How to Write an Essay?

Wondering what it takes to write an excellent essay? Read this post to learn proven success tips on how to write an essay.

An essay is written to communicate an idea to a reader in a logical, engaging, and organized manner. Your essay must have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion to achieve this. 

The introduction will set up the supporting points, the body paragraphs will develop the supporting points, and the conclusion will restate the thesis and leave the reader with something to ponder.

However, you should master the art of essay writing to make your readers understand your flow of thoughts. Your mastery should include knowing the answers to fundamental questions like, “how long is an essay?”, “how do I structure my essay?” etc. 

This article provides practical insights on how to write an essay everyone wants to read. It shares valuable tips that walk you through the writing process from start to finish.

What Is an Essay?

An essay is a focused academic assignment that develops an idea or argument using proof, analysis, and interpretation. Defining this vital assignment is necessary to understand how to write an essay. 

In writing an essay, you are to plan, argue, and defend your stand on subjects in a structured and coherent manner. An essay is not just a recitation of facts and figures, but an argument that seeks to convince the reader of the writer's point of view.

Writing an essay enables you to develop your research skills and discuss ideas with broad evidence. It also enhances your creative and analytical thinking abilities. 

A standard essay has three key components.

  • The Introduction

This opening section informs your readers about what you will discuss. It also unveils your primary argument, also known as a thesis statement. 

  • The Body Section

This section has three paragraphs. The body paragraphs are where you will present your arguments to support your thesis statement. Each paragraph should focus on one point at a time. Your audience gets your evidence here as you argue to prove your thesis and convince them to agree with your position. 

  • The Conclusion

Your essay’s conclusion summarizes your discussion and findings. It shows your readers why your arguments matter and why they need to side with your thesis. Your conclusion may also contain a call to action.

Choose an Essay Type and Format

Essays come in different types with varying writing formats. Interpreting your essay’s category and formatting requirements before writing it is necessary. 

Many college essays seek to convince readers to take a position on a topic. Their lengths differ based on your academic level, study subject, and course requirements. Your essay type will fall under any of these principal categories:

  • Descriptive assignments that describe specific topics or situations;
  • Persuasive essays that convince readers to side with a particular perspective;
  • Informative essays that enlighten your readers on new information;
  • Explanatory assignments that explain specific processes or situations, such as how to choose the best graduate school.

Formatting is another essential ingredient in your recipe for how to write an essay. You must follow your professor’s preferred formatting guidelines. Some papers might require 1.5-spaced formatting, while others need double-spaced formatting.  

It is vital that you clearly define your paragraphs. Using single tabs at each paragraph’s beginning is standard. The most acceptable fonts are Times New Roman, Arial, and Calibri.

Your referencing style depends on your academic subject. For instance, APA is popular among Education, Psychology, and Sciences students. MLA is useful for Humanities, while the  Chicago/Turabian style is appropriate for Business, History, and Fine Arts tasks.

Research Your Essay Topic

Having a clear idea always makes the writing process easier. Therefore, generating ideal topics for essay writing is critical before attempting your assignment. Take quality time to brainstorm your essay topic. This process will require you to do the following:

  • Randomly note down whatever idea crosses your mind before sorting it later;
  • Utilize clustering or mind mapping to generate suitable topics by writing them in an organized manner. You then create subtopics around your main subject.
  • Choose the most suitable and relevant topic to answer your assignment’s question. Ensure the topic is not too broad or narrow for your task.

Mastering how to write a good essay requires you to back up your arguments with reliable evidence. This entails conducting detailed research and organizing your research to access reference sources quickly while writing. Here are the best sources for researching your essay topic.

  • Your college library. 
  • Scholarly online platforms with new sources like JSTOR and Google Scholar.
  • Academic books and journals. 
  • Primary source documents, like letters, eyewitness accounts, and photos.
  • Interviews with subject matter experts. 

Develop an Appropriate Thesis for Your Essay

Developing a thesis is another essential stage when writing an essay that fetches excellent grades. A thesis is a concise sentence summarizing your paper’s main argument or idea. This central idea gives your paper focus and direction and helps your reader keep up with your flow of thought.

Moreover, your essay’s thesis statement is its strategic guidepost that whets your readers’ appetite. You generate an excellent thesis by looking at your research material and thinking about your main points or ideas. You then summarize the main ideas into two to three sentences. 

You may also develop an excellent thesis statement by briefly answering the main question you want to address. For example, your main question might be, “What makes bright students perform poorly in their exams?” Your response might be, “Most bright students who fail exams usually have an exaggerated sense of their abilities. Therefore, they underestimate their assignments and do not prepare well, unlike average or below-average students, leading to failure.” 

