“Are you fine?” “Yes, I am good.” Every day, you are asked the same question. But are you really good? Or is it the same lie. You might probably be providing the same lie every day, but deep inside, you are burning. How about in the art of essay writing? Are you competent enough? Do you believe you have got what it takes to write an essay that will capture your reader’s attention? Essay writing is a very important skill that every student must master. Getting to college actually requires you to write an admission essay that might determine whether you are admitted to ivy league universities such as Harvard or not! In this definitive guide. I have provided all the important resources to help you write a better essay from the introduction to the conclusion.
The first step and biggest task in the essay writing process is choosing the best topic. Yes! Choosing a topic might be challenging because if you choose right, you are going to enjoy writing the essay but if you choose wrong the writing process will be daunting.
Always choose an essay topic that interest you and have enough points for you to cover and make a strong conclusion.
When writing an essay, you can have two situations. In the first, the topic is assigned to you and in the second, you have to choose the topic yourself:
You may think that where the essay topic is assigned, your work is cut out for you. However, this is not the case.
First, you have to think about the kind of paper you are supposed to produce. You might be expected to give a specific analysis or general overview of the topic. The topic you have been assigned will aid you in getting to the conclusion of whether you will be needed to give a general overview or otherwise.
For example, given the essay topic, “The real estate industry of Des Moines,” you will be expected to give a specific analysis on the industry. On the other hand, a topic like, “Des Moines” will require you to give a general overview of the city.
The topic you are assigned can also be general, and before writing, you will be required to narrow down what you will write about. When given a topic like “Nigeria,” you can decide whether to write about the country’s economy, politics or history.
In this situation, the world is literally yours to take. If the subject is history, you can decide what in history you want to write about. The World Wars? Colonialism in Africa and India? Prominent Political Figures in the World? This leeway comes with a challenge, as it becomes more difficult to narrow your options down.
What do you intend to achieve after the last word in the essay? Do you want to educate, persuade, argue or narrate? The topic you choose should fit the purpose.
After identifying the purpose of your essay, write down a few subject areas that you want to explore. You are advised to pick topics in an area in which you have an interest in as this is more likely to give you a better quality essay. Write down everything that comes to mind.
Look at each topic you have written in the previous step. How passionate are you about each of them? How much knowledge do you have about one topic or the other? What is the number of ideas you have on the topic?
Evaluation is dependent on the purpose of the essay. In an essay where you are required to persuade, you should at least be passionate about the topic you are writing about. In one where you have to narrate, ensure that the amount of info you have on the topic is enough for a complete narration. Where the essay requires you to educate, you must be knowledgeable in the subject area. The more ideas you have on a subject you are passionate about, the better for the quality of your essay.
In a number of situations, none of the topics might be appealing to you. Here, it is best to go with one in which you can scrape the most words out of, as it might turn out to be an interesting one.
After picking the topic, go back to the first point where you determine whether the essay you have chosen is a general overview one or it requires a specific analysis. You can move on to the next step after determining that the topic is suitable for you.
This is the second step after choosing an essay topic. The aim of an outline is putting the ideas you have about the subject matter of the essay on paper. It also gives you the structure you will use when writing the essay.
Take a piece of paper or single out a page in which you will draw this diagram of outlines. You can have a flow chart or a diagram that moves outward from the main idea.
In a flow chart, the top will have the topic of your essay. Each topic has several main ideas and these should be indicated by breaking the subject matter into several leaves. These main ideas can be broken down into sub-points which are indicated in leaves off of the major point. This flow chart goes on to the least point you have in mind.
Alternatively, you can have a circular design where the topic is indicated at the center of the diagram in a circle or a horizontal line. It then breaks out towards the main ideas that are also indicated in circles or lines, and these also break out to points and sub-points.
An outline is fairly easy and more common than a diagram. Here, you write the topic of the essay at the top of the page. This topic is then broken down to main ideas that are indicated in numerals. The main points are your strongest arguments, the steps to be followed in a process or the categories into which your information can be divided. Under these main ideas, indicate the facts that support them.
Knowing the topic and reading extensively is not enough for you to write a good essay that will resonate with your reader or professor. You’ll need to know the type of essay and understand the best approach and practices for writing the specific type of essay.
