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The Beginner's Guide to Writing an Essay | Steps & Examples
An academic essay is a focused piece of writing that develops an idea or argument using evidence, analysis, and interpretation.
There are many types of essays you might write as a student. The content and length of an essay depends on your level, subject of study, and course requirements. However, most essays at university level are argumentative — they aim to persuade the reader of a particular position or perspective on a topic.
The essay writing process consists of three main stages:
- Preparation: Decide on your topic, do your research, and create an essay outline.
- Writing : Set out your argument in the introduction, develop it with evidence in the main body, and wrap it up with a conclusion.
- Revision: Check the content, organization, grammar, spelling, and formatting of your essay.
Table of contents
Essay writing process, preparation for writing an essay, writing the introduction, writing the main body, writing the conclusion, essay checklist, lecture slides, frequently asked questions about writing an essay.
The writing process of preparation, writing, and revisions applies to every essay or paper, but the time and effort spent on each stage depends on the type of essay .
For example, if you’ve been assigned a five-paragraph expository essay for a high school class, you’ll probably spend the most time on the writing stage; for a college-level argumentative essay , on the other hand, you’ll need to spend more time researching your topic and developing an original argument before you start writing.
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Before you start writing, you should make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to say and how you’re going to say it. There are a few key steps you can follow to make sure you’re prepared:
- Understand your assignment: What is the goal of this essay? What is the length and deadline of the assignment? Is there anything you need to clarify with your teacher or professor?
- Define a topic: If you’re allowed to choose your own topic , try to pick something that you already know a bit about and that will hold your interest.
- Do your research: Read primary and secondary sources and take notes to help you work out your position and angle on the topic. You’ll use these as evidence for your points.
- Come up with a thesis: The thesis is the central point or argument that you want to make. A clear thesis is essential for a focused essay—you should keep referring back to it as you write.
- Create an outline: Map out the rough structure of your essay in an outline . This makes it easier to start writing and keeps you on track as you go.
Once you’ve got a clear idea of what you want to discuss, in what order, and what evidence you’ll use, you’re ready to start writing.
The introduction sets the tone for your essay. It should grab the reader’s interest and inform them of what to expect. The introduction generally comprises 10–20% of the text.
1. Hook your reader
The first sentence of the introduction should pique your reader’s interest and curiosity. This sentence is sometimes called the hook. It might be an intriguing question, a surprising fact, or a bold statement emphasizing the relevance of the topic.
Let’s say we’re writing an essay about the development of Braille (the raised-dot reading and writing system used by visually impaired people). Our hook can make a strong statement about the topic:
The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.
2. Provide background on your topic
Next, it’s important to give context that will help your reader understand your argument. This might involve providing background information, giving an overview of important academic work or debates on the topic, and explaining difficult terms. Don’t provide too much detail in the introduction—you can elaborate in the body of your essay.
3. Present the thesis statement
Next, you should formulate your thesis statement— the central argument you’re going to make. The thesis statement provides focus and signals your position on the topic. It is usually one or two sentences long. The thesis statement for our essay on Braille could look like this:
As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness.
4. Map the structure
In longer essays, you can end the introduction by briefly describing what will be covered in each part of the essay. This guides the reader through your structure and gives a preview of how your argument will develop.
The invention of Braille marked a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by blind and visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.
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The body of your essay is where you make arguments supporting your thesis, provide evidence, and develop your ideas. Its purpose is to present, interpret, and analyze the information and sources you have gathered to support your argument.
Length of the body text
The length of the body depends on the type of essay. On average, the body comprises 60–80% of your essay. For a high school essay, this could be just three paragraphs, but for a graduate school essay of 6,000 words, the body could take up 8–10 pages.
To give your essay a clear structure , it is important to organize it into paragraphs . Each paragraph should be centered around one main point or idea.
That idea is introduced in a topic sentence . The topic sentence should generally lead on from the previous paragraph and introduce the point to be made in this paragraph. Transition words can be used to create clear connections between sentences.
After the topic sentence, present evidence such as data, examples, or quotes from relevant sources. Be sure to interpret and explain the evidence, and show how it helps develop your overall argument.
Lack of access to reading and writing put blind people at a serious disadvantage in nineteenth-century society. Text was one of the primary methods through which people engaged with culture, communicated with others, and accessed information; without a well-developed reading system that did not rely on sight, blind people were excluded from social participation (Weygand, 2009). While disabled people in general suffered from discrimination, blindness was widely viewed as the worst disability, and it was commonly believed that blind people were incapable of pursuing a profession or improving themselves through culture (Weygand, 2009). This demonstrates the importance of reading and writing to social status at the time: without access to text, it was considered impossible to fully participate in society. Blind people were excluded from the sighted world, but also entirely dependent on sighted people for information and education.
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The conclusion is the final paragraph of an essay. It should generally take up no more than 10–15% of the text . A strong essay conclusion :
- Returns to your thesis
- Ties together your main points
- Shows why your argument matters
A great conclusion should finish with a memorable or impactful sentence that leaves the reader with a strong final impression.
What not to include in a conclusion
To make your essay’s conclusion as strong as possible, there are a few things you should avoid. The most common mistakes are:
- Including new arguments or evidence
- Undermining your arguments (e.g. “This is just one approach of many”)
- Using concluding phrases like “To sum up…” or “In conclusion…”
Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them. Louis Braille’s innovation was to reimagine existing reading systems from a blind perspective, and the success of this invention required sighted teachers to adapt to their students’ reality instead of the other way around. In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.
