
Not: “We added the stuff to the solution.”
Thing Replace with something more precise:
Use: “I found this comparison between rich and poor most interesting.”
Not: “This was the thing I found most interesting.”

Flabby Words and Expressions

What are Flabby Expressions?

Unnecessary words pun

Flabby expressions and words are wasted phrases. They don’t add any value to your writing but do take up the word count and the reader’s headspace.

Flabby expressions frequently contain clichéd, misused words that don’t communicate anything specific to the reader. For example, if someone asks you how you are feeling and you reply, “I’m fine,” you’re using a flabby expression that leaves the inquirer none the wiser as to how you truly are.

Why Should Flabby Words be Removed from an Essay?

Flabby words are fine in everyday conversation and even blog posts like this.

However, they are enemies of clear and direct essays. They slow down the pace and dilute the argument.

When grading your essay, your professor wants to see the primary information communicated clearly and succinctly.

Removing the examples of flabby words and expressions listed below from your paper will automatically help you to take your essay to a higher level.

Key takeaway: When it comes to essays, brevity is best.

Flabby Words and Expressions You Shouldn’t Use in an Essay

Flabby Word/Phrase to Avoid in an Essay Much Better Alternative(s)
Go on Use: “I will continue to present the final analysis.”
Not: “I will go on to present the final analysis.”
I might add Use: “This research proved…”
Not: “I might add that this research proved…”
In terms of Use: “This essay effectively demonstrated…”
Not: “This essay was effective in terms of…”
In my opinion Use: “Shakespeare was a talented writer.”
Not: “In my opinion, Shakespeare was a talented writer.”
In spite of the fact Use: “Although this paper was written 50 years later, nothing has changed.”
Not: “In spite of the fact this paper was written 50 years later, nothing has changed.”
In the event of/that Use: “If new research emerges, the situation may change.”
Not: “In the event that new research emerges, the situation may change.”
In the process of Use: “I concluded that the hypothesis was incorrect.”
Not: “In the process of writing the essay, I concluded that the hypothesis was incorrect.”
It seems like Use: “Freud probably believed…”
Not: “It seems like Freud was of the opinion…”
They made it to Use: “They reached the United States.”
Not: “They made it to the United States.”
On a regular basis Use: “Kant frequently argued this point.”
Not: “Kant argued this point on a regular basis.”
Pick out Use: “In this paper, I will highlight the most relevant findings of my study.”
Not: “In this paper, I will pick out the most relevant findings of my study.”
Point out Use: “It is important to emphasize the implications of this argument.”
Not: “It is important to point out the implications of this argument.”
The first step is to Use: “Start by describing the research methodology.”
Not: “The first step is to describe the research methodology.”
Take action (to) Use: “It is clear the government must act now to resolve the issues.”
Not: “It is clear the government must take action now to resolve the issues.”
Talk about Use: “In Section 6 of the essay, we will examine the research findings.”
Not: “In Section 6 of the essay, we will talk about the research findings.”
The most important thing is to Use: “Consider the thesis statement…”
Not: “The most important thing is to consider the thesis statement.”
The reason Use: “Jane Eyre cried because…”
Not: “The reason Jane Eyre cried was because…”
This is a Use: “Students frequently fail this exam.”
Not: “This is an exam that students frequently fail.”
Time and time again Use: “This essay has demonstrated…”
Not: “Time and time again, this essay has demonstrated…”
Try to figure out Use: “After reviewing the survey outputs, I will determine…”
Not: “After reviewing the survey outputs, I will try to figure out…”
Very Use: “The argument was fascinating.”
Not: “The argument was very interesting.”
Went back over Use: “I then revaluated the research findings.”
Not: “I then went back over the research findings.”
When it comes to Use: “We must consider the historical context when reviewing George Orwell’s work.”
Not: “When it comes to the work of George Orwell, we must consider the historical context.”
Which is/was Use: “This essay, written over 100 years ago, offers an insight…”
Not: “This essay, which was written over 100 years ago, offers an insight…”
Who is Use: “Kotler, a renowned marketing expert, claims…”
Not: “Kotler, who is a renowned marketing expert, claims…”
Will be different Use: “Every experiment in the study will differ.”
Not: “Every experiment in the study will be different.”
With reference to the thesis statement Use: “The thesis statement asserts…”
Not: “With reference to the thesis statement…”

Words to Avoid in an Essay: Redundant Words

What are Redundant Words?

Redundant words in essays pun

Redundant words and phrases don’t serve any purpose.

In this context, redundant means unnecessary.

Many everyday phrases contain redundant vocabulary; for example, add up, as a matter of fact, current trend, etc.

We have become so accustomed to using them in everyday speech that we don’t stop to question their place in formal writing.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Redundant Words in Essays

Redundant words suck the life out of your essay.

They can be great for adding emphasis in a conversational blog article like this, but there is no place for them in formal academic writing.

Redundant words should be avoided for three main reasons:

  • They interrupt the flow of the essay and unnecessarily distract the reader.
  • They can undermine the main point you are trying to make in your paper.
  • They can make you look uneducated.

The most effective essays are those that are concise, meaningful, and astute. If you use words and phrases that carry no meaning, you’ll lose the reader and undermine your credibility.

Key takeaway: Remove any words that don’t serve a purpose.

