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Create a folder in your email account for new word emails, so that you can file each email away and have them all in one place ready to flick through and learn from in an idle moment.
Read different genres of fiction, and non-fiction covering a range of topics, and you’ll have the added bonus of widening your general knowledge as well as your vocabulary.
– Use a thesaurus – if you find yourself using the same words over and over again, add variety to your language by looking up those words in a thesaurus and finding other words that mean the same thing.
Read essays on a wide variety of subjects, not necessarily just those that you’re studying; different disciplines might apply different kinds of arguments or styles, so the wider you read, the more possible techniques there are for you to pick up and use in essays of your own. Has the writer used any techniques you’ve not seen before?
As you read other people’s essays, don’t just take them at face value. Another good source of essays is the broadsheet newspapers.
Prefixes are added to the beginning of a word to change the meaning, such as “semi” or “ante”, while suffixes are added to the end, such as “-able” or “-ance”.
– Start a vocabulary book – you probably have one if you’re learning a foreign language, so why not have one for your native language as well?Buy yourself a nice notepad and use it to collect new words and their meanings.The act of writing down the definition will help you remember it, and you could include an example of how the word is used to increase your chances of memorising it for use in essays.Only then can you start writing the structure for an essay that builds up to your overall conclusion.To condense what you’re trying to say into a short, snappy summary for you to work from, try making an ‘Elevator Pitch’ style summary of what you intend to write and why readers should be interested in it.For example, if you were to write a history essay on early religious practices in Britain, you could quote original texts on that topic (such as Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People) and also mention what a range of modern scholars have to say about the topic.Contrasting views should be sought; it’s unlikely that everyone agrees on the topic, so show you’ve looked at all the possible angles.Read the opinion pieces and dissect how the writer has supported their points with evidence, and again, be critical; note where they’ve left things out to try to persuade you to a particular opinion.Essays should be balanced, so you can learn from the best of these writers and pick up some techniques to help you shape a balanced piece.For many such students, each essay brings with it the challenge of making it that little bit better than the last one.The problem is that when you write essays regularly, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut of repeating the same formula each time – particularly when you already receive good feedback from the teachers who read them.