An essay is a common form of writing. Whether you need it for school, college, or personal purposes, learning all the core information about it is crucial. If you want to know how to write an essay that will captivate the reader, this guide is for you. We’ve gathered all this writing genre’s fundamentals and expert tips.
You’ll learn about types of essays, their specifics, and how to nail any of them.
What Is an Essay?
Before you head to the steps to write an essay, you need to know all the basics of this form.
An essay is a short-form text most commonly used in academia. The name comes from the Latin word “exagium,” which means “to present the case.” It suggests the purpose of this form – to present a piece of information properly.
People write such texts for various reasons. In modern days, it is one of the most popular forms for students and scientists. It allows presenting the topic/idea and supporting it with evidence or arguments. But authors, journalists, or any other person can write essays too.
For example, one can work on a personal one to share a specific experience. Usually, an essay is relatively short. It uses a five-paragraph structure, which is enough to outline the case or present a perspective.
Such papers can be formal (like those students do in college) or informal. Often, professors use this form as a part of homework material. But sometimes, students get to write an essay in class.
Preparation for Essay Writing
If you need to write an essay as a homework assignment, you have enough time to work out all the details. But if you are asked to craft one in class, it might be much more challenging. In such a case, students are limited in time and research opportunities.
That’s why it is vital to master the format in general. So, if you get such a task as a test or part of an exam, you can quickly work on a persuasive text.
Before heading to typing, one needs to know the core elements of this format. For instance, the structure always follows the same plan. If you know it, outlining becomes significantly easier. This form comes in five paragraphs, with one for the introduction, three for the main body, and one more for the conclusion.
Also, papers are limited in volume. A high-school one is usually about 500 words, although it can fluctuate from 300 to 1000. An admission essay applicants have to submit to enter a college or university is about 250-650 words. Undergraduate students might have to create a 1500-5000 word paper.
Writers have to know the building blocks of a successful paper.
It Needs a Thesis Statement
A thesis statement is at the center of any essay. Basically, it is the main idea you want to present—something you want to tell readers that can be summarized in one or two sentences.
If you want to know how to write an essay, you need to start with understanding the significance of the thesis statement. When there is no clear thesis, it is impossible to produce a logical and well-planned paper. You must know the main idea to keep the flow and wording right.
How to Write a Thesis Statement for an Essay?
Start with the initial thesis – a draft idea of what you want to focus on. After that, ask yourself questions about it. For instance, if you’re going to write about social media and mental health, ask about the influence you and others experienced. Think of what research has been done in this regard. Look up studies and the main discussion points.
Does it have an overly negative effect? Or are there positives? Based on the research, come up with your perspective. To support your viewpoint, you must present why and how to readers. So, why do you think social media harms mental health, and how can they hurt people?
Based on this, rewrite your initial thesis coherently and shortly. It should take one or two sentences.
The Main Types of Essays You Need to Know
Several common types of essays define the style, wording, and presented evidence. If you decide to write an essay about personal experience, you won’t need to cite statistical sources, for instance. But if you are working on a persuasive one, it will benefit from factual evidence.
The type also defines how to formulate the thesis statement. Some need you to compare two ideas; others expect you to present a perspective.
It is the most common type in academia. Students must find topics to write about for an essay, explore the subject, and prepare scientific evidence. Often, you’ll deal with it at the end of a school year or as a Capstone project.
It requires extensive research of literature and studies on a subject. It is very formal and detailed. Also, it has to feature evidential support in each body paragraph.
Young adults must write an essay to apply to a college or university. It is what is called an admissions essay. It aims to present why you are interested in this school or course. And you’ll need to showcase what makes you a perfect candidate for the place.
It doesn’t require deep research and can be less formal. It focuses on the author’s personality, goals, skills, and accomplishments.
The main goal of this type is to persuade readers of a specific point or idea. It means that it should use specific rhetorical techniques besides evidence or supporting data. Authors need to present the case, establish arguments, and convince the audience of something.
It is similar to the argumentative one. But here, the focal point is persuasion. At the same time, the argumentative one can present a perspective with evidence.
This type is used when you need to write an essay to compare two ideas or objects. It can cover similar or opposite things. But both of them need to get an equal amount of attention. The goal is the comparison itself, not choosing what is better or worse.
It is also formal and requires an objective and neutral delivery. The depth of research depends on the compared objects or ideas.
In this form, the writer tells about a personal experience. It can be a story about an event or an anecdote. It is more on the informal side and uses more vivid language. Metaphors and creative techniques are allowed.
Also, the thesis statement is flexible or even up to interpretation. Many novelists or professional authors use it for impactful messages based on personal experience.
This type of text aims to present and explain a subject to the audience. It can be formal or informal based on the task. In a nutshell, it is similar to an argumentative one. It also needs strong research and scientific background to present a subject concisely.
The main difference is that it is more neutral and has no bias. You do not need to persuade readers but only inform them.
This type focuses on telling a story. For instance, students might write about their vacation or their first day in school. So, there is little academic research involved. Because of that, it is more informal and can use narrative figures and creative approaches.
