Write an essay. These three words have struck fear in to the hearts of thousands of students across the world. Whether it’s the book report of a fifth grader or the final exam of a college student the process is the same. First, you give a brief overview of your topic, then you use the body to give details and finally you summarize and conclude. It’s simple in theory but can be difficult to do. Let’s look at it carefully.
Before You Start
Before you actually start writing the essay, you probably want to do some sort of pre-writing exercise. There are a number of ways to do this. Some people like to brainstorm, others like to draw a web and many like to do an outline. To outline you basically list out your main points, rearrange them into a logical order and then start filling in. It can be as simple or complex as you like. Sometimes you can write an entire essay by just adding the information into the outline. Make each point in to a sentence and often an essay will write itself.
Your introduction usually starts with a topic sentence, also known as your thesis. This is should state what your paper is all about. Think about what your paper says and then simplify and shorten until you have one or two sentences. Don’t worry about including every point, just think about the general idea you want your reader to walk away with. After that all you need to do is briefly mention what the rest of your paper is about. Do this by putting in roughly one sentence for each of body paragraph.
The body makes up the meat and potatoes of your essay. This is where you’ll be trying to persuade or educate your audience on your topic. At the beginning of each paragraph, comment on what that section is about. Think of this as the topic sentence of that paragraph. After that you’ll be giving facts and opinions on that subject. A common formula for body paragraphs is to have one sentence of factual information followed by one or two sentences of your own thoughts on the matter. In the last sentence, try to tie the main idea of that paragraph in with the next. This will make the transition from one paragraph to the next flow making it easier to read.
The conclusion of your essay will look a lot like your introductory paragraph. First you’ll mention the general topic of the essay and then you’ll do a quick summary of what you’ve written in the body. After you’ve reviewed, you tie things up with a closing sentence. Many people prefer to write the introduction and conclusion last. This makes things easier because you already know everything that’s been included. Now you have an idea of how an essay is written. It can actually be a lot of fun once you’ve gotten the hang of it. Good luck!