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My essay follows the requirements of the assignment (topic and length ).
My introduction sparks the reader’s interest and provides any necessary background information on the topic.
My introduction contains a thesis statement that states the focus and position of the essay.
I use paragraphs to structure the essay.
I use topic sentences to introduce each paragraph.
Each paragraph has a single focus and a clear connection to the thesis statement.
I make clear transitions between paragraphs and ideas.
My conclusion doesn’t just repeat my points, but draws connections between arguments.
I don’t introduce new arguments or evidence in the conclusion.
I have given an in-text citation for every quote or piece of information I got from another source.
I have included a reference page at the end of my essay, listing full details of all my sources.
My citations and references are correctly formatted according to the required citation style .
My essay has an interesting and informative title.
I have followed all formatting guidelines (e.g. font, page numbers, line spacing).
Your essay meets all the most important requirements. Our editors can give it a final check to help you submit with confidence.
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An essay is a focused piece of writing that explains, argues, describes, or narrates.
In high school, you may have to write many different types of essays to develop your writing skills.
Academic essays at college level are usually argumentative : you develop a clear thesis about your topic and make a case for your position using evidence, analysis and interpretation.
The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.
The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.
Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:
- An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
- Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
- A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.
The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .
A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.
The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:
- It gives your writing direction and focus.
- It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.
Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.
A topic sentence is a sentence that expresses the main point of a paragraph . Everything else in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence.
At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).
Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.
The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .
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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.
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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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Essay Topics – List of 500+ Essay Writing Topics and Ideas
List of 500+ Essay Writing Topics and Ideas
Essay topics in English can be difficult to come up with. While writing essays , many college and high school students face writer’s block and have a hard time to think about topics and ideas for an essay. In this article, we will list out many good essay topics from different categories like argumentative essays, essays on technology, environment essays for students from 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th grades. Following list of essay topics are for all – from kids to college students. We have the largest collection of essays. An essay is nothing but a piece of content which is written from the perception of writer or author. Essays are similar to a story, pamphlet, thesis, etc. The best thing about Essay is you can use any type of language – formal or informal. It can biography, the autobiography of anyone. Following is a great list of 100 essay topics. We will be adding 400 more soon!
But Before that you may wanna read some awesome Essay Writing Tips here .
Get the Huge list of 100+ Speech Topics here
Argumentative Essay Topics
- Should plastic be banned?
- Pollution due to Urbanization
- Education should be free
- Should Students get limited access to the Internet?
- Selling Tobacco should be banned
- Smoking in public places should be banned
- Facebook should be banned
- Students should not be allowed to play PUBG
Essay Topics on Technology
- Wonder Of Science
- Mobile Phone
Essay Topics on Festivals on Events
- Independence Day (15 August)
- Teachers Day
- Summer Vacation
- Children’s Day
- Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
- Republic Day
Essay Topics on Education
- Education Essay
- Importance of Education
- Contribution of Technology in Education
Essay Topics on Famous Leaders
- Mahatma Gandhi
- APJ Abdul Kalam
- Jawaharlal Nehru
- Swami Vivekananda
- Mother Teresa
- Rabindranath Tagore
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
- Subhash Chandra Bose
- Abraham Lincoln
- Martin Luther King
- Lal Bahadur Shashtri
Essay Topics on Animals and Birds
- My Favorite Animal
Essays Topics About Yourself
- My Best Friend
- My Favourite Teacher
- My Aim In Life
- My Favourite Game – Badminton
- My Favourite Game – Essay
- My Favourite Book
- My Ambition
- How I Spent My Summer Vacation
- India of My Dreams
- My School Life
- I Love My Family
- My Favourite Subject
- My Favourite Game Badminton
- My Father My Hero
- My School Library
- My Favourite Author
- My plans for summer vacation
Essay Topics Based on Environment and Nature
- Global Warming
- Air Pollution
- Environmental Pollution
- Water Pollution
- Rainy Season
- Climate Change
- Importance Of Trees
- Winter Season
- Natural Disasters
- Save Environment
- Summer Season
- Trees Our Best Friend Essay In English
Essay Topics Based on Proverbs
- Health Is Wealth
- A Stitch in Time Saves Nine
- An Apple a Day Keeps Doctor Away
- Where there is a will, there is way
- Time and Tide wait for none
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Essay Topics for Students from 6th, 7th, 8th Grade
- Noise Pollution
- Environment Pollution
