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General Essay Writing Tips

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❶A narrative essay recounts an incident that either you or others have experienced.

Read the essay question carefully

Essays can be crucial to admissions and scholarship decisions.
Brainstorm ideas in response to the question
The Five Paragraph Essay

Make sure you know how to use apostrophes correctly. Look for mistakes involving general punctuation. Check for run-on sentences , commas and periods inside quotation marks, as well as sparely-used dashes, colons, and semi-colons. Remove any repetitive or unnecessary words. Vary your language with the help of a thesaurus. Also, consult a dictionary to make sure that you're using unfamiliar words correctly. At the same time, try to keep your language short, sweet, and to the point.

A thesaurus is a great tool, but don't just use big words to sound fancy. The best essays are clear, concise, and easily understood by a wide audience. Focus on writing killer verbs for sentences. Verbs communicate the action in a sentence and drive the action. A great verb can be the difference between a bland sentence and a beautiful one.

Adjectives are great descriptive words, but when used indiscriminately, they can burden an essay and make it less readable. Try to let the verbs and nouns do most of the heavy lifting before you focus on adjectives. Avoid colloquial informal writing. Do not use contractions or abbreviations e. Your essay should have a serious tone, even if it's written in a light or lyrical style. Analyze how your essay flows. Does each sentence lead smoothly to the next?

Does each paragraph flow logically to the next? Although you can analyze your essay by reading through it, it's helpful to make a reverse outline, working from your essay to outline your thoughts.

When events happen in sequence: I first started to realize that I was in the minority when I was in middle school My realization was confirmed when I proceeded to high school. If sentences elaborate on each other: Plants need water to survive A plant's ability to absorb water depends on the nutrition of the soil. When an idea contrasts with another idea: Vegetarians argue that land is unnecessarily wasted by feeding animals to be eaten as food Opponents argue that land being used for grazing would not be able to be used to create any other kind of food.

If you're relaying a cause and effect relationship: I will be the first person in my family to graduate from college I am inspired to continue my family's progress through the generations.

When connecting similar ideas: Organic food is thought to be better for the environment. Cut information that's not specifically related to your topic. You don't want your essay to ramble off-topic. Any information that doesn't directly or indirectly support your thesis should be cut out.

Have someone read your paper aloud to you. Your ears are sometimes better than your eyes at picking up mistakes in language.

The essay should sound like it has a good flow and understandable words. As an alternative, you can record yourself reading it aloud and play it back. Rewrite any problematic body passages. If needed, rearrange sentences and paragraphs into a different order. Make sure that both your conclusion and introduction match the changes that you make to the body. Compose your essay with a clear purpose. A persuasive essay is designed to sway the reader to adopt your point of view about a topic.

This means it's important that your views are expressed in a clear, concise manner, which allows the reader to understand your argument. These are good examples of persuasive essay topics you might write about: Whether governments should or should not fund embryonic stem cell research. Whether love is a virtue or a vice. Why Citizen Kane is the best movie of the 20th century. Why American citizens should be forced to vote. Write your essay as though you are conducting a debate. When you speak in a debate, you introduce your topic, list your evidence and draw a conclusion for the people who are listening.

A persuasive essay has a similar structure. Collect facts from good sources to justify your opinions. Support your argument with reasoned facts. A well-written essay is great, but a well-argued essay is undeniable. In addition to doing research, you can perform empirical experiments including taking surveys, doing interviews or conducting experiments.

Survey results or interviews could be great pieces of information to start your essay with. Tell a story about the facts. Don't just list the facts; tell a story! How would you like to be one of those wrongfully-convicted inmates? Present the other side of your argument and use logic and facts to show why the other side's opinion is either inaccurate or not up-to-date.

You're showing the reader you are unbiased and considered the other arguments, but you concluded that your argument is the best. Time after time, evidence has disproved this theory. The death penalty, in fact, does not act as a deterrent to crime: Tie all your ideas together in a gripping conclusion. Be sure to stress your thesis, or what you are arguing for or against, one last time.

Use some of the information you have discussed, or a story you've saved, to color your conclusion a little bit. Choose a subject for your essay. You'll be investigating a topic and presenting your viewpoint about the topic based on evidence.

Research papers usually fall under this category of writing. For example, you could write an expository essay arguing that embryonic stem cell research can lead to cures for spinal cord injuries and illnesses like Parkinson's or diabetes. Expository essays differ from persuasive essays because you aren't stating an opinion.

You're stating facts that you can back up with research. Select your strategy and structure. Some common strategies and structures for expository writing include: Definition essays explain the meaning of terms or concepts. Classification essays organize a topic into groups starting with the most general group and narrowing down to more specific groups. In this type of essay, you'll describe either the similarities and differences or both between ideas or concepts.