Redundant Words and Phrases You Shouldn’t Use in an Essay

Words and Phrases to Avoid in an Essay Much Better Alternative(s) to Use in Your Essay
Absolutely Use: “The water was freezing.”
Not: “The water was absolutely freezing.”
Actual Use: “The research findings revealed…”
Not: “The actual research findings revealed…”
Add(s) an additional Use: “Adds an element to the analysis.”
Not: “Adds an additional element to the analysis.”
Add up Use: “We will sum the responses.”
Not: “We will add up the responses.”
Alternative choice Use: “Hamlet had no choice but to…”
Not: “Hamlet had no alternative choice but to…”
All throughout Use: “Throughout human history, females have…”
Not: “All throughout human history, females have…”
And etc. Use: “The animals included dogs, cats, birds, etc.”Not: “The animals included dogs, cats, birds, and etc.”
As a matter of fact Use: “The survey findings indicated…”
Not: “As a matter of fact, the survey findings indicated…”
As far as I’m concerned/It is my (personal) opinion Use: “The theme of love overcoming evil is compelling.”
Not: “As far as I am concerned, the theme of love overcoming evil is compelling.”
Ask the question Use: “This prompts me to question the accuracy of the findings.”
Not: “This prompts me to ask the question: ‘Were the findings accurate?’”
Assemble together Use: “We assembled the various parts.”
Not: “We assembled together the various parts.”
At the present time/ At this point in time Use: “We cannot confirm the validity of the findings.”
Not: “At the present time, we cannot confirm the validity of the findings.”
Basic Use: “According to the findings…”
Not: “According to the basic findings…”
Blend together Use: “The elements of the story blend well.”
Not: “The elements of the story blend together well.”
Completely Use: “The Romans were defeated.”
Not: “The Romans were completely defeated.”
Connect together Use: “I will then connect the main aspects of the analysis.”
Not: “I will then connect together the main aspects of the analysis.”
Current trend Use: “Some people argue the trend of using big data to understand customer needs won’t continue.”
Not: “Some people argue the current trend of using big data to understand customer needs won’t continue.”
Careful scrutiny Use: “The findings were scrutinized.”
Not: “The findings underwent careful scrutiny.”
Close proximity Use: “The remains were near the dwelling.”
Not: “The remains were found in close proximity to the dwelling.”
Completely eradicate Use: “To achieve victory, it was necessary to eradicate the enemy.”
Not: “To achieve victory, it was necessary to completely eradicate the enemy.”
Depreciate in value Use: “The organization’s assets depreciated over time.”
Not: “The organization’s assets depreciated in value over time.”
Different kinds Use: “We identified six kinds of bacteria.”
Not: “We identified six different kinds of bacteria.”
Due to Use: “The test failed because the fire was too hot.”
Not: “The test failed due to the fact that the fire was too hot.”
During the course of Use: “During the story…”
Not: “During the course of the story…
Dwindle down Use: “The number of incorrect answers dwindled.”
Not: “The number of incorrect answers dwindled down.”
Each and every Use: “Every scenario was tested.”
Not: “Each and every scenario was tested.”
Equal to one another Use: “They are equal in height, but Sarah is a faster runner.”
Not: “They are equal to one another in height, but Sarah is a faster runner.”
Exact same Use: “The findings were the same.”
Not: “The findings were the exact same.”
End result Use: “The result was the fall of the dictatorship.”
Not: “The end result was that the dictatorship fell.”
Equal to one another Use: “Although the weights of the materials were equal, their performance was not comparable.”
Not: “Although the weights of the materials were equal to one another, their performance was not comparable.”
Every single person Use: “All participants returned the completed survey.”
Not: “Every single person returned the completed survey.”
Evolve over time Use: “It is interesting to observe how the characters evolve.”
Not: “It is interesting to observe how the characters evolve over time.”
Fellow classmate/colleague Use: “I completed the test with a classmate.”
Not: “I completed the test with a fellow classmate.”
Filled to capacity Use: “I continued to add water until the vessel was filled.”
Not: “I continued to add water until the vessel was filled to capacity.”
Final conclusion/outcome/ultimatum Use: “The researcher concluded that the test was reliable.”
Not: “The researchers’ final conclusion was that the test was reliable.”
First and foremost Use: “Shakespeare remains foremost a poet.”
Not: “Shakespeare remains first and foremost a poet.”
First conceived Use: “The idea to test the relationship between speed and weight was conceived when…”
Not: “The idea to test the relationship between speed and weight was first conceived when…”
First of all Use: “First, I was interested in the character’s name.”
Not: “First of all, I was interested in the character’s name.”
Fly through the air Use: “The bird flew rapidly.”
Not: “The bird flew through the air rapidly.”
Foreign imports Use: “The results indicate that imports can be detrimental to the economy.”
Not: “The results indicate that foreign imports can be detrimental to the economy.”
Former graduate/veteran Use: “I am a graduate of HKU.”
Not: “I am a former graduate of HKU.”
Fuse together/join together/merge together/mix together Use: “The research fuses a myriad of experimental techniques.”
Not: “The research fuses together a myriad of experimental techniques.”
Future plans Use: “My plans for the next stage of the research include…”
Not: “My future plans for the next stage of the research include…”
Gather together Use: “Gather your thoughts and develop a new thesis.”
Not: “Gather your thoughts together and develop a new thesis.”
General public Use: “The study sample consisted of 150 members of the public.”
Not: “The study sample consisted of 150 members of the general public.”
Grown in size Use: “The specimen had grown by 5 cm.”
Not: “The specimen had grown in size.”
Heat up Use: “A Bunsen burner was used to heat the solution.”
Not: “A Bunsen burner was used to heat up the solution.”
Hollow tube Use: “The machine parts were connected using a tube.”
Not: “The machine parts were connected using a hollow tube.”
Integrate with each other Use: “It is important that the tools integrate.”
Not: “It is important that the tools integrate with each other.”
In order to Use: “To prove the hypothesis, this essay will…”
Not: “In order to prove the hypothesis, this essay will…”
Introduce the new Use: “This essay will introduce the idea that…”
Not: “This essay will introduce the new idea that…”
Joint collaboration Use: “This paper describes a collaboration between…”
Not: “This paper describes a joint collaboration between…”
Knowledgeable expert Use: “Kotler is an expert in the field of marketing.”
Not: “Kotler is a knowledgeable expert in the field of marketing.”
Later time/date Use: “This idea will be explored in more depth later.”
Not: “This idea will be explored in more depth at a later time.”
Made out of Use: “The substance was made of…”
Not: “The substance was made out of…”
Major breakthrough/feat Use: “These findings represent a breakthrough in the field of…”
Not: “These findings represent a major breakthrough in the field of…”
May/might possibly Use: “Othello may have been…”
Not: “Othello may possibly have been…”
Most unique Use: “Blyton’s use of alliteration was unique.”
Not: “Blyton’s use of alliteration was most unique.”
Mutual cooperation/respect Use: “The two philosophers respected one another.”
Not: “The two philosophers had mutual respect for one another.”
Never before Use: “Never have I been so amazed.”
Not: “Never before have I been so amazed.”
New innovation/invention/idea Use: “Henry Ford presented an innovation that changed the world.”
Not: “Henry Ford presented a new innovation that changed the world.”
Now pending Use: “The grade for my essay is pending.”
Not: “The grade for my essay is now pending.”
Originally created Use: “The digital form was created by…”
Not: “The digital form was originally created by…”
Past experience Use: “My experience has taught me…”
Not: “My past experience has taught me…”
Period of time Use: “It was during that period that steam power emerged.”
Not: “It was during that period of time that steam power emerged.”
Polar opposites Use: “Night and day are opposites.”
Not: “Night and day are polar opposites.”
Present time Use: “The findings are not available at present.”
Not: “The findings are not available at the present time.”
Reason why Use: “This essay will argue that the reason…”
Not: “This essay will argue that the reason why…”
Refer back/reply back/revert back Use: “At this point, we will refer to the work of…”
Not: “At this point, we will refer back to the work of…”
Take a look at Use: “This essay will examine…”
Not: “This essay will take a look at…”
Within that time frame Use: “We will perform all the tests within that time frame.”
Not: “We will perform all the tests within that time.”
Write down Use: “The respondents were asked to write their names.”
Not: “The respondents were asked to write down their names.”

Colloquial Expressions and Grammar Expletives

What are Colloquial Expressions?

Colloquial play on words

A colloquial expression is best described as a phrase that replicates the way one would speak.

The use of colloquial language represents an informal, slang style of English that is not suitable for formal and academic documents.

For example:

Colloquial language: “The findings of the study appear to be above board.”

Suitable academic alternative: “The findings of the study are legitimate.”

What are Grammar Expletives?

Grammar expletives are sentences that start with herethere, or it.

We frequently use constructions like these when communicating in both spoken and written language.

But did you know they have a distinct grammatical classification?

They do; the expletive.

Grammar expletives (not to be confused with cuss words) are used to introduce clauses and delay the subject of the sentence. However, unlike verbs and nouns, which play a specific role in expression, expletives do not add any tangible meaning. Rather, they act as filler words that enable the writer to shift the emphasis of the argument. As such, grammar expletives are frequently referred to as “empty words.”

Removing them from your writing can help to make it tighter and more succinct. For example:

Sentence with expletive there: There are numerous reasons why it was important to write this essay.
Sentence without expletive: It was important to write this essay for numerous reasons.

Why Should Colloquial Expressions and Grammar Expletives be Removed from an Essay?

