Words to Avoid in Essay for Effective Writing

Essays require a lot of thought and are a great way to have a voice in whatever you are discussing. However, a word or phrase can make or break an essay.

This article provides a guide on words not to use in an essay. Avoiding these words will make all the difference.

An essay is a specific kind of academic writing that must demonstrate the ability to express ideas clearly and efficiently (and convincingly). An effective way to demonstrate critical thinking and knowledge is by using appropriate words.

When you’re writing an essay, you should avoid using words that make your writing unclear and less effective. It is essential to use appropriate words in your article, as a sloppy or poorly written piece may confuse or annoy readers.

Avoid these words and phrases in your essays for concise and meaningful writing.

1. Contractions

Contractions are typically used to shorten words. Not writing in contractions can be difficult at first because your writing may sound too formal. However, this is a good thing because your essay will have a polished look and be taken more seriously by your reader.

Using total words instead of contractions also shows that you are a more advanced writer. Words like ‘don’t, shouldn’t, isn’t‘ should be wholly avoided in your essay.

2. Idioms

Idioms are words that have specific meanings and are typical in informal writings. These words are not suitable for essays as they might confuse people who aren’t familiar with their meanings.

Phrases like ‘Get a taste of your own medicine’ might not make sense to some readers.You might want to choose words that are easy to understand.

3. Rhetorical questions

Rhetorical questions are without grammatical or structural significance and are often used for conversational purposes.

When used in essay writing, they make your paper seem immature, disorganized, and unprofessional. Questions like ‘do we want our planet to survive‘ don’t require a logical answer. It is best to avoid them.

4. Passive Voice

Passive voices do not explicitly identify who the actor in a sentence is. It is best to avoid them in your essay as they seem less professional. Instead, use an active voice to make your points and make a clear connection with your audience.

5. Unnecessary Words

You must keep a consistent tone and use concise and appropriate words when you write an essay. If your comments start to become repetitive and the reader has to read through multiple passages repeatedly, you may want to revise the essay.

Avoid using words that add no meaning to your writing. Unnecessary words and phrases tend to make your essay sound inauthentic and fake, which could be the first shot at turning away readers. For example:

Instead of: This research serves to explain

Use: This research explains

6.Too Subjective Words

You might want to give your opinion about a specific subject, which is great in certain types of essays (such as personal statements). In other cases, describing the information in a way that seems more subjective than objective should be avoided.

Using words like “I think” and “I believe” would seem like you are trying to claim the scope of the argument. In most cases, it is better to use words like “It seems,” or “It is reasonable to believe“.

7. Clichés

Clichés are tedious and overused words. It can be a pain to read someone else’s writing filled with clichés. Avoiding these words in your essay will increase your chances of impressing your readers and improving your grade. Furthermore, clichéd phrases can quickly break the flow of your essay and make it seem as if you are falling back on old grounds.

8. Slang and Jargon

Slangs and jargon are among the top words you should avoid in any writing project.

They often confuse and alter the context of your statement and appear silly and unprofessional. Focus on phrases that serve the purpose of your writing without affecting its tone and progression.

9. Too Exaggerated Words

Avoid using words that are too exaggerated so as not to sound overbearing. It would be best to avoid words like “sure,” “absolutely,” “obviously,” “of course,” “absolutely,” “perfectly,” or adjectives like “brilliant,” “wonderful,” and “terrific.” These words are used for emphasis but are often dramatic. They will indeed sound out of place in your essay.

10. Too Sophisticated

It is essential to avoid using excessively sophisticated words that may come across as a certain level of “sophistication” to the reader. Words like “annihilating,” “blitzkrieg,” “dead space,” “prophetically,” and “silent maestro,” which are too over the top, should be avoided.

Stick to words that are simple and precise. The words you choose can contribute to how your essay is received.

person writing on brown wooden table near white ceramic mug
Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Remember that your essay is not just a piece of writing, but it also serves as an example to the reader. Be conscious of the tone. Language choices can be significant, so don’t be too informal, serious, or ambiguous.

Keep the tone of your essay appropriate. The use of vocabulary can be a good test for a high-quality composition. This article should guide you on the words not to use in an essay.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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