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.
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.
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.
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How to Write an Essay
By YourDictionaryEssays 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."
Essay Format – English Composition Made Easy
An Essay or Composition is a written piece of work that is short and usually addresses just one subject. Many kids have trouble with their creative writing assignments and essays because they don’t know the essay format and so don’t have a clue on how to develop the subject matter.
I’m going to break down essay format and simplify it so that essay writing becomes a breeze!
English Essay or composition writing can be a scary prospect even if you are fluent in the English language. I’m going to simplify and demystify essay writing and help you write the best essay ever. Here’s the guide to essay writing in 4 easy stages.
Now, how to start an essay? When you first get your essay topic, read it carefully. Then you can work out the essay plan. This is the first step in writing your essay.
The essay plan is the essay structure and can be divided into 3 parts; the introduction, body of the essay and the conclusion. Each of these is made up of paragraphs. Paragraphs are a group of sentences which revolve around a single idea.
The second step is the introduction. The essay introduction is the first paragraph in composition writing. It is usually very short and sets the scene or ‘introduces’ the subject of the essay. The readers attention should be snagged right here at the introduction. If you are writing about a pet or hobby, say your pet cat, then introduce the ‘subject’ here in the introduction. The introduction paragraph can even be just 1 dramatic sentence or 2 to 3 sentences long. If it’s your cat that you are writing about, it will be introduced here, giving it’s name and a brief description in this paragraph.
The third step in essay writing is the body of the essay. The body of the essay is really the main story itself. Here you can go on to describe your pet and its habits. The number of paragraphs that make up the body of the essay depend on the number of points that you wish to write about. If we take the example of the pet cat again, then in the body of the essay, you will write about the your cat’s favorite food, the way your cat plays, any amusing habits, favorite toys and so on. You can divide up each of these points into a paragraph which will collectively make up the body of the essay. It will be good to include some relevant idioms to your essay add depth and interest to it. For some examples of idioms and their use, please watch my Idioms videos. I’m sure you will find them instructional and amusing.
Once the body of the essay is complete, it is time to wrap up your composition. This is the fourth step or the conclusion of the essay. The conclusion is literally the wrap up, where you give your impressions and complete the story. Back to the cat essay, in conclusion, you write your feelings towards your cat and perhaps how your cat expresses his feelings towards you. You could finish it with an amusing anecdote which will be satisfying to the reader.
That’s it! Your essay is complete. It is really important to have an essay outline in place before you start so that you can move from 1 point to another seamlessly. This will help you write an excellent essay effortlessly.
Here’s a quick recap to writing the best essay ever. Plan your essay and divide it up into 3 parts, the introduction, body and conclusion. The introduction is where the subject of the composition is introduced. The body of the essay is where the different aspects of the subject are discussed and in the conclusion, the essay is finished with your impressions of the subject. Final note, to be really successful in essay writing, you have to practice, practice, practice!
Sample Essay written by my 9 year old son:
I Am A Sunflower Seed
[Introduction – subject is introduced]
I am a sunflower seed. I lived in a packet of sunflower seeds on a shelf at a plant nursery.
[Body – the story unfolds]
One day, an uncle bought the packet that I lived in. He picked up my packet and gave it a good shake. Whoa! I became so dizzy. He paid the cashier and took me to a school garden. The uncle opened the packet and poured all of my friends and me into his hands. Wow! It was a beautiful garden. The uncle’s name was Mr Low. He gave a sunflower seed to each of the students in his class. I was held by a boy named Hiren.
Mr Low told the children to dig holes in the garden. So Hiren dug a hole and put me into the ground. He covered me with soil. It was so scary and dark in my hole. I started to feel very itchy and the soil was scratching me. Suddenly, a splash of water poured on me. Aaah! It was so refreshing.
Everyday, the school gardener would give us a drink of water. Hiren would take care of me by plucking the weeds around me. In a few days, my skin began to become really tight. One day, something changed. My skin burst and a silky green root came out of me. I had become a young plant!
[Conclusion – the wrap and final impressions]
Everyday, I grew bigger and bigger. One day, a bud grew from my body. The bud started to bloom. I became a big, bright and beautiful yellow sunflower! I’m still in the beautiful school garden and lots of children come to admire me everyday.