Category Archives: General Writing

Prepare a Persuasive Speech in 5 Easy Steps

Prepare a speech in 5 stepsTalking comes naturally to us and we don’t even give our conversations the second thought. But when faced with the prospect of speaking in front of the audience, this seems a burden. By far, the best way to learn how to write persuasive speeches is to read the great ones. But if you are looking for some quick tips, here are a few steps to follow.

1. Learn about a Topic

A major part of the difficulty about writing a persuasive speech is choosing a topic and learning about it. You need to know as much as possible about the subject you need to speak on. Spend some time doing a research and learn all the sides of the issue. You may read academic books in a library or find relevant articles online but make sure to use only reliable sources. To find out what other people think about a topic, use radio talks or editorials, but don’t rely on them as your only source of information as they may be biased.

2. Define Your Goal

You have to understand what you need to achieve with your speech. Do you want to present your own opinion on the issue? Make a sale? Persuade your audience to vote? Or perform some other action? Once you define what you expect from the audience, you’ll be able to easily craft your message. It is also important to understand the views and knowledge of your audience about a topic. People who know little about the subject need some background information and simpler language. However, the experts on the topic may find this kind of speech boring.

3. Write a Strong Opening

Before you can start persuading your audience, you have to attract their attention. A strong and effective opening has the following elements:

  • An attention grabber – this can be a little startling or dramatic statement that will get your audience’s attention instantly.
  • A link to the audience – you need to emphasize that you have something in common with the audience.
  • Your goal – explain what you hope the speech will accomplish.
  • A road map – present the main points of your speech.

4. Offer Persuasive Evidence

The main body of your speech should include several convincing reasons to support your point of view. Arrange these points logically. Make sure to use credible sources from your research to back up these points. You may use the real life examples that the audience can relate to. Even the argument based on facts and logic should relate to the audience’s interests and lives.

5. Conclude with a Call to Action

The conclusion of your speech should remind your audience of what you have told them. But don’t just restate your point of view, instead, use this as a chance to present a clear call to action. Use concise and strong sentences that elicit confidence. You don’t want to sound as passive or timid. Don’t be afraid to use some humor in your speech. It will connect you to the audience and make your topic easier to hear about.

Write like you talk and remember that practice makes perfect!

Writing an Analytical Essay: The Most Useful Hints

How to write an analytical essayOne of the most frequently assigned essays in English is an analytical essay. In can be a challenging task to complete, but mastering its technique is essential as most academic assignments have a strong requirement to write with an analytical focus.

So, what is an analytical essay?

The key to understanding the nature of this type of essay is a word “analyze.” Yes, your main task is to present a deep and well-structured evaluation of the topic or problem. An analytical essay is not a summary of the work. If you find yourself paraphrasing the information or simply retelling the story, you are not writing an analytical essay.

The Most Useful Writing Tips and Tricks

1. If you may choose a topic, investigate the subject that inspires or fascinates you. You don’t have to fully understand that, but if you are really interested, you will be more motivated to figure out the unknown things.

2. Your essay should follow the requirements. A lot of students receive the low grades because they fail to read the instructions attentively.

3. Make sure your essay has an arguable thesis at the end of your introduction, which you will then develop in the main body through an analysis of the chosen topic and explain with specific evidence.

4. The structure of an analytical essay should be the following: introduction + body + conclusion + works cited.

5. All paragraphs have to be fully worked out and contain transitions. Each paragraph in the main body of your essay should include a topic sentence that introduces the issue to be discussed.

6. Avoid phrases “As far as I am concerned,” “To my mind” – the reader already understands that everything you write is your opinion, unless you attribute to another author.

7. Don’t include unnecessary long descriptions or plot summaries (in a case of novels or movies). You don’t need to describe the topic in details, your job is to remind the reader of the information that provides evidence for your argument.

8. Make certain your essay follows a logical structure and organization.

9. It is better to avoid the generalizations, such as “all people think,” “since the beginning of times,” etc.

10. To develop your argument, you’ll need to include at least one academic source.

11. You need to fully develop your voice and ideas. Avoid using too many quotes or summaries of other people’s works to not let the secondary sources dominate your essay.

