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Below we discuss that framework and how you can apply it to your essays, whatever types they may be. There are three things to consider before writing your essay: thesis, type, and audience. Of these, the most important by far is your thesis, or the crux of what your essay is about. Essays can occasionally stray and go into related tangents, but they always come back to that one core idea in the thesis.
You should always pinpoint your thesis before writing. The rest of your essay, then, supports your thesis. You can include empirical evidence, testimonials, logical deductions, or even persuasive rhetoric—whatever gets the job done. Like any form of writing, essays come in many different types. Sometimes the assignment dictates the type, as with admissions essays, and other times the thesis will determine it. Regardless, it helps to know what your options are, so here are some of the most common essay types:.
Argumentative essays assert or defend a position. This is the most common type of school paper, so keep that in mind when writing your first college essay. A persuasive essay is just as it sounds: an essay to persuade or convince the reader of a certain point. When you want to devote equal attention to two opposing things, a compare-and-contrast essay works better than argumentative or persuasive essays, which lean to one side over the other. Personal essays are often anecdotal or real-life stories of the authors, like the works of David Sedaris.
Because they tend to follow narrative structures, the thesis can be flexible or interpretive. Your final consideration is who will read your essay—a teacher, an admissions counselor, your peers, the internet at large, etc. For one thing, your readers determine whether the essay is formal or casual, which has an enormous impact on language, word choice, and style.
Even if you prefer the stream of consciousness style for writing your rough draft, you still need to have an orderly system that allows you to revise and hone. For essay writing, we recommend the standard five-step writing process :. It always helps to collect your thoughts before you begin writing. Based on your prompt or thesis, try to generate as many ideas as possible to include in your essay.
The preparation phase consists of both outlining your essay and collecting resources for evidence. Take a look at the results of your brainstorming session. First, isolate the ideas that are essential to support your thesis and then organize them in a logical and progressive order.
If you want empirical evidence or complementary citations, track them down now. This is the main stage of essay writing where you roll up your sleeves and actually write the first draft. The revisions stage involves your second draft, your third draft, or even your twelfth draft if necessary. The narrative essay , which tells a story. The argumentative essay , in which the writer uses evidence and examples to convince the reader of their point of view. The critical or analytical essay, which examines something such as a text or work of art in detail.
This type of essay may attempt to answer specific questions about the subject or focus more generally on its meaning. The informative essay , that educates the reader about a topic. Check for formatting and style requirements.
If you're writing an essay for a class or a publication, there may be specific formatting and style requirements you need to follow. Read your assignment carefully to make sure you understand requirements such as: How long your essay should be Which citation style to use Formatting requirements, such as margin size, line spacing, and font size and type.
Narrow down your topic so your essay has a clear focus. Depending on your assignment, you may already have a specific topic you are supposed to write about, or you may simply be asked to write about a general theme or subject. If the assignment doesn't specify your topic, take some time to brainstorm.
Try to pick a subject that's specific, interesting to you, and that you think will give you plenty of material to work with. For a critical essay, you might choose to focus on a particular theme in the work you're discussing, or analyze the meaning of a specific passage. Ask for clarification if you don't understand the assignment. If you're not sure what you're supposed to be writing about or how to structure your essay, don't hesitate to ask!
Your instructor can help clarify anything you don't understand, and they may even be able to provide examples of the type of work they're looking for. Part 2 of Find some reputable sources on your topic. If you're writing an academic essay or any type of essay that requires you to support your claims with evidence and examples, you'll probably need to do some research.
Head to your library or go online to find up-to-date sources that provide accurate, verifiable information about your topic. You can also look for primary source documents, such as letters, eyewitness accounts, and photographs. Always evaluate your sources critically. Even research papers by reputable academics can contain hidden biases, outdated information, and simple errors or faulty logic.
Make notes as you do your research. As you're researching your topic, keep detailed notes about relevant information, ideas that interest you, and questions that you need to explore further. If you plan to use any of the information that you find in your paper, write down detailed citation information.
This will allow you to find the information again and cite it properly. Try organizing your notes into different categories so you can identify specific ideas you'd like to focus on. For example, if you're analyzing a short story , you might put all your notes on a particular theme or character together.