An argumentative essay requires you to investigate a topic by collecting and evaluating evidence to establish a position on the topic in a precise manner
“Should medical marijuana be legalized?”
How to apply makeup, how to write an essay, how to prepare a pizza. You need to follow a particular procedure to do that. An analytical essay follows a particular procedure to analyze behavior, tendency, and event through logical reasoning and structure.
I found a great article in Wiki How on how to write a process analysis essay
You can also read
An expository essay is used to explain a concept in a simple manner. The goal of the expository essay is to present the facts on both sides in a straight forward manner without proving anything.
” Explain why anesthesia is used during surgery”
A descriptive essay is used to describe events, people, or a place. A descriptive essay should be detailed giving an explanation on how it smells, feels, looks, shape, size e.t.fc
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.
“Describe your home”
As the name suggests, this essay should persuade the reader into accepting a particular view. To write a brilliant persuasive essay, you are required to provide compelling arguments eloquently and oozing with confidence.
“Should the United States Accept refugees?”
Here is a guide you can read to learn more on how to write a persuasive essay
A definition essay requires you to define a concept, term or even a phenomenon in a detailed manner. A good definition essay should provide the meaning, origin, and usage of the term.
This kind of essay is almost similar to an argumentative one. The main difference is that the sources for this paper are as stated by the lecturer or instructor.
If you scan through all the guides available on writing the introduction of an essay. Two things stand out that’s:
The absolute best practice for writing your essay introduction is to write it after you have written the body of the essay. You shouldn’t write the introduction first, because you aren’t sure what you might end up writing in the body.
What is typical of the best introductions?
How do you write a brief yet great thesis statement?
These questions will be answered in this section.
Writing the introductory paragraph of your essay can be a daunting task, as it determines whether the reader will stick around to read the body paragraphs. To catch your reader’s attention, the introduction must be interesting and catchy. However, it should have enough meat to keep your readers hooked.
There are different ways to start your essay, and they are explained in this article How to Write a Basic Essay.
Use the tips below when writing your introduction:
… but not too broad. Writing introductions that are too broad is a problem that is seen where you are very knowledgeable about the topic you are working on. You might feel the need to inform the reader everything you know on the topic, and a bit more. However, this might end up confusing or boring the reader.
For example, where you are writing an essay on “Politics in Kenya,” the following introduction might be a bit too broad:
“Kenya is one of the biggest economies in East and Central Africa. As of early 2017, the country had an estimated population of about 45 million people. The people of Kenya are divided into 44 ethnic groups, each of which has different customs and cultures. The country is also divided into 47 counties….”
As much as the information above is true, it is unnecessary to your topic, which is “Politics in Kenya.” Plus, it feels like you are just throwing information around. The alternative that is broad enough is:
“In 1963, Kenya was freed from the clutches of colonialism. This saw the birth of politics in Kenya as we know it today. The first president of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta was elected in 1963 as the Prime Minister and became president in 1964. Throughout the decades, Kenya’s political scene has….”
In this case, the reader can clearly see where you are headed with the paragraph. The first statement was broad, talking about Kenya’s independence. The second was beginning to get specific, introduce one of the pioneer political figures, and after that, we can see the journey into Kenya’s politics through the sentences.
When learning how to write a college essay, it is important to know that you need to provide a relevant background to the topic in the introduction. However, ensure that you don’t begin with your true argument, as the main ideas of your essay are to be found in your body paragraphs.
Therefore, rather than provide evidence, just give the context. Introduce the argument rather than try to prove it.
Using anecdotes is one of the ways in which you can learn how to write an essay paragraph. However, the trick with anecdotes is that they have to be relevant to the topic provided. A random story about a boy who fell from a roller coaster may be unnecessary in an essay about World War II. On the other hand, a story about Nelson Mandela’s childhood may be helpful when you are leading a story on the Independence of South Africa.
Clichés make you look lazy as if you could not be bothered to come up with a new thought. Even though it might have been successful once, chances are that it will not work for you. So stay away from clichés, try and create your own introduction. An example is starting with a definition.
Ensure that your introduction tells your reader that your essay is worth reading. Try and make it interesting by using startling facts, unique anecdotes, and interesting conversations.
