#1: Designing your essay
Preparing your entry for an essay competition isn’t an occasion for you to display your artistic proficiency. Using page border designs, drop cap, word art, a colourful cover page or font colours other than black should be avoided.
Instead, write a plain essay unblemished with fanciful colours and designs.
#2: Omitting to justify your texts
Ever seen an essay with the right margin appearing zigzag?
That’s what it means when a work isn’t justified. Such essays are difficult to read.
To fix this problem, just highlight the essay in MS Word with “Ctrl + A” and then justify with “Ctrl + J”.
#3: Using fanciful font types
This one makes my blood boil – that some entrants find it fanciful to use fonts like Algerian, Bradley Hand ITC, Freestyle Script, etc.
Using any of these impedes readability. If you burden the panel of judges to change the font type for you before your essay can be read, it’s fairly likely they won’t find it impressive.
The simple rule of thumb is to stick to Times New Roman, unless the essay contest guidelines require otherwise.
#4: Using inapt font sizes
This also pisses me off – that some writers use font sizes that are so big that only three words sit on a line … or so small that you can’t read without a microscope.
This also impedes readability.
The way out is to stick to font size 12 unless the organizers specify something else.
#5: Using single line spacing
The emphasis here – like for the last point – is on readability. I often encounter writers using single line spacing.
So unless it’s otherwise stated, the recommended line spacing is 2.0. You can set this by highlighting your work and pressing “Ctrl + 2”.
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