Here come the commonest aspects of a bad essay any student or examination candidate would want to avoid.
1. Bad introduction
A bad essay begins from the beginning. It starts with a poorly constructed introductory paragraph. It has a purposeless thesis statement or none at all.
2. Poorly developed paragraphs
Usually, the writer would have failed to begin each paragraph with clear and concise topic sentences. In other instances, any topic sentence forms the only meaningful sentence of the whole paragraph.
I know instances where a writer would write an incomplete sentence for a topic sentence and quickly jump to the next paragraph. The reader is thus left to figure out what the whole point of the paragraph is about.
3. Inadequate or irrelevant content.
In this case, the writer of a bad essay is unable to meet the demands of the topic in question. It is either they wrote scantily about the required subject matter or they deviated from those demands to do their own thing.
4. Careless use of vocabulary, sentence structure and grammar
The writer of a bad essay displays total disrespect for the rules of grammar. Such issues as tense, concord and punctuation are not given the seriousness they deserve.
Also, vocabulary appropriate to the audience, purpose and subject matter is absent.
Worst of all, the writing is monotonous and boring since it lacks well-constructed sentences or varied sentence structure or both.
5. Disjointed ideas, sentences and paragraphs
It is rare to encounter coherence and logical presentation of material in a bad essay. A terribly bad essay often sounds like a bad piece of music. You will scarcely find linking words and expressions. And, oh, if ever you chance upon one, it will meet you where you least expect it to be!
My decade-long experience handling students and adult learners at both secondary and tertiary levels offered me the opportunity to read all manner of essays. I came across the good, the bad, and the ugly.
What have I learnt? A lot. And I know all those wonderful guys I met had huge potential. Those who heeded good advice and tried their best to avoid the above pitfalls in essay writing have gone ahead to achieve their educational and life goals. This is why I trust that you too can benefit from these warning signs any time you need to write an essay.
Please, keep this in mind …
An essay may be terribly bad regardless of its length. A low-grade essay could be an extremely short and incomplete piece of work or it could be a very long combination of letters and words full of absolutely nothing.