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How To Write The Perfect Essay
Jan 29, 2019 Blog Articles , English Language Articles , Humanities Articles , Law Articles , Politics Articles , Writing Articles
If you decide to study English or a subject within Arts and Humanities at university, it’s going to involve a lot of essay writing. It’s a challenging skill to master because it requires both creativity and logical planning, but if you ensure you do the following whenever you write an essay, you should be on the way to success:
Table of Contents
T his may sound time-consuming, but if you make a really good plan you will actually save yourself time when it comes to writing the essay, as you’ll know where your answer is headed and won’t write yourself into a corner. Don’t worry if you’re stuck at first – jot down a few ideas anyway and chances are the rest will follow. I find it easiest to make a mind map, with each new ‘bubble’ representing one of my main paragraphs. I then write quotations which will be useful for my analysis around the bubble.
For example, if I was answering the question, ‘ To what extent is Curley’s wife portrayed as a victim in Of Mice and Men ? ’ I might begin a mind map which looks something like this:
Y ou can keep adding to this plan, crossing bits out and linking the different bubbles when you spot connections between them. Even though you won’t have time to make such a detailed plan under exam conditions, it can be helpful just to sketch a brief one, including a few key words, so that you don’t panic and go off topic when writing your essay. If you don’t like the mind map format, there are plenty of others to choose from: you could make a table, a flowchart, or simply a list of bullet points.
2. Have a clear structure
Think about this while you are planning. Your essay is like an argument or a speech – it needs to have a logical structure, with all your points coming together to answer the question. Start with the basics: it is best to choose a few major points which will become your main paragraphs. Three main paragraphs is a good number for an exam essay, since you will be under time pressure. Organise your points in a pattern of YES (agreement with the question) – AND (another ‘YES’ point) – BUT (disagreement or complication) if you agree with the question overall, or YES – BUT – AND if you disagree. This will ensure that you are always focused on your argument and don’t stray too far from the question.
For example, you could structure the Of Mice and Men sample question as follows:
‘To what extent is Curley’s wife portrayed as a victim in Of Mice and Men?’
- YES – descriptions of her appearance
- AND – other people’s attitudes towards her
- BUT – her position as the only woman on the ranch gives her power as she uses her femininity to advantage
If you wanted to write a longer essay, you could include additional paragraphs under the ‘YES/AND’ category, perhaps discussing the ways in which Curley’s wife reveals her vulnerability and insecurities and shares her dreams with the other characters; on the other hand, you could also lengthen your essay by including another ‘BUT’ paragraph about her cruel and manipulative streak.
Of course, this is not necessarily the only right way to answer this essay question: as long as you back up your points with evidence from the text, you can take any standpoint that makes sense.
3. Back up your points with well-analysed quotations
You wouldn’t write a scientific report without including evidence to support your findings, so why should it be any different with an essay even though you aren’t strictly required to substantiate every single point you make with a quotation, there’s no harm in trying. a close reading of your quotations can enrich your appreciation of the question and will be sure to impress examiners..
When selecting the best quotations to use in your essay, keep an eye out for specific literary techniques. For example, you could discuss Curley’s wife’s use of a rhetorical question when she says, ‘An’ what am I doin’? Standin’ here talking to a bunch of bindle stiffs’:
The rhetorical question “An’ what am I doin’?” signifies that Curley’s wife is very insecure; she seems to be questioning her own life choices. Moreover, the fact that she does not expect anyone to respond to her question highlights her loneliness.
Other literary techniques to look out for include:
- Tricolon – a group of three words or phrases placed close together for emphasis
- Tautology – using different words that mean the same thing, eg ‘frightening’ and ‘terrifying’
- Parallelism – ABAB structure; often signifies movement from one concept to another
- Chiasmus – ABBA structure; draws attention to that phrase
- Polysyndeton – many conjunctions in a sentence
- Asyndeton – lack of conjunctions; can speed up the pace of a sentence
- Polyptoton – using the same word in different forms for emphasis, eg ‘done’ and ‘doing’
- Alliteration – repetition of the same sound; different forms of alliteration include assonance (similar vowel sounds), plosive alliteration (‘b’, ‘d’ and ‘p’ sounds) and sibilance (‘s’ sounds)
- Anaphora – repetition of words; often used to emphasise a particular point
Don’t worry if you can’t locate all of these literary devices in the work you’re analysing – you can also discuss more obvious effects, like metaphor, simile and onomatopoeia. It’s not a problem if you can’t remember all the long names – it’s far more important to explain the effect of the literary techniques and their relevance to the question than to use the correct terminology.
4. Be creative and original right the way through
Anyone can write an essay using the tips above, but the thing that really makes it ‘perfect’ is your own unique take on the topic you’re discussing. If you’ve noticed something intriguing or unusual in your reading, point it out: if you find it interesting, chances are the examiner will too.
Creative writing and essay writing are more closely linked than you might imagine; keep the idea that you’re writing a speech or argument in mind, and you’re guaranteed to grab your reader’s attention.
It’s important to set out your line of argument in your introduction, introducing your main points and the general direction your essay will take, but don’t forget to keep something back for the conclusion, too. Yes, you need to summarise your main points, but if you’re just repeating the things you said in your introduction, the essay itself is rendered pointless.
Think of your conclusion as the climax of your speech, the bit everything else has been leading up to, rather than the boring plenary at the end of the interesting stuff.
To return to Of Mice and Men once more, here is an example of the ideal difference between an introduction and a conclusion:
In John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men , Curley’s wife is portrayed as an ambiguous character. She could be viewed either as a cruel, seductive temptress or a lonely woman who is a victim of her society’s attitudes. Though she does seem to wield a form of sexual power, it is clear that Curley’s wife is largely a victim. This interpretation is supported by Steinbeck’s description of her appearance, other people’s attitudes, her dreams, and her evident loneliness and insecurity.
Overall, it is clear that Curley’s wife is a victim and is portrayed as such throughout the novel, in the descriptions of her appearance, her dreams, other people’s judgemental attitudes, and her loneliness and insecurities. However, a character who was a victim and nothing else would be one-dimensional and Curley’s wife is not. Although she suffers in many ways, she is shown to assert herself through the manipulation of her femininity – a small rebellion against the victimisation she experiences.
Both refer back consistently to the question and summarise the essay’s main points; however, the conclusion adds something new which has been established in the main body of the essay and yet complicates the simple summary which is found in the introduction.
- Start by writing a thorough plan
- Ensure your essay has a clear structure and overall argument
- Try to back up each point you make with a quotation
- Answer the question in your introduction and conclusion but remember to be creative too
Next Steps for Prospective English Students
- Explore the Guardian’s research into how to write better essays
- Want to write for a living? Read our blog post on How to Become a Writer
- See these top tips for English literature students
- Prepare for university and experience what it’s like studying on the Oxford University campus in our Oxford Summer School .
Want to learn more skills for academic success?
Summer Courses at the Oxford Scholastica Academy combine hands-on learning experiences with stimulating teaching and masterclasses, for an unforgettable summer amongst students from around the world.
