Words Not To Use in an Essay: Your A-Z List

Essay writing might seem complicated at first glance, but knowing the right words to choose will simplify the entire process. When it comes to academic papers, avoiding some words can make a difference and help you craft an effective paper.

As a student, you might encounter a wide array of complex writing tasks. Yet, struggling with the intricacies of academic papers should not be an uphill task. Besides extensive analysis and impeccable writing skills, you need to know some of the words not to use in an essay to produce exceptional content. 

Overuse of common clichés and expressions can bore your readers quickly. Moreover, vague phrases and flabby words can be confusing and might earn you low grades. So, how does one identify the words to avoid in an essay? While many students might seek help from their tutors or other academic experts, others go the extra mile to research online while sampling various essays that worked for other college students. 

Here, we present a list of words not to use in an essay to help you write a remarkable paper.

Words and Phrases to Avoid in Academic Writing

Academic papers are formal documents that should be written using appropriate language. Numerous words used in informal writing or everyday conversations are not acceptable in academic writing. However, many students may overlook the importance of understanding the principles of academic writing. Instead of first learning the words to avoid in an essay, they rush into writing the paper, which compromises the final quality of their intellectual products. 

The rule of thumb is to avoid words that are too informal, primitive, vague, subjective, exaggerated, and generally incorrect or unnecessary. Let us explore these categories to help you gain a better understanding of what words not to use in an essay

Too Informal 

It is essential to know that academic writing rarely tolerates personal viewpoints. Academic papers should present accurate information from credible sources. Hence, there are numerous words you should avoid, as they make your work too informal. 

Here are some words to avoid in writing academic papers:

  • A lot
  • Till
  • A bit
  • Sort of
  • Isn’t, would’ve (and other kinds of contractions) 

Too Exaggerated

Using exaggerated words in an essay makes it look dramatic and poorly written. Some words in this category are usually drawn from intensifiers, which are usually used for emphasis. While these words may be valuable at times, they also tend to introduce inaccurate claims. Thus, ensure you use such words sparingly in your essay.

Here is a list of top exaggerated words to avoid in an essay:

  • Amazing
  • Perfect
  • Never
  • Always
  • Really
  • Thoroughly
  • Miraculous 

Too Subjective

You can find some words in academic writing that present a bias. For example, if you claim that a particular event will occur without a doubt, you are saying that it is an obvious occurrence, which is not a fact.

Presenting your opinion might be applicable in various academic papers, like an argumentative essay or a personal statement. However, most essays require objectivity through the use of appropriate words.

Here are some words you should avoid:

  • Great
  • Beautiful
  • Boring
  • Obviously
  • Of course 
  • Wonderful 

Why You Shouldn’t Use Vague Words in Essays 

Vague words are not precise, and readers can come up with numerous interpretations. As a result, vagueness in essay writing can confuse the target readers and alter the original meaning of the intended message. Keep in mind that vague essays lack quality and clarity. Besides, college professors dislike vagueness in academic writing. Apart from the confusion, vague words can turn a great research paper into low-grade content. 

Thus, you should write clear and straightforward phrases if you want to add value to your academic paper. Be specific and avoid using tricky phrases that might compromise your content’s comprehension. Ambiguity brings doubt to your reader’s mind, and you might not achieve your intended goal. 

Here are vague words to avoid in essays:

  • Stuff
  • A long time ago
  • Many things 
  • A while 

Flabby Words and Expressions

Flabby words and expressions make an academic paper worthless. These words take up space without adding value to your essay. Besides taking headspace, flabby words don’t communicate effectively to your readers. Such words usually contain clichés that don’t carry specific meanings. 

You can use flabby expressions in daily conversations or a blog, but avoid these words when it comes to official academic papers. Such word choices will weaken your arguments and earn you low grades, as your professor surely prefers clear and direct essays without wasted phrases that don’t carry vital information. 

Thus, avoiding the list of flabby words and phrases below will propel your writing to higher heights.

  • Very
  • Who is
  • Go on
  • The reason
  • This is a 
  • In terms of

Why You Should Avoid Using Redundant Words in Essays 

Redundant words are unnecessary and make an essay lifeless. These words don’t serve a primary purpose in academic writing and might compromise your research quality and readability. While many students might use many redundant words in oral conversations, these word choices are inappropriate for writing. 

Thus, you should make a conscious effort to remove redundant words because they interfere with the essay flow and bring an unnecessary distraction to the readers. In addition, these words might weaken your main argumentative points and make you sound incompetent. 

Thus, strive to eliminate words and phrases that don’t serve a significant purpose in your essay. Clear, concise, and astute essays are more effective and will earn you top grades as a college student. Otherwise, using meaningless phrases will make you lose readers and undermine your academic integrity. 

Here are some redundant phrases and words to avoid using in an essay

  • Actual
  • Absolutely
  • Basic 
  • Completely 
  • As a matter of fact
  • Due to

Assertive Words Not To Use in an Essay 

Assertive words may draw rigid conclusions about particular occurrences. Since information keeps evolving, learners are taught to keep an open mind. Here are some assertive words to avoid with alternative terms you can use in your essay:

  • Confirms – Supports
  • Undeniable – Defends
  • Proves – Identifies
  • Knows – Argues
  • Certainly – Reinforces

Emotional Words To Avoid in an Essay 

Using emotional words in an academic paper shows you lack critical thinking skills. Competent essay writing requires you to present objective ideas and factual information to your professor. Therefore, emotional elements should not appear in your essay to ensure you communicate without bias. Your readers need to follow through with your arguments without feeling drawn to your personal issues. 

Here are some emotional words not to use in an argumentative essay:

  • Absurd
  • Ridiculous 
  • Stupid 
  • Disgusting 
  • Sickening 

Summing Up 

Essay writing is an academic process that requires clarity and straightforwardness. Ensure your work is critical, analytical, and objective. Nevertheless, incorporate professionalism and calmness in your essay without being dramatic and messy. Don’t be too emotional, primitive, and subjective while presenting your arguments. Understanding what words to avoid in an essay will help you craft an effective paper without ambiguity. 

Therefore, pay attention to the right words for essay tasks, which will help you become an expert writer. Every word choice matters when it comes to quality content.

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