One of the problems many students experience with their essays is that their writing is difficult to follow and understand. Contrary to what you may believe, using long-winded sentences, polysyllabic words, and obscure terms do not improve your style and make you sound smart. It is just the other way round: it makes it obvious that you use cheap methods to make an impression on your readers. Usually, writers with an overcomplicated style use this approach to hide the fact that they have little to say that is of any importance. In other words, if you want success, you have to learn how to make your writing more readable and accessible. How do you do that? Read on and find out.
1. Use Shorter Sentences
If you find yourself regularly using sentences 40 words long and longer, usually it is a sign that you need to learn a less wordy way to express yourself. Overly long, multi-clause, complex sentences are difficult to follow and can easily confuse the reader, preventing him/her from understanding what you are trying to say. Break them up into shorter ones, eliminate extra clauses, make your texts easier to read.
2. Replace Long Words with Shorter Ones
The rule of the thumb is this – if you can use a one-syllable word, never use a three-syllable word with the same meaning in its stead. The use of long, complex, obscure words does not make you look smarter – quite the contrary, they are a sure sign of insecurity.
3. Hire a Revisor
It is difficult to make corrections to your own writing. After all, you wrote it yourself, and by definition, you perceive it differently from any other person. You have a hard time changing or removing something, even if deep down you understand that it is not necessary. If you know that you have to make your essay more accessible, it may be high time to hire an online essay revisor – i.e., somebody who professionally does this sort of work. Just make sure you deal with a reliable revision service and give them clear instructions beforehand.
4. Eliminate Cue Words
Many students feel obliged to point it out explicitly when they are done with a point and are about to move on to the next one. If you suffer from this problem, try getting rid of the cue words and just transferring from one point to the next. 9 times out of 10, you will see that your writing works just fine without them. The thing is, when you use cue words, it suggests that your writing itself is not obvious enough, and you need a straightforward connector to tie its individual parts together. Some cue words you may remove include “firstly”, “secondly”, “in conclusion”, “for example”, and so on. Some treat them as free words you can use to increase your word count – but the quality of writing always trumps quantity.
5. Break Your Text up Into Paragraphs
Obviously, you break your writing up into paragraphs; however, many students do not use them as well as they should. Paragraphs are not just decorative elements – they add rhythm and structure to your writing, making it easier to perceive. Just take a look at any online text, and you will see that the ease with which you can read them is directly dependent on how carefully they are divided into paragraphs.
6. Remove Some Adverbs and Adjectives
Adverbs and adjectives are modifiers – they do not have an independent meaning of their own. Instead, they modify the meaning of an adjoining noun or verb. The question is, is this modification important enough to justify the use of a separate word? Sometimes you can simply remove the modifier without losing any important shades of meaning. Sometimes you can change the modified word to convey the same or similar meaning without the need for a modifier (e.g., “sprint” rather than “run quickly”, “slam the door” rather than “shut the door abruptly”). It will both make your writing less cumbersome and broaden your word choice.
7. Check Your Readability Score
There are many readability formulas out there, and it is hard to recommend any single one. Try out different ones (e.g., Flesch-Kincaid Readability Ease, Gunning-Fog Score, Coleman-Liau Index, SMOG Index, and so on) and see which one works best for you. Again, there is no specific score to strive for – it depends on your current academic level. Try to achieve something that is consistent with what is currently expected of you. However, as a rule, it is a good idea to simplify your writing as long as it does not make it look simplistic.
The more readable your writing is, the more likely the reader is to perceive the meaning of your essay. Your writing gets more authoritative. It makes a better impression – which is, obviously, exactly what you want.