STUDENT GUIDE: WRITING ESSAY IN ENGLISH

Let’s start from the very beginning, about the definition of what an essay is. A writing essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author’s own argument— but the definition is vague, overlapping with those of a paper, an article, a pamphlet, and a short story. Essays have traditionally been sub-classified as formal and informal. Formal essays are characterized by “serious purpose, dignity, logical organization, length,” whereas the informal essay is characterized by “the personal element (self-revelation, individual tastes, and experiences, confidential manner), humor, graceful style, rambling structure, unconventionality or novelty of theme”

If you are at the stage of training when essays are expected from you, it is fair to say that you understand English well. Writing an essay gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge, but it is important that you understand the structure correctly. If you’re not sure how to write your essay, here’s a helpful description of how to write an essay in English. Your essay has three sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. The classic essay structure consists of 5 paragraphs (1 for introduction, 3 for body and 1 for the conclusion), although more complex essays become much longer and more complex.

Writing essay: introduction

The introduction should begin with an interesting hook that entices readers and makes them want to read on. An interesting or controversial quotation or else a surprising statistic might make for a nice essay beginning. The introduction should do just what its name suggests: introduce your essay and address the essay prompt question directly. Use wording that is similar to the question. Explain what you are trying to prove and define any terms or concepts that might be important. Depending on the length of the essay, the introduction should only be a few sentences to prepare the reader for what they can expect. Don’t go into too much depth – that is what the rest of the essay is for!

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Sometimes it’s useful to write the introduction last, because your argument will change and develop as you write it, and as soon as you write all this, it will be easier for you to write it!

Writitng essay: body

This section should be divided into paragraphs, each of which has its own part of the argument, written clearly and concisely. Each paragraph is a new step in your argument that will help your reader understand what you are trying to prove. As a result, it is important that this part of the essay be very well planned and continue in a logical, understandable manner. Support your arguments with details, quotes, examples, or other evidence, and explain why these points support your argument. Now is the time to go into the details! Be sure to keep the information up to date and try not to deviate from the topic. Use transitive words such as “furthermore,” “furthermore,” “unlike,” and “on the other hand,” in all paragraphs, to mark the beginning of a new argument and make it easier to track an essay. A well-thought-out argument often also touches on possible counterarguments, revealing other ways of thinking to the reader, but explaining why yours is better.

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Writing essay: conclusion

The conclusion is your last chance to present your case, and for this reason, perhaps this is the most important part of the essay. This should be just a few sentences, but it should reformulate the theme of your essay and repeat the arguments presented in your introduction without repeating them. This beautifully connects the essay and reinforces the comments made in the text. Conclusions are sometimes the hardest to write since you cannot just copy what you said elsewhere. Summarize your audience’s key points you made and leave them something to think about after they finish reading.

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Writing essay: style and tips

  • Use formal language – an essay is not the place for slang, casual phrases, or contractions.
  • Write in the third person, using words such as “he,” “she,” “they,” or “it,” and never refer to yourself (“I,” “me”) or the reader (“you”) directly. (A useful trick is to replace “I” with “one”: “one gets the impression that…”)
  • Write in active speech, as opposed to passive, as this is a much more powerful way to express your points. So, instead of writing, “the author was given a lifetime achievement award”, you could instead write, “the author earned a lifetime achievement award.”
  • Ensure each paragraph flows seamlessly onto the next. Although it should be split into the clear sections mentioned above, the last sentence of each paragraph should still somehow relate to the first sentence of the next.

Writing essay skills can develop, but think of your essay as an argument with someone who doesn’t believe what you want to say. What should you say next to prove that you are right? How do you summarize your ideas at the end? Remember these tips, and soon you will become a master of essay writing!

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