Writing a college or university essay and need some help with APA formatting? Unsure about what an ‘argumentative essay’ should sound like (who am I arguing with!?)? Read on to discover five great websites to turn to when essay stress is taking over!
1) Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL): Run by the Writing Center at Purdue University in Indiana, USA, this website is an all-time favourite for it’s easy-to-read layout and wealth of advice. It’s a one-stop shop for everything you need to know about the academic writing process, from developing a thesis statement to making sure your periods and italics are in the right places in your footnotes. They also have resources for ESL students specifically, such as information on writing for a North American business audience, ESL exercises, and more. Bookmark this site in your browser and you won’t regret it when it’s essay writing crunch time!
2) Dictionary.com & Thesaurus.com: Thank goodness for the digitalization of thesauruses and dictionaries! These two resources are linked with handy-dandy tabs at the top of the website, so you can flip between them as needed. Just enter the word you’d like to replace, and tons of suggested synonyms pop up. Or figure out if the word you’re using means what you think it means (‘affect’ vs. ‘effect’ is a tricky one, for example). Also check out their handy apps for Android and iPhone.
3) Western University’s Writing Support Centre Resources: A very well put-together university writing resource website, with tons of useful content. Writing support .pdf files, links to up-to-date online style guides (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.), and even links to other university’s online writing center resources! The staff at Western’s Writing Centre definitely put thought and care into compiling the resources listed on this website, so take advantage!
4) Paradigm Online Writing Assistant: This resource walks visitors through the entire writing process, from narrowing your subject down and arranging your ideas, to editing your work (or you can always contact us for that part! 😊). It provides easy-to-understand summaries of the nuts and bolts of thesis/support essays, argumentative essays, and exploratory essays. If you’re feeling confused about how to get started, or are stuck somewhere in the middle of the essay writing process, take a few minutes to check this website out.
5) SmartWords.org: This simplistic website is great to keep open in a browser tab while working on your essay. We all tend to overuse certain words and phrases (furthermore, as a result, in conclusion..), which can distract readers from our message. This site offers a plethora of synonyms and transitional phrases to add a bit of variety to your work. A favourite page of mine is the transition words section.
On top of these websites, it’s worth mentioning that most Canadian universities and colleges have writing support services right on campus, available by appointment or on a drop-in basis.
The online resources listed above are great when writing centres are closed or fully booked and you need to get work done by yourself.
Some people prefer to find information on their own, or haven’t left themselves enough time to use the writing centre (we all procrastinate a bit, right?).
Tell us which online resources you like using during the essay writing process in the comments below!