6. COMMON MISTAKES IN ESSAY WRITING
Taking into account that you read this article, we have every right to suggest that your writing skills are far from ideal. Don’t worry: a lack of experience can be compensated with talent and efforts. Let’s look through the list of mistakes that you should avoid in your perfect essay.
- Talking about nothing
When you are not really interested in a topic and too lazy to provide profound research, you start making up stories, fabricate facts, and repeat your thesis statement, again and again, using different words. That’s not a good idea. Your teacher has read thousands of papers, and you can’t trick him or her with your eloquence. Pull yourself together, and you will pull through it!
- Lack of concentration
Focus on your question and don’t allow your thoughts to lose the right path. An essay is not a philosophical monologue that you can start with a poem and finish with a discourse about the origins of terrorism. Your writing has to be consistent and logical!
- Including unsupported ideas
Every statement in your writing requires one or two supporting details: facts, quotes, statistics, examples, etc. You will sound unreliable and thoughtless without these elements.
- Lexical tautologies
Come on, use a dictionary! Your vocabulary is not always enough, especially when the scientific terminology is required. Sometimes, it is better to consult the thesaurus in order to make your writing more complex and serious.
- Ignore the task
As said above, there are various types of essays. Every type has its own peculiarities, structure, and purpose. You shouldn’t mistake an argumentative essay for a persuasive or analytical essay.
- New information in the conclusion
A new idea in a concluding paragraph is a bad idea. The readers don’t want to be surprised by an unexpected detail. They are eager to see the logical finale of your reasoning.
- Absence of the thesis statement
Your thesis is the origin of the entire writing. That is why the foundation should be laid in the introductory paragraph. It establishes the structure, the logic, and the purpose of your narration.
- Informal language
Leave all words like “wanna” and “gotta” for your friends’ e-mails. An informal style is unacceptable for academic papers. Use high-level vocabulary and consult a dictionary if necessary.
- Length of the sentences
Balance is everything. You can’t develop an idea properly using four words. At the same time, lengthy constructions confuse your readers and hinder from following your reasoning.
- Misuse of words
Students frequently confuse words like “effect” and “affect,” “whose” and “those,” or “quit” and “quite.” Be attentive and proofread your paper two or three times.
- Neglect references
If you use a source, it is necessary to cite it properly. Plagiarism is a common problem of the modern educational system. The consequences of plagiarism can be very serious even if it seems to be accidental.
- Punctuation mistakes
Punctuation rules can be tangled and confusing. Anyway, you have to use proper punctuation in order to present your thoughts in a clear way and to make a good impression. Be especially careful with:
- Comma splice: you should use a semicolon or add a conjunction between two independent clauses.
- Missing comma before and, nor, but, or, yet, etc.
- Missing subject or verb.
- Unnecessary comma: you shouldn’t put commas between an independent clause and its dependent clause, verb and its direct object, or two elements with a conjunction between them.
- Missing commas around interrupters: on the other hand, fortunately, in fact, etc.
7. CREDIBLE AND DUBIOUS SOURCES FOR YOUR ESSAY
Every farmer knows that the harvest will be poor if you sow a field with meager soil. The same applies to the process of essay writing. If you use unreliable and untrusted sources, your work won’t be taken seriously. That is why the skills of searching trustworthy information are so important for every writer.
Journalists have a rule that any fact should be confirmed with at least three sources. This law is also true for essays. Although it is nearly impossible to abide by this rule, the mentioned principle should be your orienting point.
The internet is the greatest storage of data in our world, but the process of picking useful information often looks like digging through the trash. Below, we’ll give some directions so you won’t be totally lost in this chaos.
First of all, you should figure out what domain names you can trust. A domain name is an indicator that shows a website belongs to a certain realm. We will discuss the prominent domains such as .edu, .org, .gov, and .com:
.Edu This domain name points to different educational institutions. Usually, these websites are under control of educational specialists, so the published information is highly reliable.
.Org The non-profit organizations have this domain name. The best thing about these sites is that they don’t try to sell you anything or to trick you in any possible way. In few words, they are worth your trust.
.Gov This domain name is used by the governmental institutions. Here, the information is relatively reliable. However, some facts might be distorted and politicized, so you’d better be careful.
.Com You should be very attentive while searching information on these websites. The commercial organizations are not always conscientious about provided data. Although some commercial sources are great, they may contain a lot of hidden or evident advertisements.
Stay away from the thousands of personal homepages and the millions of blogs. They are called PERSONAL for a reason. The bloggers offer their own point of view, and they are unlikely to be professionals. Of course, these kinds of sources might be helpful if you are looking for various opinions on your topic. However, you shouldn’t count on their credibility.
What about printed sources? Let’s see how you can separate peer-reviewed and scientific journals from the plethora of magazines.
- Scientific journals
- Terminology, formal language
- Absence of ads (usually)
- Lack of colors
- Published once in three months
- Experienced and licensed authors
- Other magazines
- Informal language, simple vocabulary
- Lots of ads
- Glossy paper and bright printing
- Published ALL THE TIME
- Almost anybody
We will clarify one more thing: fiction books are for leisure; non-fiction books are for research. Sure, you’ll have to use fiction as a source if you write a review of a book of fiction, but this fact is obvious.
You can’t rely on any Wiki-site. The explanation is simple: anybody can edit these articles, and the censors are not always there to delete all of the nonsense. Although Wikipedia is far from ideal, you should check out other online encyclopedias: World Digital Library, Britannica, Scholarpedia, and others.
Lots of library collections published online are a priceless source for your essay. You can also rely on information published online by well-known newspapers and news agencies: The New York Times, Daily News, The Washington Post, Reuters, Associated Press, etc.
No doubt, you can provide your research in an old-fashioned way and visit the library on your own. Yes, they still exist.
Remember that there is an exception to every rule. If you write an opinion paper, you may use any possible source in order to get acquainted with all existing points of view.
ALWAYS take notes about your sources. This habit will keep you safe from plagiarism accusations. Use proper citations and give credit to your sources.
Let’s summarize everything said above in this table.
- Websites that end with .edu, .org, and .gov
- Well-known online newspapers and news agencies
- Online encyclopedias
- Scientific journals
- Non-fiction books
- Public, academic libraries
- Most websites that end with .com
- Personal homepages and blogs
- Glossy magazines
- Fiction books
- Word of mouth
8. COMMON ESSAY FORMATTING STYLES
A formatting style is a particular approach to writing academic papers. As a rule, the formatting styles are standardized and accepted by the majority of educational and research institutions. Different disciplines require different approaches to citation and formatting, which is why there is no universal style. We will talk about three of the most widespread formats.
MLA (Modern Language Association) style is widely used for essays in humanities and liberal arts: literature, philosophy, music, etc. MLA style doesn’t require a title page. You type your name, your instructor’s name, the course, and the date in the upper left-hand corner on the first page of your paper. If emphasizing is necessary, you can use italics. A page where you mention all sources that you’ve used for your essay has the title “Works Cited.” We’ve mentioned the most significant peculiarities of MLA format. In order to get more detailed information, please, check out our presentation.
This style was created by the American Psychological Association, so it is commonly used for the essays on social and behavioral disciplines: economics, history, psychology, management, etc. Unlike MLA style, APA format requires a title page. At the top, every page has a so-called “running head” – a short version of your work’s title (50 symbols maximum). The page with sources is called “References.” This information is enough to see the difference between APA and MLA formats. Before you start formatting your paper according to APA style, consult our presentation
The title of this style comes from the Chicago Style Manual dedicated to American English punctuation, grammar, and style. It is widely used by students for formatting their papers on many disciplines. Chicago format allows writers to reference their sources with the help of footnotes and endnotes together with a bibliography page. That is the reason why this formatting style is preferable for the papers that focus on the source of origin. You’ll find more helpful information about Chicago format in our presentation.
9. GOOD TOPICS FOR VARIOUS TYPES OF ESSAYS
Finally, we would like to offer you a list of 30 interesting topics that you may use for your papers. In brackets, we have included the most appropriate type of essay for every topic.
COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY:
Civilization vs. Animal Instinct.
Laptop vs. Desktop.
Why are dreams important for our lives?
Why can big indoor plants be dangerous?
Change of Perception Based on Attractiveness
Should photography exhibitions be censored?
Should cloning extinct species be allowed?
Are Beauty Contests a Good Thing For Young Girls?
Management and leadership are not the same things.
Animal experimentation has to be permitted.
Does computer gaming addiction lead to more dangerous consequences among children or adults?
Tyranny or democracy? Explain your choice.
1980s or 2000s? Explain your choice.
PROBLEM SOLUTION ESSAY:
How to guarantee justice for all in the USA?
How to impress colleagues at your new workplace?
Explain how writers can influence readers.
What symptoms does shopping addiction have?
Define the term “crowdsourcing.”
Define the term “Russian soul.”
CAUSE AND EFFECT ESSAY:
Did the Industrial Revolution Lead to a Sexual Revolution?
How does paternalism affect a child’s worldview?
What are the main causes of euphoria?
COLLEGE ADMISSIONS ESSAY:
Why is name of the university the perfect place to prepare you for your future career?
How do I imagine Earth of the 22nd century?
How to live through a boring lecture?
How to read a book in 15 minutes?
My worst nightmare.
My teenage diary.
Describe the time when you realized that Santa and unicorns don’t exist.
Why have I decided to move out from my parents’ house?
What role does religion play in the novel “The Kite Runner?”
On the “Wonder Woman” movie and feminism.
On “American History X” and propaganda of Neo-Nazism.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES ESSAY:
The pros and cons of being an outcast teenager.
Advantages and disadvantages of imaginative thinking.
Let’s accept the fact that essay writing is a rather laborious process and not the easiest thing to do. It is a bitter truth. Essays are very frequently assigned for homework. It is another bitter truth.
What is the way out? You can’t change or annul the academic requirements (at this very moment). On the other hand, you can read the article below and find all necessary elements to provide a good essay, even if it is your first one.
1. 10 STEPS TO WRITE A BRILLIANT ESSAY
We should all heed the words of the 34th President of the United States. If your academic skills are not perfect, you have to plan all steps to writing an essay, and that is the first thing you should do.
– Choosing a topic for an essay
The fact that you need something to write about is obvious and undeniable. Everything becomes much easier if your teacher has provided you with a topic. Anyway, you may check our article “Original Essay Topics.” In the first place, your essay is more likely to be brilliant if you are really interested in the subject you write about. Choose wisely!
- Dig deep!
So, the next step is profound research. No matter what topic you choose, probably you’ll find enough material provided by well-educated specialists, experienced journalists, and famous writers. You should not choose some random sources; make sure that they are credible and trustworthy.
- Give yourself time
Good ideas do not always come first. Try to look at your theme from different angles, and then look again, and again. Have a rest. And look again. Your mind needs some space to imagine all possible variants of the argumentation and approaches. Organize your personal “brainstorming” session with tea and cake!
- Structure your thoughts
Creating the diagram or outline for your essay is one of the necessary steps to writing an essay. The outline has to be detailed and well-organized. You should also include some keywords or references for every point of your plan. If you are prone to creativity and imaginative thinking, you may draw your diagram in the shape of a pyramid, sun, house, or any other appropriate object.
- The thesis statement is the root of everything
On the internet, you can find specific lectures and guidelines about writing an A-level thesis. In few words, it has to be understandable, narrow, and exhaustive. A thesis statement determines the structure of your essay, so strive for the ideal.
- Just do it
Now you should start writing. Begin with the introduction, then move to the main body, and, finally, come to a conclusion.
- All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
Have a rest. No joke. Take a nap or go for a walk. Remember that you are not a robot that can just plug in a wall socket and be OK. You need a fresh mind to add the finishing touches.
Read your essay one more time. If you feel that you can do it better, now is the right moment. If you see unnecessary phrases – delete them. Tautologies? Use your dictionary, and find a synonym. Spelling and grammar mistakes are also not allowed.
- Fresh perspective
Getting feedback may also be considered as one of the steps to write an essay. Consult your parents, friends, or teacher before writing a final draft. Two heads are better than one. Even the greatest writers of all time shared their ideas with their wives, husbands, and close friends before publishing their books.
