Writing a good essay can be a challenging task. In order to succeed, you need an ability to develop your ideas logically, use correct grammar and make appropriate stylistic references.
However, even if you are brilliant at all the above mentioned, your essay can turn out to be a disaster in terms of vocabulary.
The four most common types of vocabulary mistakes are:
- Misuse of homonyms.
Homonyms are words that sound the same, but differ in meaning, spelling and usage. While writing, we can easily confuse such words and, as a result, the reader will fail to understand the idea. Typical homonyms which are often misused are here vs. hear, hole vs. whole, its vs. it’s, know vs. no, knew vs. new, etc.
- Confused words.
Apart from homonyms, there are words which are similar in spelling, sound and meaning and, thus, are often confused. Such words as accept – except, affect – effect, loose – lose, quite – quit – quiet, then – than will not be identified by a computer spell checker. So, it is important to proofread your essay carefully in order to make sure you have used the correct words.
- Wrong word forms.
When we write quickly, we can also make a mistake in writing a word form, different from what we were actually going to write. This is especially true about parts of speech reference. For example, it is a common mistake to write a verb instead of an adjective, which can considerably change the meaning (e.g. disable people instead of disabled people).
- Nonstandard vocabulary.
Another important point, which is actually on the borderline between a stylistic and a vocabulary error, is the use of nonstandard words like wanna, gonna, kinda. Although they are generally understood by the reader, when used in academic writing, they produce an unfavorable impression and must be avoided.
In order to eliminate such mistakes, use the following strategies:
- Plan your time effectively: do not spend too much time for the preparation stage; this will mean you have very little time for the writing process itself, which can make you nervous and inattentive.
- Always proofread your writing, paying special attention to the key problem areas.
- If possible, revise your writing several days after you have written the first variant and find a person who will read your essay for you.