Hannah is an undergraduate English student at Somerville College, Oxford, and has a particular interest in postcolonial literature and the Gothic. She thinks literature is a crucial way of developing empathy and learning about the wider world, and is excited to be Scholastica Inspires’ Literature Editor! When she isn’t writing essays about 17th-century court masques, she enjoys acting, travelling and creative writing.
- Academic Skills
- Essay writing
Six top tips for writing a great essay
An essay is used to assess the strength of your critical thinking and your ability to put that thinking into an academic written form. This resource covers some key considerations when writing an essay at university.
While reading a student’s essay, markers will ask themselves questions such as:
- Does this essay directly address the set task?
- Does it present a strong, supported position?
- Does it use relevant sources appropriately?
- Is the expression clear, and the style appropriate?
- Is the essay organised coherently? Is there a clear introduction, body and conclusion?
You can use these questions to reflect on your own writing. Here are six top tips to help you address these criteria.
1. Analyse the question
Student essays are responses to specific questions. As an essay must address the question directly, your first step should be to analyse the question. Make sure you know exactly what is being asked of you.
Generally, essay questions contain three component parts:
- Content terms: Key concepts that are specific to the task
- Limiting terms: The scope that the topic focuses on
- Directive terms: What you need to do in relation to the content, e.g. discuss, analyse, define, compare, evaluate.
Look at the following essay question:
Discuss the importance of light in Gothic architecture.
- Content terms: Gothic architecture
- Limiting terms: the importance of light. If you discussed some other feature of Gothic architecture, for example spires or arches, you would be deviating from what is required. This essay question is limited to a discussion of light. Likewise, it asks you to write about the importance of light – not, for example, to discuss how light enters Gothic churches.
- Directive term: discuss. This term asks you to take a broad approach to the variety of ways in which light may be important for Gothic architecture. You should introduce and consider different ideas and opinions that you have met in academic literature on this topic, citing them appropriately .
For a more complex question, you can highlight the key words and break it down into a series of sub-questions to make sure you answer all parts of the task. Consider the following question (from Arts):
To what extent can the American Revolution be understood as a revolution ‘from below’? Why did working people become involved and with what aims in mind?
The key words here are American Revolution and revolution ‘from below’. This is a view that you would need to respond to in this essay. This response must focus on the aims and motivations of working people in the revolution, as stated in the second question.
2. Define your argument
As you plan and prepare to write the essay, you must consider what your argument is going to be. This means taking an informed position or point of view on the topic presented in the question, then defining and presenting a specific argument.
Consider these two argument statements:
The architectural use of light in Gothic cathedrals physically embodied the significance of light in medieval theology.
In the Gothic cathedral of Cologne, light served to accentuate the authority and ritual centrality of the priest.
Statements like these define an essay’s argument. They give coherence by providing an overarching theme and position towards which the entire essay is directed.
3. Use evidence, reasoning and scholarship
To convince your audience of your argument, you must use evidence and reasoning, which involves referring to and evaluating relevant scholarship.
- Evidence provides concrete information to support your claim. It typically consists of specific examples, facts, quotations, statistics and illustrations.
- Reasoning connects the evidence to your argument. Rather than citing evidence like a shopping list, you need to evaluate the evidence and show how it supports your argument.
- Scholarship is used to show how your argument relates to what has been written on the topic (citing specific works). Scholarship can be used as part of your evidence and reasoning to support your argument.
4. Organise a coherent essay
An essay has three basic components - introduction, body and conclusion.
The purpose of an introduction is to introduce your essay. It typically presents information in the following order:
- A general statement about the topic that provides context for your argument
- A thesis statement showing your argument. You can use explicit lead-ins, such as ‘This essay argues that...’
- A ‘road map’ of the essay, telling the reader how it is going to present and develop your argument.
"To what extent can the American Revolution be understood as a revolution ‘from below’? Why did working people become involved and with what aims in mind?"
Historians generally concentrate on the twenty-year period between 1763 and 1783 as the period which constitutes the American Revolution [This sentence sets the general context of the period] . However, when considering the involvement of working people, or people from below, in the revolution it is important to make a distinction between the pre-revolutionary period 1763-1774 and the revolutionary period 1774-1788, marked by the establishment of the continental Congress(1) [This sentence defines the key term from below and gives more context to the argument that follows] . This paper will argue that the nature and aims of the actions of working people are difficult to assess as it changed according to each phase [This is the thesis statement] . The pre-revolutionary period was characterised by opposition to Britain’s authority. During this period the aims and actions of the working people were more conservative as they responded to grievances related to taxes and scarce land, issues which directly affected them. However, examination of activities such as the organisation of crowd action and town meetings, pamphlet writing, formal communications to Britain of American grievances and physical action in the streets, demonstrates that their aims and actions became more revolutionary after 1775 [These sentences give the ‘road map’ or overview of the content of the essay] .
The body of the essay develops and elaborates your argument. It does this by presenting a reasoned case supported by evidence from relevant scholarship. Its shape corresponds to the overview that you provided in your introduction.
The body of your essay should be written in paragraphs. Each body paragraph should develop one main idea that supports your argument. To learn how to structure a paragraph, look at the page developing clarity and focus in academic writing .
Your conclusion should not offer any new material. Your evidence and argumentation should have been made clear to the reader in the body of the essay.
Use the conclusion to briefly restate the main argumentative position and provide a short summary of the themes discussed. In addition, also consider telling your reader:
- What the significance of your findings, or the implications of your conclusion, might be
- Whether there are other factors which need to be looked at, but which were outside the scope of the essay
- How your topic links to the wider context (‘bigger picture’) in your discipline.
Do not simply repeat yourself in this section. A conclusion which merely summarises is repetitive and reduces the impact of your paper.
Although, to a large extent, the working class were mainly those in the forefront of crowd action and they also led the revolts against wealthy plantation farmers, the American Revolution was not a class struggle [This is a statement of the concluding position of the essay]. Working people participated because the issues directly affected them – the threat posed by powerful landowners and the tyranny Britain represented. Whereas the aims and actions of the working classes were more concerned with resistance to British rule during the pre-revolutionary period, they became more revolutionary in nature after 1775 when the tension with Britain escalated [These sentences restate the key argument]. With this shift, a change in ideas occurred. In terms of considering the Revolution as a whole range of activities such as organising riots, communicating to Britain, attendance at town hall meetings and pamphlet writing, a difficulty emerges in that all classes were involved. Therefore, it is impossible to assess the extent to which a single group such as working people contributed to the American Revolution [These sentences give final thoughts on the topic].
5. Write clearly
An essay that makes good, evidence-supported points will only receive a high grade if it is written clearly. Clarity is produced through careful revision and editing, which can turn a good essay into an excellent one.
When you edit your essay, try to view it with fresh eyes – almost as if someone else had written it.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you clearly stated your argument in your introduction?
- Does the actual structure correspond to the ‘road map’ set out in your introduction?