- End of the road
After you assure yourself that everything is done correctly, write a final draft for your essay. And read it one more time. Just in case.
Formula of the Perfect Essay
Lots of educational sources compare essay writing with the process of cooking a burger. We think that this is just not right. How dare they compare this amazing and delicious masterpiece with homework? We are not saying that the essays should be your worst nightmare, absolutely not. Anyway, you can’t create a brilliant essay without a proper recipe as well as a tasty burger, soup, or lasagna. Now, let’s throw light on all the tiniest parts of the essay structure.
2. HOW TO WRITE AN INTRODUCTION FOR AN ESSAY?
Firstly, let’s figure out the main task of the introduction. The first paragraph is aimed at grabbing the reader’s attention and making him or her continue reading. What usually draws our attention? Something interesting, mysterious, funny, and unusual. It’s a pity, but you can’t draw a beautiful flower or fluffy kitty instead of your introduction paragraph. So, how to write an essay introduction to “wow” readers?
Laughing is one the easiest ways to comfort your readers and to prepare them for a further perception of the text. Be careful with jokes! This method is not very appropriate for the essays about serious social, economic, or political issues, like homelessness, hunger, and revolutions. Moreover, make sure that your anecdote is funny not only for you, otherwise it may embarrass or confuse an average person.
Professional magicians have a simple but really effective rule: diversion is half of the success. Your topic is on gender inequality? Start your essay with a question about apples and oranges. You wonder what’s the point? It means your readers will wonder too. That’s the point.
Tell a story. Life is a collection of stories: fairy tales, cartoons, novels, comic books, etc. Why won’t you offer another one for your reader? Of course, it shouldn’t be too long or complicated. The main idea of the tale has to be relevant to your essay theme.
Predictability is boring. An irregular approach is exactly what you need in order to amaze your reader. Speak in a roundabout way, ask questions, and tell stories. Use your imagination and creativity, because you have only one attempt to attract your reader. Don’t waste it!
Jokes and stories are not enough for a good introduction. You should also include a thesis statement in the first paragraph. The thesis statement is one, perhaps two sentences at the beginning of your essay that summarizes your ideas and sets a direction and steps for your writing.
There are four major stages of writing a perfect thesis statement:
1. Answer the question.
What function does an admissions essay have in the application process, and why is it important?
An admissions essay allows the colleges to learn more about the candidate.
2. Answer the WHOLE question.
An admissions essay is the only way for the colleges to learn what kind of person the candidate is.
3. Provide examples.
An admissions essay is the only way for the colleges to learn what kind of individual the candidate is; it has to demonstrate his or her personal qualities, career aspirations, and life goals.
4. Perfection: make sure your thesis statement is immaculate.
An admissions essay is the only way for a candidate to demonstrate his or her personal qualities, career aspirations, and life goals; it is also an opportunity for colleges to hear the candidate’s personal voice.
3 HOW TO CONSTRUCT THE MAIN BODY OF AN ESSAY?
A burger without meat is worth nothing. It is the same for an essay and the main body.
The body paragraphs are the part of your essay between the introduction and conclusion. Text length depends on your word limit and your own writing energy. Every paragraph has to loosely consist of a similar number of words. This should be obvious for every conscious mind, but we’ll repeat a simple truth: one paragraph is NOT ENOUGH! Phew. It had to be done. Let’s move on to less obvious statements.
All body paragraphs should include:
- Topic sentence
- Coherent structure
- A clear connection with the thesis
- Sub-conclusion (optional)
Every paragraph represents only one sub-point in order to let your reader easily follow your reasoning. The most important, or strongest, arguments you should place at the beginning of the essay main body or save for the last paragraph because they will make a first impression and form a fine aftertaste.
All parts of the main body should be connected with proper transitions. A coherent text is more convincing and readable than a range of random arguments. You should enforce all points with one or more supporting details. Your statements will sound unreliable without facts, real-life examples, quotes, statistics, etc.
Remember that not only the general length of your writing matters. Every paragraph should be about 5-7 sentences. It is impossible to make a statement and prove it in one sentence. On the other hand, a reader loses his or her concentration while reading a long paragraph. That is why there is no need to elongate your speech artificially. You’d better think about different approaches to enhance your main idea.
One of the most popular models of writing is the five-paragraph essay. It is not always appropriate, but useful for beginners who have just started their way to academic success. The structure of this draft is simple: introduction, three body paragraphs, and conclusion. There are two different strategies of the disposition of the arguments. The first method suggests putting your weakest point in the middle in order to circle it with stronger ones. The second approach is like a downward staircase: the first paragraph includes the cleverest argument, and the last one – the weakest argument.
A good example is the best way to explain how to write a body paragraph correctly. We will analyze a sample on “Canterbury Tales” written by Geoffrey Chaucer. The task question is: “What are the main reasons which make all the tales fantastic?”
4. HOW TO WRITE A CONCLUSION PARAGRAPH FOR AN ESSAY?
The open-ended movie intrigues; the open-ended book makes you think; the open-ended essay raises the question, “So what?” Sounds uncertain, right?
In your conclusion, you have to remind your audience why they have read your essay and why it was not a waste of time. The concluding paragraph is more likely to stick in your reader’s memory than any other part of your paper. That is why it has to be the best part of your writing. Here is a list of four good strategies to complete your conclusion properly:
- As we mentioned above, a bad conclusion frequently raises the question, “So what?” You won’t believe, but the easiest way to avoid this question is to give an exhaustive answer in the last paragraph. Restate the most significant points in the concluding paragraph and put a period. Great job!
- The reader wants to have a feeling of completeness. Your conclusion may repeat your thesis statement. Now the cycle is completed. Sure, you should not repeat it verbatim, just use paraphrasing.
- Give your reader a hint about the further development of your topic or mention other aspects that could be interesting to him or her. For example, if you analyze the influence of Impressionism on European culture, in your concluding paragraph you may remark that it also had an effect on American culture.
- You may quote or reference one of your sources. A quotation helps to specify and confirm your final point. If your essay is dedicated to a book or movie, this strategy is perfect.
- Use the Socratic method – ask a question. It may motivate readers to think over your topic or even to provide their own research. It is a brilliant strategy for those who want to stimulate thinking of their readers.
Now it’s time for some bad strategies that you SHOULD NOT use for your conclusion:
- More data, more facts, more ideas. That’s enough! Your concluding paragraph is not a good place for the information you’ve forgotten to mention in the main body. Just let it go!
- As a rule, a conclusion doesn’t exceed the limit of a few sentences. It has to be short and clear without unnecessary details.
- No doubt, you can offer new ideas and perspectives in your essay, but don’t do this in the last paragraph! If the moment of epiphany has come too late, you’d better write another body paragraph than try to square the circle.
- A conclusion is not a summary of your paper but a synthesis of your main points. If you don’t have more than one sentence to write, it is not bad. Don’t expatiate by adding the information that your readers already know.
- Stay away from the phrases like “to sum up,” “in conclusion,” etc. Your readers understand perfectly well that the last paragraph is a concluding one. Don’t irritate them!
- Don’t apologize! It is not your fault that the word limit doesn’t allow you to present all the information you have found. Avoid phrases like “this is just one side of the problem,” “you can find much more information,” etc. Don’t show that you are not sure about the quality of your essay; your readers will think the same way.
- You should follow the same style through your essay. If your tone is serious and logical, don’t try to surprise readers with an emotional or motivating phrase. It will be a more confusing than entertaining move.
5. TYPES OF ESSAYS
Do you really think that reading and understanding your topic is enough? Ha. Think again. Do you know how many types of essays exist? A gazillion. Let’s talk about them a little to figure out what you have to do with different types of essays.
As a rule, a topic for this kind of essay is a general question. Your task is to answer this question and to persuade your reader that your opinion is the most immaculate and accurate. The argumentative essay belongs to the essay types that are frequently asked as a writing assignment in both schools and colleges.
Mention well-known sources and real-life examples for your arguments to be more compelling.
“Can social networking replace real life communication?”
The main goal of the analytical essay is – what a surprise – to analyze a tendency, behavior, event, etc. This type of essay is all about logical reasoning and structure. A reader should follow your thoughts naturally and easily.
Use linking words to give a reader the right direction of thinking.
“Why do teenagers often dye their hair?”
Problem Solution Essay
This type of essay is often asked in IELTS. You state a problem and offer your solution. Mention also your expectations about the consequences that will follow.
Your personal problems are not always interesting for readers. This is not meant as an offense, but only the truth.
“How to cope with apathy after a personal tragedy?”
Using this essay, you explain an idea in a clear and simple way. You don’t prove anything: your goal is to present all the sides of the topic for your audience.
NO emotions and NO opinions. Only facts and logic.
“Explain why music is used as a medicine by psychiatrists.”
In this type of essay, you provide your readers with a step-by-step guide. In short, you write an exhaustive and detailed instruction.
Start a new paragraph for each step in order not to confuse your readers.
“How to choose a topic for a killer essay?”
Descriptive or Description Essay
You describe things, people, nature events, or your grandma’s perfect cake. You should not write about your general impression. You have to describe all the aspects of your subject: how it looks, how it smells, how it feels, etc.
Use your imagination skills in full force. Remember that you have five senses to describe the object you’ve chosen!
“Describe the best circus performance you have ever seen.”
After reading your essay, everyone has to agree with your viewpoint. Compelling arguments, eloquence, and confidence are the fundamental tools for providing a brilliant persuasive essay.
Persuasive and argumentative essays are similar but not the same! You have to change your reader’s opinion in a persuasive essay using your power of conviction.
“The death penalty must be replaced with organ donation.”
This type of essay defines a certain term, concept, or phenomenon in a very detailed way. You should investigate the origin, the usage, and the meanings.
The dictionary definition is not enough; provide deep and comprehensive research on your topic.
Compare and Contrast Essay
You have to list the differences and similarities of two events, devices, tendencies, celebrities, etc.
Push the boundaries! Compare unexpected objects: gadgets, brands, websites, etc.
“A marriage of love vs. a marriage of convenience.”
College Admissions Essay
This essay is a crucial part of the application process. The admission board wants to know more about you through your writing. For certain, you wonder how to choose a college essay topic. They are so various that it is difficult to explain in a few words. Anyway, you’d better stay away from the worst essay topics for college.
Show the admissions officers that you are not merely a handful of accomplishments but a perfect candidate for their college.
“How does my name define my destiny?”
Cause and Effect Essay
Your primary goal is to specify the reasons and consequences of a certain problem or event. You may investigate the cause, suggest effects, or do both.
Don’t skip from one aspect to another without a proper connection.
“Social networking addiction: the causes and effects.”
Advantages and Disadvantages Essay
Unlike the argumentative essay, this type of essay doesn’t defend any point of view. In fact, it represents opposite opinions on a particular topic.
Be careful with your task! Sometimes, you should also provide your own opinion as a conclusion.
“Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the industrial revolution.”
In general, a narrative essay is a first-person story about a personal experience. However, it should have some kind of point or purpose. In that case, your narrative essay is a compelling and moving example to prove your main idea.
Include all necessary parts of the story (introduction, plot, characters, conclusion, etc.
“BFF and other lies.”
Here is more narrative essay topics for your consideration.
This paper is your verdict. You evaluate and criticize an art piece or a project in order to reveal its weaknesses or underscore its strengths.
Write some general data about your essay’s subject, because your readers are not necessarily well-informed.
“Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and the concept of true love.”
Your main goal is to separate objects, ideas, or things into particular groups. You have to explain your classification in a proper way and provide examples.
Look for an unpredictable approach to the classification of usual concepts. Regular things may shine in new splendor in the right hands!
“Five types of weekends.”
Note to consider:
The descriptive essay and the narrative essay don’t require strict formatting or structure. Sure, you should be consistent and logical, but let your creativity come in full force while writing these essays. Feel free to show your creative side! We hope our tips will help you a bit with creating every type of essay.