While colloquial expressions and grammar expletives are commonplace in everyday speech and are completely acceptable in informal emails and chatroom exchanges, they can significantly reduce the quality of formal essays.

Essays and other academic papers represent formal documents. Frequent use of slang and colloquial expressions will undermine your credibility, make your writing unclear, and confuse the reader. In addition, they do not provide the exactness required in an academic setting.

Make sure you screen your essay for any type of conversational language; for example, figures of speech, idioms, and clichés.

Key takeaway: Grammar expletives use unnecessary words and make your word count higher while making your prose weaker.

Words and Phrases You Shouldn’t Use in an Essay

Word/Phrase to Avoid in an Essay Much Better Alternative(s)
It is/It’s Use: “Blood is thicker than water.”
Not: “It is a fact that blood is thicker than water.”
It would be Use: “As logical to expect…”
Not: “As it would be logical to expect…”
There’s/There is Use: “The evidence suggests the hypothesis is correct.”
Not: “There is evidence to suggest that the hypothesis is correct.”
There are/There were Use: “This essay presents numerous ideas.”
Not: “There are numerous ideas presented in this essay.”
There will be Use: “Future studies will investigate this area further.”
Not: “There will be future studies to investigate this idea further.”
All things being equal Use: “We expect the outcomes to indicate…”
Not: “All things being equal, we expect the outcomes to indicate…”
For all intents and purposes Use: “This paper has achieved its objective of…”
Not: “For all intents and purposes, this paper has achieved its objective of…”
For the most part Use: “The story predominantly explored the theme of unrequited love.”
Not: “For the most part, the story explored the theme of unrequited love.”
For the purpose of Use: “This essay reviewed the idea of sentiment.”
Not: “For the purpose of this essay, the idea of sentiment was reviewed…”
Here’s the thing Use: “Soda consumption is linked with obesity.”
Not: “Here’s the thing: Soda consumption is linked with obesity.”
Is after/are after Use: “The recommendations follow the analysis.”
Not: “The recommendations are after the analysis.”
Cut down on Use: “We effectively reduced the mistakes.”
Not: “We effectively cut down on the number of mistakes.”

Nominalization

What is normalization?

Normalization: Do alligators alligate?

A normalized sentence is one that is structured such that the abstract nouns do the talking.

For example, a noun, such as solution, can be structured to exploit its hidden verb, solve.

The act of transforming a word from a verb into a noun is known as normalization.

Should normalization be Removed from an Essay?

This is no universal agreement as to whether normalization should be removed from an essay. Some scholars argue that normalization is important in scientific and technical writing because abstract prose is more objective. Others highlight how normalizations can make essays more difficult to understand.

The truth is this: In the majority of essays, it isn’t possible to present an entirely objective communication; an element of persuasion is inherently incorporated. Furthermore, even the most objective academic paper will be devoid of meaning unless your professor can read it and make sense of it. As such, readability is more important than normalization.

You will need to take a pragmatic approach, but most of the time, your writing will be clearer and more direct if you rely on verbs as opposed to abstract nouns that were formed from verbs. As such, where possible, you should revise your sentences to make the verbs do the majority of the work.

For example,

Use: “This essay analyses and solves the pollution problem.”

Not: “This essay presents an evaluation of the pollution issue and presents a solution.”

While normalized sentences are grammatically sound, they can be vague.

In addition, humans tend to prefer vivid descriptions, and verbs are more vivid, informative, and powerful than nouns.

Key takeaway: Normalization can serve a purpose, but only use it if that purpose is clear.

normalization You Shouldn’t Use in an Essay

Word/Phrase to Avoid in an Essay Much Better Alternative(s)
Present an analysis/recommendation/conclusion Use: “I will then analyze the data.”
Not: “I will then progress to present an analysis of the data.”
Appearance Use: “She appeared unexpectedly.”
Not: “Her appearance was unexpected.”
Attempt at Use: “We attempted to reproduce the results but failed.”
Not: “Our attempts at reproducing the results were unsuccessful.”
Belief Use: “Winston believed the state was corrupt.”
Not: “It was Winston’s belief that the state was corrupt.”
Carelessness Use: “Robert’s carelessness caused John’s death.”
Not: “John died because of Robert’s carelessness.”
Caused a drop in Use: “The temperature dropped due to the rain.”
Not: “The rain caused a drop in temperature.”
Caused considerable confusion Use: “Jesus’ behavior confused the priest.”
Not: “Jesus’ behavior caused considerable confusion for the priest.”
Comparison Use: “We compared the height and weight of the participants.”
Not: “We drew a comparison between the height and the weight of the participants.”
Decrease in strength Use: “The flavor weakened when water was added.”
Not: “The flavor decreased in strength when water was added.”
Definition Use: “Kotler defined strategic marketing as…”
Not: “Kotler’s definition of strategic marketing was as follows…”
Description Use: “I will conclude by describing the main findings.”
Not: “I will conclude with a description of the main findings.”
Difficulty Use: “Reproducing the results was difficult.”
Not: “I experienced difficulties reproducing the results.”
Ease Use: “The hero easily won the battle.”
Not: “The hero won the battle with ease.”

Phew!

That’s a lot to take in.

You may be wondering why care?

Cutting the fat helps you present more ideas and a deeper analysis.

Don’t be tempted to write an essay that is stuffed with pompous, complex language: It is possible to be smart and simple.

Bookmark this list now and return to it when you are editing your essays. Keep an eye out for the words you shouldn’t use in an essay, and you’ll write academic papers that are more concise, powerful, and readable.

How to Peer Edit an Essay: Free Peer Editing Checklist

If you want to peer edit an essay and are looking for some top tips, check out our free peer editing checklist.

How to peer edit an essayIf you’ve got a looming essay deadline, chances are you’ll be happy to just get the dastardly paper finished on time and proofreading and editing won’t feature on your radar.

The idea of editing and proofreading your own essays, let alone asking someone else to help, may be beyond comprehension. In fact, you may think your essay is pretty fantastic already.

If so, you’re deceiving yourself.

Don’t just settle for good. You should be looking for great.

But how do you achieve this?

The majority of students settle for good. That’s enough. It will get them through school.

But good isn’t enough for the top students. They aspire to be great. They aspire to be awesome.

How do YOU become awesome?

Get a friend to help.

To take an essay beyond the draft stage through a polished version, you need a peer editor. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a professional essay editor (although that will deliver the best results); it needs to be someone who will call you out and tell you how it really is.

When you’re looking for someone to peer edit your essay, try and choose someone who you know well and who you can trust be honest and methodical. You’re not looking for someone who’ll tell you how great your essay is; you’re looking for someone who will provide you with an objective criticism of your paper.

The purpose of the exercise isn’t to tear you down; it’s to make you better.

So, once you’ve found the ideal peer editor, how can you get the most out of the exercise?

Hand them our handy tips and the great peer editing checklist.

How to Peer Edit an Essay: Top Tips for Success

Peer editors should review an essay with the primary intention of offering advice on how it can be improved. Here are some great tips to make sure you do the task justice.

  • Ideally, read through the paper at least twice

During the first pass, you’ll familiarize yourself with the content of the essay and the primary arguments that are put forth. During the second pass, you’ll have a chance to readily understand what is being said. If you don’t understand the content after two readings; there’s a problem the writer needs to know about.

