Writing an essay is a task that many students dread. However, it is not as overwhelming when you plan well and understand what is required of you.
This article covers the basics of how to write a good essay.
The first step to writing a good paper relates to understanding the essay questions. Regardless of how compelling your essay is, you will still get a lousy grade if it does not adequately address the question.
The essay prompt will provide:
In addition, the prompt will indirectly direct you on:
Your teacher might directly guide you on the kind of essay to write. In some cases, you need to identify that on your own.
The following are the common types of essays:
Figure out what you are going to write about. The prompt should give you an idea of what topic to write about. However, you need to narrow it down to one idea.
First, note down every idea that comes to mind. Then, pick a few topic ideas you deem best.
When choosing a topic, you should pick one that is neither too broad nor too narrow.
Let’s say you are writing a narrative essay, and you choose to write about your school life.
A topic such as “My experience in junior high school” is too broad; it could fill a short novel.
However, something like “My first day in junior high school” is manageable.
After settling on a given topic, the next step is research. Find as much information about your topic as possible.
Read books and journals in the library. Find more information on credible websites on the internet. You can also interview people who are experts on the topic.
Remember, you will have to back up your points and cite your sources. So, note down relevant information and the source of information.
What claim or point of view will you make in your essay? Let us say your topic is gun ownership. Your thesis statement should state your point of view. It could read:
There should be strict laws on gun ownership, especially considering the rise in gun violence, mass shootings, and gun-related homicides.
Your research will guide you on what stand to take. You cannot make a claim that you cannot back up with substantial evidence.
Before you start writing, you need to organize your thoughts. An essay should have an introduction, body, and conclusion. The body has three paragraphs.
To create an outline, write the words introduction, body, and conclusion on a blank page, leaving enough space between them.
Under each section, briefly state what you are going to write.
For instance, under the body section, write the three strongest points that support your thesis.
For instance, you could start with an interesting fact, a rhetorical question, or a quote from a famous person. Just make sure your hook is related to the topic.
After the hook, provide some background information on the topic. Then end the intro with your thesis statement.
The body of an essay is where you support your claim. This section has three paragraphs. Each paragraph should discuss one point. Therefore, you should have at least three points that support your claim.
Start each paragraph with a topic sentence, which is your point. Then provide evidence, mostly a direct quote lifted from your source. The sentences that follow should simply expound on the topic sentence.
Do not forget to cite your references.
The concluding paragraph should restate the thesis. It should also provide a summary of the main points.
The conclusion is also your chance to show the reader why your essay is relevant. You can do that by relating it to the real world. You could even ask the reader to take action.
Typos and grammatical errors will score you low marks. Some lecturers will not bother reading a paper riddled with grammar errors.
So, make sure you proofread your word. Do not rely entirely on the inbuilt spell checker of your word processor.
You are not only looking at spelling and grammar but also word choice, repetition, and complex sentences.
Read it aloud helps you identify run-on sentences and sentences that are too complex.
Consider having a friend proofread your work. Another person is likely to spot the mistakes that you did not notice.
Finally, correct all the mistakes and save your final draft.
Writing a good essay is not a complicated process. However, planning is critical.
Proper planning involves you understanding the assignment, conducting adequate research, and creating an outline. From there, you write your essay and proofread it thoroughly.
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