Another important step on how to write an essay is writing the thesis statement. As long as you have determined the purpose of your essay, writing a thesis statement will not be difficult.
A thesis statement is a sentence that tells the reader what your paper is going to discuss. The arguments and discussions of the paper will all be based on this statement.
In order to better understand how to write a good thesis statement, you need to know that they categorized according to the type of essay they are used in. Therefore, they can be divided into:
An argumentative academic paper requires that you take one side on a controversial issue. In such a paper, the thesis statement you will write will be an argumentative one.
In this case, ensure that your thesis statement expresses the stance you have made without the chance of confusion. Your reader should have a hint of the evidence you will present from this sentence.
Examples of argumentative thesis statements are:
“By issuing stricter regulations when it comes to ownership of guns in the US, stating that only security personnel can carry them, the country will turn out safer for it.”
“Abortion should be legalized in every country as it will work as a tool for population control in the word.”
“The rights of the LGBTQ community will be better improved if gay marriages are legalized worldwide.”
As you can see in the thesis statements above, there is a controversial issue in play. Each of the statements has taken a side in the debate at hand, clearly indicating to the reader what side the writer is going to take. These thesis statements are the most common.
Read the article 50+ common argumentative essay topics to find some of the interesting argumentative essay topics that you can use
The word expository is derived from the word explanation. Expository essays and academic papers aim to inform, discuss and explain different phenomena in the world. The thesis statements from such essays are this referred to as expository.
The thesis statement in your expository essay should hint at what the reader is going to learn in the essay. Below are a few examples to better your understanding:
“Termites make a good alternative for animal proteins and would go a long way in managing food shortages in the world.”
“Africa is a misunderstood continent, especially when it comes to the native cultures and traditions.”
“Student loans are crippling the US economy as the students are unable to spend their income on home purchases and consumer goods.”
Again, analytical thesis statements are used whereby the academic paper that you are working on is of an analytical nature. Analysis of data or a particular concept is the process of breaking down a particular concept in order to examine it piece by piece.
When writing a thesis statement for an analytical thesis, ensure that you break down the concepts that you will discuss in the paper. This clarifies the object of your discussion.
Examples of such analytical thesis statements are:
“Cleaning up, taking breakfast and packing lunches are all activities that have to take place before one leaves for school, hence the reason why school mornings are so chaotic.”
“The effects of tobacco, which includes teeth discoloration, breathing problems, and lung cancer are all reason why its legality should be contested.”
It is best to write the thesis statement for such an essay after completing your paper. This is because you have a better chance of writing an accurate sentence that defines all the concepts that you have broken down after completing the said paper.
As mentioned above, learning how to write a good thesis statement is first aided by knowing the types. Now that you have learned them, the question becomes, what are things to keep in mind when attempting to compose your thesis statement? They are as discussed below:
You can craft your thesis statement using either of the following ways or by combining the different methods:
When writing a thesis statement, ask yourself what you would like the essay to answer for you. The answer to this question will give you your thesis statement.
For example, a question can be asked, “What is the main challenge facing the most education systems?” The answer can be, “Education systems around the world nurture a white-collar-job mentality, and this translates to unemployment.”
Analytical essays analyze, expository ones give an explanation, while argumentative essays present an argument. Your thesis statement should be in line with the type of essay you are writing. The example above, “Education systems around the world nurture a white-collar-job mentality, and this translates to unemployment,” is an expository thesis statement. The essay that will be written from it will explain how education systems cause unemployment.
This is especially the case with an argumentative essay. In your thesis statement, you should be very clear as to what side you are on, avoid ambiguity. This helps makes it more powerful. To give an example, “Obamacare is clearly a better alternative for the poor in the country than the American Health Care Act.”
See, the thesis statement is one that forms the basis on which your essay is written. It is impractical to write a thesis statement cannot be discussed, because then, what will your paper be expounding on?
This is especially important where your essay is an argumentative one. A thesis statement stating that “90% of African countries have a third-world economy” is a fact and cannot be argued against. However, one that says “African aid does more harm than good to the continent” is actually debatable.
