Ask Writista: Why Wasn’t My Professor Impressed with My Paper?

question_markDear Writista,

I’m an honor student who tries to make my papers the best they can possibly be. I use the dictionary and thesaurus to make my work different and to show that I have great ideas that are a cut above the rest. But I got a C on my last paper! My professor even wrote “unnecessarily complicated” on it. What happened?? I’ve never had this problem before. I thought I was doing a great job! – Confused Cedric

Dear Cedric, 

It’s great that you take your academic papers seriously (I’m willing to bet 75% of students don’t). Unfortunately, you did it the wrong way. Many people have the impression that complicated words = intelligent ideas. I’m sorry, but this just isn’t true. More often than not, complex words cloud your intended meaning, which weakens your paper as a whole.

Difficult words have their uses. Use them when your intended meaning is so specific that no other word will do. For example, when you are discussing the gestalt concept in psychology, or the petit bourgeosie in sociology. Also use them when you need to win that Scrabble game. Otherwise, look for simpler alternatives.

Always strive to be clear and precise, and you’ll start getting better grades. Good luck!

Do you have a question for Writista? Email us at writista@gmail.com.

1 Response to “Ask Writista: Why Wasn’t My Professor Impressed with My Paper?”



  1. 1 The Art of Exaggeration « Writista Trackback on December 28, 2008 at 7:30 am

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