- Women Empowerment
- Time and Tide Wait for none
- Science and Technology
- Importance of Sports
- Sports and Games
- Time Management
- Cleanliness is next to Godliness
- Rome was not Built in a Day
- Clean India
- Cow Essay In English
- Describe Yourself
- Festivals Of India
- Ganesh Chaturthi
- Healthy Food
- Importance Of Water
- Plastic Pollution
- Value of Time
- Honesty is the Best Policy
- Gandhi Jayanti
- Human Rights
- Knowledge Is Power
- Same Sex Marriage
- Childhood Memories
- Cyber Crime
- Kalpana Chawla
- Rani Lakshmi Bai
- Spring Season
- Unity In Diversity
- Artificial Intelligence
- Online Shopping
- Indian Culture
- Healthy Lifestyle
- Indian Education System
- Disaster Management
- Environmental Issues
- Freedom Fighters
- Save Fuel For Better Environment
- Importance Of Newspaper
- Lal Bahadur Shastri
- Raksha Bandhan
- World Environment Day
- Narendra Modi
- What Is Religion
- Charity Begins at Home
- A Journey by Train
- Ideal student
- Save Water Save Earth
- Indian Farmer
- Safety of Women in India
- Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
- Capital Punishment
- College Life
- Natural Resources
- Peer Pressure
- Nature Vs Nurture
- Romeo And Juliet
- Generation Gap
- Makar Sankranti
- Constitution of India
- Girl Education
- Importance of Family
- Importance of Independence Day
- Brain Drain
- A Friend In Need Is A Friend Indeed
- Action Speaks Louder Than Words
- All That Glitters Is Not Gold
- Bhagat Singh
- Importance of Discipline
- Population Explosion
- Poverty in India
- Uses Of Mobile Phones
- Water Scarcity
- Train Journey
- Land Pollution
- Environment Protection
- Indian Army
- Uses of Internet
- All that Glitters is not Gold
- Balanced Diet
- Blood Donation
- Digital India
- Dussehra Essay
- Energy Conservation
- National Integration
- Railway Station
- Sachin Tendulkar
- Health And Hygiene
- Importance Of Forest
- Indira Gandhi
- Laughter Is The Best Medicine
- Career Goals
- Mental Health
- Save Water Save Life
- International Yoga Day
- Winter Vacation
- Soil Pollution
- Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining
- Indian Culture And Tradition
- Unity Is Strength
- Unity is Diversity
- Wildlife Conservation
- Cruelty To Animals
- Nelson Mandela
- Of Mice And Men
- Organ Donation
- Life in a Big City
- Democracy in India
- Waste Management
- Female Foeticide
- Harmful Effects Of Junk Food
- Rain Water Harvesting
- Save Electricity
- Social Media
- Social Networking Sites
- Sound Pollution
- Life in an Indian Village
- Life in Big City
- Population Growth
- World Population Day
- Greenhouse Effect
- Statue of Unity
- Traffic Jam
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
- Importance of Good Manners
- Good Manners
- Cyber Security
- Green Revolution
- Health And Fitness
- Incredible India
- Make In India
- Surgical Strike
- Triple Talaq
- A Good Friend
- Importance of Friends in our Life
- Should Plastic be Banned
- Traffic Rules
- Effects of Global Warming
- Fundamental Rights
- Solar System
- National Constitution Day
- Good Mother
- Importance of Trees in our Life
- City Life Vs Village Life
- Importance of Communication
- Conservation of Nature
- Man vs. Machine
- Indian Economy
- Mothers Love
- Importance of National Integration
- Black Money
- Greenhouse effect
- Self Discipline
- Global Terrorism
- Conservation of Biodiversity
- Newspaper and Its Uses
- World Health Day
- Conservation of Natural Resources
- A Picnic with Family
- Indian Heritage
- Status of Women in India
- Child is Father of the Man
- Reading is Good Habit
- Plastic Bag
- Terrorism in India
- Library and Its Uses
- Life on Mars
- Pollution Due to Diwali
- National Flag of India
- Vocational Education
- Importance of Tree Plantation
- Summer Camp
- Vehicle Pollution
- Women Education in India
- Seasons in India
- Freedom of the Press
- Caste System
- Environment and Human Health
- Mountain Climbing
- Depletion of Natural Resources
- Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
- Health Education
- Effects of Deforestation
- Life after School
- Starvation in India
- Jan Dhan Yojana
- Impact of Privatization
- Election Commission of India
- Election and Democracy
- Prevention of Global Warming
- Impact of Cinema in Life
- Subhas Chandra Bose
- Dowry System
- Ganesh Chaturthi Festival
- Role of Science in Making India
- Impact of Global Warming on Oceans
- Pollution due to Festivals
- Ambedkar Jayanti
- Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat
- Family Planning in India
- Democracy vs Dictatorship
- National Festivals of India
- Sri Aurobindo
- Casteism in India
- Organ trafficking
- Consequences of Global Warming
- Role of Human Activities in Global Warming
- Issues and Problems faced by Women in India
- Role of Judiciary in the Country Today
- Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan
- PUBG Mobile Game Addiction
- Role of Youths in Nation Building
- Value of Oxygen and Water in Life/Earth
- Farmer Suicides in India
- Start-up India
- Pollution Due to Firecrackers
- Life of Soldiers
- Child Labour
- Save Girl Child
- Morning Walk
- My School Fete
- Essay on Financial Literacy
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- Essay On Punjab
- Essay On Travel
- My Home Essay
- Child Marriage Essay
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An opinion essay
Learn how to write an opinion essay.
Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and tips and do the exercises.
Information will soon be so easy to find on the internet that people will not need to remember anything. Do you agree?
Nowadays all the information we could ever need is available online and some people say that means the end of having to learn anything.
It is true that these days everything you want to know is a few clicks away as long as you have internet access. However, not everyone has working internet all the time, for example in certain buildings or remote locations, so we do need to be able to remember information. Moreover, it takes time to look up everything you need to know online, whereas remembering something is immediate. The human memory is a much more efficient system.
