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Phrases to NEVER Use in An English Essay

Phrases to NEVER Use in An English Essay It is easy to fog the message your essay is trying to put across by using technical terms or fancy words. In reality, these technical terms you're using are probably being overused or used incorrectly, and the fancy words may be inefficient, or may not be real words at all. When writing a good English essay, it is important to remember that simplicity is key; get your message across and get it across well. Using fewer, simple words will likely make your essay stronger. Avoid these six phrases in all your English essays and you're sure to impress your teacher or professor.

"Negative Connotation"

This phrase is one of the most overused phrases used in English essays. Even though it's used so much by students, it doesn't really say anything. Why are there negative connotations? What kind of connotations does the passage create? Just writing "negative" is extremely vague. Try to be more specific, and explain with a few more words what you really mean.

"Dark Imagery"

This is so overused by students that it is becoming an essay cliché. Just as you should avoid all clichés in your essays, also avoid mentioning the "dark imagery" that a short story or poem creates. Try to be more creative than simply using "dark." What do you really mean? Try to go deeper into the work you're analyzing and then think why the author of the piece would do this. Worse comes to worse, look up "dark" in the thesaurus for alternative adjectives.

"In Conclusion"

This is a particularly juvenile ending to an essay that should be avoided at all if you're in university or high school. Using this phrase tends to lead to successive sentences that don't really need to be in your essay. Using the phrase "in conclusion" encourages a student to say what they've just said and not interest their reader. Finish your essay strong! Instead of telling your reader about your findings, just show them. Get right into the body of your conclusion, and avoid the fluffy, wordy sentences that tend to follow this clichéd phrase.

"Utilize" Or "Utilization"

While this isn't exactly a phrase, both "utilize" and "utilization" are words you should avoid in your English essay. These are not fancy or useful words, and they will not make your essay sound smarter. In reality, it'll make your essay look a little outdated, and might even irritate your reader. Just say "use." Simple is better, as it ensures that you're really focusing on what you're writing and what you're trying to say, rather than incorporating useless words into your paper.


This is another word that should NEVER appear in your English essay. That is, it should never be used in your essay unless it is used properly. The trick here though, is that many students tend to misunderstand what irony really is and then overuse it throughout their essays. In everyday language, we tend to use "irony" as being synonymous with "coincidentally." In your English essays though, "irony" and "ironically" should not be used in this way. Think more along the lines of Shakespearean dramatic irony or comedic irony. If you're still unsure, ask your teacher for clarification or avoid using the phrase at all.

Any Intensifiers Including "Really," "Very" or "Quite"

NEVER use intensifiers in your essay. They are empty sentence fillers and don't add anything insightful or interesting into your essay. Students tend to use intensifiers to fill up their essay's word count, but this could jeopardize their grade. Not only do they add nothing to your paper but they will also make your essay sound juvenile rather than professionally researched and written. If you NEVER use these phrases or words in your English essays, then you're well on your way to writing a good paper. Of course, students should also keep in mind that writing in the passive voice should be avoided, and that overusing semicolons is guaranteed to irritate the readers. With all these English essay-writing tips to keep in mind, you should be able to focus on getting great, original ideas down on paper!

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