Writing Compositions – 8 Most Confusing Phrases

Table of Contents

It is up to each student to exhibit maximum flair and finesse in writing a composition. Now, this does not happen all the time as students lapse into what I call ‘safe’ words.

What are safe words?

They are words that students feel will effectively describe most situations when writing compositions and they will use them over and over again. Sometimes, the words fit the situation but when used excessively, they do not.

Let us take a look at what I am talking about. Most of the phrases used usually border on the repetitive and boring.

Phrase 1 – “I suddenly got an idea and I suddenly decided to try the plan my brother suddenly asked me to do.”

In this case, ‘suddenly’ is a safe word. Students sometimes run out of vocabulary words to use and they think that by using a safe word like ‘suddenly’, they will be able to write a decent composition.

This is never the case. The use of these repeated words causes frustration. It is also confusing as the story becomes very bland and uninteresting.

  • What exactly is the intention of the main character? 
  • What is his course of action? 
  • What is his relationship with his brother?

The use of the same word ‘suddenly’ makes it difficult for the reader to see beyond all these concerns. The story is stuck and there is no movement or curiosity.

Phrase 2 – “So, I was going there and I went while deciding still…”

The confusion is caused by ‘going’ and ‘went.’ The time duration is confusing as the character is about going and yet has already gone.

This is one of the most common mistakes when writing compositions and often the most confusing. Both tenses are jumbled up, the continuous and the past tense. It should not be used together like this as it causes a break in the timeline. 

To avoid this confusion, just stick to the past tense as much as possible and try not to keep switching.


Phrase 3 – “I wanted to tell my mother but I was undecided and after deciding for a long time…”

The bridge between the intention and execution of it is too long. Students often are unable to transition from wanting to do something and finishing it properly according to one’s desire.

Phrase 4 – “I made up my mind that I could or could not…”

This sentence was supposed to show indecision. Instead, it causes paralysis. 

“I was wondering whether or not to do it” should have been written. And “made up my mind” only makes it confusing. It should have been left out.

Phrase 5 – “I called her to tell her as I wanted to tell her myself…”

This is repetitive and confusing. The reader gets the impression that the character executed the same action twice. Called to tell and wanting to tell are about the same. 

This type of composition writing should be avoided. The simple way should have been “I called her myself…”


Phrase 6 – Very long run-on sentences

Eg. “I decided to go there and tell him myself so I took the bus by myself and I walked towards his house thinking if he would open the door and he did and that is when I realised I had forgotten everything I was  going to say and he did not say anything.”

The meaning is simple. You were going there to say something important but by the time you got there, you had forgotten it. 

And he ‘did not say anything’ is very confusing. 

  • Did he also forget? 
  • Or he was surprised and could not say? 
  • Or he was angry at you for not saying something and he glared without saying anything?

What does it mean?

The sentence is obviously rambling and too long. It has to be broken up.

And the worst part is that it is very boring – no descriptions, no adjectives, no personal opinions whatsoever. Just rambling on with mundane travel directions and wondering without explaining why in compositions is going to turn the reader off.

Phrase 7 – Very abrupt conclusion one-liners

“And that was when I realised what I should not have done and it taught me a really good lesson.”

This is a bit confusing because there is no elaboration on the ‘good lesson.’ Infusing a bit of your opinion will make a great difference.

Phrase 8 – “It was one of the most surprising and shocking and delightful moments of my life.”

How is that possible? Using oxymorons for dramatic results does not work when you are writing compositions. Mentioning that it is both shocking and delightful causes confusion and the reader is left feeling rather annoyed.

The last thing you want to do is to cause the marker of your composition annoyance. 

Therefore, stick to plain writing where the meaning is clear and the reader will certainly know what you are trying to say.

Remember, if you can’t be creative or stylish, aim for simplicity. Simplicity is best when it comes to writing compositions.

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

Get a Free Assessment Test

Many O and A level students are struggling with their English grades today. We conduct a FREE English Assessment Test for every student and more than 5,000 students have managed to achieve amazing results. 

Sign up for the FREE test today and we will send you the results!