Writing an essay is one of the most common tasks that a student is assigned regardless of whether they are in high school, college, or graduate level education! They say it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill, and writing is probably one of the most practiced academic skills that students train. From writing creative stories in which you explore your own mind to rigorous term papers and dissertations, the number of essay types and styles is colossal! However, essay writing carries around with it certain principles that always tend to stay true. EssayPro is here to teach you everything that there is to know about putting together a coherent masterpiece!
What is an Essay?
If we take a look at the definition, an essay is a piece of writing about a particular subject. That being said, the number of topics to choose from is pretty much infinite. So whether you choose to talk about cartoons or rocket science, make sure to provide enough information to cover up the topic. Generally speaking, basic essay structure is absolutely necessary to understand and implement into your writing. The structure consists of an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
Different styles of essays serve different purposes. For example, argumentative essay or persuasive essay aims to prove that their particular side of the argument is the better one. This will include opinions and assumptions that are defended by outside sources to gather reinforcements for the argument. Then there are informative essays, which tend to provide new and useful information without bringing in opinions. In other words, these are researched papers that use facts to inform the audience about a certain topic. Another type of essay is based around creative writing. Usually, the format for this type of writing is a lot more lenient and gives the writer full freedom in regards to topic selection and narration style. They will be either creating some kind of story about a personal experience or putting together an interesting tale!
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.
Steps To Take Before Writing
Ok so now after learning what essays are all about, it is time to put pen to paper and start putting together your soon-to-be masterpiece! However, there are some steps that should be taken before you get to the task at hand. First, let us talk about choosing a topic.
- Picking a Topic: Arguably the most important step to take in the entire process, selecting a proper topic can make the difference between an exciting essay and a dull one. When selecting a topic, there are 3 checkboxes that need to be filled out.
- 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? Finding a happy medium that fits your essay requirements would be the ideal amount.
- Define The Purpose: What are you really aiming for in the essay? Are you trying to inform the audience of something interesting or persuade them into agreeing with your opinion? Or are you just simply trying to tell them an interesting story?
- Topic Enthusiasm: Writing about a topic that does not pertain to one's interests is one of the most bothersome tasks that any student would have to deal with. Having passion and enthusiasm towards your task makes the writing process smoother and much more enjoyable!
- Research the Topic: Find reliable sources such as articles, documents, physical evidence, etc. that help support your claim. Make sure to take descriptive notes and organize them according to their origins. Do not disregard counterclaims in your research because being able to disprove them just makes your own argument that much better!
- Brainstorm Ideas: Sources are obviously very helpful tools to progress your understanding and analysis of the information, but without providing personal insight the work is plagiarized. Build your own ideas and points from how you understand a concept, and only use sources to help support your own ideas, not vice versa!
- Put together a proper Thesis Statement: The thesis statement that is created from your own words must be the heart of your essay; you are basing all the content around this point as if it was the center of your essay’s universe. This is the point that you are attempting to make and everything that is stated should be related back to this point.
Related: What is a Thesis Statement
The Outline of an Essay
Knowing how to structure an essay is really important for effective writing, and the good news is that if generally stays the same; whether you are writing a persuasive, analytical or narrative essay you will generally write in the five paragraph format that includes an introductory paragraph, three bodies and a conclusion! The introduction will bring out the argument/story, the body paragraphs will defend the thesis or progress the story, and the conclusion will wrap up the argument/theme and state its significance!
Depending on the type of essay that you are working on, the introduction will serve slightly different purposes. If you are building a persuasive piece, then your intro will mainly serve as an overview of the topic, with a gradual narrowing of information until it reaches the thesis statement. For informative essays, the process is similar as you are also providing background information about the topic and giving the reader some context. However, the thesis should be a fact that will be proven through the body paragraphs rather than some sort of opinion. Lastly, for creative writing, you are introducing the story and quickly referring to the theme or purpose without giving away any spoilers.
