Fancy Pants Writing is a Big No-No

Don’t put fancy nonsense in your essay – it does more harm than good!


Consider this sentence from the introduction of a practice essay:

This essay will elaborate on causes and solutions of preventing obesity as a major disease among children and thus will lead to a logical conclusion.


First of all, you should NEVER mention the conclusion in the introduction. Also, this phrase “thus will lead to a logical conclusion” actually means nothing at all. I’ve seen a few people use this phrase, so there must be a website out there suggesting it. Please don’t if you want to do our best on the test.

Sounds fancy + means nothing = a lower score

Secondly, the use of the word “elaborate” is unnecessary and a little over-the-top.  To use “preventing” and “solutions”  together is tautology. You can’t prevent solutions – you prevent obesity OR solve (the verb form of solution) the obesity problem. All in all, the sentence sounds pompous and silly.

A much better sentence would be this:

This essay will discuss some of the causes of the childhood obesity epidemic and suggest some possible solutions.

No, it isn’t fancy. Yes, it answers the question clearly and succinctly.

So many students are convinced that the fancy way is the best way. It isn’t.

Consider this sentence from the same practice essay:

Thus, it is clear that this idea holds it merit.

Again – a fancy sounding sentence that doesn’t mean anything much.

A better was to say it:

It is clear from this example that …. 


Here’s another one I found from another student:

Some people opine the strict punishments are the best way to curtail traffic accidents.

All I can say to this student is this: Don’t use the word opine in an IELTS essay. You have to be a native speaker and professional writer, probably, to use this word well. Also, curtail is a fancy word that does not fit here. It is better to find a straight-forward collocation – reduce and lower are often used with incidence of traffic accidents. So making up your own collocations will affect your score for Lexical Resource. You WILL NOT get a higher score because you use a lot of synonyms that don’t quite fit rather than learn and use the correct English collocation.



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