Essay writing is the most popular assignment among students in any academic institution around the world. Therefore, what is an essay? How to write an essay? What to include or omit when writing an essay? These are some of the most common questions college students ask themselves.
All these questions have been answered in this step-by-step and with article examples. Read through to the conclusion and to master our tips. You will always write your essay in less than 2 hours!
What is an essay?
An essay is simply defined as a collection of continuous paragraphs on a given topic. The paragraphs are made up of connected sentences that create a logical flow.
Types of Essays
All essay written in schools and colleges fall under four main categories that include:
Click any of the above links to get a complete guide of writing an essay.
The 3 Main Parts of an Essay
An essay is made up of 3 parts namely the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Each of these parts has specific content as explained below.
Part 1: Essay Introduction
In short academic essay, an introduction is a single paragraph. An essay introduction has two main functions as follows:
- Capturing the reader’s attention: Introduction is a summary of what the reader expects based on the topic, therefore it should be very attractive. You can do this by stating statistics about your essay.
- Presenting a thesis statement: a thesis statement is one sentence that presents your argument or your stand on the topic. It is this statement that you try to prove in the essay body. More details on how to write a thesis statement here.
Part 2: Essay Body
As the name suggests, the body section forms the largest content of an essay. The body is made up of several paragraphs and the quality of your essay body determines the depth of your essay.
To write a great body, a four-point strategy commonly abbreviated as MEAT always wins it. Below is a description of the MEAT paragraph writing strategy:
- Main Idea: The main idea is stated in the topic sentence. By reading the first sentence, the topic sentence should be able to get the main idea.
- Evidence: The paragraph that proves the main idea by providing tangible evidence about the topic sentence. Evidence includes items like statistics, theories, theories, and facts among others.
- Analysis: These are paragraph sections that discuss the evidence. In most cases, an analysis is the personal views of the essay writer on the main idea based on the evidence.
- Transition: Transition provide logical flow from one paragraph to another. Flow means ideas from one paragraph to another should have a connection. Note that, transition terms should be at the topic sentence not the last sentence of the previous paragraph.
Part 3: Essay Conclusion
This is the last paragraph in an essay. The simple purpose of a conclusion is to wrap up an essay. No new ideas are allowed in this paragraph.
Besides, a conclusion has two main functions:
- Summarizing the main ideas: A conclusion contains a restatement of all topic sentences in the body paragraphs. Remember the topic sentences presented the main idea.
- Reaffirming thesis statement: The conclusion should also connect how main ideas prove the thesis statement that you stated in the introduction paragraph.
If well written, by reading the conclusion, the reader should be able to tell what your essay was all about and probably guess your thesis statement.
8 Step-by-Step Guide in Essay Writing
This is the most important section in essay writing. You could be having a very powerful topic and ideas about your essay. However, if you do not present the ideas effectively, your essay may not score a good grade.
Kindly, pay close attention to these 8 steps. They are tried, proven and recommended for any essay writing.
Step 1: Brainstorming
Brainstorming is spending some time to think about the topic. This helps you to understand the scope of your essay. Therefore, identifying scope is a very important step in essay writing.
Imagine this, you are given a topic with a limited number of words to write about. You quickly start writing. What is likely to happen?
You will quickly write to the end only to find that you have left out a few points that are most important.
Or, you find that you have dwelt on a few points that others only to run short of required word count.
The end result, an essay that is incomplete, low quality, and shallow. Therefore, take time to understand the topic to determine the scope of what you will include in your essay.
Step 2: Research
Now that you know the scope of your topic, it is time to come up with relevant points that you will write about through research.
Research is gathering of relevant information related to the topic and scope and putting it down as a list of points at random.
This may involve reading a book or an article, watching a video, observation, or even imagination especially in case of writing an essay during exams.
Step 3: Develop an Outline
An outline is a classification of the collected points into paragraphs. Identify points that are related to the list you developed during research and group them together.
A good essay must have a logical flow of ideas! Therefore, it is important to ensure your paragraph will have a logical flow.
Such can be re-arranging the points within a group to have a good flow from the first to the last points. Remember, a group will form a paragraph later.
As well, rearrange the paragraphs to give your essay a good flow. From the groups, determine which group of points should come before which one.
For example, when talking about your sister, you can’t start the first paragraph by talking about how she is performing in school. It is good to start with a paragraph that tells the reader about her name and age.
Step 4: Drafting the essay
Drafting is transforming essay outline into paragraphs by explaining the points in a few sentences.