12. Never use the quotations to substitute your own thoughts. Quote only those sentences that would lose their power if you paraphrase them.

13. Cite the sources according to the citation style specified in the requirements.

14. Leave a reader with a clear picture in his or her head.

15. Thoroughly revise your essay for clarity and coherence. Make sure it is error-free.

Preparing the analytical essay is difficult, but it can be one of the most rewarding forms of writing to master. So, practice, practice, practice!

How to Write a Historiography: Step-By-Step Guide

How to write a historiographyA historiography or historiographical essay is an examination of different ways in which historians have approached a particular topic. Unlike a research paper, it is not a study of a historical issue, instead, it is an analysis of how the interpretation of historical events by different scholars has changed over time.

A historiographical paper has to present a detailed overview of the main works on a topic and summarize and evaluate the arguments of each of those works. For the development of a clear and well-structured essay, you need to follow some crucial steps.

Choose a Topic

There are several useful strategies for coming up with a topic. The easiest way is to choose one of your assigned readings. Try to look for a topic that is really interesting for you – it will make the reading and the writing process much easier.

Alternatively, you may brainstorm a topic from scratch. If you take that approach, narrow down the topic to a specific area and focus on a particular historical event or person.

Once you have a topic, start looking for works on your subject. Take advantage of a mixture of various books, articles and publications. Generally, books tend to be more influential and relevant, especially for older topics. However, for modern issues, articles are more available.

Evaluate the Historians’ Viewpoints

Depending on the source you are using, there are some strategies you can apply to evaluate the scholars’ stances:

  • Books – You need to watch the structure of the book; how the author builds the argument and what he implies is the most important part.
  • Book reviews – The best way to find out the point of some work is to read a book review. This will provide you with an insight of how other historians respond to the author’s argument.
  • Periodicals – Look whether the article is often cited by other authors writing about the same subject.

Write Your Historiography

There are several possible ways to organize your historiographical paper:

  1. You can report writers in chronological order, monitoring changes over time.
  2. You may present the main schools of thought regarding your topic and discuss each one separately.
  3. If you need to prepare a large paper, you can address the works of the previous historians and describe how they relate to your own analysis.

All methods work for preparing a historiography.

Once you decide upon the organization, proceed with writing. You should begin your essay with a thesis that presents the issue and introduces your sources. In the main body of your paper, you have to develop the points of agreement or disagreement. You have to analyze why different historians have different opinions on the same subject. Is it due to the national affiliation, ideology or personal experience? These questions go to the heart of your historiographical essay. In a conclusion, briefly summarize the findings and access the credibility of the sources you’ve used.

Make sure your paper is consistent and well-structured. Revise it carefully to confirm that you’ve presented a cohesive picture of opinions and debate.

ACT Writing Tips: 5 Strategies to Raise Your Essay Score

ACT writing tipsThe written part of the ACT often strikes fear in the hearts of many students but there is no need to worry! A specific approach to the essay section and learning the main tips and tricks will help you prepare the most powerful piece of writing.

So, what do you need to accomplish in order to receive a high score? Here is all important information.

1. Write a Powerful Introduction and Conclusion

You need to know a little secret: your first and last paragraphs matter more than the middle. ACT graders need to read a lot of essays very quickly, so they pay more attention to the introduction and conclusion and simply scan the main part of your work. If the beginning and the end of your essay are well-written and logical, then most likely other paragraphs will be too. By reading these parts, the grader may tell with confidence what score you will get. However, it doesn’t mean that the middle part shouldn’t make sense. Just devote a bit more time to writing the introduction and conclusion of your essay.

2. Sell Your Examples with Details

A good essay should be persuasive. Interesting and specific details not only present the value of your point of view but also make an essay more interesting to read. Therefore, it is important to back up the statements you make with the fine points. You may even decide to support your position with a real-life story. It will only make your work more noticeable and memorable.