As goes with the introduction, the body paragraphs provide different styles of content. For an argumentative essay, your body paragraphs will serve to defend your thesis. In other words, they take your opinion and state it as fact while using outside information to defend its validity! When we are talking about informative essays, think of a turret gun that is shooting out facts. The thesis in these types of essays can only be proven via facts and logic so as the writer you are providing several facts that piece together with your thesis! In creative writing, the body serves a slightly different purpose. The body will basically move the story from its initial phase to the last moment. It will jump through several narration levels (falling action, rising action, climax). However, it will not directly respond to the theme; rather the words and signs created through its writing will make the theme crystal clear!
The conclusion in essay writing is all about wrapping up the thoughts, while also adding one last punch to the paper! With persuasive writing, the main objective is to restate the thesis and in an assertive style finalize its validity. It shows confidence in the writing which is a very strong vibe to add; lastly, explain the overall significance of the argument and what exactly about your side of the argument holds value! In expository writing, the concept of restating the thesis stays the same and keeping an assertive tone definitely does not hurt. However, the main goal is all about explaining the significance in the real word. In other words, what does this new found information mean and how does it impact society? Lastly, for creative writing, the conclusion is mainly used for exploring information that was developed in the body. In a sense, you are explaining its significance without directly stating it. This can be done by explaining how the ending affected certain characters, and from there the reader can inference what theme the author was trying to portray.
Get more essay outline writing tips here: Essay Outline
Sample Essay Outline
- Hook Statement;
- Background Information and Context;
- Thesis Statement;
- Body Paragraph 1,2,3
- Topic Sentence ( Smooth transition from previous paragraph )
- Claim ( Piece of argument that will be defended )
- Evidence ( Information added from outside sources to support claim )
- Explanation ( Describes how the evidence defends the claim )
- Concluding Sentence ( Brief Synopsis of Argument in Paragraph )
- Rephrasing Thesis Statement
- Restatement of Main Arguments (1,2,3)
- Overall Concluding Statement (Explain Significance)
This essay template works for argumentative and persuasive essays. However, it does not have to look EXACTLY like this. If you are looking for a starting point, then reference this!*
Learn more: Essay Samples
Example: Structure of a Personal Narrative Essay
- Hook Statement (Intrigue the reader)
- Set Up The Scene (Background Information / Default Context)
- “Thesis Statement” (Briefly introduce the theme)
- Body Paragraphs
- Give sensory details (show with the words)
- Display the passage of time (Linear Progression should be evident)
- Use transitions to smooth out the story: Beginning Action? Rising Action? Falling Action (Paragraph 1 ? 2 ? 3)
- Analyze and Reflect on the stories action.
- Explain the theme’s significance of the story!
- How can the theme be related back to the real world?
Narrative Writing is all about storytelling, so keeping the plot in motion and applying a “bird’s eye view” in the intro and conclusion gives the text a solid overview!
Polishing it Up!
Hopefully, if you have not waited until the last second to write your essay, there is some time available before the assignment has to be submitted. Here are some final tips to clean up the assignment and boost your grade!
1 Day Break Rule:
After finishing up the essay, close down shop for about 24 hours and let your brain refresh. Rereading and proofreading right away will not be as effective since you are most likely mentally tired after completing the task! So put down the computer and go enjoy the rest of your day!
Proofread and Edit:
After giving yourself that 24-hour rest, it is time to look over the grammar and mandate any mistakes meticulously. This includes: improper punctuation, use of contractions and sentence structure. Afterward, add some spice to your essay by mixing up the vocabulary and removing repetitive phrasing. Make sure that the word density is linear and that each sentence makes logical sense when reading it back to yourself. Lastly, check for coherency. Does each sentence flow well by its position? Are the transitions effective for progressing thoughts? The essay should be easy-to-read all the way through and if it is, that is a very good sign!
Having a peer reread and edit the piece will confirm that your paper is universally clear. The more people that read your essay, the more confident you can be in the fact that your work is absolutely comprehensible! After finishing that, your essay is complete. Congratulations!
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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