Another mistake most people make when writing a thesis statement is that they write one that is too broad. A broad thesis statement makes for a paper that is flinty at best, with no particular direction. However, a focused one gives your paper a singular purpose, and this gives you a better chance at writing a quality job.
For example, a thesis statement saying, “Not taking care of yourself when pregnant is bad” has no particular stand. What does “taking care of yourself” in this case entails?
The preferred alternative could be, “Habits such as drinking alcohol, over exercising and smoking cigarettes by an expectant woman could prove harmful to her unborn child.”
A summary of the claims that are to be discussed in the paper should be indicated in the thesis statement. Therefore, rather than write one that says, “Tobacco is harmful to your health,” you could write “The effects of tobacco, which includes teeth discoloration, breathing problems, and lung cancer are all reason why its legality should be contested”
The body of the essay is your playground where you prove your prowess and knowledge regarding the topic. The best practice is to use topic sentences, supporting sentences, examples (if necessary) and concluding sentence in each paragraph. You shouldn’t write more than one point per paragraph.
The body paragraphs of the essay comprise the meat of your paper, and it is from them that you will be mostly graded. Therefore, it is important that you understand how to write an informative body paragraph that will earn you good grades. In this section, we will discuss the composition of a body paragraph: the topic sentence and supporting sentences.
The following procedure is used in writing the body paragraph of an essay:
This is the topic sentence and in it, you make a claim about the overall subject of the essay. Writing this sentence will be discussed in detail later in the article.
In this sentence, you are to explain why the topic sentence is true. Alternatively, if the idea is extensive and cannot fit in the topic sentence, you can develop it further in the second sentence.
This is the statement in which you give an example of the claim made in the first sentence of the body paragraph.
In this sentence, you can give another example of the claim. You can also do away with the sentence if you don’t have another example.
This is the final sentence of the paragraph, and it is used, to sum up your arguments. It is a conclusive statement.
Before delving into the essay, it is important to write your main points down. These points are the primary support for your essay.
When writing the topic sentence, the main arguments for the essay are incorporated.
For example, you can have your essay topic as “Literature in the 21st Century.” In this paper, you may decide to focus on the effects of technology on literature today. One of the primary support for this essay is that technology has made writing easier and faster. Therefore, you can have your topic sentence as:
“Technology has made writing much easier and faster.”
Now let us examine this sentence. First, it is very clear. The sentence clearly stated the positive effect of technology, which is the improvement in the efficiency of writing. Secondly, it is relevant to the topic of the essay, which is the effect of technology on literature in the 21st century. This statement is also very specific without delving into any unnecessary details.
These are the three main characteristics of any topic sentence: clear, relevant and specific.
Your topic sentence cannot stand on its own. It requires support using examples and evidence, and these are given in the supporting sentences. In the template above, we have indicated 4 supporting sentences that you can use when writing your body paragraph. Using the essay example above:
Sentence #2: This is especially seen in the typing of manuscripts which can now be done within a shorter period of time. The delivering of the work for publishing has also been made more convenient.
This sentence has been used to further develop the topic sentence, stating exactly how technology has made writing in this century faster.
The third and fourth sentences in the body paragraph are among the most important in essay writing. This is because it provides the evidence from which the writer is making the claims. This is done through examples as shown:
Sentence #3: For instance, if a writer today gets the idea for a story or article, all he has to do is get a computer, sit down and type it. Before technology, he might have needed to first physically write the article then get a typewriter on which to type it.
Sentence #4: Furthermore, delivering the manuscript to his publisher is now easier. He can simply send it through email, unlike previously where he might have had to deliver it in person.
In essay writing, the final sentence of the paragraph gives the conclusion of the ideas discussed in the paragraph. In the essay example above, you can have your final sentence as:
Sentence #5: It is, therefore, clear that technology has played a major role in increasing efficiency in writing.
The complete body paragraph as given above is:
“Technology has made writing much easier and faster. This is especially seen in the typing of manuscripts which can now be done within a shorter period of time. The delivering of the work for publishing has also been made more convenient. For instance, if a writer today gets the idea for a story or article, all he has to do is get a computer, sit down and type it. Before technology, he might have needed to first physically write the article then get a typewriter on which to type it. Furthermore, delivering the manuscript to his publisher is now easier. He can simply send it through email, unlike previously where he might have had to deliver it in person. It is, therefore, clear that technology has played a major role in increasing efficiency in writing.”