A thesis statement is also more flexible. But there should be a straightforward story with a conflict, resolution, and moral (conclusion).
Knowing Your Audience Is Essential
When you choose topics to write about for an essay or decide on the type, you need to know exactly who your audience is.
Audience hugely influences the format and the content of the paper. For example, if your readers are students or professors, you can use specific terms and avoid overexplaining concepts they already know. But if you write for the general public, you might lean into a more conversational style.
Understanding the audience allows choosing arguments wisely. For example, if your readers are primarily women and you write about social issues, you can use women’s related examples. In rhetoric, such a technique allows to appeal better to the audience and convince them.
At the same time, if you need to persuade professors, scientific data and peer-reviewed sources would work better than an emotional appeal. It is a written form of communication; knowing what and who you want to communicate with ensures your message is heard.
Essay Writing Process Step by Step
So, how do you write an essay that serves the purpose and accomplishes all the goals? Overall, the process is the same, no matter the type, formality, or audience. It takes planning, researching, drafting, writing, and editing.
Sounds simple, right? To create a winning text, you need to follow several steps. And each of them has its specifics. Let’s dive into those steps and determine the core features to consider.
The first step is to analyze the prompt, define the goal, and select a suitable topic. If you are working on a college assignment, in many cases, it will be decided for you.
So, you must read the task and pay attention to the requirements. How do you write an essay if there is no prompt? Well, you need to determine everything yourself:
- Start with the idea of what you want to say;
- Decide what you want to achieve (or what action you expect a reader to take after reading);
- Select a type that works best for the purpose;
- Draft a thesis statement.
The next step is preparation. Usually, it considers research on the topic. Even if it is an informal text, you can look up some examples or similar cases.
You must conduct a more profound investigation if you are working on a college paper. Look for peer-reviewed and approved sources. Consider the validity and relevance of the data. It is always a good idea to search for the most recent studies.
Also, if you have a perspective to explain, look up the counterarguments. It will help write an essay in a more educated and objective manner. After research, take a break to let all of that information digest.
Good topics to write an essay on always offer a lot to cover. But it is crucial to keep it to the volume. Draft an outline of a text with significant points you will make.
If you are using quotations or evidence, place them in specific sections in the outline. Write down your arguments and choose the strongest three.
Remember to start with the strongest one and finish with the weakest. After you finish drafting, it is time to start typing. A good tip is to begin with the main body and write the introduction and conclusion later.
Take a break after you are done typing. The process of writing an essay is time- and effort-consuming. To revise effectively, you need to clear your head and regain focus.
When you are ready, reread the text. Pay attention to:
- The clarity of the thesis statement;
- Logical flow;
- Delivery of the arguments;
Ask your friend or relative to read the text and give their feedback. It can be valuable in terms of gaining the reader’s perspective. Think whether you’ve achieved your purpose and supported your thesis in the best way possible.
The next step in writing an essay is proofreading. Students must pay attention to formatting, citations, grammar, and spelling here. All the most minor details matter, especially in academic writing.
Make sure you use appropriate font, size, and margins—correct potential spelling and grammar errors. Prepare the bibliography with sources. Make sure your quotations in the text are given correctly.
If you do not work with citations carefully, for instance, if you do not credit someone, it can turn into a plagiarism issue. Plagiarism is a severe offense in colleges and universities. It is better to run checks on the text with online tools before submitting it.
What Does an Essay Structure Look Like?
A good thing about this form is that it always follows the same structure. The rough plan will be the same whether you are writing an essay for physics or journalism class. So, creating one draft outline will serve you well in the future.
There are three main blocks – introduction, main body, and conclusion. Each of them has a defined number of paragraphs. All are equally important but have different goals and specifics.
How to write an essay introduction? The most integral part of it is the thesis statement. As a rule, it comes as the last sentence of the section.
The introduction takes one paragraph and presents the main topic of the paper. You need to state the thesis clearly and name the arguments you will cover later. The primary purpose is to tell a reader what the paper is about. The introduction needs to be clear and direct.
If the paper is more informal, authors can use a hook to grab the reader’s attention. Many people find it easier to write the introduction after they are done with the main body.
The following structural block of writing an essay is the main body. It takes the most extended – three paragraphs at least. Here, you need to present your case. It means telling a story or building an argument.
It is crucial to cover one argument/subtopic at a time. Please do not mix them all, as it might make the text unclear. One paragraph should cover one idea. It starts with the topic sentence – a subthesis. Then, you explain it and provide evidence. The last sentence serves as a mini-conclusion and transition to the next paragraph.
A good structure for a paragraph includes your perspective, counterargument, and supporting evidence. One of the most common ways to organize the main body is to start with the strongest argument.
There needs to be a logical progression. When dealing with a narrative type, you need to apply storytelling techniques. It means setting a stage and explaining the event. The organization is more flexible here. But the flow should still be easy to follow.
When working on the body paragraphs, remember about the audience. Avoid giving too much general context if not applicable. Avoid common knowledge sentences (global warming is terrible or the Earth is round).
