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How To Write an Essay

November 20, 2017 Essay writing tips
How To Write an Essay

As you get closer to the essay writing, let's get familiar with a definition of an essay first. An essay is a short composition based on a particular subject or theme, usually done by students as a part of the workload at school or university. It may be written to:

  • Describe (a particular topic or situation)
  • Persuade (convince a reader to adopt a certain point of view)
  • Inform (to present information that your readers don’t know)
  • Explain (to explain a certain process or situation, for example how to bake a cake)


To write an essay, begin by supplying ideas and follow these steps:

Deciding On Topic

Before writing an essay, you must make sure to choose a suitable topic; this is important because it will set the tone of the whole paper. Selecting a proper topic can also make the difference between an interesting essay and a dull one. Consider these things before choosing a topic for your essay.

  • Make sure to have access to all the materials you may need before writing a paper.
  • If allowed, choose a topic that is familiar to you. It will be easy and interesting for you to write about a theme in which you are well versed.
  • Define The Purpose: What is the purpose of your essay? Are you trying to inform the audience of something interesting or persuade them to agree with your opinion? Even if your goal is just to tell a story, have a clear understanding of the purpose of the writing. This ensures that the audience will understand you properly, and that you waste both time and effort.
  • Subject Depth: At what point on the spectrum of depth do you plan on reaching? How broad or narrow do you want to go in your discussion? The best option is to find the golden middle. Make sure that your subject is not too deep so only you can understand what you are talking about. Then, check that it is not too broad/narrow, to make sure that you will be able to find enough information.

Typical mistakes when choosing a topic:

  • Choosing a boring topic because it is easy to write about. Writing about boring topic will lead to a boring essay as the outcome.
  • Choosing a broad topic, for example, “computer games” and not narrowing it down to something more specific like “computer games violence and kids”.
  • Desire to look smart by choosing hard and strange topics.

Related Post: How to Title an Essay.

Carrying Out A Research

The best place to start researching information for an essay is the Internet. Use the most popular search engines like Google and Yahoo to conduct simple research. Use online databases such as InfoTrac, LexisNexis, Google Scholar, etc. Primary sources such as Academic Journals, Encyclopedias, might be very useful in your research. Do not forget about the libraries; you may find a lot of trustworthy materials for researching.

Tip: Stay away from sources in which information may be edited by multiple users, or check the reliability one more time.

Coming Up With A Thesis

A thesis statement is a short one-sentence statement that appears at the end of the first paragraph and sums up the main point or idea of an essay. It should be specific and based only on what you are going to discuss in your writing, and then it should be supported by some evidence.

Good thesis statement examples:

  • Due to the deception that lies in appearances, more often than not, people find themselves influenced by just what they see.
  • The constitution provides everyone with a right to life; however, there are some limitations regarding this providence in the law.

After reading these examples, you can understand what the rest of the paper is about, and they probably make you want to read the rest of the story.

Essay Outline

Introduction

An introduction must accomplish 4 main goals:

  • Grab the reader's attention;
  • Make a preview of three subtopics;
  • Contain the thesis statement;
  • Briefly describe the main idea of your essay in 4-5 sentences.

Your hook statement may be an anecdote or a quote, but only one that is related to your story. Starling information is another way to grab the reader's attention.

Good attention grabber: The point where my life changed was when I lost my elder brother in drastic suicide almost 14 years ago at his home.

Body Paragraphs

This is the part of an essay in which you need to explain and develop main ideas of your topic. It comes after an introduction and before the conclusion. Usually, this is the longest part of an essay. Start each paragraph with a topic sentence, then write down a supporting point for that idea and end up with writing an elaboration (it can be a description, explanation or example).

The structure of the body paragraphs should look like this:

  • A clear topic sentence;
  • Specific evidence or supporting detail;
  • Transitions between sentences and paragraphs;
  • A concluding sentence that will tie the evidence or details back to the main point and brings the paragraph to the logic end.