In essay writing, composing body paragraphs is essential to getting the best grades. The guide above has shown how to write a body paragraph. However, another issue that students have is linking different paragraphs together. How do you transition from a paragraph to another in an organic way? How do you ensure that you don’t seem like you are jumping to different ideas? Is there a way to ensure that you are flowing through them?
The purpose of this guide is to help you understand how to write a good essay. So far, you have learned how to write a kickass introduction, a good thesis statement and informative body paragraphs. However, for most students, the trick comes at transitioning between paragraphs and between sentences.
This section will explain the correct way of transitioning in your essay to give it an organic feel.
Transitioning in Your Essay
In an essay, there are a number of transitions that you have to make. The first transition is the one between sentences. How do you move between sentences in a way that the reader will feel the link? The other transition is between the introductory paragraph and the first body paragraph. So you have written the thesis statement, how do you move between this statement and the first body paragraph? The final transition is between the body paragraphs. How do you start a new main point after completing the description of the first? When learning how to write a good essay, it is important to understand how to do these transitions.
To explain these transitions, I will use the following paragraph:
“There are three main fantasy trilogies have made their mark in today’s works of literature. One of the most notable fantasy works today is the Lord of the Rings. This story revolves around a young boy, Harry, and walks through the adventures he experiences after joining the Hogwarts School of Magic. He represents good in a world filled with a lot of evil. Similarly, we see the exploration of the theme of good versus evil in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Sauron represents evil, and the hobbits attempt to trump him by destroying the ring that will give him ultimate power. Finally, A Song of Ice and Fire also attempts to depict good and evil, although the lines between the two are at times blurred. In the first two books, you clearly see that in the end, the good people triumph over evil. However, with ASOIF, we are still holding our breaths. Will the white walkers win over the people in the south of the wall or will the kingdoms of Westeros hold them off?”
Under normal circumstances, the transition between two sentences includes a joining word. There are different types conjunctions that can be used, the choice of which depends on the relationship between the two sentences. Some conjunctions show similarity, while others depict the differences between the two sentences. Other conjunctions add information while others indicate the effect of the first sentence.
In the paragraph above, the conjunctions used are “Similarly,” “Finally,” and “However.” The first conjunction shows the similarity between Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. The second one indicates the ending of a sequence while the third indicates contrast.
When learning how to write a good essay, it is important to master the use of conjunctions to use between sentences as it gives your paragraphs a flow. However, conjunctions should not be randomly used where they don’t apply, as in some situations they are not necessary.
In the second article in this series on how to write a good essay, we explained how to write a thesis statement. This statement is found at the end of the first paragraph and gives the basis on which the essay will be written.
The transition to the first body paragraph is done in its topic sentence. This topic sentence should look back on the thesis statement and forward to your first main idea in order for the reader to understand the connection between the two.
To give an example:
Thesis statement: Public transportation can solve some of our cities’ most persistent and pressing problems.
Transition/topic sentence: The first main issue that public transportation will solve is traffic congestion.
The connection in the sentence above has been established where it first mentions what is going to be stated is an issue. The thesis statements allude to problems that have been solved using public transportation. Secondly, the sentence delves into the first problem which is traffic congestion.
The transition between paragraphs is done in a similar way. Rather than make the connection in the last statement of the first paragraph, you are advised to make it in the topic sentence of the next.
Using the example above on fantasy trilogies, the paragraph after could begin like this:
“Away from the theme of good and evil, we see the aspect of power playing a major role in these books.”
In the sentence above, you will have alluded to the discussion in the previous paragraph, which is the theme of good and evil. Moreover, you will have introduced a new topic to discuss in the paragraph, which is the aspect of power.
As briefly stated above, not all transitions will be punctuated by the use of conjunctions. In other instances, the transition between two sentences or paragraphs will be seen in the flow of logic.
The following is an excerpt from one or Ernest Hemmingway’s stories, Mr. and Mrs. Elliot:
“….This set his heart to pounding and he hurried back to his own room but Cornelia was asleep. He did not like to wake her and soon everything was quite all right and he slept peacefully.