Now, you might wonder how to write the conclusion of an essay rather than make it a repetition of the introduction.
Although it restates the thesis and the arguments, it has to be different from the beginning. The purpose here is to summarize what has been covered. Sometimes, authors can suggest further research or areas that need investigation.
Do not add any additional evidence or data to the conclusion. It is a mistake. All the evidence has to be in the body. The conclusion sums things up and restates the case comprehensively. But it can have a call to action when appropriate.
The given above structure covers the five-paragraph format. It is the most common one for students. It has a straightforward and simple structure. So, it is difficult to mess things up with outlining.
More complex and voluminous formats are trickier. However, they follow the same logic:
- Stick to one point at a time;
- Be precise with formulating ideas;
- Cover counterarguments as well;
- Present supporting evidence.
This structure is simple and works perfectly for quick pieces, for example, if you are given an essay as a part of a test or exam in class. You can choose it and save plenty of time on planning.
Tips on Writing Essays: Expert Perspective
Remember Five Core Elements
When you write an essay, you need to keep in mind the core elements, namely:
- Build a solid and interesting thesis;
- Choose a suitable form and structure;
- Use appropriate style and language;
- Keep an eye on conventions – grammar, spelling, and punctuation;
- Find reliable, supportive evidence and data.
These five factors cover all the fundamental requirements of a well-crafted paper. And they also serve as a guide on how to approach the task. If you remember them, you’ll always have it easier with this format.
Get Outside Help
It can be challenging to evaluate your work. An author is always biased. Also, you are limited in your perspective on the topic. You’ve already decided how you approach it, and it is tough to think outside of it.
What is the solution? Get outside help. For instance, ask a friend or peer to read and review your work. They might have valuable insights. Another person can see potential errors that you have a blind eye to. If your friend is not advanced in academic writing, they might not be very good with feedback.
Another solid opportunity is to ask professional writers for editing and proofreading. It ensures an objective expert perspective, which is the best-case scenario.
Pay Attention to Grammar
When you write an essay, it is easy to disregard grammar. After all, it is about the strong thesis and arguments, right? Well, not exactly. Grammar and spelling are evaluated as well. They influence the grade you are going to get.
And no matter how strong your case is, grammatical errors will weaken it. They signify a need for more care and effort. Also, they might suggest a lower level of writing skills.
Students often use solutions like Grammarly for proofreading. It is a solid app but cannot be the only proofreading method. It is not ideal, and it covers the obvious and simple errors. Ensure you have enough time to proofread the text again manually.
Sometimes, the formatting, spelling, and grammar might ruin all your hard work. It is crucial to consider the importance of every detail when it comes to a successful paper.
Is essay writing easy?
Writing an essay can be easy after you’ve learned all the fundamentals and done your fair share of preparation. Such a form requires advanced skills in terms of language and research. So, it often comes with a lot of difficulties for students.
A good thing is the more you do it, the easier it will get. Like any other skill, it can be practiced and developed. With some time and these tips, you’ll increase your efficiency dramatically. Also, it will take you a short time to do it.
Complexity also depends on the type of paper, topic, and volume. Formal and scientific-based ones are usually the hardest.
Are there examples of essay writing?
If you want to learn how to write an essay sample or find inspiration, you can check texts online. There are plenty of well-crafted texts out there. The New York Times holds an essay writing competition. And the magazine publishes the best pieces.
They serve as an inspiration. Also, you can look up essays by famous authors and novelists. These are more useful for informal and creative types. Be a critical reader. Pay attention to the structure, wording, and style. Determine what parts are the strongest and what could be better. Take notes on what you can use later in your process.
What makes a good essay?
A good paper comes from following the five core rules. It needs a strong thesis, a logical structure, a suitable style, proper grammar, and credible supporting evidence. Another critical factor is the type you are working on. To write an essay online successfully, you must start with planning and research.
Decide on the subject and the angle to approach it. Study the counterarguments to make the presentation more objective. Also, it is crucial to acknowledge the audience and the purpose. The good idea is to get a perspective from someone else to know whether you’ve delivered the message.
Who can help me write my essay?
Academic writing platforms can help write an essay with ease. Professional writers know exactly how to convey an idea or present an argument. If you think, “can someone write my essay for me,” "write my thesis for me", "write my book report for me" etc., go for such a platform.
Professionals have years of experience and can master any subject or topic. Also, partnering with experts gives you access to valuable insights. They can do it from scratch or proofread and edit your work. In any case, you’ll get essential guidance and excellent results.
Writing papers can be challenging, especially if you have little experience in it. So, working with knowledgeable professionals is a great way to learn more and develop skills.
Writing an essay becomes easier when you learn the fundamentals and establish a proper routine. Remember the five core principles of writing your essay, and ensure you have enough time for each step.
Always start with planning and working on the thesis statement. Create a draft structure and follow expert tips to make sure you cover the basics.
If you need to pay someone to write an essay or proofread your work, do not hesitate to contact a professional academic platform. Working on academic papers should not be stressful; experts can guide you through it comfortably, either by suggesting ideas or by giving feedback.
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