Proofread your essay several times. When you first write your essay, you might use too many words without realizing it. This is where crammers and procrastinators can lose out. Leaving your essay until the last minute prevents time to reread it and to remove any superfluous words, phrases, and ideas. Try reading the essay out loud to make sure that its words flow. Have a peer or friend check your work and help remove the unnecessary additions. A neutral set of eyes can often prove helpful in spotting repetition.
Place additional information at the end of your essay. Where possible, place charts, lists, case studies, diagrams, mind maps, drawings, etc.
This will help you avoid overwhelming the reader and will make the word count reflect the actual number of words you used in the body of your essay. However, most teachers and professors frown on attempts to hide additional information in footnotes.
Footnotes are meant to reference and occasionally bolster points, not to provide additional information that you couldn't cram in anywhere else. Time helps you to see errors and repetition. If you complete the essay 24—48 hours before it's due, this gives you time to put it aside and come back to it. In the rereading, you're bound to find redundancy and extraneous words you can remove. Reduce your word count after you have drafted your essay.
Keep the word limit in mind as you write, but don't worry if you go over a bit. Take the time to trim your essay only after you're done writing. Be sure to get all your points written down and then go back and try to reduce your word count. Write first and edit later. If you constantly worry about word limits, you will often end up discarding ideas that add to your paper.
Replace phrases with single words. There are always opportunities to say more with less. Look for areas in your essay where you can be more concise. Take out words that do not change the meaning of your sentences.
When you are editing your work, there are usually words that can be removed because they do not add anything to your sentences. For instance, unnecessary words like "actually," "really," or "basically" can typically be omitted.
In fact, taking extraneous words out makes your sentences stronger. For example, the statement "I am actually a great writer" sounds stronger when it is phrased simply as "I am a great writer. Avoid redundancies, also known as pleonasms. You can reduce your word count by eliminating common redundancies in your sentences.
Some common redundancies include "added bonus," "chase after," "end result," and "join together. They do not have to be overt if they aren't followed by the object in these constructions.
Try to make each of your points just once. Making your point effectively and succinctly the first time eliminates the need to repeat yourself. This takes practice but it's a skill worth honing; you'll appreciate this skill throughout your life.
If you find yourself mentioning a point repeatedly and it doesn't do anything to support that specific paragraph, then delete it. If you are having trouble locating a specific resource, please visit the search page or the Site Map.
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Essay Introductions Write an introduction that interests the reader and effectively outlines your arguments. You also want to do that in a way that is fresh and original. Instead, you might try one of the following techniques: Offer a surprising statistic that conveys something about the problem to be addressed in the paper. Perhaps you can find an interesting quote that nicely sums up your argument.
Use rhetorical questions that place your readers in a different situation in order to get them thinking about your topic in a new way. If you have a personal connection to the topic, you might use an anecdote or story to get your readers emotionally involved.
For example, if you were writing a paper about drunk drivers, you might begin with a compelling story about someone whose life was forever altered by a drunk driver: Attending college on a track scholarship, she was earning good grades and making lots of friends. This section helps the reader see why you are focusing on this topic and makes the transition to the main point of your paper.
Therefore, you need to bridge the gap between your attention-grabber and your thesis with some transitional discussion. In this part of your introduction, you narrow your focus of the topic and explain why the attention-grabber is relevant to the specific area you will be discussing. You should introduce your specific topic and provide any necessary background information that the reader would need in order to understand the problem that you are presenting in the paper.
You can also define any key terms the reader might not know. Continuing with the example above, we might move from the narrative about Michelle to a short discussion of the scope of the problem of drunk drivers. We might say, for example: Each year XX number of lives are lost due to drunk-driving accidents.
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