Almost every student has to write essays from time to time, although not many receive top grades for their papers from the very first try. Aside from practical experience, it is useful to take advice on essay structure and academic English features from professional writers. Learning from others’ practice can help you write the best essay, and below is advice for students who want to see their essay written meticulously.
Basic Advice for Essay Writing Format
As soon as you have started writing your essay, it is better to structure it in advance to include all necessary information and divide it into more or less equal pieces. If your essay focuses on one topic, it’s better not to deviate from it. Although this can demonstrate your overall subject knowledge, the professor may comment on your essay structure. So, here are essential parts that have to be included in nearly every essay:
- Introduction. You may use the starting part of the essay to catch the reader’s attention and motivate your topic choice. There you can be a bit more creative, but try to remain brief and move to the major part of the paper. Besides, it should include a so-called thesis statement – the essay’s main idea. The introduction should not exceed approximately 10% of the paper volume.
- Main body. The central part of the essay contains almost all relevant information. Here, you need to be more precise and rely on data rather than rhetorics. However, depending on the type of essay, you may need to use both logical and emotional hooks to persuade the reader.
- Main body paragraphs. Each paragraph should represent the subtopic of the main topic. Before starting the essay, you can write a short outline and develop its points into main body paragraphs. It improves the clarity and the structure of your essay, as the reader can follow the free flow of the author’s thoughts.
- Conclusion. Finally, the last part of the essay should restate the main idea and describe the approach to the problem chosen. If your essay is closer to a research one, you can place future perspectives of the topic development here, although it is not typical for most college and university works.
These points are easy to remember and follow – check this list while planning and writing your essay, which will significantly improve your writing style and thought expression clarity.
Things to Check While Writing an Essay
Essay writing includes several additional features to which the writer needs to pay particular attention if you want to ensure the high quality of your work. The first of them is word count. Of course, this is boring, but word count is necessary to fulfill the essay requirements. The 10% deviation on it is more or less acceptable for most professors, but try to stick to the initial goal as close as possible. Besides, it’s better not to fill the essay volume with unnecessary lengthy structures or overcomplicated versions of simple phrases – they make understanding your idea harder.
Secondly, you need to check your sources. Some types of essays require students to express and motivate their thoughts, while others are based on factual information. Obviously, you don’t need to credit someone else while expressing your opinion. Still, suppose you want to support it with citations or precise data (especially company statistics or original research results obtained online). In that case, it’s necessary to check their source and place a respective reference at the end of the paper.
The last thing you need to review in any type of essay is grammar and formatting. Don’t forget to use a spell checker and a format guide from your educational institutions (try to contact library services if you can’t find it in the course content). Although many colleges and universities in the USA use established formats such as MLA or Chicago for humanities, or APA for various medical specializations, some modify them to fit their purposes better. Small format mistakes won’t ruin all your work, but they still can lower the grade. To avoid this, you need only to pay a bit of attention.
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Essay Types and Their Features
There are four main types of essays, and while they share the same basic features mentioned above, they require slightly different approaches in building them. Usually, professors specify the essay type in their instructions, so pick the most appropriate one from the following list:
- Argumentative. An argumentative essay should present several viewpoints on the same problem and discuss their strengths and weaknesses. The argumentative essay requires an objective approach to sources’ choice and their discussion. It would help if you discussed all your arguments equally and did not favor one from the very start, as your essay may become biased.
- Expository. This type of essay requires an exposition of the given topic, and research may be necessary to complete it. Although it does not require a profound knowledge of rhetorics, which can benefit argumentative essays, an expository essay uses facts to make a positive impression on the reader.
- Narrative. One of the most creative essay types, as it requires building a “plot.” Here, you can allow yourself a bit more stylistic creativity, especially when the narrative essay requires reflection on your personal experience. Still, try to stick to academic writing conventions and do not make it too informal.
- Descriptive. Descriptive essays can be slightly similar to expository essays, as they require a description of the topic or an object. However, a descriptive essay reviews a real object’s traits and features, while an expository essay is more theoretical.
Finally, writing an essay from scratch may not seem like an easy assignment at first, but most students master it through practice. The advice above is simple and easy to follow, so you can improve your writing a bit while using it. Check your essay writing format, structure, and choose it according to the essay type – and you’ll practice writing custom essays effectively.