(to be cont…)
Writing an essay often seems to be a dreaded task among students. Whether the essay is for a scholarship, a class, or maybe even a contest, many students often find the task overwhelming. While an essay is a large project, there are many steps a student can take that will help break down the task into manageable parts. Following this process is the easiest way to draft a successful essay, whatever its purpose might be.
There are seven steps to writing a successful essay:
1. Pick a topic.
You may have your topic assigned, or you may be given free reign to write on the subject of your choice. If you are given the topic, you should think about the type of paper that you want to produce. Should it be a general overview of the subject or a specific analysis? Narrow your focus if necessary.
If you have not been assigned a topic, you have a little more work to do. However, this opportunity also gives you the advantage to choose a subject that is interesting or relevant to you. First, define your purpose. Is your essay to inform or persuade?
Once you have determined the purpose, you will need to do some research on topics that you find intriguing. Think about your life. What is it that interests you? Jot these subjects down.
Finally, evaluate your options. If your goal is to educate, choose a subject that you have already studied. If your goal is to persuade, choose a subject that you are passionate about. Whatever the mission of the essay, make sure that you are interested in your topic.
2. Prepare an outline or diagram of your ideas.
In order to write a successful essay, you must organize your thoughts. By taking what’s already in your head and putting it to paper, you are able to see connections and links between ideas more clearly. This structure serves as a foundation for your paper. Use either an outline or a diagram to jot down your ideas and organize them.
To create a diagram, write your topic in the middle of your page. Draw three to five lines branching off from this topic and write down your main ideas at the ends of these lines. Draw more lines off these main ideas and include any thoughts you may have on these ideas.
If you prefer to create an outline, write your topic at the top of the page. From there, begin to list your main ideas, leaving space under each one. In this space, make sure to list other smaller ideas that relate to each main idea. Doing this will allow you to see connections and will help you to write a more organized essay.
3. Write your thesis statement.
Now that you have chosen a topic and sorted your ideas into relevant categories, you must create a thesis statement. Your thesis statement tells the reader the point of your essay. Look at your outline or diagram. What are the main ideas?
Your thesis statement will have two parts. The first part states the topic, and the second part states the point of the essay. For instance, if you were writing about Bill Clinton and his impact on the United States, an appropriate thesis statement would be, “Bill Clinton has impacted the future of our country through his two consecutive terms as United States President.”
Another example of a thesis statement is this one for the “Winning Characteristics” Scholarship essay: “During my high school career, I have exhibited several of the “Winning Characteristics,” including Communication Skills, Leadership Skills and Organization Skills, through my involvement in Student Government, National Honor Society, and a part-time job at Macy’s Department Store.”
4. Write the body.
The body of your essay argues, explains or describes your topic. Each main idea that you wrote in your diagram or outline will become a separate section within the body of your essay.
Each body paragraph will have the same basic structure. Begin by writing one of your main ideas as the introductory sentence. Next, write each of your supporting ideas in sentence format, but leave three or four lines in between each point to come back and give detailed examples to back up your position. Fill in these spaces with relative information that will help link smaller ideas together.
5. Write the introduction.
Now that you have developed your thesis and the overall body of your essay, you must write an introduction. The introduction should attract the reader’s attention and show the focus of your essay.
Begin with an attention grabber. You can use shocking information, dialogue, a story, a quote, or a simple summary of your topic. Whichever angle you choose, make sure that it ties in with your thesis statement, which will be included as the last sentence of your introduction.
6. Write the conclusion.
The conclusion brings closure of the topic and sums up your overall ideas while providing a final perspective on your topic. Your conclusion should consist of three to five strong sentences. Simply review your main points and provide reinforcement of your thesis.
7. Add the finishing touches.
After writing your conclusion, you might think that you have completed your essay. Wrong. Before you consider this a finished work, you must pay attention to all the small details.
Check the order of your paragraphs. Your strongest points should be the first and last paragraphs within the body, with the others falling in the middle. Also, make sure that your paragraph order makes sense. If your essay is describing a process, such as how to make a great chocolate cake, make sure that your paragraphs fall in the correct order.
Review the instructions for your essay, if applicable. Many teachers and scholarship forms follow different formats, and you must double check instructions to ensure that your essay is in the desired format.
Finally, review what you have written. Reread your paper and check to see if it makes sense. Make sure that sentence flow is smooth and add phrases to help connect thoughts or ideas. Check your essay for grammar and spelling mistakes.
Essays are common in elementary, middle, high school and college, and you may even need to write essays in the business world (although they are usually called “reports” at that point). An essay is defined as “a short piece of writing that expresses information as well as the writer’s opinion.”
For some, writing an essay is as simple as sitting down at their computer and beginning to type, but a lot more planning goes into writing an essay successfully. If you have never written an essay before, or if you struggle with writing and want to improve your skills, it is a good idea to go through several steps in the essay writing process.
For example, to write an essay, you should generally:
- Decide what kind of essay to write.
- Brainstorm your topic.
- Do research.
- Develop a thesis.
- Outline your essay.
- Write your essay.
- Edit your writing to check spelling and grammar.
While this sounds like a lot of steps to write a simple essay, if you follow them you will be able to write more successful, clear and cohesive essays.
Kinds of Essays
The first step to writing an essay is to decide what kind of essay to write. There are several main structures into which essays can be grouped:
- Narrative Essays: Tell a story or impart information about your subject in a straightforward, orderly manner.
- Descriptive Essays: Focus on the details of what is going on. For example, if you want to write a descriptive essay about your trip to the park, you would give great detail about what you experienced: how the grass felt beneath your feet, what the park benches looked like, and anything else the reader would need to feel as if he were there.
- Persuasive Essay: Convince the reader of some point of view.
- Comparative Essay: Compare two or more different things.
- Expository Essay: Explain to the reader how to do a given process. You could, for example, write an expository essay with step-by-step instructions on how to make a peanut butter sandwich.
Knowing what kind of essay you are trying to write can help you decide on a topic and structure your essay in the best way possible.
You cannot write an essay unless you have an idea of what to write about. Brainstorming is the process in which you come up with the essay topic. You need to simply sit and think of ideas during this phase.
- Write down everything that comes to mind as you can always narrow those topics down later.
- You could also use clustering or mind mapping to brainstorm and come up with an essay idea. This involves writing your topic or idea in the center of the paper and creating bubbles (clouds or clusters) of related ideas around it. This can be a great way to develop a topic more deeply and to recognize connections between various facets of your topic.
Once you have a list of possible topics, it’s time to choose the best one that will answer the question posed for your essay. You want to choose a topic that is neither too broad nor too narrow.
- If you are given an assignment to write a one page essay, it would be far too much to write about “the history of the US” since that could fill entire books.
- Instead, you could write about a very specific event within the history of the United States: perhaps signing the Declaration of Independence or when Columbus discovered the U.S.
- Choose the best topic from among them and begin moving forward on writing your essay.
Once you have done your brainstorming and chosen your topic, you may need to do some research to write a good essay. Go to the library or look on the Internet for information about your topic. Interview people who might be experts in the subject. Keep your research organized so it will be easy for you to refer back to, and easy for you to cite your sources when writing your final essay.
Developing a Thesis
Your thesis is the main point of your essay. It is essentially one sentence that says what the essay is about. For example, your thesis might be “Dogs are descended from wolves.” You can then use this as the basic premise to write your entire essay, and all of the different points throughout need to lead back to this one main thesis. The thesis will usually be used in your introductory paragraph.
The thesis should be broad enough that you have enough to say about it, but not so broad that you can’t be thorough.
Outlining Your Essay
The next step is to outline what you are going to write about. This means you want to essentially draw the skeleton of your paper. Writing an outline can help to ensure your paper is logical, well organized and flows properly.
Start by writing the thesis at the top and then write a topic sentence for each paragraph below. This means you should know exactly what each of your paragraphs are going to be about before you write them.
- Don’t jumble too many ideas in each paragraph or the reader may become confused.
- You also want to ensure you have transitions between paragraphs so the reader understands how the paper flows from one idea to the next.
Fill in facts from your research under each paragraph which you want to write about when you write the essay. Make sure each paragraph ties back in to your thesis and creates a cohesive, understandable essay.
Write and Edit
Once you have an outline, its time to start writing. Write from the outline itself, fleshing out your basic skeleton to create a whole, cohesive and clear essay.
A lot goes in to writing a successful essay; fortunately, these tips for writing essays can help you along the way and get you on the path to a well-written essay.
You will want to edit and re-read your essay, checking to make sure it sounds exactly the way you want it to. You want to:
- Revise for clarity, consistency and structure.
- Make sure everything flows together.
- Support your thesis adequately with the information in your paragraphs.
- Make sure you have a strong introduction and conclusion so the reader comes away knowing exactly what your paper was about.
- Revise for technical errors.
- Check for grammar problems, punctuation and spelling errors. You cannot always count on spell check to recognize every spelling error as sometimes you can spell a word incorrectly but your misspelling will also be a word, such as spelling from as form.
Despite the fact that, as Shakespeare said, “the pen is mightier than the sword,” the pen itself is not enough to make an effective writer. In fact, though we may all like to think of ourselves as the next Shakespeare, inspiration alone is not the key to effective essay writing. You see, the conventions of English essays are more formulaic than you might think – and, in many ways, it can be as simple as counting to five.
The Five Paragraph Essay
Though more advanced academic papers are a category all their own, the basic high school or college essay has the following standardized, five paragraph structure:
Paragraph 1: Introduction
Paragraph 2: Body 1
Paragraph 3: Body 2
Paragraph 4: Body 3
Paragraph 5: Conclusion
Though it may seem formulaic – and, well, it is – the idea behind this structure is to make it easier for the reader to navigate the ideas put forth in an essay. You see, if your essay has the same structure as every other one, any reader should be able to quickly and easily find the information most relevant to them.
The principle purpose of the introduction is to present your position (this is also known as the “thesis” or “argument”) on the issue at hand but effective introductory paragraphs are so much more than that. Before you even get to this thesis statement, for example, the essay should begin with a “hook” that grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want to read on. Examples of effective hooks include relevant quotations (“no man is an island”) or surprising statistics (“three out of four doctors report that…”).
Only then, with the reader’s attention “hooked,” should you move on to the thesis. The thesis should be a clear, one-sentence explanation of your position that leaves no doubt in the reader’s mind about which side you are on from the beginning of your essay.
Following the thesis, you should provide a mini-outline which previews the examples you will use to support your thesis in the rest of the essay. Not only does this tell the reader what to expect in the paragraphs to come but it also gives them a clearer understanding of what the essay is about.
Finally, designing the last sentence in this way has the added benefit of seamlessly moving the reader to the first paragraph of the body of the paper. In this way we can see that the basic introduction does not need to be much more than three or four sentences in length. If yours is much longer you might want to consider editing it down a bit!
Here, by way of example, is an introductory paragraph to an essay in response to the following question:
“Do we learn more from finding out that we have made mistakes or from our successful actions?”
“No man is an island” and, as such, he is constantly shaped and influenced by his experiences. People learn by doing and, accordingly, learn considerably more from their mistakes than their success. For proof of this, consider examples from both science and everyday experience.
DO – Pay Attention to Your Introductory Paragraph
Because this is the first paragraph of your essay it is your opportunity to give the reader the best first impression possible. The introductory paragraph not only gives the reader an idea of what you will talk about but also shows them how you will talk about it. Put a disproportionate amount of effort into this – more than the 20% a simple calculation would suggest – and you will be rewarded accordingly.
DO NOT – Use Passive Voice or I/My
Active voice, wherein the subjects direct actions rather than let the actions “happen to” them – “he scored a 97%” instead of “he was given a 97%” – is a much more powerful and attention-grabbing way to write. At the same time, unless it is a personal narrative, avoid personal pronouns like I, My, or Me. Try instead to be more general and you will have your reader hooked.
The Body Paragraphs
The middle paragraphs of the essay are collectively known as the body paragraphs and, as alluded to above, the main purpose of a body paragraph is to spell out in detail the examples that support your thesis.
For the first body paragraph you should use your strongest argument or most significant example unless some other more obvious beginning point (as in the case of chronological explanations) is required. The first sentence of this paragraph should be the topic sentence of the paragraph that directly relates to the examples listed in the mini-outline of introductory paragraph.
