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Knowing how to write an essay can help you out significantly in both, your academic and professional life. An essay is a highly versatile nonfiction piece of writing that not only tests your knowledge of a topic but also your literary and argumentative skills.
Each essay requires the same basic process of planning, writing, and editing. Naturally, we’ve used these stages to group our steps on how to write an essay. So without further ado, let’s get into it! Here are the eight steps to write an essay:
Stage 1: Planning
In certain cases, your teacher or professor may assign you a topic. However, in many cases, students have the freedom to select a topic of their choice. Make sure you choose a topic that you’re well versed in and have significant knowledge of.
Having prior knowledge of the topic will help you determine the subsequent steps to write an essay. It will also make your research process considerably easier.
A thesis statement is the central idea or premise your essay is based on. It is usually a sentence or two long and is included in the introduction of the essay. The scope of your thesis statement depends on the type of your essay and its length.
For instance, the scope of the thesis statement for a 500–1000 word school essay will be narrower than a 1000–5000 word college essay. A rule of thumb is that your essay topic should be broad enough to gather enough information, but narrow enough to address specific points and not be vague. Here’s an example:
The invention of the airplane by the Wright Brothers in 1903 revolutionized transportation and paved the way for modern aviation. It represents a monumental achievement in human history that forever changed the course of human civilization.
Creating a well-organized essay outline not only gives structure and flow to your essay but also makes it more impactful and easy to understand. The idea is to collect the main points of information that support or elaborate on your thesis statement. You can also include references or examples under these main points.
For example, if your thesis statement revolves around the invention of the airplane, your main points will include travel before the invention of the airplane, how it was invented, and its effects on modern-day travel. Take a look:
The Wright Brothers’ invention had a massive impact on modern-day travel. The subsequent growth of the aviation industry led to increased accessibility of air travel to the general public.
Stage 2: Writing
After creating the basic outline, it is important to know how to write an essay. Begin your essay by introducing your voice and point of view to the reader. An introduction is usually a paragraph or two long and consists of three main parts:
Let’s better understand this with the help of an example:
The Wright Brothers’ invention of the airplane in 1903 revolutionized the way humans travel and explore the world. Prior to this invention, transportation relied on trains, boats, and cars, which limited the distance and speed of travel. However, the airplane made air travel a reality, allowing people to reach far-off destinations in mere hours. This breakthrough paved the way for modern-day air travel, transforming the world into a smaller, more connected place. In this essay, we will explore the impact of the Wright Brothers’ invention on modern-day travel, including the growth of the aviation industry, increased accessibility of air travel to the general public, and the economic and cultural benefits of air travel.
Let’s understand how to construct each of these sections in more detail.
The opening sentence of an essay, also known as the hook, should include a powerful or startling statement that captures the reader’s attention. Depending on the type of your essay, it can be an interesting fact, a surprising statistic, or an engaging anecdote.
While writing the introduction, it’s important to provide context or background information before including the thesis statement. The background information may include the time before a groundbreaking invention, the pros and cons of a significant discovery, or the short- and long-term effects of an event.
If you’ve constructed your thesis statement during the outlining stage, it’s time to edit it based on the background information you’ve provided. Observe the slight changes we’ve made to the scope of the thesis statement in the example above. This accommodates the bits of information we’ve provided in the background history.
Body paragraphs play a crucial role in supporting and expanding the central argument presented in the thesis statement. The number of body paragraphs depends on the type of essay as well as the scope of the thesis statement.
Most school-level essays contain three body paragraphs while college-level essays can vary in length depending on the assignment.
A well-crafted body paragraph consists of the following parts:
Let’s understand this with the help of an example.
The Wright Brothers’ invention of the airplane revolutionized air travel. They achieved the first-ever successful powered flight with the Wright Flyer in 1903, after years of conducting experiments and studying flight principles. Despite their first flight lasting only 12 seconds, it was a significant milestone that paved the way for modern aviation. The Wright Brothers’ success can be attributed to their systematic approach to problem-solving, which included numerous experiments with gliders, the development of a wind tunnel to test their designs, and meticulous analysis and recording of their results. Their dedication and ingenuity forever changed the way we travel, making modern aviation possible.
Here’s a detailed overview of how to construct each of these sections.
A topic sentence is the title of the body paragraph that elaborates on the thesis statement. It is the main idea on which the body paragraph is developed. Ensure that each topic sentence is relevant to the thesis statement and makes the essay flow seamlessly.
The order of topic sentences is key in creating an impactful essay. This order varies depending on the type of essay you choose to write. These sentences may be arranged chronologically, in the order of importance, or in a cause-and-effect format.
It is necessary to provide relevant supporting information and evidence to validate your topic statement. This may include examples, relevant statistics, history, or even personal anecdotes.
You should also remember to cite your sources wherever you use them to substantiate your arguments. Always give researchers and authors credit for their work!
After presenting the appropriate evidence, the next step is to conduct an in-depth analysis. Establish connections and provide additional details to strengthen the link between your topic sentence and the supporting information.
Depending on the type of essay, this step may also involve sharing your subjective opinions and key takeaways.
In case you plan to create multiple body paragraphs, it is crucial to create a seamless transition between them. Transitional statements not only make the essay less jarring to read but also guide the reader in the right direction.
However, these statements need not be too lengthy and complicated. Use words such as “however”, “in addition to”, and “therefore” to convey transitions.
An impactful conclusion creates a lasting impression on the mind of the reader. Although it varies in length depending on the specific essay, the conclusion is typically a paragraph long.
It consists of
Here’s an example of a well-structured conclusion:
The Wright Brothers’ invention of the airplane forever changed history by paving the way for modern aviation and countless aerospace advancements. Their persistence, innovation, and dedication to problem-solving led to the first successful powered flight in 1903, sparking a revolution in transportation that transformed the world. Today, air travel remains an integral part of our globalized society, highlighting the undeniable impact of the Wright Brothers’ contribution to human civilization.
Let’s take a closer look at how to construct each of these sections.
Your conclusion should call back to your original argument or thesis statement.
However, this does not mean repeating the thesis statement as is. The essence of your argument should remain the same, but it should also be modified and evolved as per the information presented in your essay.
A powerful conclusion not only lingers in the reader’s mind but also provokes thought. You can create a strong impression on the reader by highlighting the most impactful points of your essay.
End your essay with the most powerful and impactful part: the larger perspective. This can include a question you’d like to leave the reader with, the broader implications and impact of your thesis statement, or the long-term, lingering effects of your experience.
Make sure to include no new evidence or arguments, or to undermine your findings in any way.
Stage 3: Editing
Knowing how to write an essay is just one part of essay writing. Properly reviewing and editing your essay is just as important. Make sure to spend enough time going over your essay and adding any bits of information that you’ve missed.
This is also a good time to make minor structural changes in your essay.
After making the necessary structural changes, recheck your essay word by word. It is important to not only correct major grammatical and spelling errors but also minor errors regarding the phrasing or tone of voice.
You can either choose to do this by yourself, ask a friend for assistance, or hire an essay proofreading service to go over your writing. To construct a fool-proof, error-free essay, it is helpful to have a trained pair of eyes go over it. Professional proofreaders can spot errors that are not visible to most people and set the right tone for your essay.
Now that you know the basics of how to write an essay, it’s time to learn about the specifics. Feel free to dig into the articles below and keep reading!
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