Choose a question to answer or an issue to address. As you do your research, you will likely find yourself narrowing your focus even further. For example, you might discover that there is a particular question you want to answer, or that there's a popular argument or theory about your topic that you'd like to try to disprove. This question or issue will form the basis for your thesis, or main argument.
Create a thesis statement that summarizes your main argument. Once you've hit on a specific question or idea you'd like to address in your essay, look at your research and think about the major point or argument you'd like to make. Try to summarize your main point concisely, in sentences.
This will be your thesis statement. This set in motion a series of mass migrations of different peoples, creating widespread conflict that contributed to the collapse of several major Bronze Age political centers. Write an outline to help organize your main points.
After you've created a clear thesis, briefly list the major points you will be making in your essay. You don't need to include a lot of detail—just write sentences, or even a few words, outlining what each point or argument will be. Include sub-points addressing the evidence and examples you'll be using to back up each point. For example, you might start with your strongest arguments and then move to the weakest ones. Or, you could begin with a general overview of the source you're analyzing and then move on to addressing the major themes, tone, and style of the work.
Your outline might look like this: Introduction Body Point 1, with supporting examples Point 2, with supporting examples Point 3, with supporting examples Major counter-argument s to your thesis Your rebuttals to the counter-argument s Conclusion. Part 3 of Write an introduction to provide context. Once you've written your thesis and outline, write an introduction to your essay.
This should consist of a brief, general overview of your topic, along with your thesis statement. This is the place to provide information that will help orient the reader and put the rest of your essay in context. From there, introduce the question s about the work you'd like to address and present your thesis. A strong introduction should also contain a brief transitional sentence that creates a link to the first point or argument you would like to make.
For example, if you're discussing the use of color in a work of art, lead in by saying you'd like to start with an overview of symbolic color use in contemporary works by other artists. Present your argument s in detail. Working from your outline, write a series of paragraphs addressing each of the major points you'd like to make.
Each paragraph should contain a topic sentence, which is like a miniature thesis—it briefly explains the main point you are trying to make with your paragraph. Follow up your topic sentence with a few concrete examples to support your point. Wodehouse's Jeeves novels. Try to show how the arguments in each paragraph link back to the main thesis of your essay. Use transition sentences between paragraphs.
Your essay will flow better if you build connections or smooth transitions between your arguments. Try to find logical ways to link each paragraph or topic to the one before or after. Address possible counterarguments. If you're writing an argumentative essay, get familiar with the major arguments against your point of view. You'll need to incorporate those counterarguments into your essay and present convincing evidence against them.
You might do this by presenting evidence that the red shrimp are, in fact, more likely to get eaten than shrimp with undecorated shells. Cite your sources properly. If you plan to use someone else's ideas or information that you got from another source, you will need to credit the source of your information. This is true whether you're quoting another source directly or simply summarizing or paraphrasing their words or ideas.
Typically, you'll need to include the name of the author, the title and publication date of the source, and location information such as the page number on which the information appears. In general, you don't need to cite common knowledge. If you've cited any sources in the essay, you'll need to include a list of works cited or a bibliography at the end.
Wrap up with a concluding paragraph. To finish off your essay, write a paragraph that briefly reiterates the main point of your essay. State how your arguments support your thesis and briefly summarize your major insights or arguments.
You might also discuss questions that are still unanswered or ideas that merit further exploration. While the appropriate length will vary based on the length of the essay, it should typically be no longer than paragraphs. For example, if you're writing a 1,word essay, your conclusion should be about sentences long. Part 4 of Take a break after finishing your first draft. After drafting your essay, it's a good idea to take some time away from it.
That way, you can come back to it and look at it again with a fresh perspective. If you don't have time to spend a couple of days away from your essay, at least take a few hours to relax or work on something else. Read over your draft to check for obvious problems. When you're ready to work on your essay again, first read it over to look for any major problems. You might find it helpful to read the essay out loud since your ears can pick up on things your eyes might miss.
If you spot anything, make a note of it, but don't try to fix it right away. Look out for issues such as:  X Research source Excessive wordiness Points that aren't explained clearly enough Tangents or unnecessary information Unclear transitions or illogical organization Spelling, grammar, style, and formatting problems Inappropriate language or tone e.
Correct any major problems you find. Once you've read over your essay, go through and edit it. When you're done, go back over the essay again to make sure it flows well and that there aren't any problems you missed. You might also end up reordering some of the content of the essay if you think that helps it flow better. Proofread your revised essay.