3. Organize Ideas in a Logical Manner

Your essay should be structured in a logical manner with distinctive paragraphs. Great ideas don’t make sense if they are not arranged well. Organization is important to effective writing because it makes easy for readers to follow your thoughts. To make your writing more consequent, use transitions between the paragraphs. Constructing effective paragraphs may be really challenging due to the effort involved in planning. However, the results can greatly improve your chances of getting the high score.

4. Use the Right Language

The use of language is very important, and voice, tone, word choice and grammar are always taken into account. Make sure to avoid slang, misspelling and grammatical mistakes. Your essay should be flawless and error-free. Also try to vary the sentence structure and use relatively sophisticated vocabulary. The ACT graders always pay much attention to the proper language use, so improve your mechanics of writing.

5. Carefully Review Your Essay

Once completed, read through your essay. Make sure it is on topic and persuasive enough. Check whether you don’t repeat the same ideas by using different words. Proofread the work for typos and mistakes as they may damage the most powerful essay.

The ACT test doesn’t have to be challenging or stressful. The tips mentioned above will give you the confidence and the ability to score well and bring you closer to the college of your choice.

How to Write an Abstract for Your Scientific Paper

How to write an abstract for a scientific paperAbstract is an essential part of every scientific project. It is a short, self-contained piece of writing that describes a larger work. An abstract includes the essential or the most important thoughts about the entire paper to allow the readers understand the point of your work.

Writing an abstract can be a bit intimidating, especially if you face the task for the first time. However, the following information will help you overcome the possible challenges with ease.

What Makes a Good Abstract

  • Well-developed, clear and concise paragraphs that can stand alone as a source of information.
  • Elements of a full-length paper, including purpose, focus, methods, results and conclusions.
  • Plain language understandable to a wide audience.
  • Material that doesn’t contain information not included in a paper.
  • No referencing.
  • Passive structures to describe the findings that focus on the issues rather than people.
  • Key words and phrases that quickly identify the content.
  • The same style of language found in the original.

Key Elements of Every Abstract

Your abstract should include 5 important sections:

1. Introduction

In your introduction, you should state the purpose of your paper, why you undertook the experiment and why a reader would be interested in the larger work. Something motivated you to explore this topic (an observation, question, frustration you experienced), so let the reader into your head.

2. A statement of the problem

You need to make a clear statement of the problem you’re going to solve in your paper.

3. Methodology

Specify the approaches or models used in your work. Be clear and concise and don’t include details about the materials used unless it greatly influenced the procedures.

4. Results

Indicate the results that lead to the conclusions you have drawn. Mention the contribution you’ve made and again, don’t give too many details.

5. Conclusions

Briefly describe the conclusions that you derived from your investigation.

Important Steps for Writing

Explaining a scientific paper in an abstract of 250 words can be challenging, but if you divide the writing process into logical steps, the task will be much more manageable.

  1. First of all, reread your paper attentively.
  2. Next read each part and specify the most important information in one or two sentences.
  3. Then read the sentences one more time to make sure that they cover the main points of your paper.
  4. Ensure that you have written something for every element of an abstract.
  5. Check the length of your abstract and reduce the words if necessary.
  6. Edit your abstract for flow and language.

Produce an abstract when you have finished your paper because by then you’ll have a clear picture of the findings and results. Make sure your abstract informs the audience of all important points of your scientific paper and remember that grammar, spelling, syntax, originality and neatness are important.

Ultimate Tips on Writing Lab Reports

writing lab reportsLab reports are an important part of all laboratory courses, including Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Natural Science, and usually a significant part of your grade. A lab report is your chance to show what you did in your experiment, what you learned and what the results meant.

When preparing a report, it is always important to be attentive to the requirements and guidelines as they may vary greatly. Some instructors require to include lab reports into the lab notebook, while others ask to prepare the separate reports. There may be some differences in format and writing style. However, there are universal guidelines for scientific writing, and you need to make sure that your report follows them.

Lab Report Essentials

1. Title

The title should be brief and describe the main point of your investigation. Aim for less than 10 words.