These essays explain how topics affect each other and how they are interdependent. How-to essays explain the steps required for completing a task or a procedure with the goal of instructing the reader. Keep your views unbiased.

Expository essays aren't about opinions. They are about drawing a conclusion based on verifiable evidence. You might even find that, with new information, you'll have to revise your essay. If you started out writing about the scarcity of information regarding global warming, but came across a bunch of scientific evidence supporting global warming, you at least have to consider revising what your essay is about.

Use the facts to tell the story. The facts will tell the story itself if you let them. Think like a journalist when writing an expository essay. If you put down all the facts like a reporter, the story should tell itself. Don't mess with structure in expository essays.

In narrative essays, you can twist and turn the structure to make the essay more interesting. Be sure that your structure in expository essays is very linear, making it easier to connect the dots. Tell your story vividly and accurately. A narrative essay recounts an incident that either you or others have experienced. In a narrative essay, you could describe a personal experience in which embryonic stem cell research could have helped you or someone you love conquer a debilitating condition. Include all of the elements of good storytelling.

You'll need an introduction, setting, plot, characters, climax and conclusion. How are you going to set the story up? Is there something useful or important here that gets mentioned later on? Where the action takes place. What does it look like? Which words can you use to make the reader feel like they are there when they read it? The meat of the story, the essential action. Why is the story worth telling? Who's in the story. What does the story tell us about the characters?

What do the characters tell us about the story? The suspenseful bit before anything is resolved. Are we left hanging on the edges of our seat? Do we need to know what happens next? What does the story mean in the end? How have things, people, ideas changed now that the end is revealed?

Have a clear point of view. Most narrative essays are written from the author's point of view, but you can also consider other perspectives as long as your point of view is consistent. Utilize the pronoun "I" if you are the narrator. In a narrative essay, you can use first person.

However, make sure that you don't overdo it. In all essays, you sound more authoritative if you state facts or opinions in third person. You're telling a story, but the purpose of the story is to make a specific point. Introduce your main idea in your thesis statement, and make sure that all of your story elements tie back to your thesis statement. What did you learn? How is your essay an exploration of the things that you learned?

How have you changed? How is the "you" that started the essay different from the "you" now? Related to, but different from, the "what did you learn?

Choose your language carefully. You will use words to evoke emotions in your reader, so choose your words deliberately. Essay Help Essay Template. Sample Tess of the d'Urbervilles Essay. Start with a great fact, story, or compelling idea, then grow from there. If you're stuck, many writers save their intro until the end, once they know the actual direction and evidence in the rest of the essay. Not Helpful 27 Helpful Not Helpful 18 Helpful Try to start with something intriguing and promising.

Questions can be really effective for an introduction. Not Helpful 22 Helpful It depends on what the topic is about. Normally all essays have an Introduction, paragraphs explaining the most important things about the theme about 2 or 3 , and a conclusion. Not Helpful 26 Helpful You don't have to conclude the body paragraph in any particular way.

That's what the conclusion paragraph is for. Not Helpful 24 Helpful What can I do if I have to write an essay for an exam and can't do research for it? Know the topic well before hand. Though the essay question could vary widely, know the historical context of events related to the class.

You will likely be given a document, or several, to respond to, so you will have some resources available. However it is necessary to know the historical context of the event the documents talk about, so you can interpret them correctly and provide contextualization in your essay.

Contextualization is telling what led up to an event, and is often helpful to explain why things happened and understand the mindset of the time period. Not Helpful 21 Helpful Research several sides of the topic and form an opinion. Introduce the various arguments about it, both for and against your view. Summarize the concepts, and statenwhy you believe what you believe. Not Helpful 5 Helpful Unless your teacher says otherwise, use 12pt Times New Roman font and remember to double-space your essay.

Some teachers will prefer 10pt font, but still request double-spacing. Not Helpful 36 Helpful You can either tell a story about a moment in your life when you learned something valuable about yourself or just tell the story of your life from beginning to end. Not Helpful 25 Helpful Read the proverb several times, looking at the tone, voice and intended audience. Dissect the proverb, thinking about the intended meaning, and historical context. Write everything down and arrange it inside the structure of the essay in a way that flows and makes sense to you.

Not Helpful 9 Helpful How to write an essay on a theme of a novel for literature? Answer this question Flag as Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Already answered Not a question Bad question Other. Quick Summary If you need to write an essay, start by gathering information from reputable sources, like books from the library or scholarly journals online.

Did this summary help you? Tips Don't rush everything, but also don't take too long to write your essay. Think about the main ideas as a priority before tackling the less important parts.