  • Position yourself as the target reader

While you’re in the process of peer editing the essay, take the role of the envisioned reader; i.e., the person who is reading the essay to learn someone as opposed to being on the hunt for pesky grammatical errors. During the peer editing process, you should be concerned with content, organization, and style. If you focus purely on punctuation and spelling errors, you may not add a significant amount of value. Your role is to help the writer ensure the essay is clear and compelling.

  • Resist the temptation to fix the issues

Your job as a peer editor is not to take over and correct any issues that you identify; it’s to provide the writer with constructive feedback on how the paper can be improved.

  • Tell the truth… constructively

If you’re peer editing a friend’s essay, you may not want to hurt his or her feelings by pointing out areas where there is a lack of clarity. However, if you fail to do so, there’s no point in engaging in the process. Resist the urge to say everything is fine and instead focus on how you can help the writer learn someone from the process. Provide constructive feedback that highlights the positive areas of the essay while also pointing out some areas for improvement.

  • Provide specific details

Don’t provide sweeping statements such as, “I don’t understand your point.” Instead, provide very precise feedback on what exactly you don’t understand and what information may help you understand it better: “Perhaps you could make your point clearer by explaining why…” Take every opportunity to explain why you found something effective or ineffective.

The Three Pillars of Excellent Peer Essay Editing

Three characteristics required to peer edit an essayFree Peer Editing Checklist

First page of the peer editing checklist

Download a free PDF version of our peer editing checklist by clicking on the image above. Here’s the full lowdown on what’s included.

Essay Introduction

  1. Does the essay begin with a clear, attention-grabbing statement or hook?
  2. Are there at least three sentences in the introduction?
  3. Does the writer make his or her intentions clear?
  4. Are you clear about what issue is being addressed in this essay?
  5. Is there a clear thesis statement?

Essay Body

  1. Are there at least three body paragraphs?
  2. Does each body paragraph contain a clear topic sentence and idea?
  3. Does each body paragraph contain a conclusion statement that leads well to the next body paragraph?

Essay Conclusion

  1. Does the conclusion contain at least three sentences?
  2. Does the conclusion refer back to the thesis statement?

Essay Flow and Coherence

  1. Do the ideas flow logically through the paper and contribute to a building argument?
  2. Are transitions used correctly?
  3. Is the essay interesting?
  4. Does the analysis presented in the paper support the thesis statement?
  5. Is the sentence structure varied?

Essay Style and Mechanics

  1. Is evidence appropriately attributed and cited?
  2. Is each reference source clearly cited according to the relevant style guide? If you’re using APA, take a look at our APA checklist.
  3. Is the paper formatted according to the relevant style guide?
  4. Are the references, tables, and figures formatted according to the relevant style guide?

Grammar

  1. Has the paper been proofread? For a full proofreading checklist, take a look at our essay proofreading checklist.

Check for:

  • Misspelled words
  • Grammatical mistakes
  • Punctuation errors
  • Run-on Sentences
  • Fragments

 

So that’s our guide to how to peer edit an essay. Got anything to add? Please leave a comment.

 

 

APA Checklist: A Definitive Guide to APA Rules

A super simple APA checklist that covers all the APA rules you need to know for your essays and dissertations.

APA checklist guide to APA rules

The news that an essay or dissertation has to be formatted in APA can come as a big blow to a sleep-deprived student.

It’s not enough that you have to research a paper, try and put it all together in a format that makes sense, and proofread the dastardly thing… now you are being asked to apply some cultish APA formatting rules that seem so complicated they make Steven Hawking look simple.

With so many APA rules to follow, it can be extremely challenging to make sure you have covered them all in your essay.

Seriously, just how can your professor expect you to read all these standards and apply them to format your essay correctly?

It gets worse: The official guide is updated on a regular basis, which only adds to the confusion.

Here’s some good news:

When you’re asked to write an APA essay or edit a dissertation, all you need is our handy APA checklist. Yup, for real!

We’ve trawled through all the APA rules for you and extracted the most important requirements to create this handy APA checklist.

The cherry on the cake:

It’s completely free for you to print out and keep!

Here’s a breakdown of what our APA checklist contains. You can go right ahead and jump to the section that is most relevant to you.

APA Checklist: A Really Simple Guide to APA Rules
APA style guide joke

APA Rules: Title Page

Checklist of APA rules for title page and general formatting

  • Running head: SHORT ALL CAPS TITLE. This is flush left, 1/2 inch from the top. Title should match the title of the paper. However, it can be shortened if required (recommended length is less than 50 characters including spaces).
  • Page number, flush right on the same line as running head.
  • Full title in title case. Double spaced, centered, upper half of the page. Times New Roman 12 pt. font. No other formatting (bold, italics, or underlining).
  • Name. Double spaced, centered under title. Times New Roman 12 pt. font. No other formatting (bold, italics, or underlining).
  • Name of university. Double spaced, centered under name. Times New Roman 12 pt. font. No other formatting (bold, italics, or underlining).
  • Plagiarism statement (where applicable).

APA Rules: General Requirements

  • The header on each page after the title page contains the title in all caps, starting from the left margin. The Header matches that provided on the title page. However, the words “Running head” only appear on the title page.
  • Page number, flush right on the same line as running head.
  • Entire document double spaced.
  • Spacing between sentences is two spaces.
  • Margins are 1 inch on all sides, top, bottom.
  • Paragraphs in the body of the paper are indented 5-7 spaces or one tab stop.

APA Rules: Headings

Checklist of APA rules for headings, abstract, and lists

  • Level 1: Centered, Boldface, Uppercase and Lowercase Headings.
  • Level 2: Left-aligned, Boldface, Uppercase and Lowercase Heading.
  • Level 3: Indented, boldface, lowercase heading with a period.
  • Level 4: Indented, boldface, italicized, lowercase heading with a period.
  • Level 5: Indented, italicized, lowercase heading with a period.

APA Rules: Abstract Page

  • Not all academic papers require an abstract.
  • The abstract appears on Page 2 of the paper, after the title page.
  • The title, Abstract, is centered, 1 inch from the top of the page. It is not in bold. Times New Roman standard 12 pt. font. The abstract is 150-250 words and is block style aligned to the left.

APA Rules: Lists

  • Lists can be enumerated or bulleted.
  • For short lists, use the format, (a), (b), etc., in a single sentence. For a list of longer sentences, use a list format:
    • a.
    • b.
    • c.
  • Bullets can be used if they better represent the contents of the list.

APA Rules: In-text Citations

Checklist of APA rules for citations

  • All sources cited in the paper text are also in the “References” list with the exception of classical works and personal communications.
  • Direct quotations are followed the name of the author (or title if no author), date of publication, and specific page or paragraph number of source (Moore, 2019, p.6).
  • All quotations < 40 words are enclosed in quotation marks. The parenthetical phrase comes before the closing punctuation.
  • All quotations > 40 words are shown as an indented block quote with no additional beginning paragraph indenting or punctuation marks. The parenthetical phrase comes after the closing punctuation.
  • Paraphrased in-text citations include the author name (or reference title if no author), the date of publication and, preferably, the specific page, paragraph, or section of the source that was paraphrased.
  • The names of those that contributed to multi-author sources with > 3 and < 6 authors are all provided on the first instance. Thereafter, the first author is noted followed by “et al.” (Moore et al., 1998).
  • When more than six authors contributed to the source, the first author is noted followed by the Latin phrase et al.
  • If the in-text citation is included in the body of text and covers multiple authors, the word “and” is spelled out: Moore, James, and Holmes (2018). When an author name is repeated within a paragraph, with no other sources used in between, the date can be omitted from the in-text citation.

