Now that you have mastered the three parts of an essay, (introduction, body, and conclusion), in this article, we shall focus on some of the common mistakes in writing and how to avoid them.
Some of these mistakes apply to the majority of cases, however, there are exceptions when they can be allowed depending on the type of document and instructions.
The article will be divided into four sections including grammatical mistakes, style, structure, and formatting mistakes. The first impression of an academic writing paper is portrayed by the format. Readers and editors can look at the format of your paper and determine whether you are a competent writer or not. We shall begin with some common mistakes in formating academic writing papers. The article focuses on APA and MLA for illustrations. However, writers should also know how the same guidelines apply to other formats like Harvard and Chicago.
Academic papers must be written in essay and paragraph format. The three parts of an essay include the introduction, body, and conclusion. However, do not label the three sections of an essay in your papers. However, the introduction and conclusion are often labeled when writing dissertations and research projects.
The second mistake is the use of punctuation marks in in-text citations. Ensure that the punctuations align with the specific format of the paper. In APA citations are written in the surname-date format while in MLA citations are written in surname-page number format. APA uses a comma after the surname for example (Ford, 2021). However, in MLA there is no use of commas between the surname and page number for example (Ford 24). In Havard format, citations are written in the surname, date, and page number format. A comma is placed after the year of publication followed by a space and the page number. The page number is abbreviated using a small letter “p” followed by a full stop and the actual page number for example (Ford 2021, p.24).
The title of a paper must be written by the student. The title should be new and original and not the title provided by the instructor. An average title contains less than nine words. Do not write the lecturer’s questions within the essay. If a writer wants to include questions in the paper, this can be added to the cover sheet. APA and Harvard have cover pages while MLA does not have a cover page. Lastly, the title of the paper should always be centered within the paper and written in the title case.
While writing, the text should be aligned and indented accordingly. The entire paper should be aligned to the left and do not justify the text. The recommended fonts in research writing include the Times New Roman 12 point font. Understand how to format the different levels of titles while using different formats. Generally, all subtitles must be written in the title case. This means that the first nouns in the title must be written in capital letters. Do not identify any keywords in academic writing like it is done in article writing.
A reference section is also a commonplace where writers make mistakes. One key principle of writing a reference list includes; references should be placed on a new numbered page. In APA the reference page is titled “References” while in MLA it is titled “Works Cited”. The references should always be arranged in alphabetical order using the author’s surname. The references use the author’s last name. Writers must understand the difference between the author’s first and last name. References retrieved from the internet should include the date of retrieval and always remove the hyperlinks from the URLs. Every fact mentioned in the paper must be supported by an in-text citation and a corresponding entry entered in the references. The number of sources means the materials used in the research paper. However, in-text citations should always be as many as possible within the text to ensure every fact mentioned is supported by a reference.