Another problem is the quality of the information online. How do we know if it is accurate or reliable? We need to think about other facts we know and remember how to compare information from different websites. Knowing (and remembering) how to find certain information will be more important than knowing the information itself.
Finally, the internet is a good tool but it is not a useful replacement for our brains. If we did not remember anything, we would all spend even more time on our phones and computers than we already do, which is not good for society.
In conclusion, the internet offers us many things but it is still important to use our knowledge and memories. We need our memories to function without the internet and we also need to know how to use the internet properly.
- Read the question carefully. Respond to all ideas in it or all parts of it.
- Plan your ideas first and then choose the best ones.
- Introduce your essay by restating the question in your own words.
- Show understanding of both sides of the argument.
- Use linking words to connect your ideas.
- Draw your conclusion from the main ideas in your essay. Don't introduce new ideas at the end.
What do you think about the question? Would it be better or worse if we never learned anything and just used the internet instead?
I think the use of the internet is not only in conflict with learning, but It has made the speed of learning faster and more comfortable.
On the one hand, With the advent of the internet and access to data whenever we want, we were able to free our minds from memorizing a lot of unnecessary data. It caused that instead of spending our time to remember the formulas and data, we use our time for a deeper understanding of the concepts. Concentration on understanding was a big step in order to make us more clear about how to apply scientific concepts practically, and It made the evolutionary process of turning scientific concepts into experimental tests go faster. Going through this evolutionary process quickly, in turn, caused, firstly, the faster growth of modern technologies and, secondly, the creation of many new data, concepts, and sciences. And now the data volume is so much that not only you can never remember or learn them, but you have to choose the best one that works for you. Somehow, the internet has changed how to learn. It has focused on analyzing the options and choosing the best one to learn Instead of memorizing a bunch of content.
On the other hand, Theoretically speaking, One of the laws In the world is that everything can be useful or harmful in turn. This law also applies to the internet. In fact, how to use the internet determines whether it is useful or harmful. Like many other tools that have been invented such as smartphones, smartwatches, electric cars, and so on we have spent time learning how to use them. In order to get the best out of the internet and don't waste our time, we must take the time to learn how to search. The searching skill is the most important one that helps us find better results.
In conclusion, Given the two analyzed reasons above, I agree with the idea that easy access to Information makes people get rid of memorizing lots of data. But this has nothing to do with the quality or quantity of learning.
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I think it depends on the type of information. Some information are easier to remember, and hence it's more efficient to have them in memory instead of looking for them online. However, some complex information is offered online, and it will be impractical if we tried to remember it. Additionally, I believe that learning is not just about acquiring knowledge. It's about learning how to think with this knowledge available and solve problems efficiently. That's why the internet is considered a valuable tool to promote learning, not to replace it.
Nowadays we are witnesses how far technology has developed in a short time. A huge of information is backing up on internet and if you have access of surfing you can find any information that you are looking for. However, there are some relevant aspects that should be taking into account when we are talking about using always internet instead of learning. In this sense, the purpose of this essay will be to explain why it is not a good idea. Firstly, as you know, most of the information on internet is fake. For that reason, it is impossible the learning process can be replaced by internet use. If you are looking for reliable information you have to learn how it works. In other words you need of learning even if you want to use internet all the time because you have to discern what of all information is useful for you purpose. For example, if you are a student and want to write an essay about a specific topic you likely have to search for the best information if you want to get a job position or scholarship. Secondly, there is a high demand for professionals who have specific skills in the field that they are pretending to be involved. That’s why learning always is a must for satisfying the requirements of companies and institutions. For instance, in the education field, the main aim is the learning and knowledge which are essential on a daily life to be an expert in your field of action and these skills can’t be acquired through internet surfing. To sum up learning and knowledge are fundamentals in a current world that is demanding professionals highly qualified even in our daily live and the internet is far away of satisfying the required skills that you get every day through the practice, research and networking.
I think it become worse and dangerous for our society, we need to control it making rules. Without internet, many skills and knowledge could´nt be used.
I believe that, The internet become even more dangerous for young people who barely discovered the world around them, If they count on it for seeking information without parental supervision, it would be a disaster!
In nowadays,there are many ways to reach information.The Internet is just one of them but maybe most promising one.The Internet helps us to find information easily and efficently.
However there are some negative sides of Internet.For instance realibilty of information.There are no real control on Internet.I reckon there will not be soon.This reduces the trust in internet.This is why People will always need another source to be make sure and need to remember information.
It is also necesseray for objectivity. You can not just have one source and expect true and impartial information. It is against nature of science.This is not how science works.People must have and process the information.In this way we expand our knowledge.When we make brainstorm we always end up with another information. If we don’t have and process the information how Science works?
I suppose in the future People will never trust completely to Internet. They will always need another source and they will need to interrogate source of information.In conclusion Internet is by far most promising invention People have ever invented.However Internet is not beyond our brain and imagination.We will always need to posses and process the information.
