Are you an ESL student residing in America, the UK or Australia?
Do you struggle with communicating your thoughts and ideas in writing?
You are not alone and we are here to help you.
If you find yourself staring at a blank screen or paper, not knowing what to write and how to begin your high school or college essay then you can learn it here.
For students with English as a Second Language (ESL) writing an academic essay or paper and competing with natives is always a challenge.
They may have the other elements of English language usage (speaking, listening and reading) covered, writing remains a challenge for many.
Essay writing is fundamental at the secondary and post-secondary levels, but without good writing skills, ESL students are at a serious disadvantage.
Before you start writing, make an outline. The basic essay outline structure applies to all essay types.
However, the length of the central body paragraphs may differ for complex and longer essays. A typical short essay is commonly known as a five paragraph essay and it follows the following basic structure.
Learning to write an essay outline may be difficult but not impossible. As an ESL students it will be a bit difficult but with practice and hard work, you can do it.
The purpose of the introduction is to inform your reader about the topic that you will discuss in the essay. State it simply and clearly.
A thesis statement is a brief one, or two sentence highlighting the main idea of the essay.
“The opioid crisis can only be solved by the government” is a thesis statement. Everything that follows will either support your thesis statement or or contradict it.
You can learn here how to write a strong thesis statement and structure your essay around it.
The opening sentence of the introductory paragraph is called an essay hook. A hook is a well-written sentence that creates an impact on your readers and compel them to read further.
Various forms of essay hooks work as a good idea for your introductory paragraphs: quotations, stories, jokes, phrases, facts, historic dates.
Pointless, boring, or obscure introductions can make the reader lose interest and quit the essay in the beginning. To have a solid essay hook, research and revise your statement until you get the desired and catchy hook.
Body paragraphs are the linking paragraphs between the conclusion and introduction and you will add all the content of the essay here.
Use consistent arguments and points of view throughout the body of your essay and make sure that you add a topic sentence and a single idea in each paragraph.
For example, if your essay topic is “Causes of Global Warming,” then one cause should be stated and elaborated in one paragraph. Additional causes should be discussed in the following paragraphs.
When you want to express a contradictory opinion or perspective, write it in a new and separate paragraph. Do not opposing ideas in the same paragraph, it will only minimize your essay"s effectivity.
Use transition words to lead the reader from one idea to the other. Effective phrases include: in between, for example, in addition to, moreover, furthermore, firstly, lastly, however, etc.
The conclusion is the ending paragraph that summarizes your main theme of the essay and its outcomes.
In the concluding paragraph, you should include any call for action (“Based upon all the evidence, we should impeach the sitting President”) and offer your final opinion in the light of all arguments that you have given in the body.
Again, make sure that it is appealing and leaves an impact on the reader"s mind by using active voice in the present tense with proper vocabulary used in context.
There are several different categories of essays, each with its unique requirements:
An argumentative essay explains both sides of an argument and the main topic.
Similar to other essays, this involves the use of an introductory paragraph, body paragraphs and the conclusion.
The topic you choose for an argumentative topic must be well-researched. The tone of the essay must be persuasive, so the reader understands and is persuaded to agree with your point of view. To convince the reader make use of supporting facts and evidence.
However, they are different from persuasive essays.
Analytical essays are a variation of argumentative essays, but more explanatory in nature, with all points addressed clearly and in an understandable way.
The subjects in these essays include topics from the liberal arts (as opposed to data-driven scientific research) and can be performed on any work of art like movies, plays, literary works or historical events.
The analysis should be in-depth and in simple and straightforward language. Like compare and contrast essay, it analyzes the main topic.
When writing an expository essay, the topic is examined in depth with the aim of increasing the reader's understanding of the topic. Everything discussed in this type of essay must be supported with researched and credible facts and proofs.
It is somewhat like a narrative essay but may or may not have storytelling elements in it.
Process essays are fundamentally informative-instructive essays. The subject involves directions for the reader to complete a process.
It involves detailed steps and overall process. It is common in educational and instructive type of documents.
As you can see, writing an academic essay, particularly for an ESL students, can be both difficult and time consuming. They may not be fluent in English grammar and lack the required writing skills.
Being a native does not mean that they do not make mistakes but because it is their "own" language, chances are that they will make much less mistakes. As an ESL speaker, your chances of making mistakes are higher.
However, you can avoid them by working on some basics. Below we have mentioned some common errors made by the non-natives.
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