Common Writing Weaknesses

These are writing weaknesses that we notice in much writing that’s at the college-level or lower. We give examples of the issue, explanations of why those examples are poor writing, and advice on how to fix the issue in your own writing. Feel free to browse all the pages or click on the ones that you struggle with.

Vague, General Statements and Fluff

If you have an editor or teacher marking whole sentences and paragraphs out in your essay and/or writing “fluff” in the margins, this section will help you to make your writing more clear, specific, and impactful.

Redundancy and Wordiness

If you have an editor or teacher marking out a whole bunch of your words, writing “unnecessary” in the margins, or commenting that sections are “wordy,” this section can help you to write more concisely and memorably.

Imprecise and Incorrect Word Choice

If your editor or teacher is constantly correcting your spelling even though you ran spellcheck, or is marking that the words you’ve chosen are imprecise or wrong, this section can help you catch these mistakes in the editing stage.

Run-on Sentences and Sentence Fragments

This may seem like a grammar problem, but it’s often really just a problem of flow, so if this is an issue you believe you have, we also suggest you check out the section below on confusing or awkward sentence structure.

Confusing or Awkward Sentence Structure

While these types of sentences are “technically” correct, they are often unreadable. It’s not as important that you follow the grammar rules you were taught in school as it is that you communicate well to your reader. This section helps you spot these issues and improve them in your writing.

Bad Metaphors and Comparisons

Good metaphors can take a good argument and make it a great one. They can provide excellent illustration or evidence, giving your reader a new, persuasive perspective. Bad comparisons make an argument confusing and hard to follow. Learn the difference in this section and how to evaluate your own comparisons.

Lack of or Weak Transitions

Transitions are one of the most neglected areas in essay writing, so even if you’re a good writer, this is likely an area you can improve on. See examples of good and bad transitions, and how to create good flow in your argument or story.

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