Those who have gone through the ecstasies and agonies of writing the satisfaction is known by an essay(and sometimes the sadness) of finishing. Once you’ve done most of the work of finding out what you would like to say, arriving at an arguable and thesis that is interesting analyzing your evidence, organizing your thinking, and contending with counter-arguments, you could believe that you’ve got nothing left to do but run spell-check, print it out and await your professor’s response. But what spell- check can’t discern is what readers that are real think or feel if they read your essay: where they may become confused, or annoyed, or bored, or distracted. Anticipating those responses could be the working job of an editor—the job you are taking on as you edit your own personal work.
While you proceed, keep in mind that sometimes what might seem like a small problem can mask (be a manifestation of) a bigger one. A poorly-worded phrase—one that seems, say, unclear or vague—may just need some tweaking to correct; but it may indicate that your thinking hasn’t developed fully yet, that you are not quite sure what you need to express. Your language may be vague or confusing as the basic idea itself is. So learning, as Yeats says, to “cast a eye that is cold on the prose is not just a matter of arranging the finishing touches in your essay. It really is about making your essay better from the inside (clarifying and deepening your ideas and insights) and from the outside (expressing those ideas in powerful, lucid, graceful prose). These five guidelines will help.
Read your essay aloud .
Whenever we labor over sentences, we could sometimes lose sight associated with the larger picture, of how all of the sentences sound when they’re read quickly one after the other, as the readers will read them. Whenever you read out, your ear will pick up some of the problems your eye might miss.
As you read your essay, remember the “The Princess as well as the Pea,” the story of a princess so sensitive she was bothered by an individual pea buried under the pile of mattresses she lay upon. As an editor, you intend to be like the princess—highly tuned in to anything that seems slightly odd or “off” in your prose. So if something strikes you as problematic, do not gloss over it. Investigate to uncover the type regarding the problem. Odds are, if something bothers you a little, it shall bother your readers a lot.
Be sure all your words are performing work that is important making your argument .
Are all of the phrases and words necessary? Or will they be just using up space? Are your sentences sharp and tight, or are they loose and dull? Do not say in three sentences what you can say in a single, and don’t use 14 words where five will do. You need every word in your sentence to include as meaning that is much inflection that you can. Yourself what “own personal” adds when you see phrases like “My own personal opinion,” ask. Is not that what “my” means?
Even small, apparently unimportant words like “says” are worth your attention. In place of “says,” could you use a word like argues, acknowledges, contends, believes, reveals, suggests, or claims? Words such as these not just create your sentences more lively and interesting, they supply useful information: if you tell your readers that someone “acknowledges” something, that deepens their comprehension of how or why she or he said that thing; “said” merely reports.
3. Bear in mind the idea of le mot juste. Always try to look for the perfect words, the absolute most precise and specific language, to say what you mean. Without the need for concrete, clear language, you can’t convey to your readers exactly what you consider a subject; it is possible to only speak in generalities, and everybody has already heard those: “The evils of society are a drain on our resources.” Sentences similar to this could mean a lot of things which they wind up meaning nothing at all to your readers—or meaning something very different from what you intended. Be specific: What evils? Which societies? What resources? Your readers are reading your words to see what you think, what you have to say.
If you should be having trouble putting your finger on simply the word that is right consult a thesaurus, but simply to remind yourself of the options. Never choose words whose connotations or usual contexts you do not really understand. Using language you are unfamiliar with may cause more imprecision—and that may lead your reader to question your authority.
4. Beware of inappropriately elevated language—words and phrases that are stilted, pompous, or jargony. Sometimes, in order to sound more reliable or authoritative, or more sophisticated, we puff up this sort to our prose of language. Usually we only find yourself sounding like we’re wanting to sound smart—which is a sign that is sure our readers that we’re not. Because you think they’ll sound impressive, reconsider if you find yourself inserting words or phrases. When your ideas are good, you don’t have to strain for impressive language; if they’re not, that language will not help anyway.
Inappropriately elevated language can be a consequence of nouns getting used as verbs. Most elements of speech function better—more elegantly—when the roles are played by them these were meant to play; nouns work very well as nouns and verbs as verbs. Read the sentences that are following, and listen to how pompous they sound.
He exited the area. It is necessary that proponents and opponents of this bill dialogue about its contents before voting upon it.
Exits and dialogues operate better as nouns and there are plenty of means of expressing those basic ideas without turning nouns into verbs.
The room was left by him. People should debate the advantages and cons for this bill before voting.
Every now and then, though, this really is a rule worth breaking, such as “He muscled his solution to the leading of the relative line.” “Muscled” gives us a lot of information that might otherwise take words that are several even sentences to state. And given that it’s not awkward to see, but lively and descriptive, readers will not mind the shift that is temporary roles as “muscle” becomes a verb.
5. Be tough on the most dazzling sentences. As you revise, you could find that sentences you needed in earlier drafts no further belong—and these may be the sentences you’re most keen on. We are all guilty of trying to sneak in our favorite sentences where they don’t really belong, because we can not bear to cut them. But writers that are great ruthless and can dispose off brilliant lines if they are no more relevant or necessary. They know that readers would be less struck by the brilliance than because of the inappropriateness of those sentences and they allow them to go.