Do not divert your attention to other things while writing an essay. Make your essay interesting, so that people understand and take a keen interest in it. Don't wait until the last minute to write your essay!

You need to give yourself enough time to thoroughly follow the steps above. The first sentence of this paragraph should be the topic sentence of the paragraph that directly relates to the examples listed in the mini-outline of introductory paragraph.

A one sentence body paragraph that simply cites the example of "George Washington" or "LeBron James" is not enough, however. No, following this an effective essay will follow up on this topic sentence by explaining to the reader, in detail, who or what an example is and, more importantly, why that example is relevant.

Even the most famous examples need context. The reader needs to know this and it is your job as the writer to paint the appropriate picture for them. To do this, it is a good idea to provide the reader with five or six relevant facts about the life in general or event in particular you believe most clearly illustrates your point. Having done that, you then need to explain exactly why this example proves your thesis.

The importance of this step cannot be understated although it clearly can be underlined ; this is, after all, the whole reason you are providing the example in the first place. Seal the deal by directly stating why this example is relevant. The first sentence — the topic sentence - of your body paragraphs needs to have a lot individual pieces to be truly effective. Not only should it open with a transition that signals the change from one idea to the next but also it should ideally also have a common thread which ties all of the body paragraphs together.

For example, if you used "first" in the first body paragraph then you should used "secondly" in the second or "on the one hand" and "on the other hand" accordingly. Examples should be relevant to the thesis and so should the explanatory details you provide for them. It can be hard to summarize the full richness of a given example in just a few lines so make them count.

If you are trying to explain why George Washington is a great example of a strong leader, for instance, his childhood adventure with the cherry tree though interesting in another essay should probably be skipped over. You may have noticed that, though the above paragraph aligns pretty closely with the provided outline, there is one large exception: These words are example of a transitional phrase — others include "furthermore," "moreover," but also "by contrast" and "on the other hand" — and are the hallmark of good writing.

Transitional phrases are useful for showing the reader where one section ends and another begins. It may be helpful to see them as the written equivalent of the kinds of spoken cues used in formal speeches that signal the end of one set of ideas and the beginning of another.

In essence, they lead the reader from one section of the paragraph of another. Hopefully this example not only provides another example of an effective body paragraph but also illustrates how transitional phrases can be used to distinguish between them.

Although the conclusion paragraph comes at the end of your essay it should not be seen as an afterthought. As the final paragraph is represents your last chance to make your case and, as such, should follow an extremely rigid format.

One way to think of the conclusion is, paradoxically, as a second introduction because it does in fact contain many of the same features. While it does not need to be too long — four well-crafted sentence should be enough — it can make or break and essay.

Effective conclusions open with a concluding transition "in conclusion," "in the end," etc. After that you should immediately provide a restatement of your thesis statement.

This should be the fourth or fifth time you have repeated your thesis so while you should use a variety of word choice in the body paragraphs it is a acceptable idea to use some but not all of the original language you used in the introduction. This echoing effect not only reinforces your argument but also ties it nicely to the second key element of the conclusion: Having done all of that, the final element — and final sentence in your essay — should be a "global statement" or "call to action" that gives the reader signals that the discussion has come to an end.

The conclusion paragraph can be a difficult paragraph to write effectively but, as it is your last chance to convince or otherwise impress the reader, it is worth investing some time in. Take this opportunity to restate your thesis with confidence; if you present your argument as "obvious" then the reader might just do the same. Although you can reuse the same key words in the conclusion as you did in the introduction, try not to copy whole phrases word for word. Instead, try to use this last paragraph to really show your skills as a writer by being as artful in your rephrasing as possible.

Although it may seem like a waste of time — especially during exams where time is tight — it is almost always better to brainstorm a bit before beginning your essay. This should enable you to find the best supporting ideas — rather than simply the first ones that come to mind — and position them in your essay accordingly.

Your best supporting idea — the one that most strongly makes your case and, simultaneously, about which you have the most knowledge — should go first. Even the best-written essays can fail because of ineffectively placed arguments. Sentences and vocabulary of varying complexity are one of the hallmarks of effective writing.

When you are writing, try to avoid using the same words and phrases over and over again. If you are asked about "money," you could try "wealth" or "riches.

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Writing an academic essay means fashioning a coherent set of ideas into an argument. Because essays are essentially linear—they offer one idea at a time—they must present their ideas in the order that makes most sense to a reader. Successfully structuring an essay means attending to a reader's logic.

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An essay can have many purposes, but the basic structure is the same no matter what. You may be writing an essay to argue for a particular point of view or to explain the steps necessary to complete a task.

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