2. Abstract

In about 100 or 200 words, summarize the purpose of your lab report and major conclusions.

3. Introduction

Provide background information and explain the objectives of the lab. In other words, say why you did the experiment. Keep it short!

4. Methods and materials

List the materials and methods used but don’t overwhelm the reader with details.

5. Results

Summarize the important data from the experiment, describe what they mean.

6. Discussions

Compare expected results with actual results, explain the results in terms of the purpose, suggest how the they could be improved.

7. References

Include a reference list if it is required.

General Tips on Writing

In scientific writing, it is important to follow the specific rules to make sure that your report presents data and outcomes in a clear and persuasive way.

1. Be concise. You need to say as much as needed while using as few words as possible. A lab report is not an essay, it should be concise, straightforward and to the point. Avoid repetitions and unnecessary details.

2. Write in the third person. When you’re describing an experimental procedure, don’t use the words “I,” “we,” “my.” This may be a bit difficult to get used to, so pay special attention to the wording in your lab report.

3. Use correct verb tenses. It can be difficult to decide which tense (present or past )to use in your report. When describing the experiment, you need to use the past tense, as it has already been conducted. When you are talking about the equipment, theory or report that still exist, use the present tense.

4. Write about the real results. Resist the temptation to lie about the results in your lab report. Write about what really happened and not what should have happened. If something went wrong, it would be a great idea to suggest some ways to improve the work in future.

5. Don’t copy the lab manual. A manual can be a helpful guideline when you need to explain the purpose of your experiment. However, it is essential to use your own words when describing the results.

When the report is written, reread it, watching specially for lack of precision. Make sure you have enough time to edit and proofread your work thoroughly.

The Craziest Excuses to Skip Out on Your Writing Assignment

The craziest excusesSooner or later, a moment comes in the lives of everyone when we have to come up with a credible excuse for not finishing an assignment.

There are a number of possible approaches to this. You can try giving one of the same tired old excuses that every professor has heard a million times: the flu, family problems, your dog.

Or you can come up with something outrageous and simply hope that your creativity earns you some brownie points.

Once you’ve determined that an excuse is the best route, here are some to choose from.

1. “What assignment?” Depending on the instructor or the situation, playing dumb can actually work sometimes. You legitimately have no memory of being given an assignment; or maybe you do, but you thought it was due next week. Didn’t your teacher say it was due next week? You could have sworn he did.

2. “My computer crashed.” Anyone can relate to the experience of being derailed by technological problems. Your computer has a virus. Your flash drive broke. The Internet was down. It’s impossible to dispute that such things actually happen. Be wary of using this excuse with veteran teachers, though; they’ll just say you should have started the assignment sooner.

3. “I’ve had too much to do with my job.” Most instructors will take pity on students who have to work an extra job in addition to school, as long as you don’t use this excuse too often. Remember, your teachers will expect their classes to be your top priority.

4. “My essay was stolen.” Those gosh darn homework thieves are at it again! You KNOW that assignment was in your backpack, but someone must have taken it. Heck, maybe they even stole the entire backpack with your homework in it.

5. “I’ve been too sick to do it.” You’ve just barely been able to summon the energy to drag yourself out of bed and come to class. Your teacher should feel flattered that you made the effort to show up. You’ve certainly been in no condition to finish your writing assignment.

6. “I need your help to figure out how to do it.” This plays on your teacher’s natural desire to help you learn. She will be more than willing to give you a little extra time so that she can explain it to you better. Never mind that you could have emailed her or gone to her office hours before the assignment was actually due.

7. “My essay flew out the car window.” You can hand in a dirty, rumpled, illegible paper to make your story more convincing.

8. “I was abducted by aliens.” Hey, it happens. But once again, this wouldn’t be a problem if you hadn’t left it to the last minute.

9. The truth. Sometimes the truth is really your best bet. It’s likely you have a good reason that your professor will understand. As long as the truth isn’t that you chose to stay up all night partying with friends instead of doing your work.