Outline Your Essay

Compiling the best ideas to support your thesis is integral to essay writing. However, it does not necessarily guarantee an excellent assignment unless you pay attention to other essential components, like mastering how to outline your essay. 

You should present your ideas in a logically flowing manner for easy reading and understanding. This logical presentation can help you answer the critical “how long is an essay?” question.

Excellent essay writing requires this skeleton to present your ideas in a structured and coherent form. Use your outline to list your principal arguments, ideas, and sources. 

How to Write an Essay: Creating an Outline

Below is a sample essay outline to guide you through your essay-writing process.

An Introduction Paragraph With:

  • An opening or hooking statement;
  • A sneak preview of the subtopics you wish to discuss;
  • Your thesis statement.

Body Paragraphs With:

  • Topic sentences that state the first subtopics;
  • Claims or arguments you will defend;
  • Evidence or data that support your claims;
  • Explanations that describe how your evidence supports the claims;
  • Concluding sentences.

A Concluding Paragraph That:

  • Restates your thesis statement;
  • Rephrases your main arguments;
  • Has a concluding statement.

Writing an Essay Introduction

Most people usually go the proverbial way of judging a book by its cover by making conclusions based on first impressions. Thus, you should pay attention to your essay introduction if you wish to keep your readers interested in your essay. This opening section helps you convince your audience to keep reading your essay to the end.  

You can attract your readers' attention by ensuring your introduction: 

  • Grabs the audience’s attention;
  • Provides your readers with background information on your chosen topic;
  • Reveals the primary argument or thesis statement.

Your introduction should have a hook, depending on its type and readers. You can use informative anecdotes or proverbs. Beginning your introduction with an emphatic hook makes your audience want to read on.

Including relevant background information is essential to knowing how to start an essay. It helps your readers to capture your writing’s context and understand your perspective well. 

Your essay introduction should include a thesis statement. This primary argument gives your readers a strategic direction and focus. 

Writing Your Essay’s Main Body

The main body of your essay should expatiate the points you stated in your introduction. Your essay body should present evidence to support your thesis. 

Your main body follows your assignment’s introduction and explains your primary ideas and thoughts. It is the longest section of your essay to which your introduction and conclusion point.

All your main body paragraphs should begin with a topic sentence. You then follow these opening sentences with supporting ideas and close by elaborating on those supporting ideas. These ideas can be descriptions, explanations, or examples.  

It is worth noting that how to start a paragraph in an essay requires a simple structure. An ideal body paragraph format will have these essential components.

  • A clear topic sentence;
  • Specific proof or supporting details;
  • Clear transitions between sentences and paragraphs;
  • A winding sentence that weaves the evidence or information back to the main idea. This way, your paragraph ends logically.

Writing an Essay Conclusion

What is an essay conclusion? The conclusion of your essay is as important as the introduction and body of the essay. This section summarizes your paper, reminds readers of your thesis statement, and leaves them with closing thoughts. 

This closing part should take between 10% and 15% of your paper’s word count. An excellent conclusion will have these essential qualities. 

  • It mirrors your introduction by reemphasizing its details;
  • It rephrases your thesis to give it more meaning after your readers have read your essay;
  • It reminds your readers why your ideas and thoughts are crucial;
  • It ties together your key points;
  • It ends with a final impression or general statement.

Aside from knowing what your essay conclusion should include, understanding what to exclude in your conclusion is important to mastering how to write an essay. Ensure to avoid these mistakes when concluding your essays. 

  • Introducing fresh arguments or evidence;
  • Watering down your ideas;
  • Using redundant phrases to summarize your essay, like “to summarize….”

Check Spelling and Grammar

A review of spelling and grammar is a part of your writing that helps you ensure that your essay is error-free. You can use editing and proofreading tools to spot and correct all the spelling and grammar errors you might have missed during writing. 

Reading through your essay after running it through these tools is essential as most word processors miss grammatically correct but misspelled words. For instance, they overlook misspelled words like “sit” instead of “seat” in context. 

You should also check your essay for punctuation errors. Failing here could grossly alter, distort, and blur your essay’s meaning. For instance, a comma in the following sentences can change their meaning. 

With a comma: Let’s eat, grandma.

Without a comma: Let’s eat grandma. 

The distortion is so drastic that it could endanger an innocent granny’s life by portraying her as a delicious dinner meal!

You can give a trusted fellow student, friend, or family member to go through your essay after writing. Their independent eyes can catch a few errors you might have overlooked. 

Writing an essay masterpiece is not a secret art a few chosen students can master. This guide shared actionable insights and steps to follow when writing to win. Apply them in your future assignments for a better essay result. 

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