As I’ve been in the writing industry for almost 5 years, I’ve had the opportunity to edit students’ assignments, write scripts, parsed sentences and critique papers to name a few. Needless to say, this also prompted me to have these writing pet peeves:
- opening the introduction with sweeping generalizations
Obesity is one of the skyrocketing issues in America.
College education is the key to success.
Teaching has been an exciting career since the break of dawn.
Introductions are opened with these statements, aren’t they? Bear in mind that that the use of sweeping generalizations does NOT always work and is not effective because it is not catchy enough in grabbing the attention of your readers, speaks nothing about your topic, and might blur the focus of the paper.
Fix: Present a surprising fact, keynote quotation, question, anecdote, image, etc about the topic and see to it that is it indeed an attention-getter.
- starting the conclusion with “in conclusion” and worse “therefore, in conclusion…”
In conclusion, gerbera daisies are prettier than tiger lilies.
Therefore, in conclusion, Mary successfully implemented her project.
Do I need to say more? “In conclusion” is a cliché and adding “therefore” makes it even worse.
Fix: Use other similar transitions (e.g. to reiterate, etc) or better yet, do not use any. After all, it’s already given that the last paragraph in the paper is the conclusion.
- using unnecessary words (wordiness)
There are many factors that should be considered by Helen in this case.
The shirt that is green in color is quite pricey.
As readers, we get easily overwhelmed by too many words. So,
Fix: State your ideas straight to the point.
Helen should consider many factors in this case.
The green shirt is quite pricey.
How about you? Do you have your own list of writing pet peeves? If so, how do you fix them? 🙂