With this repertoire, you should have no problem finding a great excuse to give your teacher. Feel free to embellish if you want! A little creativity keeps things more interesting.

Scholarship Essay Tips: Write a Winning One

Scholarship Essay TipsYour scholarship essay is easily the most important part of your entire application. It’s probably the only part of the application which makes you stand out from other applicants. Most applicants will meet the same basic requirements: good grades, well-rounded extracurricular activities, and decent test scores. So congratulations…you’re just like everyone else!

Until the reviewers look at your essay and discover that you’re actually not like the others, at all.

Here are the tips to writing a winning scholarship essay.

  1. Follow the directions. You would be amazed at how many students get their applications rejected simply by failing to follow the instructions. Reviewers will be searching for ways to eliminate applicants quickly to make their jobs easier. That means that if you exceed the word limit or single-space instead of double-space, they may not even read your essay at all. And equally important: make sure that you have a crystal-clear understanding of the question so that you can respond to it effectively.

  2. Start with an outline. Do not leave your essay to the last minute! Give yourself plenty of time to plan what you’re going to say. A good outline in an essential tool to craft a coherent essay. Start by listing two or three main points in response to the question, and then add a few concrete supporting details to each of them.

  3. Use proper format. Unless the instructions specifically state otherwise, scholarship essays should be typed in size 12 Times New Roman font and double spaced. There should be one-inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides.

  4. Keep your audience in mind. Avoid crafting a “one-size-fits- all,” generic essay that goes out to everyone. Do some research on the organization offering the scholarship. Discover their goals and priorities and write your essay to reflect these. Find out as much as you can about former award recipients; this will help you understand what the committee values. Remember that there are people evaluating you, with their own hopes, dreams, and goals. You will stand out by showing that their goals are important to you.

  5. Be concise. Keep your language clear and to-the-point. Avoid word repetition.

  6. Make the real “you” shine through. Write with passion and reveal your hopes, dreams and convictions. Instead of just listing activities and accomplishments, turn them into a story that says something meaningful about you as a person. Give concrete details to make this story memorable and believable.

  7. Proofread carefully. Before completing this step, go back and read the question again. As you read over your work, make sure that it answers the question. Then proofread carefully for spelling, punctuation and grammar. It’s also a good idea to enlist a friend, a teacher, or a parent to read it over; it’s easy to miss simple mistakes when we are reading our own work.

It can seem like a lot of pressure to write a scholarship essay that stands out from the crowd. But if you take a little extra time and thought, it can pay off big in the long run.

Book Critique Writing: Play It Cool

Book critique writingAre you feeling stressed about that book critique assignment?

No need to worry. Here are the steps to creating a book critique you can be proud of.

What Is a Book Critique?

A book critique is different from a book report, which is a simple and straightforward summary of the book. In a critique, you may include a brief summary, but your main focus is to evaluate the book, offering your critical assessment.

Before You Begin

Your work begins even before you start writing, while you are reading the book. Take notes as you read on the main message, themes, and key ideas. As you go along, you may try grouping these ideas into sections and then writing your own thoughts about each section. Sometimes it helps to read other critiques of the book to give you ideas.

Introduction

Start with basic bibliographical information: the title and author. Next, state what the main message or thesis of the book is.

Summary

Write a brief plot summary, mentioning each of the author’s main ideas and the main characters. Do not try to cover every detail of the book in your summary. Keep it short and focus only on the elements that are most important. Back up any of your statements with facts and evidence.

Evaluation

Write your evaluation of the book. It may be effective to answer the following questions in your evaluation.

  • Does the author make logical arguments?
  • What parts did you like?
  • Will the reader come to the same conclusion as the author, given the evidence presented?
  • Did the author succeed in making his point?
  • Does the book have emotional or logical appeal?
  • Is the evidence presented still valid, or is some of it outdated?
  • What is the author’s area of expertise?
  • What major themes are introduced in the book, and are they successful?
  • Is there any evidence that would support the opposite argument?
  • Does the information presented in the book fit with your own understanding of the subject?
  • How does the book compare with others in the same genre or written by the same author?
  • Did the author interpret all the evidence in a way that is easy to understand?
  • Does this book add clarity or significance?
  • If it’s fiction, what was the most important scene in the story, and why?

