How To Write An Essay? Few Simple Steps For The Learners Of The Trade

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Do you struggle to deliver a good essay despite having the perfect plan and conducting in-depth research? You are not alone; thousands of students share the same problem worldwide. While writing an essay is not tough, there are small nuances that, if ignored, can result in a poor paper. 

This article will help you understand those nuances and provide you with insightful tips which you apply when writing an essay. 

What Is An Essay?

At its simplest, an essay is a paper that addresses or gives an account of a specific topic. In other words, it is a short composition focused on one subject. It is a common assignment for students at both school and college levels. 

Usually, there are four major stages in writing an essay:

  • Research
  • Planning
  • Writing
  • Revision

The research and planning stage encompasses four essential steps: topic selection, composing a thesis statement, locating credible sources, and drafting an outline. All these four steps are completed before the writing process begins. 

The writing stage starts with creating an essay outline that serves as a blueprint for your essay. You can use the outline and commence the actual essay writing process. Your essay must address the points listed in the outline, so go over the draft once you’ve completed it to ensure that every major point is covered. Next, you can start the revision process to modify, delete, and add points that you deem necessary. 

What Are The Types Of Essays?

There are many types of essays that you will encounter throughout your academic career. However, every type of essay can be categorized under four primary categories, such as:

  • Narrative: As the name suggests, this essay narrates a story that can be your personal experience or an imaginative exploration. This type of essay assignment is given to check if the writer can write an engaging and well-structured essay. In short, writing a narrative essay is similar to writing a personal statement.

Narrative essay topic example: “My first visit to LA.”

  • Descriptive: Similar to narrative writing, descriptive essays require a creative bent of mind. This type of writing is all about giving a detailed sensory description of the given topic. In this essay assignment, you may be asked to describe a place, person, or object. 

These essays are given to test how creatively one can use the language and make the perfect choice of words to communicate something remarkable. 

A descriptive essay doesn’t have a strict structure, but it usually begins with an introduction of the subject at hand and concludes by giving an overview. 

Note: Figurative language with the correct word choice is necessary to write an outstanding descriptive essay

Descriptive essay topic example: “My favorite jacket.”

  • Expository: This type of essay can help in explaining a topic clearly. In other words, it gives a balanced and well-organized view of the topic. Furthermore, this essay tests your knowledge of the given topic and your organizational skills. Additionally, it also assesses how effectively you communicate the points. 

Expository essay topic example: “How to cook pasta?”

  • Argumentative: This essay presents a fact-based argument concerning a specific topic. The essay’s objective is to convince your stance on a topic using strong and valid evidence to the readers. This type of essay tests your research and presentation skills.

Argumentative essay topic example: “Why Paris makes a wonderful destination for shoppers?”

Essay Structure And Formatting

The essay has a 5-paragraph structure with an introduction, body, and conclusion as its main parts. Here’s how you can format your essay:

Font style: Times, Arial, Calibri, and Cambria

Font size: 12-point

Citation style: It sometimes depends on the subject at hand. However, three main styles are used widely, such as:

  • APA (American Psychological Association) – this style is largely used for students specializing in Education, Psychology, and Sciences.
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) – this style is used for Humanities subjects.
  • Chicago/Turabian – this style is used for Business, History, and Fine Arts disciplines.

How To Choose An Essay Topic?

One of the successful ways to select an essay topic is through brainstorming. This is an effective way to compile a list of exciting topics and narrow them down. You can follow the tips below to choose an appropriate topic:

  • The subject of the essay must be familiar to you. Do not choose unknown or relatively new topics.
  • Ensure the topic is interesting so that it can engage your readers.
  • The topic must fit the tone of the essay. For instance, if the essay is argumentative, the essay tone must follow an argumentative approach and tone.
  • Ensure your topic encompasses a specific issue or theme. Do not go for broad or generalized views.
  • The topic you choose must have credible and authentic sources. 

How To Start An Essay?

There are numerous ways to start an essay or introduction. Each of these ways has positives and negatives to it. Nevertheless, rhetorical statements are usually used to start an essay as they can hook the reader from the beginning. Below are some examples of how to begin an essay:

  • By presenting a shocking fact 
  • Asking a question
  • Writing a dramatic sentence
  • Starting with a strong thesis statement directly
  • Beginning with a quote

What Is A Thesis Statement?

The thesis statement is a statement that tells your reader what the main topic of your paper is and is usually included in the introduction of your essay. This statement is usually one or two sentences long; however, this is not always the case because the length of your statement depends on the topic. 

This statement acts as a main branch (core point) of the essay, which connects all other sub-topics of the paper. In other words, it is the central point that gives an idea about the entire paper. 

How To Create An Essay Outline?

An essay outline is a framework or blueprint that helps the writer to arrange the essay contents logically. Having an outline ensures that your essay has a proper structure and flow. To create an essay outline, you must first understand the structure of the essay. 

As mentioned above, the basic essay structure consists of 5 paragraphs, where the first and last paragraphs are reserved for the introduction and conclusion, respectively. And the paragraphs between the introduction and conclusion form the essay body. 

You can refer to the steps given below to create an essay outline:

  • Decide on your essay goal: The first step in creating an essay outline starts with defining your thesis statement. Although you wouldn’t start writing your essay, you must have a thesis statement at this point, to begin with. The thesis statement helps you understand your goal easily. Also, your purpose, in turn, helps your form arguments that you want to include in your essay.
  • Determine your main arguments: As previously stated, an essay is divided into three major sections, wherein each section is essential to write an engaging essay. You can determine your arguments by referring to your research notes (points and notes made during your research). When listing your arguments, ensure that they support your thesis statement and topic. 

Additionally, compile a list of the facts and statistics that back your arguments in the outline. Also, determine the priority of your arguments and arrange them in logical order supporting each claim.

  • Use an outline template to create an outline: Once you determine your arguments and thesis statement, put everything together and arrange them sequentially to create an outline. You can refer to the below template for your outline:
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Essay Outline Format

In general, an essay outline should resemble something like the one given below:

I. Introduction

a) Introduce your subject/topic

b) Write your thesis statement

II. Body. Paragraph-1

a) Write a topic sentence (the argument for your thesis)

b) Back the argument with evidence, data, and examples

c) Explain how they relate to your thesis

III. Body. Paragraph-2

a) Write a topic sentence (another argument for your thesis)

b) Back the argument with evidence, data, and examples

c) Explain how they relate to your thesis

IV. Body. Paragraph-3

a) Write a topic sentence (another argument for your thesis or a counterargument)

b) Back the argument or explain why the counterargument doesn’t work with evidence, data, examples

c) Explain how they relate to your thesis

V. Conclusion

a) Summarize all main points

b) Restate your thesis

c) Add a call to action statement: what do you want your readers to do after reading your essay

Tips For Writing An Engaging Essay

  • Select a title that is informative and catchy for your essay
  • Ensure the introduction of your essay hooks the reader. 
  • Include a topic sentence in every paragraph.
  • Ensure the transition from one paragraph to another is seamless. 
  • Do not present new ideas or arguments in the conclusion section.
  • Make sure the conclusion effectively ties up all arguments and summarizes the entire essay.
  • Use citations wherever it is necessary. 
  • You must format the citations and references in accordance with the citation style (APA, MLA, etc.)
  • Ensure the essay adheres to all formatting guidelines (numbering format, spacing, etc.)


Writing an effective essay requires a lot of things from the writer, be it research, preparation, or resources. With proper guidance, one can deliver a simple essay assignment. Fortunately, this article provides valuable tips, formatting guidelines, and an outline template that can go a long way in helping your essay assignments.

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