The best essay writing practice is to start each paragraph with a topic sentence. A topic sentence is a summary of what you will be talking about in the paragraph.
For example, one group of your essay about your sister could include points like she likes jumping, reading novels, watching cartoons, and singing when not doing homework.
Above points collectively describe your sister’s hobbies. therefore, when writing that paragraph you can write a topic sentence that states:
My sister enjoys various hobbies during her free time. For example, she watches cartoons for at least an hour daily. Sometimes, you will find her singing or jumping with other kids in our backyard. My sister also likes reading novels in the afternoon.
Above is a perfect example of an essay paragraph with a topic sentence about your sister’s hobbies.
Reminder: Always ensure to start a paragraph with a topic sentence.
Step 5: Write an introduction and a conclusion
Above steps describe how to comes up with body paragraphs. An essay must include an introduction and a conclusion as described in the essay structure earlier.
In the example of an essay about your sister, a good introduction will introduce your sister to the readers, her name, age, and which class. Also, the introduction should state what you will cover in the essay which is a list of the topic sentences in a thesis statement.
Step 6: Revise your essay:
At this stage, the author corrects mistakes and reorganizes assay in a presentable manner. The author should determine whether:
- The content is biased in any way
- The expository essay communicate ideas clearly
- Find out if there is paragraph sprawling through the introduction of unnecessary content during writing
- Verify if the transition between paragraphs is logical
- Revise the topic sentence or the paragraph content to match the topic sentence.
Step 7: Proofread your expository essay
Ensure that your essay has no grammatical errors and has 0% plagiarized. Identify and correct all grammar mistakes. Similarly, rewrite run-on sentences and sentence structure. Correct any spelling mistakes as well.
Step 8: Give the third party to proofread
No writer is perfect. Give your expository essay to a friend, colleague, or mentor for correction. Deliberate on the changes noted and edit accordingly. Your expository essay is ready for submission.
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The 5-Paragraph Essay Writing Tips
Five paragraph essay is the most popular essay that covers the three basic essay structure explained above. The five paragraphs include an introduction paragraph, 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph and are explained below.
#1 Introduction paragraph
The paragraph where you introduce your readers and most important in essay writing. The most important aspect is capturing readers attention and thesis statement. For more tips on how to write an outstanding thesis statement click Thesis Statement.
#2 First Body Paragraph
Essay paragraph that introduces the main content of the essay through the use of topic sentences. Since this is the first paragraph, you need to have the strongest argument of your essay to continue capturing the reader’s attention.
#3 Second body paragraph
Continue with other strong points in this paragraph. Connect this paragraph with the first body paragraph using transition words like as stipulated above, as in that regard, and as explained above.
#4 Third body paragraph
This is the last body paragraph. The remaining points, usually weaker points, of your argument, should go here. Though winding up, you need to keep your readers reading. Present your points clearly to keep your readers. Do not forget to start the paragraph with transition words or phrases connecting the second paragraph.
#5 The conclusion paragraph
This is the last paragraph in wrapping up your essay. The paragraph is composed of 4 main items that include the restatement of the thesis statement, three ideas in the body paragraphs, and the closing statement to wrap up the essay.
For more details on how to write an effective 5-paragraph essay click 5-paragraph-essay
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6 Most Powerful Post-Essay Writing Tips
- Thesis statement: Read and if necessary, revise your thesis statement to reflect what you have written. In the course of writing, your thesis statement may need fine-tuning.
- Paragraph Transition: Ensure your essay has a notable transition to create flow. For instance, ensure you use transition phrases like despite the above, as noted above, and in that regard among others.
- Simple sentences: Ensure your essay are short and straight to the point. Therefore, always break long sentences to short sentences without losing meaning.
- Appropriate language: Different essays require different languages. Ensure your essay adhere to the required language.
- Revise your essay: Proofread your essay to identify some grammatical and spelling mistakes that you might have overlooked.
- Review essay format: Each essay has some marks reserved for formatting. Thus, always take time to confirm the essay format is as desired. You may check font size, spacing, margins, and page numbers.
3 Essay Writing Mistakes to Avoid
- Don’t overcrowd facts: Only write facts that are concerned with your topic and thesis statement students student tend to write all that pertains a topic only to be out of topic.
- Don’t Rely on Grammar Checkers: Most grammar checkers on the internet are software made up of algorithms that check word, in some case, their suggestion might change the sentence meaning.
- Plagiarizing: Writing a plagiarized essay can earn you discontinuation or fine in many institutions. To avoid plagiarism, always ensure you always reference all borrowed content.
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