One of the biggest issues I encounter when proofreading university work is the lack of, what I call, oomph. The piece of work simply sums up what was contained in the rest of the text and fizzles out once the word count has been reached. This is one of my personal pet hates. Essays should have a start, a middle and an end. The reader should be able to differentiate between each section with or without section headers.

The start should clearly set out the theme and topic to be addressed and denote what areas will be covered and what methodology will be used. The middle content should discuss the topic by drawing on other writer’s work, data and evidence. This is where the debate takes place and you can demonstrate your understanding of the subject gained through wider reading. The end should have an impact. The closing statement needs to make an impression on the reader, otherwise, your previous sections are pointless. If the reader can’t work out what your viewpoint is then you haven’t concluded powerfully enough.

Sometimes I wonder if the student isn’t confident in the subject area and is worried about being ‘wrong’. Just remember there are no right or wrong answers. You should demonstrate confidence and depth of knowledge in your conclusion. You could argue that black is white provided you include evidence to support your argument. To make your essay stand out and have ‘oomph’ you should remember the words of my father, a musician, ‘Right or wrong, make it strong!’.

Words Angel