- Have you clearly indicated how your main points support your argument?
- Have you clearly signposted the transitions between each of your main points for your reader?
- Does each paragraph introduce one main idea?
- Does every sentence in the paragraph support that main idea?
- Does each paragraph display relevant evidence and reasoning?
- Does each paragraph logically follow on from the one before it?
- Is each sentence grammatically complete?
- Is the spelling correct?
- Is the link between sentences clear to your readers?
- Have you avoided redundancy and repetition?
See more about editing on our editing your writing page.
6. Cite sources and evidence
Finally, check your citations to make sure that they are accurate and complete. Some faculties require you to use a specific citation style (e.g. APA) while others may allow you to choose a preferred one. Whatever style you use, you must follow its guidelines correctly and consistently. You can use Recite, the University of Melbourne style guide, to check your citations.
- Germov, J. (2011). Get great marks for your essays, reports and presentations (3rd ed.). NSW: Allen and Unwin.
- Using English for Academic Purposes: A guide for students in Higher Education [online]. Retrieved January 2020 from http://www.uefap.com
- Williams, J.M. & Colomb, G. G. (2010) Style: Lessons in clarity and grace. 10th ed. New York: Longman.
* Example introduction and conclusion adapted from a student paper.
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Typical essay structure, 7 steps to writing a good essay, a step-by-step guide to writing a good essay.
Whether you are gearing up for your GCSE coursework submissions or looking to brush up on your A-level writing skills, we have the perfect essay-writing guide for you. 💯
Staring at a blank page before writing an essay can feel a little daunting . Where do you start? What should your introduction say? And how should you structure your arguments? They are all fair questions and we have the answers! Take the stress out of essay writing with this step-by-step guide – you’ll be typing away in no time. 👩💻
What is an essay?
Generally speaking, an essay designates a literary work in which the author defends a point of view or a personal conviction, using logical arguments and literary devices in order to inform and convince the reader.
So – although essays can be broadly split into four categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive – an essay can simply be described as a focused piece of writing designed to inform or persuade. 🤔
The purpose of an essay is to present a coherent argument in response to a stimulus or question and to persuade the reader that your position is credible, believable and reasonable. 👌
So, a ‘good’ essay relies on a confident writing style – it’s clear, well-substantiated, focussed, explanatory and descriptive . The structure follows a logical progression and above all, the body of the essay clearly correlates to the tile – answering the question where one has been posed.
But, how do you go about making sure that you tick all these boxes and keep within a specified word count? Read on for the answer as well as an example essay structure to follow and a handy step-by-step guide to writing the perfect essay – hooray. 🙌
Sometimes, it is helpful to think about your essay like it is a well-balanced argument or a speech – it needs to have a logical structure, with all your points coming together to answer the question in a coherent manner. ⚖️
Of course, essays can vary significantly in length but besides that, they all follow a fairly strict pattern or structure made up of three sections. Lean into this predictability because it will keep you on track and help you make your point clearly. Let’s take a look at the typical essay structure:
Start your introduction with the central claim of your essay. Let the reader know exactly what you intend to say with this essay. Communicate what you’re going to argue, and in what order. The final part of your introduction should also say what conclusions you’re going to draw – it sounds counter-intuitive but it’s not – more on that below. 1️⃣
Make your point, evidence it and explain it. This part of the essay – generally made up of three or more paragraphs depending on the length of your essay – is where you present your argument. The first sentence of each paragraph – much like an introduction to an essay – should summarise what your paragraph intends to explain in more detail. 2️⃣
This is where you affirm your argument – remind the reader what you just proved in your essay and how you did it. This section will sound quite similar to your introduction but – having written the essay – you’ll be summarising rather than setting out your stall. 3️⃣
No essay is the same but your approach to writing them can be. As well as some best practice tips, we have gathered our favourite advice from expert essay-writers and compiled the following 7-step guide to writing a good essay every time. 👍
#1 Make sure you understand the question
#2 complete background reading.
#3 Make a detailed plan
#4 Write your opening sentences
#5 flesh out your essay in a rough draft, #6 evidence your opinion, #7 final proofread and edit.
Now that you have familiarised yourself with the 7 steps standing between you and the perfect essay, let’s take a closer look at each of those stages so that you can get on with crafting your written arguments with confidence .
This is the most crucial stage in essay writing – r ead the essay prompt carefully and understand the question. Highlight the keywords – like ‘compare,’ ‘contrast’ ‘discuss,’ ‘explain’ or ‘evaluate’ – and let it sink in before your mind starts racing . There is nothing worse than writing 500 words before realising you have entirely missed the brief . 🧐
Unless you are writing under exam conditions , you will most likely have been working towards this essay for some time, by doing thorough background reading. Re-read relevant chapters and sections, highlight pertinent material and maybe even stray outside the designated reading list, this shows genuine interest and extended knowledge. 📚
#3 Make a detailed plan
Following the handy structure we shared with you above, now is the time to create the ‘skeleton structure’ or essay plan. Working from your essay title, plot out what you want your paragraphs to cover and how that information is going to flow. You don’t need to start writing any full sentences yet but it might be useful to think about the various quotes you plan to use to substantiate each section. 📝
Having mapped out the overall trajectory of your essay, you can start to drill down into the detail. First, write the opening sentence for each of the paragraphs in the body section of your essay. Remember – each paragraph is like a mini-essay – the opening sentence should summarise what the paragraph will then go on to explain in more detail. 🖊️
Next, it's time to write the bulk of your words and flesh out your arguments. Follow the ‘point, evidence, explain’ method. The opening sentences – already written – should introduce your ‘points’, so now you need to ‘evidence’ them with corroborating research and ‘explain’ how the evidence you’ve presented proves the point you’re trying to make. ✍️
With a rough draft in front of you, you can take a moment to read what you have written so far. Are there any sections that require further substantiation? Have you managed to include the most relevant material you originally highlighted in your background reading? Now is the time to make sure you have evidenced all your opinions and claims with the strongest quotes, citations and material. 📗
This is your final chance to re-read your essay and go over it with a fine-toothed comb before pressing ‘submit’. We highly recommend leaving a day or two between finishing your essay and the final proofread if possible – you’ll be amazed at the difference this makes, allowing you to return with a fresh pair of eyes and a more discerning judgment. 🤓
If you are looking for advice and support with your own essay-writing adventures, why not t ry a free trial lesson with GoStudent? Our tutors are experts at boosting academic success and having fun along the way. Get in touch and see how it can work for you today. 🎒
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How to Write the Perfect Essay in English: 6 Easy Steps
If you are an international student at college or university and you need help with your essay writing in English, you are in the right place! We have created this simple 6-step guide to help you achieve the best results in the shortest possible time. This guide includes essay writing tips, examples, templates, and links to helpful resources. Let’s jump right in…
- Step 1: Plan
- Step 2: Research
- Step 3: Introduce
- Step 4: Argue
- Step 5: Reference
- Step 6: Conclude
What you will learn:
Step 1: Plan Step 2: Research Step 3: Introduce Step 4: Argue Step 5: Reference Step 6: Conclude
Essay writing in English is very different from other types of written communication, such as composing emails for work or personal letters to friends. The main difference is that you need to demonstrate your ability to think and write critically .