APA Rules: References

Checklist of APA rules for references

Checklist of APA rules for references and figures

  • The page title, References, is centered, 1 inch from the top of the page on a new page. Times New Roman 12 pt. font. No other formatting (bold, italics, or underlining).
  • All sources listed in the References section have at least one corresponding in-text citation.
  • References are listed in alphabetical order.
  • All lines are double spaced.
  • Each entry commences with a hanging indent. For digital articles, a DOI is provided at the end, if available. This takes the form of either doi:10.xxx/xxx.xxxx OR http://dx.doi.org/10.xxx/xxx.xxxx. If there is no DOI for digital articles, the publisher’s home web site is provided.
  • Initials are only provided for first and/or second names of authors. There is a space between initials, e.g., Moore, S. E. If there are multiple authors, they are listed in the order in which they appear in the original source.
  • Author names are separated by commas (even for two authors) and an ampersand is used before the last name. Titles of books, journals, and technical reports are given in italics, as are journal titles and volume numbers.
  • Titles of books, journal articles, websites are in lower case except for the first word after a colon and any proper nouns.
  • The title of article that is extracted from a webpage on a larger website is not italicized. Likewise, journal article titles and book article titles are not italicized.
  • If a citation ends with a URL, all hyperlinking (blue, underline) is removed and there is no period at the end of the hyperlink.
  • Issue numbers are enclosed in parenthesis and not formatted with italics.
  • Pages numbers are given as a range (e.g., 45-56) without using p. or pp. except for newspapers or magazines without a volume and issue number.
  • Publication information (books) includes the state two-letter code with the city and country written out in full for all international cities. All other sources, e.g., media, books, etc., are referenced according to the APA 6e Guide.

APA Rules: Figures

  • Figures are numbered with Arabic numerals (Figure 1, Figure 2, Figure 3) below the figure, flush left and in italics.
  • Captions that describe the content of the figure are placed next to the figure number immediately below the figure and are not italicized.
  • The figure is referenced within the text; e.g., “As shown in Table 1.”

APA Rules: Tables

Checklist of APA rules for tables and proofreading

  • Tables are numbered with Arabic numerals (Table 1, Table 2, Table 3) at the top, flush left.
  • The table title is below the table label (e.g., Table 1) and is in italics.
  • The table is referenced within the text; e.g., “As shown in Table 1.”
  • Horizontal rules (lines) are limited. There is always a rule under the heads and before any notes.
  • Any explanatory notes should be proceeded by the word “Note.” in italics, flush left.
  • Reference to the source should be included in the note.

APA Rules: Proofreading

Of course, it isn’t enough to just follow all the rules. You need to make sure your essay or dissertation doesn’t contain any minor spelling, grammatical, or punctuation errors. If proofreading really isn’t your thing. Leave it to a professional! Check out our dissertation proofreading services. Our native-English experts will meticulously check your dissertation to make sure it doesn’t contain any errors that detract from the quality of your research.

If you do insist on proofreading your essay or dissertation for yourself. Take a look out for the following:

  • Personal pronouns and rhetorical questions only appear when absolutely necessary.
  • Sequence of paper is Title Page > Abstract (where required), Body of Paper, References > Tables > Figures > Appendices.
  • Contractions and slang are not used.
  • Numbers below ten are spelled out in full.
  • Numbers above ten are in Arabic numerals.
  • Paper has been proofread by a professional proofreader.

And there we have it. A complete guide to all the APA rules you need to take into consideration within academic documents in one handy little checklist. You can download a free printable PDF version of the APA checklist by clicking on the image below.

Free Printable APA Checklist PDF

APA checklist free PDF download

18 Amazing Essay Tips Every Student Should Know

Don’t let that essay beat you. Our top essay tips will get you on track and churning out essays Harvard students would be proud of.

Writing a good essay is 10% inspiration, 15% perspiration, and 75% desperation
That essay deadline is looming.

It’s the early hours of the morning, and you’ve still yet to formulate a decent thesis statement, let alone research an argument, find suitable sources, and stick it all together in a coherent form. And then there’s the essay editing to deal with.

Temptations lie everywhere. And all distractions are extremely welcome.

But, as much as you may feel like quitting school for good right now and turning on the television, YOU HAVE GOT THIS!

Okay, maybe not just quite yet… but there are some great tools out there that will certainly make your life easier. In fact, some of them may even make writing and editing an essay a little bit of fun.

Here are 18 great ideas that could well help you increase your grades without the blood, sweat, and tears.

Essay editing service ad

18 Top Essay Tips That Will Change Your Life

 

        1. When performing academic research, use Google Scholar instead of the standard Google search engine. You’ll get much more relevant results that will impress even the pickiest professor.Screenshot of Google Scholar
        2. Can’t think of the right words to get your point across? Visit Word Hippo to find the words you’re looking for. It’s a nifty little tool that you can use to find definitions, synonyms, antonyms, and translations for words.
        3. If you have the opportunity to choose your own topic for a paper, write about something that really gets your goat. You’ll be able to rant on and on, and before you know it, you’ll have achieved the word count.
        4. Compiling the bibliography according to style guide requirements can be a real headache. Let BibMe do it for you.
        5. If you can’t choose between different variations of the same word or are struggling to decide whether to use a hyphenated or compound adjective, use Google Ngram to find out which usage is more common.Picture of a Google Ngram search
        6. This is by no means the most groundbreaking essay tip you will read, but it really does work. Once you have finished your essay, take a break. It will help you to see the content with fresh eyes when searching for errors.
        7. Nail your thesis statement, and you’re halfway there. Take a look at our guide to writing a thesis statement for a fantastic free template.

          Essay editing services link

        8. Haven’t written enough pages but run out of ideas? Change the font size of all periods from 12 pt to 14 pt. Sneaky… but it may just help you meet the page requirement.
        9. Need continual motivation? Try Written? Kitten! It rewards you with pictures of kittens every 100 words. What more can you ask for?

          Example of Written Kitten in use

        10. Try the Pomodoro method for maximum essay writing efficiency. Take a five-minute break every 25 minutes. Every third break should be 20 minutes long.
        11. If you’re struggling to organize tons of different ideas, try Coggle. It’s a tremendous mind-mapping tool that will inject a bit of fun into the essay planning process.
        12. If you’re struggling to structure your essay, list five main points you wish to make and then write a paragraph for each topic. See our guide to essay formatting for more top ideas.
        13. Once you’ve finished your essay, copy and paste the text into Google Translate and click on the listen icon to hear it read aloud. You’ll have a much better chance of spotting any errors and identifying areas for improvement when you listen to the text being read. See our guide on how to proofread an essay for more great essay proofreading tips.

          Using Google Translate to proofread essays

        14. Make sure you use effective transitions; they can transform the flow and coherence of your essay. Take a look at our free transitions cheat sheet for some great ideas.
        15. Rushing to get your essay finished ahead of a deadline? Significantly reduce the time it takes to research relevant articles and papers by only reading the introduction and conclusion of each document. You’ll get the gist of the topics covered in a fraction of the time and can then summarize the main ideas in your own paper.
        16. Finding it difficult to concentrate? Try Brain, a research-based online application that uses artificial intelligence to identify what music will enhance your focus.