Conclusion

This part brings the reader to the end of your story. Restate your thesis statement and main ideas of the essay that were written in the body. Then sum up your points and provide a final look on your topic.

TIP: To conclude your essay, you will need three or four strong sentences.

Here is an example of an essay outline:

  • Introduction Paragraph:
    • Hook statement;
    • A preview of the subtopics you will discuss in the body;
    • A thesis statement;
  • Body Paragraphs:
    • Topic sentence (must state the first subtopic and be opened with a transition);
    • Claim (piece of argument that will be defended);
    • Evidence (Information to support claim);
    • An explanation (Describes how the evidence defends the claim);
    • Concluding sentence;
  • Concluding Paragraph:
    • Restatement of the thesis statement;
    • Rephrasing main subtopics;
    • Concluding statement.

Learn more about essay formatting styles.

Writing A Rough Draft

The purpose of writing a rough draft is simple. No one can write an essay without mistakes from the first try. After you have written a rough draft, read it one more time and do the following:

  • Check the clarity of your writing and if necessary remove all worthless parts of content.
  • Check it for grammar mistakes.
  • Check the flow of your writing and if necessary add transition between paragraphs.
  • Make sure that your paper is based on the topic that you have chosen previously.

Polishing Up

To ensure that your paper makes logical sense, the first thing you need to do is check that your essay was written according to the topic. Then, check your paper for the grammar and other types of mistakes like punctuation, spelling, etc. Another great way to get rid of mistakes is to run your paper through a spell or grammar checker like Grammarly.

Make sure to include transitions between paragraphs, so your writing flows smoothly instead of just jumping from one idea to another.

As you have finished all the process, read your paper one last time to be completely sure that you don’t need to make any corrections. Check the requirements so you could meet the deadline. Finally, your essay is done and you are ready to submit it and get your A+!

10 Most Common Types of Essays

  • 5-Paragraph Essay: Essay written in the classic five-paragraph style. Can be used for persuasive, expository or narrative texts!
  • Persuasive Essay: Essay aimed to persuade the audience about a certain topic or idea!
  • Cause-and-Effect Essay: Essay in which a situation is presented and followed up with an in-depth analysis of the results!
  • Compare-and-Contrast Essay: Essay that requires a critical analysis of the similarities and differences between 2 things.
  • Creative Writing Essay: A type of writing in which the author chooses his own topic and style to put together a cool story!
  • Narrative Essay: Similar to creative writing in the sense that the writer is creating a story, however, they are following a specific set of formatting instructions in this case.
  • Expository Essay: An essay aimed to educated a reader or audience about a certain topic or idea. This does not include persuasions or opinions.
  • Process Essay: A type of essay in which the “How” is explained; It usually follows a step-by-step structure!
  • Descriptive Essay: An essay that gives a full overview of a certain topic or thing. Includes a full explanation of each of the five senses!
  • Analytical Essay: A type of essay that requires a full analysis of a topic or idea. Critical thinking and implementation of personal inferences are required.

Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team

This article addresses all the steps to writing a perfect essay but omits an important concept. One of the things I look at right after receiving an assignment is the essay prompt. In fact, in academic essay writing, dissecting the prompt is the most important part of the writing process. If your teacher assigns you, for example, an essay on the Civil Rights movement and the prompt asks something along the lines of “Analyze the types of resistance” then your response should not summarize the events of the Civil War. Instead, you will want to craft an essay focused on the different types of resistance during the Civil War. In gist, if you are given a topic, before doing any research on it, take the prompt apart into constituent parts and make sure you understand what it asks.

Also, in prompt-based essays, a good strategy is restating the prompt in introductory paragraph and involving parts of the essay into the thesis statement. If any other information is given to you, like a primary external document to analyze for the essay, then thoroughly analyze it and relate it to your prompt.

JohnSmith, essay writer from EssayPro

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