A one sentence body paragraph that simply cites the example of “George Washington” or “LeBron James” is not enough, however. No, following this an effective essay will follow up on this topic sentence by explaining to the reader, in detail, who or what an example is and, more importantly, why that example is relevant.
Even the most famous examples need context. For example, George Washington’s life was extremely complex – by using him as an example, do you intend to refer to his honesty, bravery, or maybe even his wooden teeth? The reader needs to know this and it is your job as the writer to paint the appropriate picture for them. To do this, it is a good idea to provide the reader with five or six relevant facts about the life (in general) or event (in particular) you believe most clearly illustrates your point.
Having done that, you then need to explain exactly why this example proves your thesis. The importance of this step cannot be understated (although it clearly can be underlined); this is, after all, the whole reason you are providing the example in the first place. Seal the deal by directly stating why this example is relevant.
Here is an example of a body paragraph to continue the essay begun above:
Take, by way of example, Thomas Edison. The famed American inventor rose to prominence in the late 19th century because of his successes, yes, but even he felt that these successes were the result of his many failures. He did not succeed in his work on one of his most famous inventions, the lightbulb, on his first try nor even on his hundred and first try. In fact, it took him more than 1,000 attempts to make the first incandescent bulb but, along the way, he learned quite a deal. As he himself said, “I did not fail a thousand times but instead succeeded in finding a thousand ways it would not work.” Thus Edison demonstrated both in thought and action how instructive mistakes can be.
DO – Tie Things Together
The first sentence – the topic sentence – of your body paragraphs needs to have a lot individual pieces to be truly effective. Not only should it open with a transition that signals the change from one idea to the next but also it should (ideally) also have a common thread which ties all of the body paragraphs together. For example, if you used “first” in the first body paragraph then you should used “secondly” in the second or “on the one hand” and “on the other hand” accordingly.
DO NOT – Be Too General
Examples should be relevant to the thesis and so should the explanatory details you provide for them. It can be hard to summarize the full richness of a given example in just a few lines so make them count. If you are trying to explain why George Washington is a great example of a strong leader, for instance, his childhood adventure with the cherry tree (though interesting in another essay) should probably be skipped over.
A Word on Transitions
You may have noticed that, though the above paragraph aligns pretty closely with the provided outline, there is one large exception: the first few words. These words are example of a transitional phrase – others include “furthermore,” “moreover,” but also “by contrast” and “on the other hand” – and are the hallmark of good writing.
Transitional phrases are useful for showing the reader where one section ends and another begins. It may be helpful to see them as the written equivalent of the kinds of spoken cues used in formal speeches that signal the end of one set of ideas and the beginning of another. In essence, they lead the reader from one section of the paragraph of another.
To further illustrate this, consider the second body paragraph of our example essay:
In a similar way, we are all like Edison in our own way. Whenever we learn a new skill – be it riding a bike, driving a car, or cooking a cake – we learn from our mistakes. Few, if any, are ready to go from training wheels to a marathon in a single day but these early experiences (these so-called mistakes) can help us improve our performance over time. You cannot make a cake without breaking a few eggs and, likewise, we learn by doing and doing inevitably means making mistakes.
Hopefully this example not only provides another example of an effective body paragraph but also illustrates how transitional phrases can be used to distinguish between them.
Although the conclusion paragraph comes at the end of your essay it should not be seen as an afterthought. As the final paragraph is represents your last chance to make your case and, as such, should follow an extremely rigid format.
One way to think of the conclusion is, paradoxically, as a second introduction because it does in fact contain many of the same features. While it does not need to be too long – four well-crafted sentence should be enough – it can make or break and essay.
Effective conclusions open with a concluding transition (“in conclusion,” “in the end,” etc.) and an allusion to the “hook” used in the introductory paragraph. After that you should immediately provide a restatement of your thesis statement.
This should be the fourth or fifth time you have repeated your thesis so while you should use a variety of word choice in the body paragraphs it is a acceptable idea to use some (but not all) of the original language you used in the introduction. This echoing effect not only reinforces your argument but also ties it nicely to the second key element of the conclusion: a brief (two or three words is enough) review of the three main points from the body of the paper.
Having done all of that, the final element – and final sentence in your essay – should be a “global statement” or “call to action” that gives the reader signals that the discussion has come to an end.
In the end, then, one thing is clear: mistakes do far more to help us learn and improve than successes. As examples from both science and everyday experience can attest, if we treat each mistake not as a misstep but as a learning experience the possibilities for self-improvement are limitless.
DO – Be Powerful
The conclusion paragraph can be a difficult paragraph to write effectively but, as it is your last chance to convince or otherwise impress the reader, it is worth investing some time in. Take this opportunity to restate your thesis with confidence; if you present your argument as “obvious” then the reader might just do the same.
DO NOT – Copy the First Paragraph
Although you can reuse the same key words in the conclusion as you did in the introduction, try not to copy whole phrases word for word. Instead, try to use this last paragraph to really show your skills as a writer by being as artful in your rephrasing as possible.
Taken together, then, the overall structure of a five paragraph essay should look something like this:
- An attention-grabbing “hook”
- A thesis statement
- A preview of the three subtopics you will discuss in the body paragraphs.
First Body Paragraph
- Topic sentence which states the first subtopic and opens with a transition
- Supporting details or examples
- An explanation of how this example proves your thesis
Second Body Paragraph
- Topic sentence which states the second subtopic and opens with a transition
- Supporting details or examples
- An explanation of how this example proves your thesis
Third Body Paragraph
- Topic sentence which states the third subtopic and opens with a transition
- Supporting details or examples
- An explanation of how this example proves your thesis
- Concluding Transition, Reverse “hook,” and restatement of thesis.
- Rephrasing main topic and subtopics.
- Global statement or call to action.
More tips to make your essay shine
Although it may seem like a waste of time – especially during exams where time is tight – it is almost always better to brainstorm a bit before beginning your essay. This should enable you to find the best supporting ideas – rather than simply the first ones that come to mind – and position them in your essay accordingly.
Your best supporting idea – the one that most strongly makes your case and, simultaneously, about which you have the most knowledge – should go first. Even the best-written essays can fail because of ineffectively placed arguments.
Aim for Variety
Sentences and vocabulary of varying complexity are one of the hallmarks of effective writing. When you are writing, try to avoid using the same words and phrases over and over again. You don’t have to be a walking thesaurus but a little variance can make the same idea sparkle.
If you are asked about “money,” you could try “wealth” or “riches.” At the same time, avoid beginning sentences the dull pattern of “subject + verb + direct object.” Although examples of this are harder to give, consider our writing throughout this article as one big example of sentence structure variety.
Practice! Practice! Practice!
In the end, though, remember that good writing does not happen by accident. Although we have endeavored to explain everything that goes into effective essay writing in as clear and concise a way as possible, it is much easier in theory than it is in practice.
As a result, we recommend that you practice writing sample essays on various topics. Even if they are not masterpieces at first, a bit of regular practice will soon change that – and make you better prepared when it comes to the real thing.
When taking English courses in high school and college, you’ll likely be assigned to write essays. While writing an essay in English may seem overwhelming, it does not have to be. If you give yourself plenty of time to plan out and develop your essay, however, then you will not have to stress about it.
Let’s divide into Four Parts:
Part One of Four:
1. Set aside time to write. You cannot write a quality essay in 10 minutes. It’s best to give yourself ample time to write and revise the essay. Try to factor in some time for breaks between drafts as well. If you’re approaching a deadline, however, you may need to make the best use of the time you have.Advertisement
2. Sit down and write. While it’s important to prepare to write, when it comes down to it, you just have to start putting content on the page. Remember that you can always go back and make improvements later, and that revisions are part of the writing process.
3. Draft a tentative thesis. Your thesis is one of the most important elements of your essay. A thesis statement summarizes the main argument or position of your essay in one sentence. It lets readers know what the essay will attempt to show or prove. Everything in your essay should be connected to your thesis in a straightforward way.
4. Develop your introduction. Once you have a compelling thesis statement, craft the rest of your introduction around it. You can also save this step for after you’ve drafted the body of your essay if you feel intimidated by the introduction. The best introductions “grab” the reader’s attention and make them want to keep reading. Some effective strategies for creating an introduction.
5. Jot down an outline for the remainder of your essay. Outlining involves developing a basic structure for your essay, which can help you stay on track while writing drafts. Look over your notes and invention exercises and think about how you can organize this information in an outline. Think about what information should come first, second, third, etc. You can create a numbered outline using a word processor or just put it on paper.Don’t worry about being too detailed when you create your outline. Just try to get the major ideas on paper.
Part Two of Four:
Drafting the Essay
1. Collect all of your notes and materials. Before you start to write, gather together all of the notes, books, and other materials that you will need to reference in order to answer the essay prompt effectively. Support is essential for an effective English essay, so do not try to write your essay without these materials. If you have time, read through your notes before you begin.Make sure that you have your outline handy as well. You can build on your outline by expanding on each of the points in the order that they are listed in.
2. Include topic sentences at the beginning of each paragraph. Topic sentences signal to readers what a paragraph will discuss. Start each of your paragraphs with a topic sentence so that your instructor will be able to see that your ideas progress in a clear, direct manner. Think of the topic sentence as a way to tell readers what you’ll talk about in the rest of the paragraph. You don’t need to summarize the whole paragraph—just provide readers with a taste.For example, in a paragraph that describes Okonkwo’s rise and fall in Things Fall Apart, you might begin with something like: “Okonkwo starts out as a poor young man, but then rises to a position of wealth and status.”
3. Develop your ideas as much as possible. Make sure that you include as many details as possible throughout your essay. Remember that padding (filling in with meaningless text or using extra wordy sentences) is not an effective strategy for writing essays because instructors can see right through it. Your instructor has probably read hundreds of student essays over their career, so they’ll know when an essay has been padded. Fill your essays with details that make your essay useful and insightful instead. If you get stuck, some good strategies for developing your ideas include:Returning to the invention stage. This includes exercises such as freewriting, listing, or clustering. You can also revisit your notes and books to see if there’s anything you missed or forgot.Visiting your school’s writing lab. You can find a writing lab on most college campuses. They are free to students and can help you improve your writing at any stage in the writing process.Talking to your instructor. Take advantage of your professor’s office hours or one-on-one appointments. Meet with them and discuss ways that you can improve your essay before you hand it in.
4. Cite sourcing using MLA style. If you use any sources at all in your essay, then you will need to cite them using the style that your instructor prefers. MLA style is the most common citation format used in English courses, so you will need to know how to use it. Provide in-text citations as well as a works cited page at the MLA style works cited page starts on a new page at the end of the essay. Provide entries for each of the sources that you used. These entries should include the information necessary to allow the reader to find the source with ease. MLA style in-text (also called parenthetical) citations provide readers with the author’s last name the page number for the information. It’s necessary to include an in-text citation for any information that you quote, summarize, or paraphrase from a source. It comes right after the sourced information, and it includes the author’s last name and page number in parentheses.
5. Work towards a conclusion. The general structure of an essay usually goes from broad to specific. You could visualize this tendency as an upside-down pyramid or as a funnel. By the time you get to your conclusion, it should feel as though the information in your conclusion is inevitable. It’s essentially a recap of everything you’ve spent your whole essay trying to prove. However, there is also potential to use your conclusion for other purposes. You may find that you want to use your conclusion to: Qualify or complicate the information in your essay Suggest a need for further research Speculate on how the future will change the current situation.
Part Three of Four:
Revising the Essay
1. Give yourself plenty of time. Leaving your essay to the last minute is not a good idea. Try to allow yourself at least a couple of days to revise your work. It is important to take a one to two day break from your essay after you have completed it. Then you can come back to it and revise with a fresh perspective.
Focus on improving the content of your essay first. Some people only focus on the grammar and punctuation when revising an essay, but this is less important than the content of your essay. Answer the essay question in as much detail as possible. Reread the essay question or assignment guidelines and ask: Have I answered the question in a satisfactory way?Do I have a clear thesis? Is my thesis the focus of my essay?Do I include adequate support for my argument? Is there anything else I could add?Is there a logic to my essay? Does one idea follow the next? If not, how might I improve the logic of my essay?
