5 Common Mistakes in ESL Writing

3 years ago



ESL students are equally smart with ENL students, but they more typical mistakes in writing due to the lack of experience. The Typical Student team selected the most common mistakes that ESL students should learn to avoid. 


Mistake #1. Poor Thesis Statement

If you think that ESL mistakes are only about grammar, you have to change your way of thinking right here, right now. Problems with grammar can be spotted by the grammar checkers, while it is almost impossible to check online whether your thesis statement is written the way it should be or not. Most of ESL students come from countries where essay writing is not a valuable part of the curriculum. Somewhere professors prefer tests, or debates, or oral questioning. If you come from the similar country, it will be challenging to adjust to creating of thesis statements for almost any paper you are assigned with. When feeling stuck, use this basic scheme:

  • The subject matter. What is the basic thought your paper will be wrapped around?
  • Reasons to believe. There can be one, or many.
  • Objections and limitations. If there are no objections or limitations to your statement, the thesis itself is weak, because it claims something widely know, that doesn't need to be proved.
  • Proofs. This point is optional, and it can be placed here, after the subject matter or after the reasons to believe. Sometimes proofs and reasons to believe coincide.

Don't try to write a thesis statement as a sentence or two from the very beginning. Write all these parts separately and later built your statement as a house from LEGO. At this point, you can look for some online thesis generator, which offers options for logical connections between different parts of the thesis. 

Mistake #2 "Do" instead of "Make" and Reverse

Online grammar checkers can often spot this mistake. If you see this mistake often, note down the connections using which you fail the most often. 

"Do" is mostly used to identify work, when it comes to applying time, efforts, etc. "Make," even in terms of work or applying efforts, is mostly related to the abstract terms. "Make friends," for example, also requires efforts, but you don't actually "make," it is an abstract term. Another example is "make money" — it is another abstract term unless you are up to a criminal record as a false-coiner. 

Mistake #3 Describing the Obvious

English is a rather laconic language, which should be used carefully. ESL writers tend to always get the described object or event into the sentence, which makes it more heavy and less elaborate. For example: "The sky is cloudy" instead of "It is cloudy," or "The park's shape is square" instead of "The park is square." It will also be great if you get rid of all those "actually, basically, truly."

The wordiness doesn't contribute to your academic paper. If you are looking for more words to finish the draft, as a quotation or paraphrase it, think about adding more objectives or making conclusions seem bulletproof, but don't just add extra words meaning nothing. Doing so you genuinely irritate your professor, and he or she might not be able to appreciate the key idea of your paper the way you expect them to. 

Some students claim that the intense usage of the described objects and words like "actually" and "truly" are the part of there style, but it is not the perspective way to see it. You don't call grammar mistakes a part of your academic writing style, right?

Mistake #4. Forget about Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

These mistakes are inherent even in the most elaborate papers, like The Economist, The Financial Times, etc. Even the most experienced speechwriters and other offers are prone to make these mistakes, which means that far less experienced ESL academic writers make such mistakes even more often. To avoid it in at least 90% of cases use the following rule: put adverbs and adjectives before the modified word and prepositional phrases after it. The best way to avoid 100% mistakes it to read every sentence and make sure it has only one meaning, and this meaning doesn’t sound silly.

Mistake #5.  Making Something Absolute “More Absolute”

We can’t blame ESL writers for the desire to make their essays better and brighter, that they should stop adding strengthening words to the definitions which are already absolute. Nothing can be more absolute, more unique, less minimum, super maximum, enough opposite or nearly entirely. When you use such phrases your writing looks amateur, absolutely amateur. 

Even if you manage to avoid these five mistakes from now on, you will notice how the quality of your paper, along with the grades, increase. As an alternative solution, you can contact online service for writing your own papers by professionals for money. Good luck!

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Any questions or propositions?