how to construct an essay
how to construct an essay
If you are given an assignment to write a one-page essay, it would be far too much to write about “the history of the US,” since that could fill entire volumes of books. Instead, you could write about a specific event within the history of the United States: perhaps signing the Declaration of Independence or when Columbus discovered the Americas.
Choose the best topic idea from among your list and begin moving forward on writing your essay. But, before you move forward, take heed of these topics to avoid.
A typical essay contains many different kinds of information, often located in specialized parts or sections. Even short essays perform several different operations: introducing the argument, analyzing data, raising counterarguments, concluding. Introductions and conclusions have fixed places, but other parts don’t. Counterargument, for example, may appear within a paragraph, as a free-standing section, as part of the beginning, or before the ending. Background material (historical context or biographical information, a summary of relevant theory or criticism, the definition of a key term) often appears at the beginning of the essay, between the introduction and the first analytical section, but might also appear near the beginning of the specific section to which it’s relevant.
“How?” A reader will also want to know whether the claims of the thesis are true in all cases. The corresponding question is “how”: How does the thesis stand up to the challenge of a counterargument? How does the introduction of new material—a new way of looking at the evidence, another set of sources—affect the claims you’re making? Typically, an essay will include at least one “how” section. (Call it “complication” since you’re responding to a reader’s complicating questions.) This section usually comes after the “what,” but keep in mind that an essay may complicate its argument several times depending on its length, and that counterargument alone may appear just about anywhere in an essay.
Read and reread your paper to ensure the sentences are sensible and paragraphs flow into each other smoothly. Check the grammar, spelling, and punctuation make necessary corrections. Delete any irrelevant sections; improve expressions by changing the vocabulary. Ensure you meet the word count. Now write up your final draft and submit it before the deadline.
After getting an overview of the essay, you will be in a better position to choose a more relevant topic. Begin by brainstorming, sit down, be calm and start a free flow of thoughts and jot down ideas. Narrow your focus and choose an interesting topic depending on the type of essay and purpose so you can create a top notch essay. If you find it hard to come up with an essay topic, ask your teacher for assistance and you will get a topic which you will be required to defend with relevant sources.
Don’t let the thought of putting pen to paper daunt you.
These simple steps will guide you through the essay writing process:
Although writing an essay is daunting for many people, it can be pretty straight-forward. This page is a general recipe for constructing an essay, not just in philosophy, but in most other humanities disciplines (such as English, History, Religious Studies, etc.) and perhaps the social sciences. It should be an appropriate guide for writing at the middle school, high school, and lower college levels. The typical assignment I have in mind will be an argumentative essay, in which you argue for something, even if just an interpretation of someone an author’s work.
Also, don’t be afraid to just type without thinking too much about whether it’s any good. You can always go back and edit it. Many people find it best to just sit down and write a lot without much reflection. Just make sure you have enough time to go back and edit.