When writing an academic text, you need to clearly introduce and explain an argument . This means you must show that you have understood and carefully considered the opinions of experts in the subject/topic.
There are also rules (or conventions) that you have to follow when introducing theories and using quotes from other people’s work . We have included tips and links to help you get this right in your English essays.
Do not let academic writing in English scare you. You can do this!
Step 1: Plan Your Essay
Have you ever heard the phrase “fail to prepare and prepare to fail” ? Well, it is famous for a reason – and is certainly true when it comes to writing a good essay.
Having a detailed plan makes it so much easier to produce a great essay, dissertation or research paper.
In any sort of academic writing, your preparation and planning are important. Before you start to write, make sure you complete a detailed plan .
Of course, while you are writing your essay, you may change parts of your original plan – but only if you are sure that there is a good reason for making these changes.
Here are some tips to help you plan your thoughts effectively to make essay writing in English a lot easier.
How to plan an essay in English
- Study the essay question carefully. Make sure you completely understand it. Write it out in full and then try to say it using different words. This will help you when you start to write your assignment.
- Underline the most important words (the “key words”) in the essay question. Make sure you understand them – use a dictionary or synonym bank to help you. Define the key words in the essay question, but using your own words .
- Create a ‘mind map’ on a big piece of paper. Write the essay question in the middle and then surround it with any key words, ideas or quotes that you would like to include in your essay. People sometimes call this “brainstorming”.
- List the research work you will need to complete to write your essay well. This includes all the relevant textbooks, as well as the prominent authors you will reference with quotes. Make sure you have access to all the books you need before you begin (online, library, shop).
- Plan your argument so that it makes logical sense. To write a great essay, you need to answer the question fully. This means you must show independent thought, and present your argument in an intelligent and convincing way.
- Choose a suitable person and register for your writing. Most academic texts must be written in formal register. Although you should not use the first person in an essay (“I”) , it is still important to demonstrate your ability to think critically. We will show you how to do this later.
- Decide how many sections your essay will contain. This depends on the required wordcount (length), but here is a simple section plan to get you started:
Example: essay structure
- Introduction – paraphrase the question to show you understand it in the context of your studies. We will look at paraphrasing – with a useful example – a little later (in Step 3).
- Body text 1 – present your main argument early in your essay, with carefully considered points to justify it. Show that you have read about the subject and are well-informed in the relevant theory or ideas.
- Body text 2 – show that you know the key arguments against your main point, and use references to these.
- Body text 3 – explain why your main argument is correct or justified, using the remaining points from your research.
- Conclusion – summarise the essay or assignment by returning to the original question, making sure you have answered it fully and clearly.
Template: plan for an essay in English
Question: Q. “ Tell me and I forget . Teach me and I remember . Involve me and I learn .” Discuss what Benjamin Franklin meant by this statement. Do you agree with it?
Underline the important words (key words) in the essay question: Involve me and I learn . Discuss what this means . Do you agree?
Rewrite the essay question in my own words: Benjamin Franklin was a self-taught learner and believed in the power of allowing people to complete tasks and activities themselves, rather than being told how to do them in a traditional classroom setting. This essay aims to discuss how this inclusive approach could be used to form teaching tools and programmes to empower educators and students – both now and in the future.
Research I need to do:
- Benjamin Franklin – his life and ethos, his attitudes towards education.
- The main forms of current student-centred/inclusive education styles and how they work. Theory vs. practice.
- Theories of deductive vs. inductive education styles. Arguments for and against each, supporting my thoughts on the positive power of student-centred learning.
- Complete a reading list of key texts.
My initial thoughts (the argument I need to articulate):
- Including students in activities and tasks, making lessons student-centred, is a better way of helping them to learn than traditional teacher-centred methods.
- Link education to the concept of democracy; giving people the power to make autonomous decisions is a more productive way of helping a group to develop independent thinking skills and therefore evolve as a society.
- My essay must argue why this is true, analysing theories of deductive vs. inductive (i.e. inclusive) education methodologies from the most prominent educational theorists of recent times.
- I need to remember to conclude my essay by returning to the original question.
Step 2: Research the Topic
Any piece of academic writing – whether it is an undergraduate essay, post-graduate dissertation or post-doctoral research paper – requires detailed and relevant research .
However, researching for an essay in English does not need to be a difficult or painful process!
Learning how to research effectively and efficiently will save you a lot of time and stress.
Remember that even academic professionals are not expected to know absolutely everything. We all learn something new every day.
However, it is important that all academic writing demonstrates the author’s readiness to explore a variety of facts and theories, and discuss them critically.
“Critical thinking” means thinking logically and rationally about facts, ideas and concepts, as well as the possible connections between them .
Critical thinking is different from everyday thinking. It is an essential skill for any college or university student, studying in any language – not just English. In academic or essay writing, you must show you are able to explain your critical thinking skills clearly.
Everyday thinking is something most of us do all the time – it does not usually require any real effort.
Critical thinking is the opposite to this. It is when we intentionally use our powers of analysis, combined with our knowledge and research, to produce a theory or argument about something.
How to think (and write) critically in English
Critical thinking involves several skills, including: conceptualising, analysing, refining and evaluating.
- Conceptualising: To conceptualise means to combine pieces of information to form a new idea, or concept.
- Analysing: To analyse means to study a fact, idea or concept in great detail, using independent thinking and research to discover its meaning or validity.
- Refining: To refine means to break something down into its essential parts. In other words, to take out all the unnecessary (or irrelevant) information and present the most important information, ideas or facts in a clear and concise way.
- Evaluating: To evaluate means to understand an idea, thought or argument and go on to assess how accurate or useful it is. A key part of critical thinking is acknowledging that not all arguments are equal, and being able to explain why some are more valid than others.
You will also need to evaluate your own work, after you have written your essay, to see where improvements can be made. This is an important step to complete before submitting your essay for marking.
Step 3: Write a Great Introduction
To create a great introduction to an essay (or any academic piece of writing) in English, you need to do two things:
- Demonstrate that you understand the question fully
- Introduce your argument clearly
Here is how to do this…
- Show that you understand the question
The most important thing is to show you understand the question that you are answering in your essay, assignment or thesis. You should use clear and concise English. A simple way to do this is to paraphrase the essay question within the introduction to your essay.
What is paraphrasing?
Paraphrasing means explaining what a statement or question means, using different words and grammatical structures. In academic writing, this demonstrates that you understand a point and are able to think critically about it – and express those thoughts using clear written English.
- “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Discuss what Benjamin Franklin meant by this statement. Do you agree with it?
- American self-taught writer, scientist and diplomat Benjamin Franklin believed in the power of learning through experience. This quote demonstrates that he advocated inclusive education, rather than a teacher-centred, or didactic, approach to learning.