2. Ask a friend to read your essay.Having a friend or classmate take a look at your work can be helpful as well. Someone else may catch simple errors or notice something else that you missed because you have been looking at the document so much. Try swapping essays with a friend from class. You can read and comment on each other’s essays to make sure that both of you have done the best work possible.Make sure that you swap papers at least one day before the paper is due so that you will have time to correct any errors that your friend finds.
Read your essay out loud. Reading your essay aloud can help you to catch simple errors that you might not have noticed otherwise. Read your essay out loud slowly and have a pencil nearby (or be prepared to edit on your computer).As you read, correct any errors that you find and make a note of anything that you think could be improved, such as adding more details or clarifying the language.
Part Four of Four:
Planning Your Essay
1. Analyze the topic or essay question.Take time to read over the essay question or guidelines and think about what the assignment is asking you to do. You should underline any keywords such as describe, compare, contrast, explain, argue, or propose. You should also underline any central themes or ideas that the assignment asks you to discuss such as freedom, family, defeat, love, etc. Always ask your professor if you don’t understand the assignment. It’s important to have a clear idea of what they want before you start working on the assignment.
2. Consider your audience. Your instructor is your primary audience for the essay, so you will need to consider your instructor’s needs and expectations before you write. Some basic things that your instructor will need and expect from you may include:A well-detailed answer that satisfies the assignment requirementsA clear and direct piece of writing that is easy to followA polished paper with no minor errors, such as typos or misspellings
3. Think about what you will need to include. After considering your instructor’s expectations, take some time to think about how you can accomplish these broad goals. Consider what you will need to include in your essay.For example, if you are tasked with writing about a character in a book, then you will need to provide lots of details about that character. This will probably require rereading some passages of your book as well as revisiting your notes from class. To ensure that your paper is easy to follow, you’ll need to make sure that there’s a logical order to your essay. Do this by creating an outline and checking your work for logic.Start early and give yourself lots of time for revision. Try to complete your first draft about one week before the paper is due.
4. Develop your ideas. Invention exercises can help you to draw out details that you already know, which can give you a great jump start on writing your essay. Some useful invention exercises include: Freewriting. Write as much as you can without stopping. If you can’t think of anything, write “I can’t think of anything to write,” until something comes to mind. After you finish, go over what’ve written and underline or highlight any useful information for your essay.Listing. Make a list of all of the details and information that are relevant to the essay prompt. After you have listed everything that you can think of, read over it and circle the most important information for your essay.Clustering. Write your topic in the middle of the page, then branch out with other connected ideas. Circle the ideas and connect them to the main one with lines. Keep going until you can’t do any more.
5. Research your topic if necessary. If you have been asked to conduct research for your paper, then you will want to do this before you begin drafting as well. Use your library’s databases and other resources to find the best information possible for your paper.
Students have probably been writing essays since the whole concept of education has existed. Essays have survived time without modern technology. They were being written even before electricity! Surprisingly enough, it is today that many arguments have appeared as to whether students should write essays at all. We have gadgets, the Internet, and access to any information we like, but still have trouble writing them. Some teachers claim that such tasks are unnecessary. Students get arrogant when their grades are lower than they expected, and it takes teachers a lot time to grade papers, the quality of which is often not worth reading at ll.
Such opinions are rather controversial. The opposite point of view is that writing develops plenty of skills, necessary for students in the future. One way or another, the occurrence of arguments against writing essays, no matter whether they are right or wrong, makes it obvious that the majority of students struggle with these tasks. As long as essays stay a permanent part of the studying process, every student has to learn how to write an essay. Many students see custom essay writing services as an alternative to actual work, but if you don’t understand what a proper essay should look like, how can you be sure that you won’t hand in total rubbish?
This article is aimed at providing you with explicit information about the major types of essays. Besides, it has smart tips on how to write an essay and how to have it written. Our essay writing tips are universal for students, professional writers, and even teachers who will have ready-to-go criteria for any essay they give their students.
1. HOW TO WRITE AN ESSAY
Writing an essay is not easy. There are plenty of issues with this task. Your skills have to be sufficient to avoid making mistakes. You have to know how to do it. You have to possess knowledge about style and structure. Writing a good essay also presupposes having a brilliant idea concerning the subject. No wonder teachers get almost surprised when they come across an excellent piece of writing.
Many students copy ideas from the Web and put it into essays, creating papers not even worth grading/ It is not widespread in the UK or the US, but in some European countries students still copy major parts of texts found on the Internet without even trying to change them at all. One can presume that this extent of plagiarism in essay writing is acceptable in some cases. Especially, when a student is severely overloaded or stressed, or when he or she has special circumstances, like competitions or the flu. This is completely wrong!
We can only note that copying somebody else’s text is a major waste of your time. You waste time surfing the Net for the right essay or an article you can copy, reading (unfortunately, this stage is often skipped) or looking through the text (hopefully), copying, rearranging, etc. Then, you waste your teacher’s time, when he or she is forced to read and grade it. Checking for plagiarism and rejecting the paper takes time, too. Writing a college essay by copying is truly absurd. If you don’t have time for writing paper from the introductions to the conclusion – all on your own, the only way out is to order a unique paper. In this case, you’ll be involved in the process of monitoring and guiding the writer, offering your ideas, and learning to write from top professionals.
Checking for plagiarism and rejecting the paper takes time, too. Writing a college essay by copying is truly absurd. If you don’t have time for writing paper from the introductions to the conclusion – all on your own, the only way out is to order a unique paper. In this case, you’ll be involved in the process of monitoring and guiding the writer, offering your ideas, and learning to write from top professionals.
1.1 ESSAY WRITING SERVICE
The issue of getting professional help is very controversial in our society. Some kinds of it are totally acceptable, like visiting a therapist or hiring a nanny. Others are frowned upon. Somehow, essay writing services fall into the second category. Here, we are going to consider the cases when one really needs help writing an essay, and whether it is ethical to get it, and what to do if you can’t manage writing your essay on your own.
Why People Sometimes Feel Negatively about Online Paper Services
It is interesting that some spheres of our life allow getting help. As we’ve mentioned, you can hire a nanny. It is fine to visit classes for newborns and toddlers. After that, if you are optimistic enough, you assume to get help from the educational system. Besides, there are plenty of friends and grannies who are often eager to help you. Of course, the situations are often different; and each parent decides for themselves whether to get professional/ friendly help or not. The bottom line is that it’s ok to get assistance.
When it comes to your own education, the picture varies considerably. You are allowed to get help, but only the kind prescribed by an instruction. If you need college essay writing help, you can consult your teacher. Your teacher can’t always help you, especially if you’ve already missed something important. In this case, you need to get help somewhere else. You can’t possibly ask your family or friends “Write my essay for me!” Why would they? The only logical way out is a custom paper service. Students, just like young parents in the previous example, decide for themselves if they should pay money to get their essays done. Their decision to buy a paper will hardly be supported, so they feel like they don’t have that right.
Those who may be responsible for this are:
- Mass media;
- The Internet, advertising such services, on the one hand, and ‘motivating’ you to do everything yourself;
- Your parents, who don’t understand why you need help if they didn’t need it twenty years ago.
Why You Should Try an Essay Writing Service
Often, it doesn’t just seem that students are too lazy to write their own papers. They actually are. You don’t want to yield to your laziness and let it grow into your way of life, do you? If not, try to work on your essay yourself. But don’t hesitate to ask for help, if you face real difficulties. The reasons why a student really should get professional assistance with an essay are usually grouped under the definition ‘the lack of time.’ However, the issues may be much deeper and more diverse:
- Health problems: from the flu up to pregnancy and how it influences one’s well-being;
- Stress: plenty of other tasks to complete, no matter if they are connected with your studying or your personal life;
- The lack of experience: when it takes you ages to complete the task because the whole experience is new to you;
- Language barrier: a very relevant issue for international students;
- And many others.
It’s time to prioritize. If this is the time when you can’t write your essay without help, order it! Just browse for ‘write my paper’ and pick a reliable custom essay writing service.
1.1.1 CUSTOM ESSAY WRITING
Custom writing is quite a successful business nowadays. You can still come across unfair ‘companies’ and freelance writers however. If this happens, you’ll lose more than your money. You’ll lose precious time for sure, as such writers never disappear right from the start. They fake productivity and then, when the right moment comes, they are gone with your money. As a consequence, you’ll also lose out on a chance to get a good grade. That is why you should be really attentive when choosing a custom essay writing service. Your choice should be grounded on the following aspects:
1.2 ESSAY WRITERS
Remember that behind any essay writer service there are real people who may or may not meet your expectations. You don’t just use a service, you actually hire an essay writer. In the majority of cases, you can’t be sure as to who is going to write your paper. That is why you should choose the service thoroughly, as described above. The most reliable companies work only with professional online essay writers they can trust. You see, the business is very competitive and every client comment counts. You can evaluate paper writer(s) by a number of aspects, such as:
Professionalism. This is exactly what students want to get from an essay writer service, although this aspect is very unclear. By professionalism, in this case, we mean the ability to fulfill the client’s requirements, i.e. a technical task, and meet the deadline. As you can see, you have partial responsibility here because the task you give to the writer should be clear and specific. As for punctuality, it is obvious that even ‘the greatest masterpiece’ is not needed after the deadline.
Experience. Writing papers is not about talent. It is clear from this article that it is about structure and style. The ideas the writer wants to convey matter a lot. But the most brilliant of these ideas are quite useless when one can’t put them into words exactly as it is required. This skill comes with experience. With time, writer gains a collection of certain knowledge about what to write, some tools and techniques, clichés and ideas, and his or her mistakes have been corrected by proofreaders numerous times.
Creativity. Many may compare an essay writer with a craftsman rather than with an artist. On the other hand, the touch of uniqueness should be present in any essay you order. By uniqueness, we mean ideas. Copying the text is strictly forbidden in any case. Please contact the writer if the ideas in the essay are not clear to you. You might be asked about what you meant, so you have to be prepared for questions.
If you have an opportunity to choose, try to avoid perfectionism as well. Otherwise, ‘the casting’ will take you plenty of time.
2. ESSAY WRITING TIPS
Writing an essay requires a number of steps to be made. Sometimes, not knowing how to complete a stage costs student’s time, which makes it impossible to meet the deadline. Procrastination can grow into panick, and diminishes your chances of getting a good grade. That is why you have to know what you are to do and remember the strict sequence of your actions.
#1 Getting the Task
Getting doesn’t just mean writing it down. It means understanding it completely. If you have any questions about the paper, ask them in class. You’ll definitely have some time to write your essay, so reread the task several times after you are home. You’ll have more chances to get the answers from you teacher if you do it right away. This is what professional writers do. They make sure they get the technical task right before writing.
If you decide to hire a professional to write your essay, you’ll have to explain the task clearly to get a better grade.
#2 The Right Start
Don’t wait for motivation or, moreover, inspiration. This is a compulsory assignment! Do you think you will ever be inspired enough to complete it? If you like the topic, the desire to continue will come during the process for sure. Waiting for a perfect moment to start working only wastes time. On the other hand, if you are the kind of person who can’t live without procrastinating, you might put off the starting point slightly in your mind without realizing it. Imagine you have to start right now or that a deadline is nearer than it is in reality. Then, start writing the paper. It will be exactly on time, but these mind games will protect you from real procrastination.
Also note that several destructive patterns may not allow you to start writing on time. They are based on:
- Feeling pity for yourself. Even if you are writing a college essay and everybody in your group does the same, it feels like you are the only one in the world who has to work. There are so many great things to do, but you have to stick to your writing. Or you are not feeling well, and writing is the last thing you want to do. The majority of these excuses have nothing to do with reality. Try to focus. Don’t let the pity ruin your plans.
- Feeling nervous. It seems to you that the task is too hard or big for you. You are afraid to fail. Don’t think too much about it. When you organize your process of writing, you will become more confident.
