Top 10 ways to write like an amateur

Here's how not to write like the professional you are.

  1. Assume that your reader is inept, and write with the utmost confidence in your own unique genius.
  2. Disguise your lack of evidence by inflating your paragraphs with windy phrases like "It seems to me self-evident...," "I will necessarily wish to point out in some detail...," "I am referring to a certain..."
  3. Don't bother organizing your points into any logical order. Your reader owes it to you to try to figure out what you're getting at.
  4. Establish your Ethos by complimenting your sources generously; after all, your admiration of the field's recognized expert is what really matters most to your reader.
  5. Personify institutions, things, or whatever else you can get your verbs on, so that you can create pleasantly awkward word pictures in your reader's mind, a la "these results question the previous assumption that...," "higher education has tried to address this problem by..."
  6. Pay no attention to which verbs you use when reporting what sources have said: Obviously, there's no difference between describing and explaining, arguing and pointing out, tracing and contextualizing, implying and suggesting. Preferably choose just one verb and use it over and over again, every time you cite a source.
  7. Begin every single sentence with "thus," "however," or "consequently," no matter what the logical relationship (if any) actually is between one sentence and the next.
  8. Use unsparingly whichever words are most trendy in your discipline at the moment, especially if you haven't thought deeply about what the word means.
  9. Sprinkle typos and grammatical anomalies throughout your manuscript.
  10. Describe the familiar, point out the obvious, and argue the self-evident.
Posted on April 10, 2014 .