A Guide to Essay Writing: Common Errors Made by Students

Everyone has had to write an essay at some point in their lives that was returned with red Xs and crossed out words. Although every student will make mistakes someday, there are some writing problems that are more common than others. If you want to get the best grade possible, make sure to avoid these common errors.

Lacks Evidence

In an essay, a quote, statistics or data can be used to support a thesis. Without these facts, the essay is just conjecture and opinion. Teachers will and do mark down for lack of evidence on essays, so make sure that you can back up your entire argument.

Poor Thesis

Amazingly, a lack of a thesis is actually one of the most common essay writing errors. Too often, students state a fact as the thesis instead of creating an argument. This can lead to a much, much lower grade on the essay. The thesis is the heart of the essay. If this one sentence did not exist, the essay would cease to exist. To make the thesis easier to find, try to put it at the end of the introduction.


Although most students hear warnings about intentional plagiarism, there is also a decent problem with unintentional plagiarism. Basically, you need to cite everything. Each statistic, idea, quotation or theory that is not yours must be cited to the original creator. Using someone else's writing is perfectly fine as long as it is cited. If the quotation is not cited or put into quotes, it is plagiarism.

Spelling Errors

In modern times, there are no reasons for spelling errors to even exist. Each computer contains a spelling and grammar program that can check for errors. Although the computer may sometimes miss certain words, such as New Zealand on my computer, it will catch the majority of errors. Before you turn in an essay to your teacher, make sure to check for any spelling errors, grammar problems or typos. For students that have problems with proofreading, reading the essay out loud can be a great way to spot grammatical errors.

Create an Outline

Creating an outline helps you to organize your thoughts and ensure a logical order for the essay. Without an outline, many students end up repeating ideas or presenting their argument out of order. If you want your essay to make logical sense, create an outline before you start writing it. Your teacher will thank you, and your grade will reflect the improvement in writing quality.