It is about my hometown: My hometown is a beautiful, attractive and cool. N'beika is one of the most famous places in Mauritania where attractive views and economic capacities are in. It is located in Tagant which is in middle of the map. Therefore, It is one the biggest cities in the country. As there are interesting geographical features such as: high Mountains, nice valleys, light hills and wonderful pools. Historically, N'beika played an important role in culture, trade exchange and fighting colonialist. Also it has saved historical landmarks, for example: manuscripts, books and cities which the most important is Gasr Albarka. In the north, there have tourist views and in the East big mountains with lovely valleys like Matmata where there are some Alligators in and other attractive animals. As well as from the south and the west there are some fields, forests and farms. Moreover, people are interested in agriculture, trade, development and education. Furthermore, there are many schools and Mahidras and three colleges providing well-deserved education to students. What's more, mall shops is offering demands and created jobs for unemployment. There are different favourite for people , some of them are crazy about football as youth, and some people like doing agriculture and development. Moreover, there are entrepreneurs doing a small business like selling clothes, pitch, barbershop... etc. In conclusion, N'beika is a gift of Allah that has given to people to spend nice moments in order to feel happy and to invest for everything we want due to gain lots of money .
I believe it is amazing updated technology which has helped us a lot in our lives. In todays era everyone has access to internet over the globe. you can easily find all the information on internet that is required to you. Even though learn many new skills which aren't even taught you from the help of internet. it is good help for book writer like us where we can be part of book writing communities or book writing resources to enhance our skills and provides more guidance to others.
It would be unfortunate if we never learned anything at all. It is true that the Internet has become such a vital part of our social lives, and has made information accessible. However, Relying on the Internet all the time may hinders our growth as a person whereas, using our memory to remember things and recalled information can widen our horizons, broaden our perspective and harness our skills. Learning is a lifelong process that enables us to function effectively and brings out our full potentials.
Without learning the internet would not exit. There needs to be learning to develop skills and knowledge.
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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.
Thank a lot dear EnglishClub, it’s help me a lot
I think it is very good site for learn essay writing
As a teacher trainer this contribution is helpful
Thanks for the tips! I’ll have an essay tomorrow and this will surlely prepare me!
Thank you so much
Thanks Please I will like to know more
thank you so much for your amazing informations
Nice one but I don’t understand yet
Knowledge supporter is who u are, keep d good work nd ur reward is from God nd thanks.
thanks alot for your tips…your tips will help me alot while examss!!!
Thank you so much for information ☺️
Thank you ☺️
Thank you 💯💯💯💯💯💯
My hobby is home garden
ur intentinon and thoughts was very nce its useful to somny pepole to learn english tysomuch adela belin
Thanks you for helping
This did help a lot! Thank you very much 🥰
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!
This is a nice explanation ,,,,,proud of you!
Is very interesting for me I really apreicete you help
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
Helpful updated tips to share with our students!! thankssss
I want to know if it is only at the University or if we may take the course online.
Thank you verry much for important advices
thank for your key points, this is really helpful
Thank you and best wishes,
Very pragmatic and helpful essay. Thank so much English club
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- Essay Writing
In the simplest terms, an essay is a short piece of writing which is set around a specific topic or subject. The piece of writing will give information surrounding the topic but will also display the opinions and thoughts of the author. Oftentimes, an essay is used in an academic sense by way of examination to determine whether a student has understood their studies and as a way of testing their knowledge on a specific subject. An essay is also used in education as a way of encouraging a student to develop their writing skills.
Moreover; an essay is a focused piece of writing designed to inform or persuade. There are many different types of essays, but they are often defined in four categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays. Argumentative and expository essays are focused on conveying information and making clear points, while narrative and descriptive essays are about exercising creativity and writing in an interesting way. At the university level, argumentative essays are the most common type.
Types of Essay Writing
When it comes to writing an essay, there is not simply one type, there are, quite a few types of essay, and each of them has its purpose and function which are as follows:
A narrative essay details a story, oftentimes from a particular point of view. When writing a narrative essay, you should include a set of characters, a location, a good plot, and a climax to the story. It is vital that when writing this type of essay you use fine details which will allow the reader to feel the emotion and use their senses but also give the story the chance to make a point.
A descriptive essay will describe something in great detail. The subject can be anything from people and places to objects and events but the main point is to go into depth. You might describe the item’s color, where it came from, what it looks like, smells like, tastes like, or how it feels. It is very important to allow the reader to sense what you are writing about and allow them to feel some sort of emotion whilst reading. That being said, the information should be concise and easy to understand, the use of imagery is widely used in this style of essay.
An expository essay is used as a way to look into a problem and therefore compare it and explore it. For the expository essay, there is a little bit of storytelling involved but this type of essay goes beyond that. The main idea is that it should explain an idea giving information and explanation. Your expository essay should be simple and easy to understand as well as give a variety of viewpoints on the subject that is being discussed. Often this type of essay is used as a way to detail a subject which is usually more difficult for people to understand, clearly and concisely.
When writing an argumentative essay, you will be attempting to convince your reader about an opinion or point of view. The idea is to show the reader whether the topic is true or false along with giving your own opinion. You must use facts and data to back up any claims made within the essay.
Format of Essay Writing
Now there is no rigid format of an essay. It is a creative process so it should not be confined within boundaries. However, there is a basic structure that is generally followed while writing essays.
This is the first paragraph of your essay. This is where the writer introduces his topic for the very first time. You can give a very brief synopsis of your essay in the introductory paragraph. Generally, it is not very long, about 4-6 lines.
This is the main crux of your essays. The body is the meat of your essay sandwiched between the introduction and the conclusion. So the most vital content of the essay will be here. This need not be confined to one paragraph. It can extend to two or more paragraphs according to the content.