Franklin himself was a self-taught polymath. He learnt through experience, which greatly informed this view. This essay aims to demonstrate why today’s educators should take inspiration from Franklin by adopting an experiential approach to delivering lessons.
How to paraphrase in English
- Make sure your first statement starts at a different point than the original sentence or question.
- Try to use synonyms (alternative words that mean the same thing – such as “different” instead of “alternative”) for the words in the original sentence or question.
- Break down the information, for example into two sentences (instead of one).
- Use different words to the vocabulary used in the essay question.
- Use different sentence structures to those used in the assignment question.
Although you do not need to go into great detail in your introduction, you should definitely begin to answer the essay question by referencing the direction your argument will take .
In this particular essay question, the student is being asked to express their agreement or disagreement with Franklin’s point of view. Therefore, expressing an argument for or against the quote is especially important here. Remember that you should never use the first person (“I’) in academic writing, unless it is specifically asked for.
“This essay aims to demonstrate why today’s educators should take inspiration from Franklin by adopting an experiential approach to delivering lessons.”
(Not! In MY essay… or … I will aim to… )
Step 4: Present Your Argument
When writing your essay, it is a good idea to explain both sides of the argument in the first section of the body text of your essay (body 1).
This helps to show that you have analysed the question, and understand the importance of considering different viewpoints. Including the work of prominent writers and theorists in your field of study also shows you have done your research on the topic.
To help you do this, write a list of arguments for and against the point you are discussing. Then incorporate what you have written into your essay.
Based on the question below, we might create the following table to use in our essay. This shows agreement AND disagreement with Benjamin Franklin’s statement.
Step 5: Use Quotes Effectively
As we said in the research section (Step 2) of this guide, including the work and theories of prominent experts in the subject you are writing about is very important.
However, it is also important to reference the work of other people in the correct way – otherwise you could be accused of plagiarism (copying or cheating)!
There are several different systems of referencing. These include:
MLA (Modern Languages Association) system APA (American Psychological Association) system Harvard system MHRA (Modern Humanities Research Association) system.
It is very important that you use the referencing system that is used and accepted by your academic institution or university.
For example, Nottingham Trent University in the UK requires students to use the Harvard referencing system, whereas other institutions might insist that students use the MHRA system. If you are in doubt, check with your tutor or lecturer.
What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is when you use another person’s work and pretend that it is your own. Sometimes, plagiarism is not committed intentionally, but is just the result of bad referencing.
Plagiarism is against the rules in all UK universities, and could cause a student to fail an assignment – or, in the worst-case scenario, they could even be asked to leave the course without graduating!
How to avoid plagiarism
- Make sure you understand what plagiarism means. Most UK universities have a detailed definition of plagiarism on their websites – as well as tools you can use to detect plagiarism in your own work before you submit it. Make sure you use them!
- Write quotes in a different colour or font type. Only change the format to match the rest of your essay text after you have referenced everything correctly.
- Read your essay back carefully before handing it in. Check for spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors, as well as for plagiarism.
- Ask a native English-speaking student or colleague to read your essay and check for inconsistencies in tone and style of writing – this can often indicate accidental plagiarism .
- Check the referencing system used by your academic institution, and learn how to use it yourself before starting your essay. Give yourself plenty of time to do this.
- Complete your bibliography. Your bibliography is the list of all the books, articles, websites and any other sources you have used to complete your essay. Check with your tutor to make sure your bibliography is written to suit the standards of your college or university. This is a very important part of the referencing process.
Here’s a useful video on how to use the Harvard referencing system:
Step 6: End with a Strong Conclusion
The conclusion of an essay is just as important as the introduction.
It is here that you have your final chance to summarise your main points, highlight any research you have done and bring your thoughts together to end with a strong and convincing conclusion.
A great essay conclusion in English shows your ability to refine complex information and summarise an argument in clear and concise English.
Paraphrasing is important for the introduction of an essay, whereas summarising is important for the conclusion. Paraphrasing is saying the same thing as an original statement (but in different words), whereas summarising is providing a shortened version of the key points and defining exactly what they mean.
How to summarise
- Read your essay through at least twice. What are the key points?
- Identify these key points and rewrite them using different words.
- What do these key points mean when they are combined together?
- Write this out, making sure you refer back to the original essay question again.
Example summary (from essay conclusion):
In summary, by saying “tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”, Benjamin Franklin was not simply referring to education in the traditional classroom sense, where a teacher stands in front of a group of students and instructs them.
As this essay has referenced, many popular modern-day teaching styles, such as Montessori and Steiner, focus on student-centred learning. This focus on inductive learning in the early stages of a child’s life can be seen to be not only beneficial to the individual, but to society as a whole.
In conclusion, writing a great essay in English does not need to be painful or scary. In fact, it can be fun. Contact us if you need any support with English for academic, business or general purposes – we can help!
If you need native English tuition to improve your academic English, request a consultation today and speak to one of our experienced EAL instructors!
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How to Write The Perfect Essay in English
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No matter what you’re studying, essay writing is a fundamental part of student life. Most essay assignments award you marks for following the correct essay structure, so it’s important to learn how to write one properly.
What is an essay?
An essay is a piece of writing that analyses an idea or argument and explores it in further detail using supporting evidence. Essays usually range from 1,000 to 2,500 words and can take a variety of different formats.
For example, a compare and contrast essay will identify similarities and differences between two or more items, such as books, countries or companies. A persuasive essay , meanwhile, is a piece of writing that presents a compelling case either for or against a controversial issue. When writing an argumentative essay , not only do you need to persuade your readers to agree with you, but you need to convince them why they shouldn’t agree with the opposing argument.
Essays are typically made up of three parts: an introduction, body and conclusion. It is important to note that an essay is not the same as a report, despite having some similarities.
An easy way to tell the difference is that reports include tables, graphs and diagrams and use headings, subheadings and dot points to organise information. Be sure not to include any of these in your essay unless instructed by your tutor!
Steps to write the perfect essay
Once you have selected a topic for your essay, you can break down the writing process into just a handful of steps.
Preparing: How you prepare for your essay will determine the quality of your finished essay. The more background information you read about your topic, the easier it will be for you to reinforce your argument. It’s also vital that you spend time understanding the essay question, as this will determine how to structure your argument.
You can find resources to support your argument through Google Scholar, ProQuest, and even your university library. Make sure to research and take lots of notes when preparing your essay!
Writing: Break down the question and make sure to abide by the correct essay structure . This includes writing an introduction, at least two body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Don’t forget to use examples to support your ideas!
Referencing: any time you write about an idea that wasn’t originally yours, you must cite where you found that information. Your education provider will be able to provide you with specific details on referencing, as referencing requirements differ between schools and courses.
If you run into any issues while writing your essay, seek support from your education provider. Most institutes have a writing centre, which can help you access lots of great resources.
Start early: The earlier you begin the writing process, the more time you will have to work on your essay.
