How to Write an Essay
By Rita Hutner
An essay can have many purposes, but the basic structure is the same no matter what.
It's easy to learn how to write an essay
In a sequence essay, you are writing to describe a series of events or a process in some sort of order. Usually, this order is based on time. You organize the essay by writing about each step of the process in the order it occurred.
Example question: Write an essay outlining the stages of the salmon life cycle.
Introduction: Describe what a salmon is like.
1. Describe young salmon.
2. Describe adult salmon.
3. Describe what salmon do before they die.
Summary paragraph: Summarize the main steps of the salmon life cycle.
What is an introduction paragraph? The introduction paragraph is the first paragraph of your essay. It introduces the main idea of your essay. A good opening paragraph captures the interest of your reader and tells why your topic is important.
How do I write one?
1. Write the thesis statement. The main idea of the essay is stated in a single sentence called the thesis statement. You must limit your entire essay to the topic you have introduced in your thesis statement.
2. Provide some background information about your topic. You can use interesting facts, quotations, or definitions of important terms you will use later in the essay.
Example (if you were writing about hockey)
Hockey has been a part of life in Canada for over 120 years. It has evolved into an extremely popular sport watched and played by millions of Canadians. The game has gone through several changes since hockey was first played in Canada
What are supporting paragraphs? Supporting paragraphs make up the main body of your essay. What do they do? They develop the main idea of your essay. This is a critical part of learning how to write an essay.
How do I write them?
1. List the points that develop the main idea of your essay.
2. Place each supporting point in its own paragraph.
3. Develop each supporting point with facts, details, and examples.
To connect your supporting paragraphs, you should use special transition words. Transition words link your paragraphs together and make your essay easier to read. Use them at the beginning and end of your paragraphs.
Examples of transition words that can help you to link your paragraphs together:
For listing different points
For counter examples
On the other hand
For additional ideas
In addition to
To show cause and effect
As a result of
Like all good paragraphs, each supporting paragraph should have a topic sentence, supporting sentences, and a summary sentence. These are most important when learning how to write an essay.
What is a summary paragraph? The summary paragraph comes at the end of your essay after you have finished developing your ideas. The summary paragraph is often called a "conclusion." It summarizes or restates the main idea of the essay. You want to leave the reader with a sense that your essay is complete.
How do I write one?
1. Restate the strongest points of your essay that support your main idea.
2. Conclude your essay by restating the main idea in different words.
3. Give your personal opinion or suggest a plan for action.
Finally, the editing stage. The editing stage is when you check your essay for mistakes and correct them. An important reminder when learning how to write an essay: The internet is an invaluable resource for information regardless of subject matter.
About the Author: Rita Hutner is a copywriter for Catalogs.com. Catalogs.com is the Internet's leading source for print and online catalog shopping - and a growing hub of original content and "how to" information at www.catalogs.com.