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Leave These Out for a Better Paper



Writing papers may seem like the bane of your existence right now, but every assignment is actually a good thing — it’s another opportunity to improve! Most of the time, you focus on what should be in your paper: a strong thesis, relevant examples, in-depth analysis, etc. But sometimes we need a reminder of what we should not include in order to write a better paper. Here are a few things to leave out the next time you have a writing assignment.

Having trouble getting your paper started? Citation Machine has free grammar guides that can inspire you to get writing! Whether you’re looking to create a research paper outline, or for the definition of predicate adjective, a visit to CitationMachine.com is something you shouldn’t leave out.

Casual Language 

It’s totally okay to use words like “great” and “awesome” in your daily life, but when it comes to academic papers, endeavor to use more formal language. A benefit of using elevated diction is that it allows you to write a more nuanced analysis. The English language has a lot of synonyms for “awesome,” such as “impressive” and “wondrous.” Both of these synonyms have their own connotations — take advantage of them! 

If you’re struggling to come up with synonyms for some of your favorite casual words, look these words up in a thesaurus to find alternatives. With that said, be careful of using vocabulary words you don’t know!

Sentences That End With a Preposition

A preposition is a word that typically depicts a spatial relationship between a noun and another word in that sentence. For example, the word “on” in the phrase “the woman on the train” is a preposition. You want to avoid ending sentences with a preposition because it prevents the preposition from doing its job — it becomes unclear what that preposition is meant to connect.

Here’s a simple example:

Incorrect: She left the house without her hat on.

Correct: She left the house without her hat on her head.

Though it’s implied in the first example that the hat would be on her head, by adding the simple phrase “her head,” the sentence becomes clearer. 


It can be tempting to be repetitive, especially if you’re trying to hit a word count minimum. Though it might seem impossible to meet this minimum, repetition is not the solution. Instead, try elongating your analysis by adding new insights. Sure this might take more work, but your paper will be stronger for it. 

One way to elongate your analysis is to add an additional quote or example to analyze. Again, it will require extra effort on your part, but it’s a guarantee that it will be much easier to write more when you have something fresh to analyze versus re-wording the same idea over and over again. Plus it’s obvious to the reader if you’re trying to stretch out an idea way more than it should be.


Even if you use appropriate language, end sentences clearly, and provide fresh ideas, a disorganized essay is just as challenging to read as one with casual, repetitive language. Leaving out “disorganization” may seem abstract, and that’s because it starts before you even write the first word of your essay. To ensure your paper is organized and has a logical flow, spend time outlining what you want to write. An outline gives you a map of how your paper will unfold, giving you the chance to see if there are unnecessary digressions. By writing a highly organized paper, it will be easy for the reader to understand your argument.

Once your paper feels logical and organized, visit CitationMachine.com to cite your sources in MLA, APA, Chicago style format, or thousands of other specialized styles. There’s also a handy Citation Machine essay checker that check your paper for grammar mistakes and unintentional plagiarism.

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Under Writing