3 Common Essay Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Writing good essays can be a bit of a challenge – especially for rookies and beginners. There are different mistakes that rookies are prone to make. And the sad part about it is that since the mistakes are made by rookies, they themselves can’t spot them well.

But don’t worry. We’re here to help you out. In this blog, we will be looking at some of the common mistakes that people can make when writing essays. We will also take a look-see at how you can avoid them.

1. Not Understanding and Addressing the Essay Question

The problem with this mistake, i.e., not understanding and addressing the essay question, is that it is often realized once you’re done with the whole thing. You could, for example, end up writing the whole essay and then find out that it was not according to the instructions and details provided to you.

There’s really not much that you can do at this point other than the heavy sigh and the low exclamation of “Oh, boy…”

Coming to the point, what do we mean when we say “not understanding and addressing the essay question”? It simply means failing to properly understand the essay question and then proceeding to write the essay on those misunderstood ideas.

If the essay at hand covers a multi-faceted topic, then this mistake could be limited to misunderstanding a particular topic/idea from the lot. In this sort of situation, the damage caused by such a mistake is somewhat ameliorated since amends can be made for that particular part.

On the other hand, if the essay covers a single topic, then a misunderstanding regarding the latter can turn out to be…catastrophic. In such a case, fixing the issue would mean rewriting the entire thing.

So how do you make sure that you don’t make this mistake?

How to Avoid This Mistake?

Here are some tips that you can follow to avoid this mistake:

  1. Firstly, be sure to read through the given instructions (the essay question) carefully. Skimming over something – especially if it is something inherently “boring” as an essay question – can be somewhat tempting, but you have to avoid it. You should instead take the time to carefully read through the instructions multiple times. This will help to reduce the chances of misunderstanding.
  2. Secondly, ask your instructor about any confusion that you may have. If you are having trouble understanding the essay question, you can always ask your instructor for help.
  3. And thirdly, you can always conduct research online to clear up your confusion. If you can’t understand the essay question, try looking it up on the internet. It’s possible that the same essay could have been written by someone else, and you could get some help from it.

2. Botching the Introduction

This is one of the most common – and also most harmful – mistakes that you can make when writing an essay. The introduction is one of the key elements of your essay, and there are different things that you can go wrong with when writing it.

Among others, here are some of the issues that writers can usually face when writing an introduction:

  1. Unnecessarily elongating or shortening it. In this regard, you should be careful about the instructions provided to you by your institute. If there is a particular number of words that needs to necessarily exist in the introduction, you should stick to that. But if there is no such given instruction, you should use the 10% rule. As a rule, the introduction of your essay should be around 10% of the entire word count. A 1,000-word essay would have a 100-word intro.
  2. Not covering the main topics/ideas. If you’re writing an introduction, you need to make sure that it introduces all the stuff that you’re going to be discussing in the topic. A lot of people can accidentally omit a vital detail from the introduction, due to which the latter can be left somewhat lacking.
  3. Making it too boring. Along with keeping the introduction long enough and covering all the main ideas, you should also take care to make it engaging. Your introduction is the first thing that your readers will see, and it has to be captivating enough to draw them into the essay itself.

How to Avoid This Mistake?

We’ve talked about some of the main things that you can possibly do wrong when writing the introduction. Now, let’s look at how you can avoid them.

  1. For the first issue, i.e., needlessly elongating or shortening the introduction, we gave the solution above as well, and we’re reiterating it here again. Just use the 10% rule. That is, of course, if there are no instructions provided by your institute.
  2. For the second issue, i.e., not covering the main topics, here is the solution you can try out: list all the main topics briefly somewhere. Then, when writing the introduction, give a sentence or a couple of sentences (depending on the length of the essay) to each point. That way, you will be able to cover them all.
  3. And for the third issue, i.e., making the introduction too boring, here is what you can try doing.
  1. Use simple but powerful words
  2. Use active voice
  3. Don’t dillydally – get straight to the point

Another good way in which you can spice up your introduction and make it more engaging is to use an online paraphrasing tool. This isn’t exactly your typical conventional method, but it can still be effective.

Online paraphrasing tools, especially ones that run on smart AI-based algorithms, can help to improve the overall flow and engagement of a given piece of text. To show you what we mean, we’ll put some random content inside Rephrase – which is a popular paraphrasing tool – and show you the results. You’ll get what we mean by looking at the results

Now that we’re done with this point let’s move on to the next common mistake that people can make during essay writing.

3. Grammar and Spelling Errors

Grammar and spelling errors are ubiquitous: everyone makes them, be they skilled writers or rookies.

These types of errors can be easily committed when writing an essay. While they are easy to commit, they are hard to detect and quick to harm.


These errors can be made in a moment of forgetfulness or carelessness, and it can be difficult to find them later on. Small errors like missing apostrophes, missing commas, and the like can commonly occur in essays, and they can adversely affect the quality of the whole content. And on top of affecting the quality, they can also end up altering the meaning of the sentence(s) in some situations.

Consider the following example:

“I enjoy cooking books and pets.”

In this sentence, due to the absence of the comma, it sounds like the person enjoys cooking books. The correct version of this sentence is as follows:

I enjoy cooking, books, and pets.”

Let’s take a look at some of the common grammar errors before moving on to look at how you can avoid them:

  1. Wrong use of the comma
  2. Wrong use of colon and semi-colon
  3. Run-on sentences
  4. Starting sentences with “because.”

And the list goes on.

How Can You Avoid this Mistake?

As we said earlier, this type of mistake is ubiquitous. It can be made even by skilled writers. Therefore, attempting to eliminate its very occurrence is futile. Of course, you should be careful, no doubt.

But your focus should be on amending the errors once they are made.

Here are some things that you can do to fix the grammar and spelling errors in your essay:

  1. Read the essay yourself multiple times. Give some intervals between each of these reading sessions so that you can view the essay objectively each time. Should you spot any errors during this proofreading phase, you can simply correct them.
  2. Have someone read the essay for you. This should be, ideally, someone who has a good idea of the grammatical rules and regulations. Having someone else read the essay can be a more effective way to find and fix grammatical errors since the other person can look at the content more objectively.
  3. Use a grammar and spell-checking tool. These types of tools can quickly analyze the provided text, find the errors inside it, and then provide the correct suggestions.


When it comes to writing essays, you have to be careful about avoiding common errors and mistakes. In the article above, we’ve highlighted some of the main ones along with their solutions. 

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