Are you curious about how to write an essay? If so, this post is for you.
If you hate writing essays, we totally get it.
Does your stomach drop every time you hear the words “writing assignment”? Whether you’re facing a high school assignment or a college paper, the task of writing an essay can sometimes feel overwhelming.
Where do you even start? And how on earth are you going to hit that lofty word count? If you’re worried about the challenges of writing an essay, you’re not alone. Plenty of students find themselves in the same predicament as you at one point or another in school.
However, writing an essay doesn’t have to be a challenging uphill battle. In fact, once you understand how to write an essay and how to take advantage of an outline, the paper will practically write itself for you! Don’t worry; there is a method to the madness.
What Are the 5 Parts of an Essay?
Before you start learning how to write an essay, know that the five key parts of an essay are:
- The introduction
- 1st body paragraph
- 2nd body paragraph
- 3rd body paragraph
Depending on the type of essay you are writing, you may have more body paragraphs added in there as well. This varies, though.
Below, we’ll give you some tips on how to write an essay perfectly and accurately each and every time. However, if you’re still struggling, you may want to sign up for writing lessons with a private tutor.
You’ll also want to acquaint yourself with the basics, like fundamental English grammar, as you’ll see in the video below:
How Do I Start Writing an Essay?
To help you navigate the art of writing an essay, we’ve provided a guide with steps to write an essay. By following these six easy steps, you’ll be well on your way to nailing your paper without pulling an all-nighter or stressing for days!
1. Tips for Researching
You may be wondering how to begin an essay. Before you sit down at your computer to begin typing up your essay, you must first choose a topic to tackle. Whatever you plan to write about, it is best to do your research before you start writing your essay.
While you can certainly do supplemental research as you begin writing, doing the bulk of the research beforehand will help you have a clearer picture of the topic. If your essay requires you to quote outside sources, gather books or links to reputable websites (hint: not Wikipedia) that you will need in order to complete the assignment.
Research your subject thoroughly, so you feel confident asserting your opinions. While you’re researching, think about the purpose of your essay.
Are you trying to persuade or convince the audience of something? Having an idea of what you want to accomplish in your essay will help drive your research.
Give yourself plenty of time to gather information, and get started well before your essay is due. You can never have too much research! After all, the more you understand the topic, the easier you will find it to begin organizing your thoughts.
2. Choosing Your Thesis
Now that you are an expert on your subject, what are you interested in writing about? In other words, what is your thesis? The thesis of your essay is a statement of a claim that lets your reader know what your essay is about. Think of your thesis statement as the topic sentence for your whole essay. But more than just a topic, it gives your audience an idea of your stance. It’s a declarative sentence that you will refer back to throughout your paper.
Your teacher may have provided some writing prompts as examples, or they may have asked you to create your own thesis. If you’re stuck coming up with your own thesis, asking a question about your subject is a great way to find something that interests you.
For example, if you’re writing an essay about Shakespeare’s Hamlet, you might ask: Is Hamlet really insane or is he pretending? Come up with a theory that answers your question, and be sure that you can find evidence that supports your claim. Once you’ve done this, congratulations, you’ve come up with your thesis statement!
3. How to Write a Hook for an Essay
The hook is an essential part of an essay. You’ll use it in your introduction, but your introduction shouldn’t just be your hook – which is why we’ve included information on how to write a good one here.
A good hook will grab your reader’s attention and give them a reason to invest the time in reading your writing. Your title is your first hook, but really, you want to find a way to form an emotional connection with your readers.
You might make a surprising statement, leave your reader with questions, or invite them to keep reading. Avoid simply describing what your essay is about – that’s boring! The goal here is to captivate your audience’s attention.
4. How to Write an Essay Outline
Creating an outline is easily one of the most important steps when it comes to understanding how to write an essay. Before you start writing, make an outline so that you have a plan to guide your work. As you start outlining, keep in mind the specifics of the assignment you have been given. If you were assigned a five paragraph essay, make an outline for an essay with one introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and one final conclusion paragraph. For longer assignments, plan to add more paragraphs or separate sections to your essay.
If you’re wondering how to write an essay outline, start with your research and refer back to your thesis statement. This sentence belongs at the end of your introductory paragraph. Each paragraph that follows should present a piece of evidence supporting your thesis statement.
For example, if you are writing a persuasive five paragraph essay arguing that pizza is the greatest food of all time, you could write one body paragraph on the excellence of cheese, the next body paragraph about the perfection of crust, and the third body paragraph about the importance of sauce.
To make it easier on yourself, identify exactly what you want to portray in each paragraph, and you will begin to see your essay come to life.
5. Writing Body Paragraphs
Many students think that they need to write the perfect introductory paragraph before they can get started on an essay, so they end up wasting a lot of time staring at a blank screen. Don’t get caught up in this trap!