This is the last paragraph of the essay. Sometimes a conclusion will just mirror the introductory paragraph but make sure the words and syntax are different. A conclusion is also a great place, to sum up, a story or an argument. You can round up your essay by providing some morals or wrapping up a story. Make sure you complete your essays with the conclusion, leave no hanging threads.
Give your essays an interesting and appropriate title. It will help draw the attention of the reader and pique their curiosity
Keep it between 300-500 words. This is the ideal length, you can take creative license to increase or decrease it
Keep your language simple and crisp. Unnecessary complicated and difficult words break the flow of the sentence.
Do not make grammar mistakes, use correct punctuation and spelling five-paragraph. If this is not done it will distract the reader from the content
Before beginning the essay, organize your thoughts and plot a rough draft. This way you can ensure the story will flow and not be an unorganized mess.
Understand the Topic Thoroughly-Sometimes we jump to a conclusion just by reading the topic once and later we realize that the topic was different than what we wrote about. Read the topic as many times as it takes for you to align your opinion and understanding about the topic.
Make Pointers-It is a daunting task to write an essay inflow as sometimes we tend to lose our way of explaining and get off-topic, missing important details. Thinking about all points you want to discuss and then writing them down somewhere helps in covering everything you hoped to convey in your essay.
Develop a Plan and Do The Math-Essays have word limits and you have to plan your content in such a way that it is accurate, well-described, and meets the word limit given. Keep a track of your words while writing so that you always have an idea of how much to write more or less.
Essays are the most important means of learning the structure of writing and presenting them to the reader.
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 an English Essay
Last Updated: November 21, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Jake Adams . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 1,576,820 times.
When taking English courses in high school and college, you'll likely be assigned to write essays. While writing an essay for an English class may seem overwhelming, it does not have to be. If you give yourself plenty of time to plan out and develop your essay, however, then you will not have to stress about it.
- Your instructor will expect to see a well-crafted thesis early on in your essay. Place your thesis at the end of your first paragraph.
- If you don't understand how to write a thesis, ask your instructor for help. This is an important concept that will keep coming up in courses where you have to write papers.
- Telling a personal anecdote
- Citing a surprising fact or statistic
- Overturning a common misconception
- Challenging the reader to examine her own preconceptions
- You can create a numbered outline using a word processor or just put it on paper.
- Don’t worry about being too detailed when you create your outline. Just try to get the major ideas on paper.
- A really solid outline helps you figure out how you're going to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.
Drafting the Essay
- Make sure that you have your outline handy as well. You can build on your outline by expanding on each of the points in the order that they are listed in.
- Think of the topic sentence as a way to tell readers what you'll talk about in the rest of the paragraph. You don’t need to summarize the whole paragraph—just provide readers with a taste.
- For example, in a paragraph that describes Okonkwo’s rise and fall in Things Fall Apart, you might begin with something like: “Okonkwo starts out as a poor young man, but then rises to a position of wealth and status.”
- Returning to the invention stage . This includes exercises such as freewriting, listing, or clustering. You can also revisit your notes and books to see if there's anything you missed or forgot.
- Visiting your school’s writing lab . You can find a writing lab on most college campuses. They are free to students and can help you improve your writing at any stage in the writing process.
- Talking to your instructor . Take advantage of your professor's office hours or one-on-one appointments. Meet with them and discuss ways that you can improve your essay before you hand it in.
- An MLA style works cited page starts on a new page at the end of the essay. Provide entries for each of the sources that you used. These entries should include the information necessary to allow the reader to find the source with ease.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
- MLA style in-text (also called parenthetical) citations provide readers with the author’s last name the page number for the information. It's necessary to include an in-text citation for any information that you quote, summarize, or paraphrase from a source. It comes right after the sourced information, and it includes the author’s last name and page number in parentheses.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
- Qualify or complicate the information in your essay
- Suggest a need for further research
- Speculate on how the future will change the current situation
Revising the Essay
- If possible, give yourself at least 5 days to work on your essay. Dedicate separate days to researching, crafting your thesis, outlining your ideas, drafting your paper, and making revisions.
- Have I answered the question in a satisfactory way?
- Do I have a clear thesis? Is my thesis the focus of my essay?
- Do I include adequate support for my argument? Is there anything else I could add?
- Is there a logic to my essay? Does one idea follow the next? If not, how might I improve the logic of my essay?
- Try swapping essays with a friend from class. You can read and comment on each other’s essays to make sure that both of you have done the best work possible.
- Make sure that you swap papers at least one day before the paper is due so that you will have time to correct any errors that your friend finds.
- As you read, correct any errors that you find and make a note of anything that you think could be improved, such as adding more details or clarifying the language.
Planning Your Essay
- Always ask your professor if you don't understand the assignment. It's important to have a clear idea of what they want before you start working on the assignment.
“Think of your thesis as the point you're trying to prove in your essay. If the essay came with a prompt question, your one-sentence answer is your thesis.”
- A well-detailed answer that satisfies the assignment requirements
- A clear and direct piece of writing that is easy to follow
- A polished paper with no minor errors, such as typos or misspellings
- For example, if you are tasked with writing about a character in a book, then you will need to provide lots of details about that character. This will probably require rereading some passages of your book as well as revisiting your notes from class.  X Research source
- To ensure that your paper is easy to follow, you'll need to make sure that there's a logical order to your essay. Do this by creating an outline and checking your work for logic.
