ways to write an essay
ways to write an essay
A lot goes into writing a successful essay. Fortunately, these tips for writing essays can help you along the way and get you on the path to a well-written 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.
Topic sentences are used to create smooth transitions between paragraphs.
The conclusion doesn’t contain new ideas, arguments or evidence.
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. You don’t have to be a walking thesaurus but a little variance can make the same idea sparkle.
Take, by way of example, Thomas Edison. The famed American inventor rose to prominence in the late 19th century because of his successes, yes, but even he felt that these successes were the result of his many failures. He did not succeed in his work on one of his most famous inventions, the lightbulb, on his first try nor even on his hundred and first try. In fact, it took him more than 1,000 attempts to make the first incandescent bulb but, along the way, he learned quite a deal. As he himself said, “I did not fail a thousand times but instead succeeded in finding a thousand ways it would not work.” Thus Edison demonstrated both in thought and action how instructive mistakes can be.
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.
Essay maps ask you to predict where your reader will expect background information, counterargument, close analysis of a primary source, or a turn to secondary source material. Essay maps are not concerned with paragraphs so much as with sections of an essay. They anticipate the major argumentative moves you expect your essay to make. Try making your map like this:
- First sentence
- Thesis statement
This is the part of the essay that you are supposed to explain, describe or argue the topic. The main ideas you wrote down on your outline becomes separate paragraphs. Each paragraph carries the main idea. The paragraph begins with an introductory sentence which carries the main idea. Supporting ideas follow suit in sentence format backed with relevant information and examples. Don’t forget to cite every reference materials used. Direct quotes must also be cited using the required format style.