          Essay tips: Use brain.fm to find music that will help you focus

        17. Create an essay writing checklist to make sure you have covered all the main points. Check out our free printable version here: Essay writing checklist.
        18. If all else fails… check your lecture notes and simply reword what the professor said in class. He or she will think you’ve understood the material 😉

      Need help getting your main points across in your essay? Let our essay editors do it for you.

      Of course, spending a lot of time on an essay and meticulously planning it in advance will always result in the best possible grades (and a big pat on the back from your parents).

      But everyone strays from the path of perfection every now and again.

      If you’re on the last minute, suck it up and get on with it. One advantage of starting your essay the night before is that the whole miserable ordeal will be over so much quicker!

The Essay Transition Cheat Sheet Every Student Needs

Essay transitions can make or break your academic papers. Don’t let a limited vocabulary get in your way. Download our free cheat sheet now!

Poor essay transitions ruin essays

Ever submitted what you think is a great essay only to be informed by your tutor that it lacked coherence?

Lacked what?

When your profs talk about coherence, they are basically referring to how your essay flowed from one idea to the next.

The best essays are those that present a thesis statement, and then gradually build an argument to support the main ideas.

But a great thesis statement and a well-researched argument are not enough to create a compelling essay.

You also need to take your reader on a journey as you progress through your essay in a clear and structured way.

This is where essay transitions come in.

Transitions are words or short phrases that prepare the reader for a mental shift in the argument and guide his or her thought process.

You’ll typically find transitions in the following places:

  • At the start of a paragraph: “To begin with…”
  • At the beginning of a concluding statement: “In light of this analysis…”
  • To extend an argument: “Pursuing this further…”
  • At the beginning of a sentence that introduces a new idea within a paragraph: “Another reason why…”

It sounds simple enough. So why do so many students struggle to use transitions effectively?

One of the biggest issues our essays editors regularly encounter is lack of imagination and variety.

All too often students revert to the same set of standard transitions: first, then, to conclude

For a tutor who has a pile of thirty papers to grade, this isn’t going to cut the mustard.

As such, you should be trying to make your essays, dissertations, and other academic papers much more interesting by using engaging transitions.

Think this sounds difficult? It’s actually really easy.

In fact, thanks to our free essay transition cheat sheet, it couldn’t be simpler!

Essay transitions cheat sheet

How to use the Free Essay Transitions Cheat Sheet

  • Print the sheet by clicking on the image above. This sheet was first developed as part of our guide to essay formatting.
  • Once you have finished writing your essay, go through and review all the transitions you have already used. If you encounter a word or phrase that sounds repetitive or boring, consult the cheat sheet, find the category in which the transition best fits, and identify a better substitute.
  • Read through your essay again. Check to see if there are any places in which you should have a transition but haven’t used one. Similarly, if you have used the same transition more than once, replace it with a viable alternative. This will give your work more pizazz and seamless appeal.

Simply print out this one-page PDF and refer to every time you’re writing an essay or want to improve the flow of an existing paper.

You’ll be surprised how simple it can be to take your writing up a notch.

Looking for more ideas? Check out our essay tips for some really great tools that will help you through the process of writing an essay.

Need a bit of extra help?

Check out our essay editing services now. Our expert editors know exactly what to do to transform your essay from good to great.

The Lazy Student’s Guide to Statement of Purpose Formatting

Statement of purpose formatting made easy. Want to impress the admissions committee and bag an interview for admission to the university of your dreams? Download our proven statement of purpose format template now to create a compelling statement of purpose that makes you stand out.

Statement of purpose formatting: How to write a statement of purpose

So, you’re applying for grad school. The only thing that stands in your way of the next exciting step in your education is your statement of purpose.

But what format should this statement of purpose take?

If you’re in search of the ideal statement of purpose format, the first thing you need to understand is that there is no single proven template in existence. Admissions officers actively seek individuality and diversity. As such, the format of your statement of purpose should be tailored to your unique situation and expectations.

So, if the reviewers are not expecting a set format, what are they looking for?

They will be seeking some very specific information about YOU.

More than that, they want to learn about your PURPOSE. Hence the name: Statement of Purpose.

The ideal statement of purpose format consists of 2-4 paragraphs that build on each other and explore a central theme in more depth through examples, facts, and data.

Not a cliché in sight.

If you’re looking for a statement of purpose format that will tick all the boxes. You won’t go wrong with the following:

 

Statement of Purpose Formatting: An Anatomy of the Perfect Statement of Purpose

Statement of purpose format template
Paragraph One: The Hook

An introductory paragraph that catches the reader’s attention and sets the central theme for the essay.

Avoid arresting opening statements that are designed to impress… admissions tutors have seen exaggerated descriptions of a revelatory moment or lifelong desire to pursue a chosen career time and time again. And it all gets very BORING.

Learn more: How to write a statement of purpose

Phrases to avoid:

“From a young/early age I have always been interested in…”

“For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with…”

“I am currently studying…”

“Throughout history…” or “Since the dawn of man…”

These phrases don’t really say anything meaningful. They just waste words.

Take it up a notch…

Bad: “Throughout history, only two popes have resigned from their position as head of the Catholic Church.”

Much better: “In what represented a nearly unprecedented and departure from papal tradition, Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world when he became the second pope to resign.”

Top Tip! Present a “thesis” statement in the introduction paragraph and use this as the central strand throughout your statement of purpose. Every other paragraph should contain some form of reference to this thesis statement. The topic sentence should introduce the broad idea (your skills, experience, interest) to the reader while other paragraphs should describe HOW you learned those skills, gained relevant experience, applied your knowledge and understanding, fostered your interests, etc.

Paragraph Two: What You Want to Study and Why

Claiming you want to study something is easy; convincing the admissions committee that your interest is real and not superficial is something entirely different. Explain, in very honest terms, what you want to study, and why. Be introspective.

When they have finished reading through your statement, the admissions tutors will be asking themselves the following question:

Do I really believe that the student is excited by the thought of studying this subject at a higher level?”

Make sure the answer to that question is a resounding “Yes!”.

 Phrases to avoid:

“I am passionate about xxx” (Anyone can say they are passionate about something. Don’t explicitly claim to be passionate, infer your passion by describing how you’ve worked toward putting your passion into practice).

“I have always loved xxx” (Similar to the above. Show, don’t tell).

Useful phrases:

“When I was taking special laboratory courses on solar-cell energy, I was struck by…”

“To help you understand my current goals better, I would like to explain my educational experience up to this point.”

“Growing up with parents who xxx, really taught me the importance of xxx.”

“My commitment to a future career as a xxx is best exemplified by xxx.”

Read more: Statement of Purpose: Editing and Proofreading

Action step: Hire a professional proofreader or editor to make sure your statement of purpose is absolutely perfect: statement of purpose editing.

Our native English editors have reviewed thousands of statements of purpose and know what it takes to write an admissions essay that secures places in the top schools. Don’t forget, there is a difference between a statement of purpose and a personal statement.

Order our statement of purpose editing services now and we’ll help you create a statement of purpose that sets you apart from the crowd.

Paragraph Three: Provide Evidence to Support Your Claims That You Are Interested in the Subject

Again, simply saying you want to study something is not enough. You need to demonstrate that you live and breathe it.

Describe the activities and research projects you have conducted to inform yourself about your target career and describe the in-depth insights you have developed through these experiences.