Conclusion

Here is where you let the reader know whether you recommend this book and why (or why not). Include some positive and negative aspects of the book and compare it to others that are similar. Indicate whether or not you agree with the author’s conclusions. Include specific examples to back up your statements, referencing page numbers when necessary.

Revisions

Proofread carefully several times. Don’t rely on your spellchecker, as it might not catch everything. Be extra careful in checking the spelling of the names of the author, the characters, and the publisher, and that quotes are cited correctly. As you read, put yourself in the mindset of your intended audience to ensure that your critique makes sense, that you’ve used the right amount of quotes, and that your summary is adequate.

A book critique is a wonderful opportunity to engage with a text and give your opinion about it, so enjoy it. You will find that it’s not as bad as it seems.

Writing Lessons You Can Learn From Your Favorite TV Shows

Writing lessons form your favorite TV showIt’s one of the best ways to wind down during a study break or a lazy Sunday: tuning in to Hulu or Netflix for some of your favorite shows.

But do you ever stop to ask yourself why you love these shows so much? Something about them has captured your attention.

What if you could make your writing as captivating as those TV shows you love? What if you could write an essay, story, or lab report that held your reader’s attention to the very end?

Maybe that seems far-fetched, but some of the qualities that make these shows unforgettable can also be applied to your writing.

Here’s how.

1. “Blackish:” Show, don’t tell.

You probably love this show because of its humor, and the funny, well-developed characters. Another great thing about the show is the understated social message. Beneath the humor, there is an undercurrent of commentary on racism and LGBT issues. But no one is holding a billboard announcing: “Attention! This is an example of racist stereotyping!” Instead, we see this message played out through the actions and behavior of the characters.

Any essay or report that you write also has a message, or a “thesis.” In effective writing as in a good TV show, this message is revealed through details, examples, and quotes rather than simple and obvious statements.

2. “Game of Thrones:” Realism and accuracy always win.

Although “The Game of Thrones” belongs to the fantasy genre, the writers purposely limit elements of magic in favor of making the story an accurate reflection of the dark and brutal way of life in medieval times. The violence and the dark stories of intrigue make the viewer feel like they are experiencing the Middle Ages firsthand. This is part of what makes the show so appealing.

Your writing will also be more appealing to your readers if you strive for realism and accuracy. Take the extra time to research your topic thoroughly to bring your reader the true blood and guts of your subject.

3. “The Walking Dead:” Examining a problem from all sides.

What if an apocalyptic event occurred in which those who died became brain-eating zombies?

“The Walking Dead” has held steady success for eight seasons by thoroughly exploring this premise. It examines the differing motivations of the characters, how these characters react differently to the post-apocalyptic world, and how these actions influence the story.

Just like a zombie apocalypse, the problems that you explore in your writing have different sides and affect people in different ways. A stock market crash will be experienced differently by a CEO than by a factory worker, and their reactions will affect one another. A good essay or report will examine a problem from all possible angles.

4. “Criminal Minds:” Deliver the profile.

“Criminal Minds” is a great detective show, with a twist. Instead of profiling the crime itself, the B.A.U. team solves it by compiling a list of clues about the killer, which gives them the ability to determine who and where he is going to attack next.

An effective paper will present the reader with a “profile” in the introduction, outlining the list of clues that have led to a particular conclusion. Then you can develop your paper as if you were solving a crime.

5. “Breaking Bad:” How does change happen?

The character of Walter White is a case study on how events can change a character from good to evil. The well-intentioned chemistry teacher is transformed by the events of poverty and illness into a ruthless drug dealer.

Are you analyzing some kind of transformative change in your paper? What are the factors that led to that change? As you examine the transformation in depth, you may find that it is every bit as complicated and intriguing as the sea-change of Walt White.

So don’t worry about your next writing assignment! With a little imagination, you can make it into a hit!