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How To Write An Essay

How tos > Education > How To Write An Essay

An essay is a short piece of writing. Although it serves many purposes it usually expresses the opinion of the writer on a given subject. Writing an essay seems to be a difficult tasks especially for students in primary school, secondary school and university. Whatever the purpose of your essay is, following the steps below will help you write a successful one.


Pick the topic of your essay


The first thing you want to do is to know what kind of essay you want to write. The four main categories of essay include:

  • Narrative Essay: Tell a story or impart information about your subject in a straightforward, orderly manner, like in a story.
  • Persuasive Essay: Convince the reader about some point of view.
  • 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.
  • Descriptive Essay: 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.


Having this in mind, you can then develop the topic for your essay. In some cases you may be given the topic to write. If you have not be given a topic, choose an interesting subject and define the purpose. You can come up with more than one topic about the subject. This would help you brainstorm further.


Develop a thesis


While brainstorming, come up with the thesis of your essay. What do you want the reader to take away as the central theme of the essay? Your thesis tells the reader the point of your essay. Your thesis statement will have two parts. The first part states the topic, and the second part states the point of the essay.


Research the topic


The next thing you have to do is to research your essay. Check out for some facts you wish to share and ensure that they are accurate. Use reliable sources such as the library or online search engines and if possible avoid second hand information. You can reach out to experts in the field and ask questions on issues you are not sure about. Even if you think you are sure, you have to crosscheck. Keep your research organized so it will be easy for you to refer back to and for easy citation.


Outline the ideas of your essay


Once you have brainstormed and researched your topic, prepare an outline of your ideas. This would enable you to put your ideas about the topic in an organized form. Don't be over bothered about the structure of the essay at this point as that may change later on.  If you prefer to use a diagram, write your topic in the middle of the page. Draw three to five lines connecting the topic and write down the main ideas you wish to develop.


Write your essay


At this point, you should have a better picture of your essay. The essay should be divided into three parts: introduction, body and conclusion - these must not be developed chronologically. You can begin with the body of the essay before penning down the conclusion or introduction.


Some important points to note include:

  • Your introduction can begin with a short story that captures the overall idea of the essay.
  • Ensure that you separate the various points of the body of the essay. You can use headings for this
  • Don't include too many ideas in a single paragraph as this may confuse the reader
  • Ensure that there is a direct flow of thought from one paragraph to the other
  • Support your ideas with well researched facts
  • Don't begin explaining a fresh idea in your conclusion. Your conclusion should be a summary and must suitably leave the reader thinking


Put finishing touches


After writing your introduction, body and conclusion, ensure that they are arranged accordingly. Then pay attention to small details such as spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors, the order of your paragraphs and the difference between quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing. Reread your essay and if possible let another person take a look at it as they might be better suited to point out errors you may have missed.

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