How to Write an Essay - A Complete Guide with Examples
- How to Write an Essay?
- Choose The Type of Essay
- Pick a Topic
- Choose the Writing Style
- Research the Topic
- Create an Essay’s Outline
- Develop a Thesis
- Write the Introduction
- Draft the Body
- Write the Conclusion
- Revise the Essay
- How to Write an Essay - Examples
- Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing an Essay
Are you a high school or college 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 understand how to write a good essay.
Essay writing is very common in high school and college, and you cannot get rid of this task at any cost. However, you often have to write an essay in the business world which is often called reports.
An essay is a piece of writing that develops a coherent set of ideas into a well-structured logical argument. Writing a good and properly formatted essay is not an easy task. Most of the students struggle with crafting a flawless essay.
Essay writing is fundamental at the secondary and post-secondary levels. But, without good writing skills, students are at a serious disadvantage.
If you find yourself staring at a blank paper or screen, not knowing what to write. And wondering how to begin your essay, then you can learn it here.
How to Write an Essay?
For writing an organized and structured essay, you need to follow the steps in proper order. Here are the ten easy steps to write a good academic essay.
1. Choose the Type of Essay
The first step to writing an essay is to decide which type of essay you need to write. Choosing the correct type of essay is the first step towards your successful essay.
Here are the main types of essays in which every academic essay can be categorized.
- Descriptive Essay - A descriptive essay discusses the topic in detail that it becomes easy to understand for the reader.
- Narrative Essay - A narrative essay is a narration of a story in the form of an essay.
- Persuasive Essay - A persuasive essay convinces the reader to accept your perspective about the essay topic.
- Expository Essay - An expository essay explains and clarifies the topic with great details and examples.
Knowing what type of essay you are required to write can help you choose the topic and draft the essay. Here are the other types of essays that you should also be familiar with.
2. Pick a Topic
Choosing a good topic is an essential step towards writing an effective essay. If you are already given an essay topic, you can skip this step. But, if you are required to select a prompt for your essay, you need to do some brainstorming.
When you search for a subject, you'll find several essay topics for every kind of essay. Picking up the right topic from a huge list is the most daunting and challenging task. Because the essay prompt decides what impact your essay will make. Therefore, it is important to select a topic that is original, unique, fresh, and interests you the most.
3. Choose the Writing Style
The type of essay and essay topic tells you which citation style you need to follow for your essay. More often, the professors dictate the formatting and writing style of your essay. Generally, the following are some common essay writing styles that high school and college students come across.
- APA (American Psychological Association) - An Author-Date citation style designed for psychology and social science discipline.
- MLA (Modern Language Association) - An Author-Page number citation style designed for language and humanities discipline.
- CMS (Chicago Manual of Style) - A Notes-bibliography or Author-Date citation styles also known as Turabian Style. It is applicable for both scientific and non-scientific disciplines.
Each citation style has its unique format for the reference list and in-text citation. These styles guide you on how to organize the information and properly format your essay. All these citation styles are also applicable to research papers.
4. Research the Topic
After choosing the topic, it’s time to do some research to collect sufficient material for writing the essay. You can go to the library to read books or search online and collect information from credible sources. You can discuss the topics with your peers and teachers to have different perspectives about your topic.
Spend some time researching your topic so that you can easily write an essay full of unique and informative details.
5. Create an Essay’s Outline
Creating an outline is very important. It does not just help you organize the data but also helps you make a logical connection between the information.
A typical essay commonly follows a five-paragraph essay format. 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.
Here is a 5 paragraph essay outline structure.
Paragraph 1 Introduction Paragraph 2 Body 1 Paragraph 3 Body 2 Paragraph 4 Body 3 Paragraph 5 Conclusion
6. Develop a Thesis
A thesis statement is a brief one or two sentences highlighting the main idea of the essay. Everything that follows will support your thesis statement and proves its essence. For example, “The opioid crisis can only be solved by the government” is a thesis statement. This statement becomes the basic premise of your essay, and every point will lead back to this statement.
It is written at the end of the introduction paragraph and tells the reader what the essay is about. It should not be broad enough that you can’t be thorough, neither narrow enough that you have nothing to discuss.
7. Write the Introduction
An introduction paragraph is the first paragraph of your essay. Sometimes starting an essay in an effective way tends to be a bit tricky.
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 good introduction paragraph should contain the following things:
- Start writing the introduction paragraph with a strong hook statement to catch the reader’s attention in the beginning. Quotations, stories, jokes, phrases, and facts can work as a good idea for your hook statement.
- Provide a few sentences explaining your topic in general terms.
- Discuss some relevant background information so that the reader can get familiar with the topic.
- The introduction paragraph should not be too broad or too narrow.
- It should grab the reader's attention and convince them that it's worth their time to go through the whole essay.
8. Draft the Body
Body paragraphs are the linking paragraphs between the conclusion and introduction. All the information, examples, facts, and details about the topic being discussed in the body section.
Use consistent arguments and points of view throughout the body of your essay. Make sure that you add a topic sentence and a single idea in each paragraph. Only one cause should be stated and elaborated on 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 discuss opposing ideas in the same paragraph; it will only minimize your essay’s effectiveness.
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.
9. Write the Conclusion
The conclusion is the last paragraph that summarizes your main theme of the essay and its outcomes.
In the concluding paragraph, you should include a call for action (if required). For example, “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.
10. Revise the Essay
Once you are done with the writing process, the next step is revision and proofreading. Check your essay for grammatical and spelling mistakes. Make sure the information is presented in a logical flow.
Proofread your essay at least three times to ensure no mistake or error is left behind. Reading and writing both are part of essay writing tasks; you can’t skip any of them.
How to Write an Essay - Examples
There are several different categories of essays, each with its unique requirements. Each essay presents different information in different ways. Here are some useful examples of different types of essays that will help you write your essay.
If you follow these examples, you can easily learn to write a good essay. These examples will also let you know how to present a point or argument that intrigues the reader's curiosity.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing an Essay
As a beginner, there are high chances that you make mistakes while writing your essay. However, you can avoid them by working on some basics. Below we have mentioned some common errors made by the non-natives.
- Using passive voice
- Adding complex sentences
- Adding improper or no transitional sentences
- Failing to follow the assignment instructions
- Ignoring pronoun subjective-objective agreement
- Improper or missing citation references
- Citing unreliable resources
Make sure you avoid these mistakes to make your essay impactful. However, if you are not sure about your essay writing skills, get professional help.
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