Demonstrate that you have realistic expectations for your future career. It isn’t so much about what you have done; it is about what you have learned in the process.

Phrases to avoid:

“I genuinely believe I’m a highly motivated person” (Show, don’t tell).

“My academic performance has been impressive” (Let the admission’s committee decide that for themselves).

“I have a thirst for knowledge” (clichés like this should be avoided at all costs. They are uninspiring, over used, and fail to communicate anything meaningful).

“Reflecting on my educational achievements” (Yawn!).

Useful phrases:

“This research is/was especially interesting because…”

“As well as providing practical experience in a xxx, the job also allowed me to develop skills in xxx, through xxx. I am particularly proud of my achievements in xxx…”

“An experience that I feel has had a major influence on my outlook was when I xxx. This really opened my eyes to xxx and taught me xxx.”

Paragraph Four: Where You Want to Study it and Why

The admissions committee need to feel confident that you understand the course they are offering and the teaching styles you will encounter.

At this point, you need to stop focusing purely on yourself and start demonstrating that you understand the specific course you are applying for and the institution at which it is being taught.

Phrases to avoid:

“Xxx is one of the world’s most renowned universities…”

“I have always wanted to study at Xxx.”

“The course on offer at Xxx is the best in the world.”

Useful phrases:

“My interest in studying xxx at Xxx is firmly grounded in the school’s focus on xxx.”

“The work that is currently being carried out by Xxx and your faculty has attracted my interest because xxx.”

“My research interest in xxx is fully aligned with the research projects that are currently in process in your faculty. In particular, I am interested in the studies that are being conducted by Xxx, and feel I could contribute by xxx.”

Our native English editors have reviewed thousands of statements of purpose and know what it takes to write a personal statement that secures places in the top schools.

Order our statement of purpose editing services now and we’ll help you create a statement of purpose that sets you apart from the crowd.

Paragraph Five: Conclusion

Present a conclusion that widens the lens and wraps up your essay without simply summarizing the information you have already presented.

Summarize your career objectives and how the course on offer will help you move closer toward achieving those objectives.

Revisit the theme you established in the hook.

And finally…

Proofread, proofread, and proofread again.

 

Essay Formatting: How to Format an Essay That Wows Your Professor

If you want to be one of the top students in your class, you’re going to have to nail essay formatting. Learn how to format an essay and you’ll see a huge difference in your grades.

How to format an essay blog title image

One of the biggest obstacles that students face when trying to write a great essay is getting the main points across in a clear, logical fashion that actually answers the set question.

It doesn’t matter which way you cut it: Writing an A-grade essay is a science.

Very few students crack the secret of writing a great essay on their first attempt. They engage in a process of trial and error through which they work out what works… and what doesn’t.

Fortunately, you don’t need to start this process from scratch. Our essay editors know exactly what it takes to get results.

The best thing of all is that the rules on how to format an essay are incredibly simple. So simple, in fact, that we’ve fit them all on one page (whoop!).

How to Format an Essay: The Perfect Essay Format

If there’s one thing that is consistent across all great essays, it’s this:

They follow a clear and logical format that incorporates effective transitions.

As such, before we delve a little deeper into what is happening in each section of an essay that utilizes optimal essay formatting, we need to take a look at transitions.

The first thing you should get straight in your mind is that a good essay is formatted to take the reader on a journey through your train of thought. Transitions help them along this journey.

With the addition of just a few strategically chosen and placed transition words, the organization of the whole essay is greatly enhanced. Transitions strengthen the flow of ideas from one sentence to the other, from one paragraph to the next, and from section to section.  You can read more here: Guide to essay transitions.

Here is a list of the types of transitions you could use when formatting your essay:

Useful Transitions for Essays: A Really Cool Cheat Sheet

Purpose Useful Transitional Phrases
Cause and effect accordingly, consequently, hence, so, therefore, thus
Emphasis even, indeed, in fact, of course, truly
Place above, adjacent, below, beyond, here, in front, in back, nearby, there
Similarity also, in the same way, just as … so too, likewise, similarly
Additional supporting information additionally, again, also, and, as well, besides, equally important, further, furthermore, in addition, moreover, then
Sequence/order first, second, third, … next, then, finally
Time after, afterward, at last, before, currently, during, earlier, immediately, later, meanwhile, now, recently, simultaneously, subsequently, then
Example for example, for instance, namely, specifically, to illustrate
Contrast but, however, in spite of, on the one hand … on the other hand, nevertheless, nonetheless, notwithstanding, in contrast, on the contrary, still, yet
Conclusion finally, in a word, in brief, briefly, in conclusion, in the end, in the final analysis, on the whole, thus, to conclude, to summarize, in sum, to sum up, in summary

So that’s the transition sorted. Let’s look at how they work within the essay itself.

For the purpose of this guide, we’ll focus on a five-paragraph essay format; however, the same techniques and tips will apply regardless of how many paragraphs your essay contains.

How to Format An Essay: The Five-Paragraph Essay

1) Introduction

The introduction to your paper is critical because this is where you get your reader involved in your essay. You need a strong opening that hooks the reader into reading more. Check out our guide to how to write an essay introduction for more information.

Here are a couple of examples of great opening lines that capture the reader’s attention:

As Gru was in the process of giving his acceptance speech at the annual Anti-Villain League Employee of the Year awards, many people in the room looked on in shock. Exactly what had Gru done that had made him so worthy of this accolade?


The playwright George Bernard Shaw famously stated ‘Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.’ Later, the film director Woody Allen took the definition one step further by positing ‘Those who can’t teach, teach gym’…

The second purpose of your introductory paragraph is to tell the reader what they will learn from reading your essay. As such, you should include a thesis statement that outlines what your essay will set out to prove. Not sure how to write a thesis statement? Check out our guide to how to write a thesis statement.

Here’s a couple of examples of great thesis statements:

From examining minions’ cramped working conditions, low pay, and lack of vacation entitlement, it is clear that Gru should not have been awarded Employer of the Year.


As individuals who directly impact children’s educational development, aspirations, and ability to function in society, teachers should be afforded a greater level of respect than that afforded to them by people like George Bernard Shaw.”

The third purpose of your intro is to keep the reader engaged. As such, you should include a good transitional hook that transitions him or her from the introduction to the main body of the essay.

Here’s an example of a great transitional hook:

This paper will examine some of the ways in which Gru’s minions are mistreated and prove that he is unworthy of the Employer of the Year award he recently won at the Bad Guys Conference.

So, let’s put it all together: A fabulous opening paragraph

As Gru was in the process of giving his acceptance speech at the annual Anti-Villain League Employee of the Year awards, many people in the room looked on in shock. Exactly what had Gru done that had made him so worthy of this accolade? As someone who is renowned for controlling and manipulating his minions, Gru is perhaps one of the last people who should be granted an award for exemplary employment practices. In fact, from examining minions’ cramped working conditions, low pay, and lack of vacation entitlement, it is clear that Gru should not have been awarded Employer of the Year. This paper will examine some of the ways in which Gru’s minions are mistreated and prove that he is unworthy of the Employer of the Year award he recently won at the Anti-Villain League Conference.

2) The Body

Paragraph One

So, this is where we progress to the real meat of the essay.

Open the first paragraph of the body with a reverse hook that pulls in the transitional hook with which you closed the introductory paragraph.

Whaaaat?