- Start early and give yourself lots of time for revision. Try to complete your first draft about one week before the paper is due.
- Freewriting . Write as much as you can without stopping. If you can’t think of anything, write “I can’t think of anything to write,” until something comes to mind. After you finish, go over what've written and underline or highlight any useful information for your essay.
- Listing . Make a list of all of the details and information that are relevant to the essay prompt. After you have listed everything that you can think of, read over it and circle the most important information for your essay.
- Clustering . Write your topic in the middle of the page, then branch out with other connected ideas. Circle the ideas and connect them to the main one with lines. Keep going until you can't do any more.
- Good sources to use for English essays include books, articles from scholarly journals, articles from trustworthy news sources (NY Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.), and government or university sponsored web pages.
- Many instructors include “research quality” in their grading criteria, so including poor sources, such as blogs, may result in a poor grade.
- If you are not sure if a source is of good quality, ask your instructor or a librarian.
Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.
- If you choose to have someone critique your essay, try to find someone who fits your essay's target audience. You won't be able to improve your literary analysis of "To Kill a Mockingbird" if you hand it to someone who's never read it. Thanks Helpful 17 Not Helpful 5
- Don’t procrastinate on starting and developing your essay. Good writing takes time and careful planning. Thanks Helpful 7 Not Helpful 1
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- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/thesis_statement_tips.html
- ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/introductions/
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/developing_an_outline/types_of_outlines.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/paragraphs_and_paragraphing/index.html
- ↑ https://opentextbc.ca/writingforsuccess/chapter/chapter-11-developing-a-convincing-argument/
- ↑ https://guides.libraries.psu.edu/mlacitation/intext
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_page_basic_format.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_in_text_citations_the_basics.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/common_writing_assignments/argument_papers/index.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/proofreading/index.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/argumentative_essays.html
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/common_writing_assignments/understanding_writing_assignments.html
- ↑ http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/english/currentstudents/undergraduate/modules/fulllist/second/en228/how_to_write_an_essay/
- ↑ http://writing.ku.edu/prewriting-strategies
About This Article
To write an English essay, start by collecting your notes and sources to brainstorm a thesis, also known as your main argument. Once you have an argument, begin your essay by writing a paragraph that introduces your topic and thesis. After the introduction, write out body paragraphs, which should each start with a topic sentence and develop your thesis by providing specific examples. Finally, finish your essay with a conclusory paragraph, then, edit it for grammar, clarity, and any filler content. For more, like how to write an outline, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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How to Write an Essay
- DESCRIPTION Steps to How to Write an Essay
- SOURCE Neliakott / iStock / Getty Images Plus
- PERMISSION Used under Getty Images license
Essays are common in middle school, high school and college. You may even need to write essays in the business world (although they are usually called reports at that point). An essay is defined as a short piece of writing that expresses information as well as the writer's opinion. Learn how to write an essay using 8 simple steps.
8 Steps to Writing an Essay
For some, writing an essay is as simple as sitting down at their computer and beginning to type. But a lot more planning goes into writing an essay successfully. If you have never written an essay before, you struggle with writing and want to improve your skills, or you're tasked with writing an essay fast , it is a good idea to follow a number of important steps in the essay writing process.
For example, to write an essay, you should generally:
- decide what kind of essay to write
- brainstorm your topic
- research the topic
- choose a writing style
- develop a thesis
- outline your essay
- write your essay
- edit your writing to check spelling and grammar
While this sounds like a lot of steps to write a simple essay, if you follow them you will be able to write more successful, clear and cohesive essays.
1. Choose the Type of Essay
The first step to writing an essay is to define what type of essay you are writing. There are four main categories into which essays can be grouped:
- Narrative essay - Tell a story or impart information about your subject in a straightforward, orderly manner, like in a story.
- Persuasive essay - Convince the reader about some point of view.
- Expository essay - Explain to the reader how to perform a given process. You could, for example, write an expository essay with step-by-step instructions on how to make a peanut butter sandwich.
- Descriptive essay - Focus on the details of what is going on. For example, if you want to write a descriptive essay about your trip to the park, you would give great detail about what you experienced: how the grass felt beneath your feet, what the park benches looked like, and anything else the reader would need to feel as if he were there.
Knowing what kind of essay you are trying to write can help you decide on a topic and structure your essay in the best way possible. Here are a few other types of essays:
- Argumentative essay - Take a position on a controversial issue and present evidence in favor of your position. If you’ve been assigned an argumentative essay, check out these top 10 argumentative essay topics .
- Compare and contrast essay - Identify similarities and differences between two subjects that are, typically, under the same umbrella.
- Problem solution essay - Describe a problem, convince the reader to care about the problem, propose a solution, and be prepared to dismantle objections.
- Informative essay - Educate the reader on a particular topic with facts.
2. Brainstorm Your Topic
You cannot write an essay unless you have an idea of what to write about. Brainstorming is the process in which you come up with the essay topic. You need to simply sit and think of ideas during this phase.
- Write down everything that comes to mind as you can always narrow those topics down later.
- Use clustering or mind mapping to brainstorm and come up with an essay idea. This involves writing your topic or idea in the center of the paper and creating bubbles (clouds or clusters) of related ideas around it.
