Providing a balanced perspective is a mark of a smart and experienced writer. Today I’ll introduce you to a word that you already know, but whose power you may not have realized until now. It will allow you to:
- Show your professor how smart you are
- Convey that you are unbiased and value other people’s opinions
- Make your essay be perceived as well-researched
- More importantly, present you as a serious writer who cares about the subject
- And ultimately, get a higher grade
So, what’s the Power Word?
The word is
Are you surprised? Were you hoping for something fancier than that? You don’t need fancy words to come across as intelligent. But you do need to learn the true power of a few that really matter. And this one does.
You see, the word However acts as a partition within your reader’s mind. What do I mean when I say ‘partition?’ It creates two sections that discuss and describe the same subject. Let’s take an example from my previous post (this will help even if you didn’t read it).
Here is the thesis statement:
In spite of a couple of minor setbacks, a vacation in the Dominican Republic can be totally awesome. There may not be much sight-seeing, and the weather may disappoint in the wrong time of the year. However, beautiful sandy beaches, excellent food, and twenty-four-hour entertainment are bound to make it a winner.
If I were the writer, this would be my first paragraph. Now, as you read it, did you immediately:
- Grasp that this is a balanced perspective?
- Understand what the pros and cons of going to Dominican Republic are?
- And most importantly, realize that the main point has two parts?
I’m pretty sure that you answered ‘yes’ to at least two of these. This is the power of the Power Word However. Here’s what the map of the entire argument looks like in your mind now:
A vacation in Dominican Republic:
May suck because of:
- No sight-seeing
- Bad weather
Will probably rock because of:
- Great beaches
- Delicious food
- Awesome Entertainment
And now, because you have this map in your mind as a reader, it will be impossible for you to miss the main point. And the word However made this possible. So, this is how you use this Power Word to divide the whole paper into two parts.
And now let’s take a look at how to use it within a sentence. It can be placed either in the beginning (as the first word) or in the middle of the sentence:
However, Dominican Republic is still a great vacation spot.
Dominican Republic, however, is still a great vacation spot.
Please note that in both cases, the sentence only contains one side of the main point. Never include both sides within one sentence if you use the word However, because this is a sure recipe for a run-on sentence – a major grade killer:
A vacation in Dominican Republic can be ruined, however, it is likely to be awesome.
In order to avoid this mistake, simply include only one side of the story in the sentence that includes the word ‘However’:
A vacation in Dominican Republic can be ruined. However, it is likely to be awesome.
And, by the way, if you want, you may write this word at the end of the sentence, just for variety:
It is likely to be awesome, however. (This is grammatically correct, but sounds a little weird – trust your ear when you write.)
So, these are the points to remember:
- The word However is very powerful and sets up your reader’s mind to ‘get it’
- It is an equivalent of the word ‘But’
- You can begin or end the sentence with it, or write it in the middle (use your judgment)
- If you make this word your friend, it will help you earn better grades and feel better and more confident about your writing