Keep a vocabulary notebook: When researching, note down any keywords and phrases important to your topic.
Use a thesaurus: This will help you add variety to your language choices!
Make use of software: There are plenty of tools available to help you with writing and grammar, such as Grammarly and Readable .
- Check for accidental plagiarism .
- Step away for an hour and then reread.
- Get another peer to read over your essay, and return the favour if you can!
Madison is a freelance writer based in Perth. She is one semester away from graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in public relations and event management. In her spare time, you can find her hanging out with her two Miniature Schnauzers, curating Spotify playlists to suit every mood, or checking out the newest bars, cafes and restaurants to see how they cater to people with food allergies/dietary requirements.
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8 Tips to Write Better Essays in English
Learning a foreign language is an overwhelming experience, especially if it’s one of the most widely spoken languages in the world – English.
Many people are under the impression that learning to read and speak in English is enough without realizing that written English skills are an equally vital asset to have.
From improving academics to boosting career prospects – the ability to write in English not only lets you communicate and express yourself better in today’s globalized world but also makes you more confident.
An effective way to improve your writing skills is to write essays. Wondering where to begin? We bring you eight useful tips to write better essays in English.
1. Keep a Vocabulary Notebook
Using the right vocabulary is an essential element of writing essays. When you make efforts to expand your vocabulary, you will be able to pick accurate words to take your writing to the next level.
Instead of coming across new words and forgetting about them, it’s a good idea to make a note of them in your vocabulary notebook. Doing this helps you remember the meanings of new words and you can also refer to it while writing essays.
So, give yourself a target to learn at least ten new words every day, which you can jot down in your diary and take baby steps in building a strong vocabulary.
2. Refer to Credible Sources
Research forms the first step in writing any kind of essay. The stronger your research, the better is the quality of your essay.
At a time when we have access to a wide range of data, it’s important to evaluate research sources carefully and only refer to credible ones. For example, Wikipedia is not a reliable source and should not be attributed to while writing essays.
Take the effort to read through published journals, research studies, scholarly papers, academic databases, and encyclopedias published within the last 10-15 years. It’s also important to assess the credibility of the author while evaluating the source.
3. Draft a Basic Outline
Once you’ve done your research, don’t rush to write. Take a moment to draft a basic outline for your essay and organize your research and findings.
“Is that necessary,” you ask? Very much.
Working on an outline lets you approach the essay in an organized manner. It serves as the skeleton of your paper while ensuring you’re not missing out on any information and that your points flow logically.
Most essays are categorized into – introduction, body, and conclusion.
The introduction is where you introduce the topic and give context. The body paragraphs need to include your arguments and research methodology (if any). The conclusion needs to reiterate the thesis statement and tie all the points together.
4. Hook the Reader
With attention spans getting shorter with time, it’s become all the more important to start with a bang and hook the reader from the beginning to ensure they are invested in your writing.
Essay hooks refer to the first one or two sentences of your essay which have the power to make or break the reader’s interest. The key is to write a hook that grabs the reader’s attention and reels them in.
From an alarming statistic and relevant quote to using humor and asking a rhetoric question – there are various tactics you can employ to keep the reader engaged.
If you’re unable to think of an impactful essay hook, don’t waste too much time on it. Finish the rest of your essay and come back to write a compelling hook later.
5. Use the Pomodoro Technique
It’s not easy to write an essay in one go, especially if it’s not in your first language.
A smart way to approach essay writing is to use the Pomodoro technique. This technique asks you to set a timer for 25 minutes to finish your task in question and then take a 5-minute break. After four cycles of repeating this, you get to take an extended 20-minute break.
So, start with breaking down the assignment into smaller tasks such as research, outlining, writing the different paragraphs, citing references and proofreading. You can then set the timer, start working on the essay as per the technique and track your progress.
Using this technique keeps distractions at bay and helps you stay more focused.
6. Pay Attention to Grammar Rules
You may raise interesting points in your essay, but poor grammar disrupts the reading experience and should be avoided at all costs.
Be careful when adding punctuations, check your sentence formations, avoid passive voice as much as possible and know the difference between adjectives, adverbs, nouns and verbs.
So abide by grammar rules to deliver a well-written and cohesive essay.
7. Write with Clarity
You might be tempted to use complex metaphors and jargons to impress the reader, but the truth is, none of that guarantees “good” writing.
One of the most important ingredients of effective writing is clarity. You don’t want to leave the reader confused and puzzled after reading your essay. So, use simple words, stop beating around the bush and explain concepts with the help of examples because clear writing always wins.
8. Reread the Essay
Finally, make it a point to proofread your essay (multiple times) to ensure you have covered all the aspects, cited references accurately and not made any silly errors.
It’s a good idea to read your essay out loud so you’re able to identify errors and awkwardly formed sentences with ease. You should also get a friend or family member to read your essay, to spot mistakes or discrepancies that you may have overlooked.
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Thanks a lot all we can derive from reading is the technique to write with clarity, good research and involvement of readers in writing.
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Good tips, I should give it a try, after all, we all improve by exercising hard so I’ll just do the same thing, but right now I gotta focus on what matters, and what I need now is to read as much as I can to know how to spell the words right. Is grammar so important in this task, I mean can’t I just pick the things up because of my experience in listening skill ?
Thanks for the information!
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Thanks so much for these useful tips!! Now, I need to start preparing my essay (“starting” has been always the stone on my way :$)
Please, what is the difference between an essay and an article?
Are they same?
Thanks in advance,
Thanks & best regards English Club
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- Essay Writing Center
General Essay Writing Tips
Despite the fact that, as Shakespeare said, "the pen is mightier than the sword," the pen itself is not enough to make an effective writer. In fact, though we may all like to think of ourselves as the next Shakespeare, inspiration alone is not the key to effective essay writing. You see, the conventions of English essays are more formulaic than you might think – and, in many ways, it can be as simple as counting to five.
Steps to Writing an Essay
Follow these 7 steps for the best results:
- Read and understand the prompt: Know exactly what is being asked of you. It’s a good idea to dissect the prompt into parts.
- Plan: Brainstorming and organizing your ideas will make your life much easier when you go to write your essay. It’s a good idea to make a web of your ideas and supporting details.
- Use and cite sources: Do your research. Use quotes and paraphrase from your sources, but NEVER plagiarize.
- Write a Draft: Ernest Hemingway once said, “The first draft of anything is always crap.” While the truth behind this statement is debatable, drafts are always a good place to get any of your “crappy” ideas out of the way and are often required by professors and instructors.
- Make a strong thesis: The thesis (main argument) of the essay is the most important thing you’ll write. Make it a strong point.
- Respond to the prompt: Once you have worked out any kinks in your draft, you can start writing the final draft of your essay.
- Proofread: Read your response carefully to make sure that there are no mistakes and that you didn’t miss anything.
Of course, every essay assignment is different and it’s important to be mindful of that. If one of these steps isn’t applicable to the essay you are writing, skip it and move to the next one.