- Brainstorming can be a great way to develop a topic more deeply and to recognize connections between various facets of your topic.
- Once you have a list of possible topics, it's time to choose the best one that will answer the question posed for your essay. You want to choose a topic that is neither too broad nor too narrow.
If you are given an assignment to write a one-page essay, it would be far too much to write about "the history of the U.S.," since that could fill entire volumes of books. Instead, you could write about a specific event within the history of the United States: perhaps signing the Declaration of Independence or when Columbus discovered the Americas.
Choose the best topic idea from among your list and begin moving forward on writing your essay. But, before you move forward, take heed of these topics to avoid .
3. Research the Topic
Once you have done your brainstorming and chosen your topic, you may need to do some research to write a good essay. Go to the library or search online for information about your topic. Interview people who might be experts in the subject.
Keep your research organized so it will be easy for you to refer back to. This also makes it easier to cite your sources when writing your final essay.
4. Choose a Writing Style
The writing style that you choose for your essay is dictated by your teacher or the topic of your paper. In general, there are three writing styles you might come across in high school and college.
- MLA (Modern Language Association) is designed for humanities and language arts essays. It uses the author-page number citation style. This is the most common writing style used by high school and college students.
- APA (American Psychological Association) uses the author-date citation style and was created for social science and psychology research papers and essays. It is the second most common writing style out there.
- Chicago Manual of Style , also known as Turabian, has two writing styles: author-date and notes-bibliography. Mostly used by college students and professionals, the author-date style works for scientific papers, while notes-biblio makes arts and humanities papers a breeze.
Each different writing style has its own unique format for in-text and reference list citations.
5. Develop a Thesis
Your thesis statement is the main point of your essay. It is essentially one sentence that says what the essay is about. For example, your thesis statement might be "Dogs are descended from wolves." You can then use this as the basic premise to write your entire essay, remembering that all of the different points throughout need to lead back to this one main thesis. You should usually state your thesis in your introductory paragraph.
Additionally, the thesis statement should be broad enough that you have enough to say about it, but not so broad that you can't be thorough. To help you structure a perfectly clear thesis, check out these thesis statement examples .
6. Outline Your Essay
The next step is to outline what you are going to write about. This means you want to essentially draw the skeleton of your paper. Writing an outline can help to ensure your paper is logical, well organized and flows properly. If you’ve been tasked with an argumentative essay, here’s the best formula for an argumentative essay outline .
- Start by writing the thesis statement at the top, then write a topic sentence for each paragraph below that. This means you should know exactly what each of your paragraphs is going to be about before you write them.
- Don't jumble too many ideas in each paragraph or the reader may become confused.
- Ensure you have transitions between paragraphs so the reader understands how the paper flows from one idea to the next.
- Fill in supporting facts from your research under each paragraph. Make sure each paragraph ties back to your thesis and creates a cohesive, understandable essay.
Does your teacher follow the APA guidelines for writing papers? If so, these APA outline format examples should help you pull it all together. As you progress into the meat of the essay (following our tips below), these APA format examples should prove beneficial! Or, if MLA is your teacher’s preferred style, check out these MLA format examples .
7. Write the Essay
Once you have an outline, it’s time to start writing. Write based on the outline itself, fleshing out your basic skeleton to create a whole, cohesive and clear essay.
You’ll want to edit and re-read your essay, checking to make sure it sounds exactly the way you want it to. Here are some things to remember:
- Revise for clarity, consistency and structure.
- Support your thesis adequately with the information in your paragraphs. Each paragraph should have its own topic sentence. This is the most important sentence in the paragraph that tells readers what the rest of the paragraph will be about.
- Make sure everything flows together. As you move through the essay, transition words will be paramount. Transition words are the glue that connects every paragraph together and prevents the essay from sounding disjointed. You can even use a list of transition words to help get you started.
- Reread your introduction and conclusion . Will the reader walk away knowing exactly what your paper was about?
In your introduction, it’s important to include a hook. This is the line or line that will lure a reader in and encourage them to want to learn more. For more on this, check out how to write a hook . And, to help you formulate a killer conclusion, scan through these conclusion examples .
8. Check Spelling and Grammar
Now the essay is written, but you're not quite done. Reread what you've written, looking out for mistakes and typos.
- Revise for technical errors.
- Check for grammar , punctuation and spelling errors. You cannot always count on spell check to recognize every spelling error. Sometimes, you can spell a word incorrectly but your misspelling will also be a word, such as spelling "from" as "form."
- Another common area of concern is quotation marks. It’s important to cite your sources with accuracy and clarity. Follow these guidelines on how to use quotes in essays and speeches.
- You might also want to consider the difference between quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing . Quoting is reserved for lines of text that are identical to an original piece of writing. Paraphrasing is reserved for large sections of someone else’s writing that you want to convey in your own words. Summarizing puts the main points from someone else’s text into your own words.
Planning Pays Off
A lot goes into writing a successful essay. Fortunately, these tips for writing essays can help you along the way and get you on the path to a well-written essay. Out of all these “how-tos,” the worst thing you could do is plagiarize someone else’s writing (intentionally or unintentionally). Take a look at these tips and techniques for preventing plagiarism . Other than that, we wish you great success as you work your way to a perfect A!