Writing the essay is almost always a daunting task. Even the most experienced writer requires a moment to clear their mind and rehearse the basic format for essays. Knowing this format and following it is key to keeping essay writing skills ready to roll!
The standard essay contains many parts. But, fundamentally essays are constructed in a logical format but may vary in style depending on the type of essay you are writing.The types of essays include: narrative, descriptive, expository, and persuasive. Each of these types will follow a similar structure. The introduction and conclusion always have a fixed location at the beginning and end of the essay. The body or middle portion of the essay should contain your facts and evidence, your arguments and counterarguments, as well as the “What, How, and Why” of your premise. However, if the essay contains contextual or background material it should appear in the beginning of the essay usually within or just after the introduction.
Every essay must have a point or a purpose. After immersing oneself in the material and research, original ideas or arguments should begin to form. Through continued research those ideas are refined and one main purpose or goal should arise.
From the main purpose an essay’s thesis can begin to develop. The thesis is the fundamental point you are trying to make with your essay.
You don’t have to deliver your thesis up front. You can lead up to it through the same questions that led you to your conclusion. Often a case and point or observation are used to introduce the thesis of the essay.
Another aspect of the essay is anticipating the arguments that may come against your supposition. Before writing, gather evidence, details, and arguments that prove your point. Prepare yourself for counter-arguments by thinking through other’s responses. If you avoid an awareness of objections you will weaken your argument.
The essay writer should have an understanding of logical argument and fallacies of causation and analogy, as well as the “straw-man” fallacy.
Persuasion lies in the center of a successful essay. Clarity is key, but don’t resort to a grocery list of fact and evidence. Whether you use inductive or deductive reasoning, it is important to provide context and bring out supporting evidence to create a strong substantial argument.
Map it Out
Find two opposing views to develop a good solid argument essay
For an opinion essay, research your facts and determine your position
Gather information both for and against
Plan and write
Edit and rewrite
It’s always a good idea to plan out your essay before you start to write. Some writers prefer to make an official outline while other prefer to make a mind map (see illustration). Whether pictorial or fact based, a well thought out plan is necessary.
The Parts of the Essay
The first paragraph should always contain an explanation of your premise, your thesis, and any necessary background information.
Within the body of the essay, many writers will ask a series of questions to keep the flow of the essay progressing in the desired direction.
Ask what? Give facts to support your thesis as well as evidence for your claim.
Ask how? It’s time to demonstrate through various arguments how the thesis stands.
Ask why? Develop why your thesis matters. What the implications would be, and explain the big picture.
The body portion of your essay will contain the bulk of your argument. Typically, you will address 2 or 3 arguments, which will consist of one argument per section. Address each point individually and logically. Use varying evidence and supportive details such as statistics, personal anecdote, historical examples, etc. Be thorough, yet mindful of the assignment requirements. If the essay is meant to be a shorter essay (as in the SAT w/writing portion) you should attempt to be concise (to the point.) If the essay is a college assignment and the requirements ask for a lengthy essay, feel free to take as much space as necessary. Essays can be any length from a page to hundreds of pages.
Finally, the conclusion is the place to restate your position or thesis and to purport your argument as the most logical or sensible option.
Take a minute to download our free essay writing template, and get a head start on essay writing success! If you need additional help please visit Time4Writing.com for specific essay writing courses or this awesome infographic on essay writing. Don’t forget our other free high school downloads that help you uncomplicate your homeschool!
Don’t miss this amazing infographic on Essay Writing from our friends at Time4Writing.
Jamie Gaddy, B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D. has been a college education professor for over 17 years. Education has been an integral part of her life in both the classroom and as a principal. Six children later found her dissatisfied with traditional schooling and homeschooling became the better fit. She is also a pastor’s wife, remote project manager, and entrepreneur who now homeschools four of her six children (ages 11-17) in southern Georgia. Jamie loves to share about her homeschool experience and help other homeschoolers find success. Connect with her at [email protected]