- Feeling guilty. Guilt is a widespread feeling for those who have already missed the right time to start. You try to distract from this feeling by doing other thing It feels like you’ve completed plenty of tasks, but your work remains undone. Remember that the best time to start is NOW!
- Feeling good-for-nothing. If you get low grades for your essays, don’t understand how to write them at all, see that it takes others less time and effort, you start doubting your abilities and skills. Just try a little bit harder, learn about writing techniques and your essays will become much better.
It sometimes happens that even the subject of your essay doesn’t ring a bell to you. In this case, you know where to start.t. If you know what you are writing about or have chosen the topic yourself, you need to do some research. Writing a good essay requires facts, comparing different standpoints, arguing some ideas and supporting other ones. Preliminary research is vital for you to succeed. Different kinds of essays require different kinds of research. Research papers, such as analytical and definition essays, demand sticking to the methodology. Narrative essays may or may not need research, but it is still really beneficial to your essay.
#4 An Outline
An outline is a form of planning your writing. You divide the text into sections and try to summarize them before writing. You can even include some conclusions in your outline. A lot of students really hate outlining their essays and get hopelessly stuck on this stage. After proper research, you’ll have no difficulty with the outline, especially if you know how to organize your essay. The introduction-main body-conclusion structure is not sufficient to give you a hint about the content of an essay. The pattern should be a little more specific:
- The problem (talking point, thesis)
- Comments about the problem
- Your opinion
This pattern is suitable for any essay. In your outline, you can rename the sections or leave them as they are. Complete each section with the main information you are going to write there. And that is how your outline is done.
Then, you just write your paper in agreement with your outline and take into consideration what you have found during your research. Don’t be surprised if this stage will take you less time than the previous ones. Often, proper preparation makes the process of writing a college essay easy and enjoyable. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean you can relax now. It is highly important not to get distracted while you are working.
There are plenty of tools that can help you stay focused. For example, you can set a timer for half an hour and concentrate on your writing for this period. After, take a five-minute break and then spend another half an hour working. You can take longer breaks every 3 or 4 intervals. Track your progress. It will motivate you greatly to continue. Don’t even think about surfing the Net again until you are done. Additionally, you have to be prepared that you may find out that you don’t find all the information you need. In this case, you’ll need to resume your research.
As you can see, essay writing includes a lot of things. Proofreading is one of the most critical stages in the whole process. As it is always the final one, many students simply skip it, happy they’ve ‘completed’ the assignment.
There are so many mistakes you can correct during proofreading! Some of them are simple typos; others are serious grammar and stylistic mistakes. You will see some yourself and correct others with a spell check tool.
If you read out loud, you can also feel and estimate the rhythm of the text. Actually, this stage can’t be ignored even if you order your essay online. Read a custom paper more than once. First of all, if you order an essay from this writer for the first time, you can never be sure about its quality. Secondly, it will help you prepare for any questions from your teacher about your essay. You can also check your essay with a grammar check program.
3. TYPES OF ESSAY
Several main types of essay are considered the most widespread among college writing assignments: expository, persuasive, analytical, argumentative, descriptive, definition, narrative, process, critical, and compare and contrast essays. All of them have their own formats, which are in some ways similar. At the same time, many details will differ. The objective of the different types essays are also very different. Some of them are written to present some information, others to explain some events and situations, and others to analyze and interpret the facts. There are essays created for ethical purposes, while others are focused on research. Each of them has a specific structure and peculiarities which you are to know if you want your essay to be written right.
3.1 EXPOSITORY ESSAY
What Is an Expository Essay?
In this type of essay you have to work on a particular idea, develop it, and build your text around it. In case you don’t understand the concept of an expository essay, you should ask your teacher about it. It is considered to be one of the most complicated types of essays.
How to Write an Expository Essay
The following steps will surely help you in writing this kind of an essay. First of all, make a thesis. The thesis of your work should be arguable. Be careful with the information you choose. It shouldn’t be an expression of your personal taste or a simple demonstration of a well-known fact. It must provoke an argument from your readers. Plan your essay and consider all the steps thoroughly. A simple plan will structure your work and make the writing process as comfortable as possible.
An expository essay should include an introduction, a conclusion, and three evidential paragraphs between them. When you are looking for evidence, you should pay attention to the sources that you are going to use. They have to be carefully chosen and reliable. It is easier to build your work on information that is taken from sources which are familiar to you and the style of which is understandable to you personally. Don’t try to operate with information you are not really interested in. All the info you use needs to be credible and reliable. For your expository essay, use examples and information taken from contemporary sources. Information has a tendency to change with time and to become more specific. Keeping an eye on the rhythm of time is the definition of a good writer. Nobody wants to be given obsolete information. The conclusion you make should be influenced by the evidence you’ve used.
Another way to work on your expository essay is to make separate clusters in which you can work on your essay’s topics. Here you can decide which part of your essay needs more time to work on. This will help you control your assignment, which means that you won’t miss any elements of your essay. Also, mind your word choice. Check with a dictionary for terms you don’t know.
Lead Your Readers
Try to make your expository essay catchy. This type is quite suitable for filling with interesting information that will draw the reader’s attention. Your essay should win the reader over from the very beginning of your paper. Also, while writing your expository essay, remember why you are writing it. From the introduction to the conclusion, it should be thoughtful . Plus, it should make your reader think about the ideas you want to elaborate through your paper.
3.2 PERSUASIVE ESSAY
What Is a Persuasive Essay?
Writing a persuasive essay is a very important skill that will surely help you in your life. It is aimed at persuading a reader to take your side and to adopt a point of view similar to yours. The topics of your paper should be direct. The reader needs to be guided to the point you wish to take him to. An example of a good paper is the one that leaves no reader unpersuaded.
How to Write a Persuasive Essay
Persuasion is not an easy thing. Here are some tips that will show you the main ways of doing it. Stick to your point of view. You cannot persuade anyone if you don’t believe in it yourself. Try to make your idea clear and understandable to your readers. Repeat your thesis several times for your readers to let them accept it on a subconscious level. It is true that something said ten times is better memorized than something repeated only once. But it is also very important not to sound like a broken record. For this purpose, use various types of paraphrasing. It is better to operate information that is socially grounded to persuade people. No one wishes to be told tales. Your essay should reveal the things that are relevant to your audience. Don’t hurry, and take some time to write your essay. No good work is done in a hurry. Think of every sentence you write.
Language and Style
Keep the language of your paper clear and simple. If you decide to use a sophisticated way of presenting your ideas, it may puzzle your reader. All definitions should be very clear. Otherwise, your essay may bore your readers and this is not the best way to persuade. The simpler your style is, the more chances you have to make your readers agree with your point of view.
Be Ready for a Potential Discussion
Think over all possible arguments against your point of view. You will be criticized for sure, so don’t be surprised about it. Try to avoid any weak points in your text. Give examples that prove your point. The more you are sure in what you write and the more you foresee possible ways of being criticized, the more successful your paper will be.
3.3 ANALYTICAL ESSAY
What Is an Analytical Essay?
The definition of this essay type is rather simple. This is a piece of writing that analyses a problem or presents an opinion that is based on a certain fact. There are a great number of subjects an analytical essay can be edicated to. Among them are, a piece of literature, a historical event, a scientific fact, etc.
How to Write an Analytical Essay
To start, be aware of what you write about. Do your research on the subject of your essay, whether it is a piece of literature or an event. You have to summarize your opinion about the essay topics concisely. Then, present it as a statement. You should know what you try to prove. Your essay has to be full of examples proving your point. Your point of view can be grounded on the facts present in your research, events of social life, scientific facts or references to the opinions of critics and scientists. Don’t neglect your life experience, either.
Grammar and Style
Keep in mind that your analytical essay should contain talking points concerning the issue under your consideration. Don’t write from the first person. You also shouldn’t use the second person, i.e. you shouldn’t address the reader directly. Also, exclamatory and interrogative sentences should not be overused. Remember that there is a big difference between quoting and paraphrasing. A direct quotation presents a part of an original piece of text and should contain a reference to the original source in accordance with the format required.
Paraphrasing or indirect quotation, on the other hand, allows summarizing the original text by extracting the main information. An indirect quotation requires a reference to the original source as well. Do not overload your text with citations. Keep the introduction of your essay simple, and concentrate all the findings in the main part of your work. You should avoid slang words in the text and use appropriate expressions that suit your style.
While proofreading your essay, pay attention to grammar mistakes as well as slips in punctuation. Read your work aloud to find weak moments and stylistically disparate parts in it. Also, check the accuracy of dates, facts, and names that are presented in your essay. Try to put your thoughts straight without using too many ‘noise words.’
3.4. ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY
What Is an Argumentative Essay?
This is a type of essay that presents a relevant point of view and is aimed at convincing the reader.. A good argumentative essay is based on complete and careful examination of a topic. That is why you have to be well informed of the things you write about. This is the only way to provide your reader with good examples of what you try to convey to them.
How to Write an Argumentative Essay
Focus on the introduction of your paper. It is hard to draw the reader’s attention further when you missed it from the very beginning. In the case that your paper contains some original research, make it clear to your reader from the start. Keep in mind the aim of your writing. This is the only way when your paper will produce the desired effect on the reader. You are to have a clear image of what you want your reader to understand in the end.
Choosing the Topic and Developing Arguments
For your argumentative essay, try to choose topics that you are interested in. This will help you consider different points of view. Think over the matter under your consideration and try to find possible flaws in it, which can be developed into a good argument. This is what makes this kind of essay more difficult than the others. You need to be an expert on the subject you have chosen, and your reader is the one who should be guided through it. Leave space for contradiction within the course of your essay. You can even discuss your work with someone, who has either similar or opposite views. This will help you to see your future work from a different angle and generate new ideas.
Language and Style
If you are not sure about the definition of a particular word, don’t use it. Don’t use inappropriate language either and don’t overload your essay with an abundance of terms. You can make your style catchy instead.
3.5 DESCRIPTIVE ESSAY
What Is a Descriptive Essay?
This paper is one of the examples that has the strongest influence on the reader. It is a type of writing aimed at creating the effect of presence and deep involvement in the events described in it. For that reason, this kind of essay stands out among the others. Its goal is not only to inform a reader about certain facts but to give a definite and clear image of the things described.
How to Write a Descriptive Essay
Before writing, think what you are going to write about. The subject may be a person, an event, a certain place, or an experience. No matter what you choose, you are to have a clear understanding of the subject described. Be very attentive when choosing topics for your descriptive essay, as you are to involve the reader. Make your focus on the reasons why you’ve chosen a topic. Of course, it is much easier to write about things you are familiar with. It will make the choice of words, style, and expressions easier for you.
It seems that the primary goal of an essay is to picture something, as this type of work is based mainly on the description. It is not completely so. There should still be an aim for writing your essay. Think thoroughly about the people’s qualities, events or places you want to describe. This will help your reader to imagine things described in the essay the right way. Also, it will provide the reader with a correct attitude toward the subject of your text, i.e. will help you to convey your ideas. If you do right, reading your work will resemble a journey into a world of your text. For this purpose, be careful with all the details of your description and mind their order.
Pay Attention to Detail
Pay attention to every detail in your description. It can push your readers to build a precise image. Don’t give a definition to a certain thing or event; make the readers see it with their own eyes. With the right words, this image will make them feel what you want them to feel. This concerns smells, physical appearances, weather, colors, etc. All these images can arouse readers’ emotional response.
3.6 DEFINITION ESSAY
What Is a Definition Essay?
This type is considered to be quite difficult for students to write. The point is that in a definition essay you are to write about a single word. This means that this word is the subject you have to focus on while working on your paper.
How to Write a Definition Essay
The words you choose to write about as your topics are to be complex and abstract. The simpler the word you pick is, the more plain and shallow your paper will be. This will not produce any effect on your readers. Try to pick a word that can be discussed long enough, one that has different meanings, and that is well-known. Defining such words can be a difficult, but interesting process. The best option is to take a word that has its own meaning for every person. In this case, you can get a rather diversified and strong response to your essay.