The Five Paragraph Essay
Though more advanced academic papers are a category all their own, the basic high school or college essay has the following standardized, five paragraph structure:
Paragraph 1: Introduction Paragraph 2: Body 1 Paragraph 3: Body 2 Paragraph 4: Body 3 Paragraph 5: Conclusion
Though it may seem formulaic – and, well, it is - the idea behind this structure is to make it easier for the reader to navigate the ideas put forth in an essay. You see, if your essay has the same structure as every other one, any reader should be able to quickly and easily find the information most relevant to them.
The principle purpose of the introduction is to present your position (this is also known as the "thesis" or "argument") on the issue at hand but effective introductory paragraphs are so much more than that. Before you even get to this thesis statement, for example, the essay should begin with a "hook" that grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want to read on. Examples of effective hooks include relevant quotations ("no man is an island") or surprising statistics ("three out of four doctors report that…").
Only then, with the reader’s attention "hooked," should you move on to the thesis. The thesis should be a clear, one-sentence explanation of your position that leaves no doubt in the reader’s mind about which side you are on from the beginning of your essay.
Following the thesis, you should provide a mini-outline which previews the examples you will use to support your thesis in the rest of the essay. Not only does this tell the reader what to expect in the paragraphs to come but it also gives them a clearer understanding of what the essay is about.
Finally, designing the last sentence in this way has the added benefit of seamlessly moving the reader to the first paragraph of the body of the paper. In this way we can see that the basic introduction does not need to be much more than three or four sentences in length. If yours is much longer you might want to consider editing it down a bit!
Here, by way of example, is an introductory paragraph to an essay in response to the following question:
"Do we learn more from finding out that we have made mistakes or from our successful actions?"
"No man is an island" and, as such, he is constantly shaped and influenced by his experiences. People learn by doing and, accordingly, learn considerably more from their mistakes than their success. For proof of this, consider examples from both science and everyday experience.
The Body Paragraphs
The middle paragraphs of the essay are collectively known as the body paragraphs and, as alluded to above, the main purpose of a body paragraph is to spell out in detail the examples that support your thesis.
For the first body paragraph you should use your strongest argument or most significant example unless some other more obvious beginning point (as in the case of chronological explanations) is required. The first sentence of this paragraph should be the topic sentence of the paragraph that directly relates to the examples listed in the mini-outline of introductory paragraph.
A one sentence body paragraph that simply cites the example of "George Washington" or "LeBron James" is not enough, however. No, following this an effective essay will follow up on this topic sentence by explaining to the reader, in detail, who or what an example is and, more importantly, why that example is relevant.
Even the most famous examples need context. For example, George Washington’s life was extremely complex – by using him as an example, do you intend to refer to his honesty, bravery, or maybe even his wooden teeth? The reader needs to know this and it is your job as the writer to paint the appropriate picture for them. To do this, it is a good idea to provide the reader with five or six relevant facts about the life (in general) or event (in particular) you believe most clearly illustrates your point.
Having done that, you then need to explain exactly why this example proves your thesis . The importance of this step cannot be understated (although it clearly can be underlined); this is, after all, the whole reason you are providing the example in the first place. Seal the deal by directly stating why this example is relevant.
Here is an example of a body paragraph to continue the essay begun above:
Take, by way of example, Thomas Edison. The famed American inventor rose to prominence in the late 19th century because of his successes, yes, but even he felt that these successes were the result of his many failures. He did not succeed in his work on one of his most famous inventions, the lightbulb, on his first try nor even on his hundred and first try. In fact, it took him more than 1,000 attempts to make the first incandescent bulb but, along the way, he learned quite a deal. As he himself said, "I did not fail a thousand times but instead succeeded in finding a thousand ways it would not work." Thus Edison demonstrated both in thought and action how instructive mistakes can be.
A Word on Transitions
You may have noticed that, though the above paragraph aligns pretty closely with the provided outline, there is one large exception: the first few words. These words are example of a transitional phrase – others include "furthermore," "moreover," but also "by contrast" and "on the other hand" – and are the hallmark of good writing.
Transitional phrases are useful for showing the reader where one section ends and another begins. It may be helpful to see them as the written equivalent of the kinds of spoken cues used in formal speeches that signal the end of one set of ideas and the beginning of another. In essence, they lead the reader from one section of the paragraph of another.
To further illustrate this, consider the second body paragraph of our example essay:
In a similar way, we are all like Edison in our own way. Whenever we learn a new skill - be it riding a bike, driving a car, or cooking a cake - we learn from our mistakes. Few, if any, are ready to go from training wheels to a marathon in a single day but these early experiences (these so-called mistakes) can help us improve our performance over time. You cannot make a cake without breaking a few eggs and, likewise, we learn by doing and doing inevitably means making mistakes.
Hopefully this example not only provides another example of an effective body paragraph but also illustrates how transitional phrases can be used to distinguish between them.
Although the conclusion paragraph comes at the end of your essay it should not be seen as an afterthought. As the final paragraph is represents your last chance to make your case and, as such, should follow an extremely rigid format.
One way to think of the conclusion is, paradoxically, as a second introduction because it does in fact contain many of the same features. While it does not need to be too long – four well-crafted sentence should be enough – it can make or break and essay.
Effective conclusions open with a concluding transition ("in conclusion," "in the end," etc.) and an allusion to the "hook" used in the introductory paragraph. After that you should immediately provide a restatement of your thesis statement.
This should be the fourth or fifth time you have repeated your thesis so while you should use a variety of word choice in the body paragraphs it is a acceptable idea to use some (but not all) of the original language you used in the introduction. This echoing effect not only reinforces your argument but also ties it nicely to the second key element of the conclusion: a brief (two or three words is enough) review of the three main points from the body of the paper.
Having done all of that, the final element – and final sentence in your essay – should be a "global statement" or "call to action" that gives the reader signals that the discussion has come to an end.
In the end, then, one thing is clear: mistakes do far more to help us learn and improve than successes. As examples from both science and everyday experience can attest, if we treat each mistake not as a misstep but as a learning experience the possibilities for self-improvement are limitless.
Taken together, then, the overall structure of a five paragraph essay should look something like this:
- An attention-grabbing "hook"
- A thesis statement
- A preview of the three subtopics you will discuss in the body paragraphs.
First Body Paragraph
- Topic sentence which states the first subtopic and opens with a transition
- Supporting details or examples
- An explanation of how this example proves your thesis
Second Body Paragraph
- Topic sentence which states the second subtopic and opens with a transition
Third Body Paragraph
- Topic sentence which states the third subtopic and opens with a transition
- Concluding Transition, Reverse "hook," and restatement of thesis.
- Rephrasing main topic and subtopics.
- Global statement or call to action.
More tips to make your essay shine
Although it may seem like a waste of time – especially during exams where time is tight – it is almost always better to brainstorm a bit before beginning your essay. This should enable you to find the best supporting ideas – rather than simply the first ones that come to mind – and position them in your essay accordingly.