The next day they called on his mother and the next day they sailed for Europe. It was possible to try to have a baby but Cornelia….”
This excerpt comprises the end of one paragraph and the beginning of another. Here, Hemmingway did not mention what was happening in the paragraph below as shown in the example above. He simply transitioned in a logical and understandable manner. The first paragraph ends with him mentioning that the character went to bed and the one after talks about the next day.
When learning how to write a good essay, it is important to understand when to allude the connection between paragraphs using logic.
Writing the conclusion
The conclusion is very important and you should finish strong. The first step of writing the conclusion is to restate the thesis statement. You then summarize your key points in your essay body in a thoughtful manner.
After going through the process of writing the whole essay, you might feel like you don’t need to put as much effort into the conclusion. In fact, if you are like me, you might resent writing conclusions.
When writing essays, think of the concluding paragraph as your home stretch. The last lap that determines whether you will get the good grades that you have been working for throughout the essay. With this mindset, combined with the following tips, you will be able to write kickass conclusions.
Read on to know how this is done.
Your conclusion is the last chance the essay gives you to impress your reader. You, therefore, have to finish strong. As you are writing essays for whatever reason, use the following tips when concluding:
Writing essays is a long process that will probably involve a mix of short and long sentences and words. I already explained how to write a basic essay and ways to write body paragraphs in the previous section of this guide. As the reader gets to the conclusion, he or she might already be exhausted from reading. You are therefore advised to ensure that your conclusion is comprised of monosyllabic words and short sentences. This way, your reader will find it easy to scan through it without affording too much effort.
As mentioned in the second article of this series, Writing the Introduction and Thesis Statement, the introduction should give an overview of what you intend to write in the essay. Writing the conclusion expects you to reiterate this introduction by, first, organically mentioning the thesis statement. This guides you in writing a summary of what you have stated so far in the article. However, ensure that you don’t quote word-to-word of what you mentioned in the introduction.
The thesis statement comprises the basis on which your essay is written. Rewriting it in the final paragraph serves to help you restate your main point of contention, then briefly mention the evidence supporting the claim. This evidence is produced from the main body paragraphs of the essay, and this is what makes a conclusion different from the introduction.
In the previous step, I indicated that your conclusion should restate the main argument and link it to the evidence. This does not end here. You are afterward required to mention the implications and significance of your findings. Why is the main argument relevant? If it is a persuasive essay, what are the implications of your supporting argument?
When writing an essay, you might have come up with a thesis statement that says, “Education systems around the world nurture a white-collar mentality”, your conclusion could be as shown below:
“As clearly shown above, the different education systems around the world directly or indirectly gear students towards white-collar jobs. These courses have been seen to attract students with the best grades and highest GPAs in high school, as seen in both Western, Eastern and African countries. However, this comes with one great implication: unemployment. It is therefore imperative that a solution is found to diverse education systems towards both white and blue-collar jobs.”
In the conclusion above, take note of a number of things:
Note that there are a few things to avoid when writing a conclusion. First, don’t begin the conclusion with generic terms like, “In Conclusion” or any other similar words. They make your essay sound as wooden and doesn’t really inspire anything in the reader.
Secondly, ensure that you don’t introduce any new ideas in the conclusion. This is the final part of the essay in which you are supposed to summarize the whole thing.
Finally, in conclusion, you are supposed to give a final statement convincing the reader that your arguments are valid. This is especially the case in argumentative and persuasive essays. However, when giving this convincing statement, you are advised to avoid any emotional appeals that are not consistent with the rest of the paper. Essays are academic papers that are based on facts, and unless it is a narrative essay that naturally has emotions, you are advised to avoid the use of emotional appeals.
Writing a conclusion is not the final step in writing essays. There are several things you must do to ensure that your essay will fetch you great grades.
Human beings are not perfect, and in the course of writing your essay, you may have made a few tense or grammar mistakes. After writing the conclusion, you are advised to first read through the paper. Afterward, you can pass it through a grammar checker to show the mistakes that you may have overseen when editing.
This is another important step in ensuring that you get the best grades out of your essay as plagiarism may be penalized. Checking for plagiarism can be done by simply passing the essay through a plagiarism checker like Grammarly.
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