how to write an essay

Whether you are applying for a scholarship or for a job, you will have to learn how to write an essay. The goal is to be clear, concise and coherent. Which means:

Before you start

  • Choose a topic
  • Research that topic
  • Create a topic sentence (Kind of a hook)
  • Choose your Point Of View (POV) – are you writing in the first person or in third? Refresh your memory for which pronouns to use here. It is generally preferred in the third person.
  • Choose a writing style. There are many different types of essay, but they are often defined in these categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, compare and contrast, persuasive, reflective, objective/subjective, and descriptive essays.
  • Check the for the preferred writing format of the institution you are applying to
  • Outline – An outline is a hierarchical way to display related items of text to graphically depict their relationships. Three types of outlines are most commonly used. They are: alphanumeric outline, full sentence outline, and decimal outline.

For a standard research paper of 15-20 pages, your outline should be no more than few pages in length. It may be helpful as you are developing your outline to also write down a tentative list of references.

Essay Structure

Most analytical, interpretive, or persuasive essays tend to follow the same basic pattern.

I. Introduction
  1.    Sentence to get the attention of your readers: Topic Sentence
  2.    One-sentence thesis statement 
II. Body

1. First main idea

  • Supporting evidence for the first idea

2. Second main idea

  • Supporting evidence for second main idea
III. Conclusion

     1. Restatement of your thesis

     2. Insightful sentence to end your essay

Writing and Editing An Essay

Write based on the outline itself, fleshing out your basic skeleton to create a whole, cohesive and clear essay. Quoting and referencing are a must-have for academic essays. Referencing allows you to acknowledge the contribution of other writers and researchers in your work. Any university assignments that draw on the ideas, words or research of other writers must contain citations.

Once you are done writing, you can start the edit process. There are several Proofreading Tools and Editing Software such Grammarly, Ginger Software and ProWriting Aid.

What To Avoid When Writing An Essay

  • Repetition of either words or arguments
  • Abbreviations and contractions
  • Figure of speech or colloquialism
  • Slang, jargon and buzzwords
  • Rhetorical questions
  • Missing the point. Please make sure to answer the question that is asked.
  • Do not overuse transition words nor should you overuse adverbs
  • Starting with a quote