After editing your essay, go over it again closely to spot any minor errors, such as typos or formatting problems. There may be issues that you missed during your initial round of editing, and there could also be new typos or formatting issues if you made changes to the original draft. You may find it easier to spot these errors on a printout rather than on an electronic version of your essay. It may be helpful to read each sentence out loud to yourself. Essay Help Essay Template.
Support wikiHow and unlock all samples. Sample Informative Essay. Sample Othello Essay. Sample Ozymandias Essay. Sample Tess of the d'Urbervilles Essay. Begin your essay by narrowing your topic, researching your topic, taking notes, and brainstorming your ideas. Not Helpful 17 Helpful Different essay genres can have different formats.
Make sure to check the specific conventions of your essay genre with your professor. Not Helpful 19 Helpful A college essay is a formal writing assignment that can take many forms.
Address all the nuances and subtleties you glossed over in the first draft. Pay attention to both word choice and clarity, as well as sophisticated writing techniques like avoiding the passive voice. Grammarly helps catch common mistakes with sentence structure—like run-on sentences, sentence fragments, passive voice, and more. Go through your essay and correct misspellings, formatting issues, or grammatical errors. Essay structure almost always follows a simple beginning-middle-end format, or in this case, an introduction-body-conclusion format.
Essays follow the same guidelines for introductions as any other piece of writing, with an extra emphasis on presenting the thesis prominently, ideally in the topic sentence. By the end of your introduction paragraph, your reader should know without a doubt what your essay is about. From there, follow the conventional best practices on how to write an introduction. The majority of your essay is body paragraphs, all of which support your thesis and present evidence.
Pay close attention to how you organize your body paragraphs. Some arguments benefit from a logical progression, where one point leads to a second, and that second point leads to a third. Serious writers can get pretty technical about how to organize an argumentative essay. There are three approaches in particular used often: Aristotlian classical , Rogerian , and Toulmin.
However, these can get exceedingly complicated, so for a simple essay, a basic structure will do just fine:. If you get the chance, you can add a new perspective or context for understanding your thesis, but in general the conclusion should not present any new evidence or supporting data. For more specific tips, read about how to write a conclusion for an essay here. The five-paragraph essay structure works well in a pinch.
This contains:. While this essay structure might not be flexible enough for more advanced topics, it comes in handy when speed is a factor, like during timed tests. Especially for school essays, your reader will scrutinize how well you handle the fundamentals. Knowing about essay structure and the writing process is one thing, but can you demonstrate an understanding of language style?
Can you develop your thesis logically and coherently? Are your references and citations trustworthy? The tips there pick up where this guide leaves off. All too often we miss the forest for the trees, and thinking long and hard on the same topic can give you tunnel vision. For when your writing needs to make the right impact, Grammarly Premium offers full-sentence rewrites for confusing sentences—from splitting long sentences, cutting extra words, or rearranging key phrases—in addition to catching common grammar mistakes.
It also gives you readability-focused formatting suggestions, so you know your writing is clear. It also helps those who are looking to improve their writing skill level in English, with suggestions for commonly misused words and phrases. Honing your writing with these elements in mind is key to relaying your point to your reader—and asserting your thesis as effectively as possible.
Real-time suggestions, wherever you write. Give your essays extra polish. Writing, grammar, and communication tips for your inbox. Back to top Paper Due? Why suffer? Click here to learn more. Essay Example The best practice is to learn from the essay examples written by expert writers to avoid common essay writing problems. The essay examples can help you know the purpose of each type of essay and how to write a perfect one.
As you read, highlight the important parts of an essay to learn what they do. Keep in mind that the length of an essay depends on the level and complexity of the topic. Essay Writing Tips What is the standard format followed in essays? Essay writing can be made easier if you follow a certain pattern and master the steps we have provided you with.
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Types of Essay. Essay Outline. How to Start an Essay. Essay Introduction. Thesis Statement. Thesis Statement Examples. What is a Topic Sentence. How To Write A Conclusion. Transition Words For Essays. Types of Sentences. Writing Conventions. Essay Writing Problems. How To Make Essay Longer. How To Title An Essay. Exclusive access to the MyPerfectWords. You'll get weekly tips and tricks for improving your own writing and for achieving academic success through your writing. We are U.
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