Dive right into your writing by inserting your thesis statement in place of your first paragraph, write the first body paragraph of your essay, and keep on going! It’s ok to jump around and leave gaps that you return to later to flush out. This way, you won’t feel the same pressure to start with perfection.
Plus, often by the time you have written the body paragraphs of your essay, you have a better sense of what you are really trying to say, which makes writing a great intro even easier.
Be sure to give your paragraphs structure, so your writing is clear and stays on topic. Start each paragraph with a topic sentence. Next, give an example, usually a quote from your text or outside source, which supports your topic sentence. Explain what this example means, clarifying any ambiguous or difficult terms that your source may have used.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, relate the example you just shared back to your thesis, so your reader understands how this example relates to the broader topic of your essay. Remember, everything you write should circle back to the thesis statement in some way.
6. How to Write an Essay Introduction
Once you have written the body of your essay, it’s time to take a step back and think about your introduction and conclusion paragraphs. For your introduction, you will want to start with a sentence that draws your reader in and makes them want to know more about what you have to say. A bold question, interesting statistic, or a famous quotation can make for a great compelling opening statement.
Again, come back to that hook you wrote earlier! The hook will help you launch your introduction off the right way.
Remember, you can always write the introduction first if you want – if it makes more sense for you to go in order as you work, do that! However, for many writers, learning how to write an essay is easier if you start with the bulk or “meat” of the essay first – the body paragraphs – and do the intro and conclusion next.
7. How to Write an Essay Conclusion
Next up – how to write a conclusion for an essay.
Your introductory paragraph should first grab your reader’s attention, then give them a broad overview of your topic, leading to your thesis statement. On the other hand, your conclusion paragraph should do just the opposite.
Start with a reiteration of your thesis, move to a summary of what you have covered in your essay, and end with a general statement indicating the significance of your topic in the broader world in general.
Go out with a bang! Just because you’re wrapping up your essay in your conclusion doesn’t mean you have to simply repeat everything you already discussed. End on a powerful note to leave your audience with a lasting impression.
Now that you’ve completed your essay, you can turn it in, right? Not so fast! Revising and editing your paper is a major step in our guide on how to write the perfect essay. After all, the last thing you want to do is send in a paper riddled with typos and grammatical errors.
Make it a goal to finish writing the bulk of your paper at least one day before it is due. Set your paper aside for a day before revising, so you can look over your work with fresh eyes.
Print a copy of your essay and read it aloud, highlighting or making marks on any sentences, words, or phrases that don’t seem quite right.
Often, you can hear awkward phrasing, overused words, and other mistakes much more easily than you see them when you are reading silently. You will also be able to hear if you’ve written something that just doesn’t make sense. Or if you have a friend, classmate, or private tutor who is willing to read your essay, let them give it a once over to catch any lingering errors.
Now that you’ve identified the problems in your essay, it’s time to fix them. Smooth out awkward or rough sentences, so they flow better when read aloud. Use a thesaurus to replace repeated words with synonyms as needed, but don’t overuse big words just to sound “smart.”
The best essays rely on clear, concise language that gets your point across simply. If you are not sure if you have used a word correctly, look it up in the dictionary. Take the time to check your spelling and punctuation. Revising and polishing your work can take your grade from a B or a C to an A+.
How to Write an Essay: More Tips for Success
Here are a few more tips for how to write an essay – without any stress.
1. Make Sure You’re Writing the Right Type of Essay
Make sure you’re considering your audience and the assignment when you start writing. Essays generally fall into a few main categories. Check out the categories and click the links for tutorials that are more specifically focused on those individual kinds of essays to make sure your essay outline is appropriate:
- How to Write an Informative Essay
- Writing an Expository Essay
- How to Write an Argumentative Essay
- Writing a Persuasive Essay
- How to Write an Analytical Essay
- Writing a Narrative Essay
- How to Write a Descriptive Essay
2. Start Early
Don’t wait until the night before your essay is due to start on your project! Starting earlier will not only help you cut down on your anxiety but will also give you time to develop your ideas more fully.
Starting early will also afford you the luxury of being able to put the essay aside for a while – and then coming back to revisit it later. This will give you a fresh eye to make sure you’ve caught any mistakes and that your message is clear enough.
3. Don’t Get Distracted
Don’t lose sight of the main purpose of the task or the question as you write. It’s easy for an essay to turn into a jumbled, rambling mess – keep your argument or question in front of you as you write and return to it often.
4. Integrate Evidence Carefully
If you’re writing an essay that requires outside sources, introduce paraphrases and quotations with introductory phrases. Explain them well. Don’t just throw a theme in there!
How to Write a Good Essay: Follow These Tips!
If you want to learn how to write an essay, remember- practice makes perfect! Hopefully, the tips above should help you on your journey toward becoming a better writer.
And if you really want to ace your next essay, you can always turn to online tutoring lessons for additional help. Our virtual lessons let you connect with a private tutor via your smartphone, laptop, or computer and web camera. You can receive individualized attention and instruction to ensure your essay knocks it out of the park!