How To Structure An Essay

how to structure an essay

Student life is a rollercoaster of highs and lows; you’ll have great experiences and gain plenty of new knowledge, but sometimes the workload will really pile up.

When it comes to writing essays, the process can be a little love-hate. One of the best things that you can do is to equip yourself with the knowledge that allows you to tackle essay writing in a formulaic way. Let’s take a look at a few ideas to help you create something great. 

How to structure an essay

When you are thinking about structuring an essay, it’s useful to spend some time considering what the purpose of an essay actually is; this will help you to get into the right mindset and allow you to create something of quality and with real meaning.

An essay is generally a formulaic argument based on an idea or concept; within an essay, you set about supporting your claim using evidence to back up your theory.

When you are structuring an essay, you’ll need to follow the correct pattern to present your argument to the reader. Your essay will need to have an introduction first, followed by a main body and a conclusion. 

 When you are planning these sections out it can be useful to start by writing the body of your essay before the introduction.The body of your essay will include all of your main arguments that support your thesis, and these will be backed up by supporting points. You may want to have all of these ideas written first because your introduction serves to set out the topics that you will talk about in the main body of your essay. 

 It’s a good idea to plan out your essay with a written narrative that concisely sets out your ideas step by step. Doing so will mean that you have a solid guide from which to work from, and this will ensure that you don’t miss anything out. You will also be making sure that the reader is arriving at your desired conclusions when you want them to. When your reader is presented with your thesis, they are going to have questions in their mind. You should structure your essay to make sure that you are anticipating and then answering these questions. For example, your reader will likely want to know what evidence you have to prove your argument. 

 Plan out where you will include the source materials to support your argument. Your evidence will need to be carefully weaved into your essay so that it adds the most value to your ideas as they arrive. Think about your background material; it might be a historical context, for instance. You will usually want to structure this kind of information at the beginning of the essay, right after the introduction. 

How to start an essay 

 The first thing is to write a strong introduction that makes an excellent impression on the reader and sets the standard. You should use the introduction to present to the reader your thesis statement, which is the main argument or point of your essay. An excellent thesis statement should concisely combine several ideas; generally using no more than two sentences.

You should use your thesis statement as a summary of your chosen topic. There should be zero uncertainty on what the essay is about; this should be made absolutely clear. You will want to give your readers an idea of what they can expect in the essay by offering them a few of the key points that you are going to consider. You will need to provide a summary of your argument that doesn’t go into too much detail. 

 Once you’ve created your introduction, it’s time to move onto the body of your essay. The body will make up the main bulk of your essay because here you will be making all of your main points that relate to the topic. Every paragraph that you write should be a further example that gives substance and evidence to your argument.

When you begin each paragraph, the first sentence should always make it clear what the key point that you will explore in that paragraph is going to be. The beginning sentence of each paragraph is often referred to as a topic sentence.

 During the planning of your essay, you will have chosen perhaps three or four main arguments that you will use to support your thesis statement. You will then need to write several supporting points which strengthen each of your main arguments. Avoid making generalisations at all costs and make sure each of your sentences is entirely clear and serves a purpose. 

 When you are writing the body of your essay, you will want to ensure that you are approaching the subject with creativity and originality. You won’t want to be so poetic that the point and clarity gets lost, but you will want your writing to be pleasing to read and to stand apart from the rest. The creativity will come from your ideas and how well thought out they are.

If you are focusing on a topic that’s been written on many times before, then you’ll need to ensure that you are presenting a fresh new perspective to impress your reader. While essays function to convince the reader of an argument, this does not mean that they can’t have character or fluidity. Choose every word that you use carefully; if there is even one sentence that does not add value, then it’s better to take it out and think of something else. 

 You should remember that the process of writing your essay will take some time, and you aren’t going to get it right the first time. If you begin writing and aren’t happy with what you’ve written, that’s okay- keep going for now and come back to redraft.

As an essay writer, you will often end up redrafting one paragraph several times, and this is fine so long as you are creating the best work that you can. Other times you’ll sit there with a notebook, reading a source and trying to find inspiration. Great ideas come and go, but there will be plenty of eureka moments to keep you going! 

How to end an essay 

In the beginning, when you have an idea of your main arguments, you should be able to form a working conclusion before you complete the main body of the essay. Doing this allows you to consider each point and ensure that it is relevant to your conclusion.

Of course, your conclusion will not be completely solid yet, and it’s okay if it develops and changes as you go along. However, you will definitely want to have an idea where the essay is going to ensure that you are moving in the right direction. 

 The ending of your essay requires a strong conclusion that draws the body of your essay together nicely. The purpose of the conclusion is to reiterate the main points of your argument and to present a final decision about the topics that you have been discussing.

You should not present any ideas in the conclusion that have not already been addressed in your essay. Your conclusion is merely a place to firmly reestablish what your essay has detailed. If you have a fantastic idea that comes to you when you are writing your conclusion, then you should go back and talk about this concept in the main body. 

 You will need to remind the reader of your argument with a brief mentioning of your key points. It needs to be absolutely clear that you have achieved the outcome that you set out to, and this is what your conclusion serves as. You should use your last sentence to demonstrate closure and give your reader a sense of finality. Some writers like to use their conclusions to connect their essay to further areas of study. While doing so isn’t essential, this can help to answer the ‘why’ question of your essay and present its value to the reader. 

Research focus 

 When it comes to writing essays, your skills will improve over time. One of the key things that will help you to build a fantastic essay is the research that you do before hand. Your research and sources that you draw upon for evidence have the ability to inspire you. Research will also allow you to provide the best thesis and argument that you can. It’s good to spend a long amount of time doing your research. If you find a source that only loosely relates to the point that you are trying to make, keep looking. It would be a waste of time to bring in research material that isn’t the right fit. Sometimes it can be discouraging when you can’t find the evidence you need at first, but if you keep going, you might be surprised at what you can find! If you approach every stage in the process with your best efforts, you’ll likely be pleased with your creative results. 

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