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How to Write an Essay in 5 Steps

With a little organization, writing an essay is easy!

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Learning to write an essay is a skill you will use throughout your life. The simple organization of ideas you use when writing an essay will help you write business letters, company memos, and marketing materials for your clubs and organizations. Anything you write will benefit from the simple parts of an essay:

  1. Purpose and Thesis
  2. Title
  3. Introduction
  4. Body of Information
  5. Conclusion

We'll walk you through each part and give you tips on how to master the art of the essay.

If you're writing a personal essay, you'll find help here, too: Writing a Personal Essay.

1. Purpose/Main Idea

Laptop and Coffee by Jupiterimages - Getty Images
Jupiterimages - Getty Images

Before you can start writing, you need to have an idea to write about. If you haven't been assigned an idea, it's easier than you might think to come up with one of your own.

Your best essays will be about the things that light your fire. What do you feel passionate about? What topics do you find yourself arguing for or against? Choose the side of the topic you are "for" rather than "against," and your essay will be stronger.

Do you love gardening? sports? photography? volunteering? Are you an advocate for children? domestic peace? the hungry or homeless? These are clues to your best essays.

Put your idea into a single sentence. This is your thesis statement, your main idea.

Check out Grace Fleming's How to Choose an Essay Topic.

2. Title

Writing by Comstock - Getty Images
Comstock - Getty Images

Choose a title for your essay that expresses your main idea. The strongest titles will include a verb. Take a look at any newspaper and you'll see that every title has a verb.

You want your title to make someone want to read what you have to say. Make it provocative.

Here are a few ideas:

  • America Needs Better Health Care Now
  • The Use of the Mentor Archetype in...
  • Who Is the She-Conomy?
  • Why DJ Is the Queen of Pedicures
  • Melanoma: Is It or Isn't It?
  • How to Achieve Natural Balance in Your Garden
  • Expect to Be Changed by Reading...

Some people will tell you to wait until you have finished writing to choose a title. I find a title helps me stay focused, but I always review mine when I'm finished to ensure that it's the most effective it can be.

3. Introduction

Woman with laptop - stylish - by Cavan Images - Getty Images
Cavan Images - Getty Images

Your introduction is one short paragraph, just a sentence or two, that states your thesis (your main idea) and introduces your reader to your topic. After your title, this is your next best chance to hook your reader. Here are some examples:

  • Women are the chief buyers in 80 percent of America's households. If you're not marketing to them, you should be.
  • Take another look at that spot on your arm. Is the shape irregular? Is it multi-colored? You could have melanoma. Know the signs.
  • Those tiny wasps flying around the blossoms in your garden can't sting you. Their stingers have evolved into egg-laying devices. The wasps, busying finding a very specific place to lay their eggs, are participating in the balance of nature.

4. Body of Information

Writing by Mark Hall - Getty Images
Mark Hall - Getty Images

The body of your essay is where you develop your story or argument. You have finished your research and have pages of notes. Right? Go through your notes with a highlighter and mark the most important ideas, the key points.

Choose the top three ideas and write each one at the top of a clean page. Now go through again and pull out supporting ideas for each key point. You don't need a lot, just two or three for each one.

Write a paragraph about each of these key points, using the information you've pulled from your notes. Don't have enough? Maybe you need a stronger key point. Do a little more research.

Help with writing:

5. Conclusion

Writing by Patagonik Works - Getty Images
Patagonik Works - Getty Images

You're almost finished. The last paragraph of your essay is your conclusion. It, too, can be short, and it must tie back to your introduction.

In your introduction, you stated the reason for your paper. In your conclusion, you want to summarize how your key points support your thesis.

  • By observing the balance of nature in her gardens, listening to lectures, and reading everything she can get her hands on about insects and native plants, Lucinda has grown passionate about natural balance. "It's easy to get passionate if you just take time to look," she says.

If you're still worried about your essay after trying on your own, consider hiring an essay editing service. Reputable services will edit your work, not rewrite it. Choose carefully. One service to consider is Essay Edge. EssayEdge.com

Good luck! Every essay will be easier.

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