What to Include in Your Essay
It is an acknowledged fact that many words change their meaning with time. If you illustrate these changes in your essay, your work will be more academic and complex. Mind the structure of the word. Some words can be a blend of two or more words. Think about each part of the word, and you will have more to write about. Do not skip the process of word formation while writing your essay. Don’t neglect to enumerate the synonyms of the word described. This will help you to broaden the essence of your work. This will also make your reader understand what you want to convey to them. If your readers aren’t aware of the word meaning, they can get it by comparing it with its synonyms.
Use as many examples of the word use as you can. It is really hard to get the essence of the word and its meaning without clear illustration of how it is used in speech. This way, your readers will get a clear picture of all the possible shades the chosen word can have.
How to Work with a Dictionary
Don’t base your work on a word that you don’t understand. Dictionaries can help you to a certain extent, as they provide their users with different examples of usage. But you won’t write a good definition essay unless you understand the word and its meanings. The best essays come out of well-thought-out topics. Nevertheless, do not underestimate the importance of dictionaries, as they can help you and push you to some interesting thoughts about your future essay.
3.7 NARRATIVE ESSAY
What Is a Narrative Essay?
This type of essay definition is the easiest one to understand. Narrative essays is one of the most popular types of assignment, especially at school. It is mainly based on telling a story, usually in chronological order. In most cases, the story comes from writer’s life and is connected to some particular topics.
Our first tip is to try and choose a topic accurately. Think it over. Consider what will be the plot of your story. Has it influenced your life? What conclusions do you want your audience to make after reading your essay? Think about it and try to pick the story that will suit these requirements. Your essay should be interesting and contain events that are worth telling . You will surely make an outline before writing your narrative essay, but in the case of a narrative essay, writing a draft of your story is also very important. Think of the beginning of the essay, the story itself, and the ending. This won’t just help you organize your work, but find the ways how the details of the events described should be arranged.
How to Write a Narrative Essay
Focus on the event that lies at the basis of your essay. Don’t stick to minor details, but to the most important ones and the larger picture. Also, concentrate on the details that will get a good emotional response from the reader. A story that has no ‘hooks’ and that doesn’t play with your imagination is a weak one. Your readers should be captured by the narrative line of your story. Try to include more detail that will catch their attention. There are no examples of a good story that without having protagonists and antagonists. This helps to create necessary tension in the storyline and makes it more entertaining. Consider the features of your characters and try to create the plot based on some kind of conflict or mystery. These are the fundamental elements of real literary works.
Decide who will be the narrator in your story. Will it be told from the first, second or third person? As soon as you pick the most suitable form, keep it like that throughout the essay. Don’t switch from one point of narration to another. This is a stylistic mistake that can puzzle your readers. Actually, you can get puzzled yourself, while writing your essay. Also, pay attention to describing locations where your narration takes place. Mention only those characters who took part in an actual story. Describing those who were a mere witness of it will overload the essay greatly.
3.8 PROCESS ESSAY
What Is a Process Essay?
Some types of essays differ greatly from the others. They may be different in their aim and purpose. They may even seem quite unusual. This is the case with a process essay. The reason for this is that this type of essay is concerned more about how to do certain things. It may include the writer’s personal attitudes, but they are not the central focus of the text. If you are looking for an example rather than definition, these are the plentiful ‘how to’s’ and ‘what to do if’s’ that we see on the Web every day. High school students are often assigned such essays to see whether they can summarize their personal experience in a piece of writing.
Here are some clues about writing a process essay. First of all, think about the people you address in your essay, i.e. your target audience. Are they aware of the process you are trying to describe? Are they mature (or young) enough to get the correct perception of the things described in your essay? Will your work be useful to them? Think about these things before you start writing. The success of your article will be guaranteed only if you know something about the process you write about or can perform yourself. It is much easier to write about things you know and can handle. Of course, it can be impossible sometimes because of the lack of certain materials and conditions. Try, at least, to read about it or look through other sources with similar topics.
How to Write a Process Essay
When everything is set up, make a list of all the things that your readers will need while performing the process you describe. Without this, your essay will be pointless as you’ll miss the important part of the whole procedure. In the case that you write your essay in a ‘step-by-step’ form, try to provide each of the steps with corresponding pictures that will serve as examples for your readers. Pictures can help them control the whole process and be sure that everything goes the right way.
Indicate the time that has to be spent on performing the process. You should note the whole process time and the one spent on each step separately. This will help your readers gain more control over the process, especially when each step is limited in time.
It’s Still an Essay
Don’t forget about the creative approach in writing your process essay. Otherwise, it will be exactly a manual. Try not to overload your essay with terms. The reader should be attracted to the process described and have a desire to perform it. Also, make sure that the reader has a general understanding of the purpose why one should master the skills described in your essay. The point is to make readers want to do the things that you write about. Without motivating readers directly, your essay may seem useless.
3.9 CRITICAL ESSAY
What is a Critical Essay?
For starters, let’s define the term ‘critical essay.’ As it is seen from the definition itself, it is the kind of essay that requires criticism toward a book, film or another piece of art. Although the definition is quite clear, this type has major peculiarities that need to be explained. Its main difference from other essays type is that the critical one is aimed at analyzing the subject using a number of criteria.. It is apparent from the term ‘critical’ that your aim is to evaluate the subject of your essay and to give the reader your opinion.. Your opinion can be based on your tastes, understanding the form of art you criticize, your point of view, and studying experience.
How to Write a Critical Essay
Criticizing is not possible if you are not familiar with the subject of your writing. So before writing, take time and get all the possible information you can about it. Keep your eye on the ideas put in the piece of art you are criticizing, the goals of its author, and if these goals are reached in the end. Don’t forget that all your statements should be provided with good examples. This will make your point of view grounded and reliable. More than that, you will not be the first one to analyze certain pieces of art. So, try to find articles and critical reviews that were conducted by other authors. Such research will help you make your own statements more unique and avoid patterns that are similar to other authors.
Don’t forget that your criticism should be fair. As time goes by, many things are change, including people’s opinions. Your criticism should be grounded and thoughtful. Make it clear whether you’re writing your critical essay from the point of view of your time and age, or a different one. Another option here is to analyze and take into consideration the influence that the work had in the author’s time of writing. This is crucial when examining classic works by renowned authors.
3.10 COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY
What Is a Compare and Contrast Essay?
This type requires comparison of two subjects in order to point out their similarities and differences. Another important thing about this type of paper is that the author needs to give a definite opinion about each subject and to argue them.
How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay
First of all, you should choose correct subjects to analyze. They may be either similar with slight differences, or different with slight similarities. In other words, they should be different but have common ground for comparison. Careful choice of subject to work with will guarantee the success of your paper. Consider an appropriate title for your compare and contrast essay. It has to suit the text and make its main point vivid and attractive. This type of essay can be really thought-provoking, so try to make the title of your paper as sophisticated as its content.
To find the balance between the two subjects and the way you want to contrast them, make a list of features that both subjects have. When the list is ready, try to point out all the things that are similar between them. They can make a basis for your comparison, while the other ones will be considered as differences. You can use them to contrast two subjects of your essay. Don’t forget about the structure of your work. Make an outline in which you can think over the strategy of putting all the things in order, to make a clear and meaningful text. You may start with a comparison of two objects or with contrast. This way is rather popular with this type of essay. The other way requires some kind of mixture of the two when comparison and contrast are closely connected to each other.
Make Your Essay Logical
Mind the aim of writing your paper. Your essay should have a logical beginning and a logical end, not a simple list of differences and similarities. Each set of contrast and comparison items is to have a thesis that will push your reader to certain conclusions. Make sure that your essay is not to meaningless. Not all things are fit to be written about in a compare and contrast essay. Put on your reader’s shoes to find any disadvantages in your text, if there are any. Work on all illogical parts to bring your essay to a perfection.
4. MLA FORMAT ESSAY
One of the most popular questions online is ‘how to write an essay in MLA format.’ MLA format, or Modern Language Association, is a set of rules concerning the text disposition on the page and the formatting of citations. Almost every student has heard of MLA, but the percentage of those who have mastered it is catastrophically lower. Anyway, it is very important, because it has to do with discipline and plagiarism. An MLA format essay template can be easily found online. Here, we have summarized the most important issues of MLA format that will save you a lot of time.
On of the central MLA aspects is margins. They are usually set before typing or pasting the text but can be switched when the text is already there. Your margins should be Normal, i.e. 1 inch from each page side.
Next thing you are to do is the MLA format essay heading. Proper headers, repeated on each page, should be aligned to the right. They should contain your last name and the number of the page. Page numbers can be made via the Insert tab.
Your whole document is to have 2.0 space between the lines with no exceptions. You are to choose the Times New Roman font, size 12. Make sure you don’t forget to switch the font, especially if your essay has been written in some Apple application or Google Docs, in which Trebuchet MS, Calibri, or Arial fonts are used more often than Times New Roman. You can’t use hyphenation in your MLA essay. The font should also be Regular, not Italicized or Bold.
Your paper should start with your name, your teacher’s name, the course information, and the essay date. Each of these points is to be given on a separate line, aligned to the left. Then, comes the title.
As Mark Twain once put it, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Applying this wisdom to formatting your essay, we can only add that it is getting started right. An essay, obviously, starts with the title. MLA format, just like many others, has a lot of specific requirements to it. These requirements may be quite unclear from a sample. So, we will quickly list them below. You don’t want to disappoint your teacher from the very beginning, do you? So, mind the following rules. The title should be typed in the regular font, just like all the rest of the text. Don’t underline it and don’t make it bold. The title should be right in the center of the page. Its parts, if there are two of them, are to be separated by a colon. Use title capitalization. It doesn’t mean that you are to type all the words in capital letters. All the words have to START with capitals.
The exceptions are:
The first word is always capitalized, as in any sentence. As for the last word, it is always capitalized, too. It is quite likely that your title is going to end with a preposition, which is still to start with a capital.
You can’t use any quotations in the title, so there shouldn’t be any quotation marks. On the other hand, it may be necessary to use a proper name in the title. It can be a book title or a name of a piece of art under consideration of your critical essay, for example. Such words should be italicized in the title and throughout the essay. Remember that you skip one line after the title by double spacing.
The in-text citation is one of the most difficult issues when it comes to formatting the essay. We are offering you a sample of how to do it right.
First of all, you must mention the author’s name in the sentence. If it doesn’t fit into the way you want to put it, there is only one option that is equally acceptable. You can write the name in the parentheses after the sentence. The page number, on which this quotation can be found in the source, should go in the same parentheses. You can also have an indirect quotation if you like. Here are the three main options of how you can make an in-text citation in your essay. The first two examples show a direct quotation. The third example illustrates paraphrasing or an indirect quotation.
One of the principle Wilde’s characters, Lord Henry, claimed that, “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it” (35).
“The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it” (Wilde 35).
Wilde’s Lord Henry suggested that one can only escape the temptation by yielding to it (35).
If the quotation you plan to use is longer than four lines, you have to arrange it in a separate block. Block quotations should also be moved right as compared to the first line of the paragraph with no first line indentation.
Omit the quotation marks in this case.
Remember that any given academic paper should not contain more than 10% of quoted/paraphrased material. So, if you are assigned to write a two-three page essay, using block quotations is simply unreasonable. Remember, the paper you hand in should present your thinking/reasoning. It can never be a simple compilation of what other people wrote on the subject.
Absolutely all of the sources you use should be mentioned in the list at the end of your essay. This section starts on a new page titled ‘Works Cited.’ The requirements to the font and alignment of this line are similar to those of the title. Don’t forget to double space after it, before you start enumerating your sources. As opposed to the essay paragraphs, the first line of a source is not indented at all. The following lines are indented half an inch.
This MLA format essay outline will make your process of writing much easier. Please, don’t feel upset if you can’t master all the MLA peculiarities right away! As we have mentioned above, it all comes with experience. There is no student who hasn’t spent much time tackling different format styles. So, be patient and attentive. And you will surely succeed!
