How to say what you want to say and be taken seriously.

1) Say it in as few words as possible.
– A good 1000 word essay is one that started off closer to 2000 and got honed down to the bare essentials. Unnecessary words clutter, confuse and compromise: cull them ruthlessly. Be okay with short sentences alongside longer ones.

2) Say it in the clearest language you can find.
– If you’re struggling with a sentence, stop, delete it, ask yourself ‘BS aside, what am I trying to say?’ Then just write down what comes into your head. Be okay with putting things simply – your reader will thank you for it.

3) Make sure that each word is the best one for the job.
– Don’t listen to the thesaurus haters. Use one. But use it intelligently. Words chosen for their perfect accuracy will make them nod involuntarily and say ‘yes!’ under their breath as they read – an experience that all great essays inspire.

4) Reference A LOT of other people’s opinions before expressing your own.
–  If you want to be taken seriously in an academic essay, you have to show that you’ve done your research. References are currency with which you buy the right to have your own opinion. One of your own costs about ten of other people’s.

5) Make sure that opinions sound like opinions, not like fact.
– Facts should be referenced. Anything that ‘shows’, ‘proves’ or ‘confirms’ something is a fact. Opinions, on the other hand, are what are ‘suggested’, ‘implied’ or ‘indicated’. They can be logical, likely, even probable, but never definite.


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