Your best supporting idea – the one that most strongly makes your case and, simultaneously, about which you have the most knowledge – should go first. Even the best-written essays can fail because of ineffectively placed arguments.
Aim for Variety
Sentences and vocabulary of varying complexity are one of the hallmarks of effective writing. When you are writing, try to avoid using the same words and phrases over and over again. You don’t have to be a walking thesaurus but a little variance can make the same idea sparkle.
If you are asked about "money," you could try "wealth" or "riches." At the same time, avoid beginning sentences the dull pattern of "subject + verb + direct object." Although examples of this are harder to give, consider our writing throughout this article as one big example of sentence structure variety.
Practice! Practice! Practice!
In the end, though, remember that good writing does not happen by accident. Although we have endeavored to explain everything that goes into effective essay writing in as clear and concise a way as possible, it is much easier in theory than it is in practice.
As a result, we recommend that you practice writing sample essays on various topics. Even if they are not masterpieces at first, a bit of regular practice will soon change that – and make you better prepared when it comes to the real thing.
General Do's and Don'ts
Do: use transitions to start new thoughts and paragraphs., don’t: start a new thought without a transition or overuse transitions., do: use paragraph structure to organize thoughts and claims., don’t: write one big paragraph without any sort of organization., do: use quotes and paraphrase to back up your claims., don’t: plagiarize., do: use active voice, meaning verbs and action words., don’t: use passive voice or i/my. try to avoid words like “have” or “be”, and never use i or my unless the essay is being written in the narrative form., do: use vivid and descriptive words to bring your essay to life., don’t: misuse words that you don’t know the meaning of., related content:, get the international student newsletter.
How to Write the Perfect English Essay
In order to write the perfect English essay, you need a variety of skills - creativity, a command of grammar, a good understanding of the reading, etc. It may seem daunting at first, but tackling an English assignment doesn’t have to be difficult. Consider the following tips when writing your next assignment, and you will be on your way to writing the perfect paper!
1) What are you trying to prove, and how do you prove it?
The most important part of your paper is that your message is clear, and that it remains clear throughout the essay.
When writing an analytical essay, whether you are analyzing a poem, book, excerpt, or other text, you must first decide your thesis. Your entire essay revolves around the thesis and how you prove it. Begin the outline with your essay with a thesis statement, then three sub-points, and, beneath those sub-points, choose two to three quotes and other pieces of evidence that further your point.
For example, when analyzing a book, you may analyze a relationship between characters to show the author’s view on hierarchies in society, like the relationship between couples to show how the society of the novel treats women. In order to prove that point, you can focus on the interaction between three couples, or the different type of roles women play in relationships. Whatever you choose, always make sure you have evidence to back you up, and that you reiterate your point. So, when talking about the couples, don’t just talk about the relationship, but how the relationship proves your thesis. Always include textual evidence, particularly quotes, to prove your point. Think of your analysis as very methodical, and always make sure you come back to your thesis!
2) Check your sentence structures
Your argument could be amazing, but if your grammar is incorrect, the reader will not understand your points. Run-on sentences are the most common mistake students make when writing. It is tempting to try and fit your points in one sentence, but your first priority should be that your sentences are clear.
To check if your point is a run-on, first re-read the sentence. How many clauses do you include in the sentence? Are they separated properly? When including textual evidence like quotes, embed the quote in a sentence that introduces the quote. The next sentence should analyze the quote and its relationship to your thesis. You don’t need to do this all in one sentence, especially if the quote is long!
Another common mistake students make is to write incomplete sentences. When re-reading your essay, ask yourself what the subject of the sentence is, and whether or not there is a verb and a complete thought in the sentence.
3) Use quotes, and embed them!
The best piece of textual evidence you can use to prove your point is a good quote. Quotes reveal a lot of about a text - including the writing style of the author, the relationship of the characters, and the emphasis the author makes on certain points. Don’t simply state that a character did a certain action, use the quote to prove your point! Authors carefully choose their words to prove points in ways that paraphrasing cannot capture.
When quoting a work, do not let the quote stand by itself. In order to correctly embed a quote, you can begin by stating “Author XX describes how …” and continue with the quote. For example, if the quote is “The red apple tumbled from the tree, crashing among the branches,” the quote can be embeded as follows: “The author shows the fragility of life, describing how the apple fell, ‘crashing among the branches.’ (page #).”
Always make sure to cite correctly!
With these tips, you are on your way to writing the perfect English paper!
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How To Write A Perfect English Essay?
Posted by JetLingua | Mar 9, 2023 | Writing | 0 |
Writing an English essay is a challenging task, especially when you want to make it perfect. But with the right approach, it can also be a rewarding experience. A well-written essay not only demonstrates your knowledge and understanding of the topic but also showcases your writing skills.
In this article, we will provide you with detailed tips and strategies to help you write a perfect English essay that stands out.
Choose a Topic That Interests You
Choosing a topic that interests you is the first step towards writing a perfect English essay. If you are given a topic, read it carefully and make sure you understand what is expected of you. If you have the freedom to choose your own topic, select one that you are passionate about and that you have enough information on to write a comprehensive essay.
This will help you stay motivated throughout the writing process and produce a more engaging and persuasive essay.
Create an Outline
Once you have chosen your topic, create an outline. An outline helps you organize your thoughts and ideas and ensures that you have a clear structure for your essay.
Start with an introduction that provides background information on the topic and a thesis statement that summarizes the main argument of your essay. Then, create body paragraphs that support your thesis with evidence and analysis. Finally, write a conclusion that restates your thesis and summarizes your main points.
Use Effective Language
The language you use in your essay is crucial for its success. Use clear and concise language to express your ideas and avoid using complex vocabulary unnecessarily. It’s essential to remember that your audience may not be familiar with the topic, so avoid using jargon or technical terms without explaining them.
Additionally, use transitional phrases to connect ideas and create a smooth flow throughout your essay. Examples of transitional phrases include “in addition,” “furthermore,” “moreover,” “consequently,” and “however.”
Support Your Argument with Evidence
When making an argument, it’s essential to support it with evidence. Use reputable sources to back up your claims and cite them appropriately. This will add credibility to your essay and demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the topic.
Examples of reputable sources include academic journals, books, and reliable online sources. Be sure to evaluate the credibility of the sources you use before including them in your essay.
Edit and Proofread Your Essay
Once you have finished writing your essay, it’s important to edit and proofread it carefully. Look for errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Check that your sentences are clear and well-structured. Additionally, make sure that your essay is well-organized and that it follows a logical progression.
If possible, have someone else read your essay and provide feedback. This will help you identify areas that need improvement and refine your essay further.
Writing a perfect English essay requires careful planning, effective language use, and strong argumentation skills. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you can create an essay that showcases your knowledge and writing abilities.
Remember to choose a topic that interests you, create an outline, use effective language, support your argument with evidence, and edit and proofread your essay carefully.
With these steps, you’ll be on your way to writing a perfect English essay that impresses your readers.
About The Author
How to improve your english writing skills.
March 9, 2023
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