At the beginning of this article, we have raised the question whether or not students need to write essays. We have also described different types of essays for you to get a clue of what to do when you are assigned a task. But this is not the only reason why we have done it. It gets obvious from the analysis of each type that any essay is a training of logical thinking and consistent presentation of your thoughts. The only two things you have at the beginning is a bare piece of paper and a topic you need to develop. Anybody who knows how to express his or her thoughts correctly and consistently will always have an advantage of convincing others.
It can be you! Being good at writing essays means you have your own opinion. If you master essay writing, you will also be able to analyze your life and understand various situations quickly and easily. So, learn our smart tips to feel much more confident in essay writing.
On the other hand, sometimes it turns out that you just have no opportunity to write your essay. Don’t hesitate to use a custom essay service. Don’t ignore the final result by just handing it in. Learn from it. Try to memorize the patterns used by professional writers or cooperate with them to make the paper really yours. It will take you less time, but will still be a useful experience.
Rather than worrying about an essay for weeks, suggest to your child to read through these 10 points, get in some early preparation and have the self-belief that they can do it.
1. Read the essay question carefully
- Highlight key words.
- Use the dictionary to check the meaning of any unfamiliar words.
- Identify the task words that indicate what needs to be done, eg ‘discuss’, ‘explain’, ‘compare’.
- Identify the topic words that indicate the particular subject of the essay, eg the character of ‘Juliet’ in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the ‘causes’ of World War 1.
- Identify any limiting words that restrict the discussion to a particular area, eg in ‘Chapters 1-3′, during the ‘nineteenth century’.
2. Finish any necessary reading or research as background to the essay
- Be selective: use sources which are relevant and accessible.
- Write notes in your own words.
- Write down quotations that may be particularly useful, but ensure the source of these quotes is acknowledged if they’re used.
- Take note of sources so they can be provided in footnotes and the bibliography.
3. Brainstorm ideas in response to the question
- Jot down any relevant points.
- Make note of any relevant evidence or quotes that come to mind.
- Use a mind map to help stimulate lateral thinking.
4. Develop a thesis (idea/argument) that encapsulates the response to the question
- The thesis should be a statement that strongly expresses the overall response to the question.
- Avoid a thesis that’s too simplistic – show thought has been put into some of the complexities behind the question.
- The thesis is the backbone of the essay – it will be stated in the introduction. It also needs to be referred to several times in the essay before restating it and demonstrating how it has been proven in the conclusion.
5. Write a plan for the response
- Order ideas in a logical sequence.
- Make sure every point in the plan is relevant to the question.
- After the plan has been written it should be clear where the essay is going.
6. Write the introduction
- Open up the discussion.
- Introduce the thesis.
- Indicate how the questions will be answered.
- Name any texts to be discussed, if appropriate.
- Engage the reader.
7. Write the main body of the essay
- Ensure each point is given a new paragraph.
- Use words or phrases at the start of each paragraph that will indicate to the reader how it relates to the previous paragraph, eg, ‘however’, ‘in addition’, ‘nevertheless’, ‘moreover’.
- Start each paragraph with a topic sentence that clearly links the paragraph to the rest of the essay, eg “A striking example of Gary Crew’s use of light and darkness imagery to suggest notions of knowledge and ignorance occurs in the scene on the jetty”.
- Provide supporting evidence for each point that you make.
- Revisit the thesis, and express it in different ways if possible, to emphasise how the question is being addressed.
8. Write the essay conclusion
- Summarise the main ideas.
- Demonstrate how you have proven your thesis.
- Finish with an interesting or thought-provoking, but relevant, comment.
9. Edit the draft
- Check for spelling, punctuation and grammar.
- Delete any sections that are not particularly relevant.
- Change vocabulary to improve expression.
- Seek feedback from peers or a teacher before writing the final copy.
10. Write the final copy
- Add any footnotes or bibliography if required.
- Present a clean, neat copy.
- Submit on time.
Writing an academic essay means fashioning a coherent set of ideas into an argument. Because essays are essentially linear—they offer one idea at a time—they must present their ideas in the order that makes most sense to a reader. Successfully structuring an essay means attending to a reader’s logic.
The focus of such an essay predicts its structure. It dictates the information readers need to know and the order in which they need to receive it. Thus your essay’s structure is necessarily unique to the main claim you’re making. Although there are guidelines for constructing certain classic essay types (e.g., comparative analysis), there are no set formula.
Answering Questions: The Parts of an Essay
A typical essay contains many different kinds of information, often located in specialized parts or sections. Even short essays perform several different operations: introducing the argument, analyzing data, raising counterarguments, concluding. Introductions and conclusions have fixed places, but other parts don’t. Counterargument, for example, may appear within a paragraph, as a free-standing section, as part of the beginning, or before the ending. Background material (historical context or biographical information, a summary of relevant theory or criticism, the definition of a key term) often appears at the beginning of the essay, between the introduction and the first analytical section, but might also appear near the beginning of the specific section to which it’s relevant.
It’s helpful to think of the different essay sections as answering a series of questions your reader might ask when encountering your thesis. (Readers should have questions. If they don’t, your thesis is most likely simply an observation of fact, not an arguable claim.)
“What?” The first question to anticipate from a reader is “what”: What evidence shows that the phenomenon described by your thesis is true? To answer the question you must examine your evidence, thus demonstrating the truth of your claim. This “what” or “demonstration” section comes early in the essay, often directly after the introduction. Since you’re essentially reporting what you’ve observed, this is the part you might have most to say about when you first start writing. But be forewarned: it shouldn’t take up much more than a third (often much less) of your finished essay. If it does, the essay will lack balance and may read as mere summary or description.
“How?” A reader will also want to know whether the claims of the thesis are true in all cases. The corresponding question is “how”: How does the thesis stand up to the challenge of a counterargument? How does the introduction of new material—a new way of looking at the evidence, another set of sources—affect the claims you’re making? Typically, an essay will include at least one “how” section. (Call it “complication” since you’re responding to a reader’s complicating questions.) This section usually comes after the “what,” but keep in mind that an essay may complicate its argument several times depending on its length, and that counterargument alone may appear just about anywhere in an essay.
“Why?” Your reader will also want to know what’s at stake in your claim: Why does your interpretation of a phenomenon matter to anyone beside you? This question addresses the larger implications of your thesis. It allows your readers to understand your essay within a larger context. In answering “why”, your essay explains its own significance. Although you might gesture at this question in your introduction, the fullest answer to it properly belongs at your essay’s end. If you leave it out, your readers will experience your essay as unfinished—or, worse, as pointless or insular.
Mapping an Essay
Structuring your essay according to a reader’s logic means examining your thesis and anticipating what a reader needs to know, and in what sequence, in order to grasp and be convinced by your argument as it unfolds. The easiest way to do this is to map the essay’s ideas via a written narrative. Such an account will give you a preliminary record of your ideas, and will allow you to remind yourself at every turn of the reader’s needs in understanding your idea.
Essay maps ask you to predict where your reader will expect background information, counterargument, close analysis of a primary source, or a turn to secondary source material. Essay maps are not concerned with paragraphs so much as with sections of an essay. They anticipate the major argumentative moves you expect your essay to make. Try making your map like this:
- State your thesis in a sentence or two, then write another sentence saying why it’s important to make that claim. Indicate, in other words, what a reader might learn by exploring the claim with you. Here you’re anticipating your answer to the “why” question that you’ll eventually flesh out in your conclusion.
- Begin your next sentence like this: “To be convinced by my claim, the first thing a reader needs to know is . . .” Then say why that’s the first thing a reader needs to know, and name one or two items of evidence you think will make the case. This will start you off on answering the “what” question. (Alternately, you may find that the first thing your reader needs to know is some background information.)
- Begin each of the following sentences like this: “The next thing my reader needs to know is . . .” Once again, say why, and name some evidence. Continue until you’ve mapped out your essay.
Your map should naturally take you through some preliminary answers to the basic questions of what, how, and why. It is not a contract, though—the order in which the ideas appear is not a rigid one. Essay maps are flexible; they evolve with your ideas.
Signs of Trouble
A common structural flaw in college essays is the “walk-through” (also labeled “summary” or “description”). Walk-through essays follow the structure of their sources rather than establishing their own. Such essays generally have a descriptive thesis rather than an argumentative one. Be wary of paragraph openers that lead off with “time” words (“first,” “next,” “after,” “then”) or “listing” words (“also,” “another,” “in addition”). Although they don’t always signal trouble, these paragraph openers often indicate that an essay’s thesis and structure need work: they suggest that the essay simply reproduces the chronology of the source text (in the case of time words: first this happens, then that, and afterwards another thing . . . ) or simply lists example after example (“In addition, the use of color indicates another way that the painting differentiates between good and evil”).
Copyright 2000, Elizabeth Abrams, for the Writing Center at Harvard University
Writing an essay at times may be quite problematic. You need to remember about so many things. You need keep the structure crisp, keep the arguments clean cut, text must be readable, there must be no factual or grammar mistakes, the narrative must be smooth and the paragraph breaks must be visible. Sometimes its overwhelming and so many things slips beyond your attention. But the other time it goes fast and steady without a bump.
Here are several things to remember while writing an essay.
1. It must be easy to read
In order to gain readers attention you need to not to shower him with square sentence structure and acidic scientific expressionism all over the place. Write the way you talk (but avoid using “Eh” and “Huh” – it may hurt your credibility). Get rid of words that don’t add anything to the text, avoid blank expressions and needless off-topic musings. Try to keep the narrative easy to follow and don’t withhold the information – put it on table when its turn comes. Stick to the point – go from A to B, from B to C, etc. Imagine yourself as a reader and think about your reaction to the certain more “elaborate” parts of the text that you’re trying to shove into the readers help. Doing it once in a while might help to make the text easier to read.
2. Expand your dictionary
To prove your point – it is better to use proper words. However, you might not known the right words to express your thoughts and so you will end up trying to express it with what you have. While you may succeed in this somehow – it may be too clumsy too sound credible and you will probably feel very miserable in the end. Since such way is really not an option if you want to write really good text – you need to expand your vocabulary. In order to do it – you must read dictionaries as if it was a fiction book. Believe it is far more interesting than it sounds. If you’re not a fan of such activities – use online dictionaries with quick search functions and find proper synonyms and terms for the concepts you want to express.
3. Use simple sentence structures
Do you that there is no point in using elaborate sentence structure in order to prove your point? You can do it with the simple sentence and no one will complain that it is wrong. It is the content of the sentences that matters not the way they are constructed. If there is a way to express your thought through the string of a simpler sentences – do it. You will do the favor for the reader and make the narrative flow smoother. Also – simplicity helps you to avoid mistakes.
4. Don’t rely on software
While some tools are useful in shaping your text – things like spell checkers and proofreaders are not amongst them. The problem is within the programs itself. They just can’t process all the nuances of the human-composed texts and so many obvious mistakes are skipped or left unnoticed by the all-understanding and all-seeing eye of the machine. Sometimes it is really-really irritating. That’s why it’s better to leave the text for some time and then to get back to it to give it a fresher look or two and fix all the issues that may come up.
5. Don’t plagiarize
This one is Big Red NO-NO. It is bad. It is just bad. Don’t do it. Never. Never ever. If you do it – the world will come one step closer to the catastrophe. Remember about it all the time. The whole point of writing is making something new out of something that already exists. While you can quote and you can reference – you need to credit every little tidbit you have used in your text. But there’s a trap. Sometimes the amount of references is way too much and some of them are left unnoticed. In order to avoid it – use one or two plagiarism checker to scan the text and find questionable parts.
6. Don’t drown the reader in the information
Sometimes too much is not very good. Drowning the reader in facts he can’t process all at once is killing any interest in reading the text. It makes you want to do the opposite. Which is a bad sign for you. That’s why you need to know which facts you need to point out and which facts you can leave out. You need to focus on what is essential for the most satisfying expression of your topic. You need to eliminate with extreme prejudice everything that sticks out of the structure of the text and left hanging without purpose. Otherwise – your text will look awkward and uninvolving.
7. Related: Best Custom Essay Writing Service
Writing is hard without improving yourself. Hopefully these tips can help you to expand your knowledge and make your skills much more sophisticated. Keep in mind these tips and apply them wherever you can and you will see how the things change.