Okay, admittedly, that sounds complicated. Luckily, it isn’t.

Here are some examples to help you out:

Examples of Essay Transitions

Transition From Introduction/Previous Paragraph Next Paragraph Reverse Hook
This paper will argue that Gru’s minions are mistreated and that he is unworthy of the Employer of the Year award he recently won at the Anti-Villain League Conference. Gru was awarded Employer of the Year on the basis that he has offered gainful employment to over one million minions. However, if we scratch the surface we will find…
As such, the working conditions that the minions are exposed to are not aligned with the conditions one would expect to be provided by someone with the title “Employer of the Year.” Some people may argue that it is not working conditions that are of importance when determining awards of this nature, but the job satisfaction of the employees. As such, to assess Gru’s suitability for the Employer of the Year Award, it is worth examining the extent to which Gru’s minions are satisfied in their work…
To this end, although a survey of five minions indicated that they are satisfied with their working conditions, this does not prove that Gru is worthy of Employer of the year because the survey was only conducted with five minions. In addition to the fact that it is clear that the survey on the workplace satisfaction of Gru’s minions was too limited to be reliable, a third point that should be taken into consideration when evaluating whether Gru is a good employer is…

In the first body paragraph, you should aim to reel the reader in. As such, you should put across your strongest argument at this point.

Immediately following the reverse hook, state your topic for the first paragraph. This topic should be directly relevant to the thesis statement you presented in the introduction.

Once you have shared all the main points related to that particular argument, close the paragraph with…

You guessed it, a transition! (Gotta love a good transition).

Paragraph Two

From this point onward, you kinda rinse and repeat.

That is, in your second body paragraph, you use a reverse hook and then present your second strongest argument, second most significant example, second smartest point… you get the picture.

Don’t forget to relate the points you have made back to the thesis statement.

There is one super simple sentence that can help you to nail this every time:

This proves that the view that <main argument of thesis> is correct because…

The word because is extremely important here because it is at this point you present your “so what.” You’ve shared some facts that are relevant to the thesis but you need to explicitly outline how they prove your claim is true.

Once you’ve put your argument across and tied it back to the thesis, you’re ready for…

Can you guess what’s coming?

A transition!

By now this should all be becoming crystal clear. And it couldn’t be simpler.

Here’s our ideal paragraph structure…

Reverse hook > Argument/Strong example > Thesis statement > Transition

Essay Paragraph Structure

A Quick Tip on Proofreading Paragraph Transitions

When you reach the editing stage of writing your essay, take a look at the end of each paragraph and check that it connects to the first sentence of the paragraph following it. If the connection doesn’t quite seem strong enough, consider rewriting the transition by clarifying your logic or even rearranging the paragraphs.

Paragraph Three

Follow the same processes you used in paragraph one and paragraph two. That is:

Reverse hook > Argument/Strong example > Thesis statement > Transition

If you’re making more than three points, you’ll carry on the cycle with each additional body paragraph until you’ve said everything you have to say.

However, at a minimum, you should aim to have at least three body paragraphs that make at least three separate, but important, points related to your thesis.

Closing Body Paragraph

The closing paragraph in the body of your essay will follow the cycle we looked at for paras. one, two, and three.

There will be just one small difference:

The final sentence won’t just be a standard transition. It will be a concluding hook that tells the reader you’ve finished presenting your argument.

Here is an example of a concluding transition:

As such, the third and final reason why Gru should not have been awarded the Employer of the Year award is because he does not allow his minions to take any vacation, something that is in violation of the Bad Guys’ Employment Act 1018.

So, in the final body paragraph of the paper, we have:

Reverse hook > Final Argument/Strong example > Thesis statement > Concluding transition

3) Conclusion

You’ve done all the hard work, but you’re certainly not finished yet.

The conclusion is where you tie everything together and leave a great impression on the reader.

Your conclusion should contain the following:

  • An allusion to the claim you made in the introduction.
  • A reassertion of the thesis statement in alternative words to those you used in the introduction (i.e., the same claim, presented slightly differently).
  • A summary of the main points you presented in the essay.
  • A final concluding statement that lets the reader know you’re done.

Here’s an example of a great concluding statement:

In the end, then, one thing is clear: Teachers do far more than simply teach a curriculum. As the examples provided in this paper confirm, teachers directly impact children’s educational development, aspirations, and ability to function in society. Those who can, teach.

Useful Transitions for Conclusions

generally speaking in the final analysis all things considered
given these points in summary as shown above
as has been noted ordinarily for the most part
as can be seen in fact in the long run
in conclusion in short in a word
in essence overall after all
to summarize by and large on the whole
all in all altogether in any event
in either case in brief usually
on balance to sum up indeed
eventually specifically as a final point

And, we’re done.

Got any essay formatting advice to share? Any top tips on how to format an essay that we’ve missed? Leave a comment and give us the full lowdown.

APA Formatting for Essays and Dissertations: A Ridiculously Simple Printable Guide

APA formatting for essays can appear to be somewhat of a dark art. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the pages of spiel you find in the standard APA citation rule guides, you’re in the right place. Our guide is as simple as it gets.

Super simple guide to APA formatting

It’s no secret that correctly formatting your essay or dissertation according to APA requirements can make all the difference between pass and fail.

The bottom line is this: If you want to take your grades to the highest level, you must ensure you follow the required formatting guidelines to the letter, regardless of whether it’s MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.

Here’s the good news: Formatting an essay according to the APA style guide is actually pretty simple. Once you have got the basics nailed, the rest becomes exceptionally easy.

In this guide, we’re going to show you exactly what formatting guidelines you need to follow when writing APA essays and editing dissertations. If you’re looking for help on essay formatting from a structural perspective, check out our guide to how to format an essay.

We’ve cut out all the bumpf and unnecessary jargon to show you what formatting rules you need to follow and where.

The best thing of all is that this super simple guide is printable… and free! Simply download the PDF, print it out, and keep it for future reference.

You’ll never make a formatting error again!

Quick note: This fab guide is consistent with the new handbook, A Pocket Style Manual, 6th edition, by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers. You can find more information about APA on pages 163-206 of the handbook.

Vappingo is the easiest way to access help from talented native English editors who are experts in editing essays to meet APA guidelines. If you’re working on an important essay, thesis or dissertation, check out our academic editing services now.

APA Formatting for Essays

APA Style Basics

A basic overview of the APA style guide

 

Sample APA Cover Sheet

A picture of a sample APA cover sheet

 

Sample Essay Format

APA sample essay page with formatting applied

APA Formatting: Abstract

Sample APA abstract together with basic formatting guidelines

If you’re writing an important essay or dissertation, you may want the full version at your fingertips. You can download it by clicking on the link below.

Download the full APA guide now

 

Formatting Tables and Figures APA Style

APA Formatting: Tables

Example of a dissertation table edited according to APA style

 

APA Style: Figures

Example of an essay figure formatted according to the APA style

APA Referencing

APA Referencing: The Basics

Sample essay referencing section showing APA reference style

 

APA Referencing: Books

ARA referencing books sample reference page

 

Want a copy of the formatting guide to keep? Click on the image below for a free printable PDF file.

Download the full APA guide now

 

APA Referencing: Journals and Magazines

APA referencing magazines and books

 

Formatting Citations APA Style

Page showing examples of APA citations

 

Like this guide? Follow us on Facebook so you never miss out on great content like this ever again.