How To Write An Essay? – Where to start?

PPT Templates to write an essay

Writing is an essential skill every well-rounded human being needs to hone. However, it can be a challenging one to master, especially if you are more of a ‘talker’. That’s why so many students find essay writing to be quite a daunting chore during the first several years of college. Mostly because some don’t quite understand what this type of writing demands from you as an author. In this post, we’ll provide you with the proper structure you need to answer the question How To Write an Essay?

  1. What is an Essay?
  2. How to write an essay? – The Standard Essay Structure
    1. Essay Introductions
    2. Essay Body
    3. Essay conclusion
  3. What Are The Popular Types of Essays?
    1. Expository Essays
    2. Narrative Essays
    3. Descriptive Essays
    4. Persuasive Essays
  4. The Essay Outline
  5. Conclusions

What is an Essay?

One of the simplest and most succinct essay definitions comes from Frederick Crews, professor of English at the University of California at Berkeley:

“An essay is a fairly brief piece of nonfiction that tries to make a point interestingly.”

Let’s further unpack the different descriptors here:

  • Brevity whether you are a professional essay writer penning submissions to magazines and newspapers or just a student, you should remember this: essays are designed to be short. As an assignment, most essays don’t run longer than 3-4 pages.
  • Non-fiction an essay is a fact-based narrative, built using various arguments and counterarguments (more on essay format in the next sections!).
  • Opinionated the goal of most types of essays is to clearly communicate one (or several) key ideas to the reader.

These three qualities act as certain ‘constraints’ that shape the form of an essay as a type of literary form and academic assignment. These constraints turn to essay writing into an exercise in clarity, persuasion, consciousness, and analysis. Considering that not everyone excels in writing, some students initially find college essays somewhat challenging to master. But fret not, essay writing can come naturally with some targeted practice!

How to write an essay? – The Standard Essay Structure

As most essays assume a clear linear narrative, they mostly have the same structure opening, main body, and conclusions.

The only exception being a narrative essay, where it’s more common to have a story-like narrative flow that includes an introduction, plot, characters, setting, climax, and conclusion.

That being said, let’s take a look at the classical structure that you can use for all other types of essay outlines.

PowerPoint Templates Scene Essay Structure

Essay Introductions

So if you are wondering how to start an essay, it’s simple: you make a general introductory statement or a more creative hook (if the topic permits) a short sentence that immediately captures the readers’ attention and prompts them to dwell into reading. For example, the famous Pride and Prejudice novel start with a rather intriguing hook sentence:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

This one line immediately sets the narrative tone and prompts to further plot twists. You may not be Jane Austen, but you can still write powerful essay openings using a few simple techniques. Here’s what makes a good hook for an essay:

  • Quick dialogue
  • Unexpected statistic
  • Contested claim
  • Common misconception
  • Well-known quote
  • Short definition of the key term or problem

More formal types of academic essays such as literary analysis essays or rhetorical analysis essays may also require you to write a thesis statement (not to confuse with thesis presentation) in the introductory section.

A thesis statement in essay writing is a one-two sentence summary of your main ideas. It should clearly communicate what your essay is about and what’s your position in relation to the topic.

Essay Body

The body of your essay will be the longest section since it needs to accommodate all your main idea(s), supporting arguments (and counterarguments), and extra details on the subject.

To get done with your writing faster, you can create a personal essay template for yourself and then “fill in the gaps”:

Essay body:

  • Main Idea 1:
    • Supporting Point 1
      • Detail 1
      • Detail 2
  • Main Idea 2:
    • Supporting Point 2
      • Detail 1
      • Detail 2
    • Counterargument 1
      • Detail 1
      • Detail 2

By keeping the above structure in mind, you are guaranteed to get done with your writing faster!

Essay conclusion

Every essay must have a short concluding paragraph ‘3-5 sentences max’ that recaps your main discussion points and draws the conclusion on the topic.

Here are several proven ways to end an essay on a positive note:

  • Reiterate the points you’ve made in your thesis statement.
  • Summarize all the arguments you’ve discussed.
  • Draw a line and provide your final opinion.
  • Or, leave a creative open end by posting a question to the reader.

Now you have a general idea of how to write an essay!

Essay Structure PowerPoint Templates

What Are The Popular Types of Essays?

Conversely, most academic essay types can be categorized into four main groups, based on the writing mode they require you to assume as a writer. These include:

Expository Essays

An expository essay attempts to draw the reader’s attention to an important matter or explain a certain phenomenon to them such as a process, the benefits of certain actions, the necessity of certain policies, etc. In other words, the goal of such essays is to ‘expose’ the reader to something new and provide them with clear information on the matter.
Some of the common sub-types of expository essays include:

  • Informative essays as the name suggests, this essay type prompts you to describe an event, person, or place with a great level of detail, so that the audience becomes well-informed on the matter.
  • Compare and contrast essays essays, exploring two opposing phenomena (ideas), and showing how they differ and what they have in common.
  • Cause and effect essays attempt to depict how two (or more) events are connected. The goal of this essay type is to explain and analyze why or how something has occurred.
  • Synthesis essays are aimed at practicing analytical thinking and require you to explore one idea from multiple angles, and back up your findings with data from multiple sources.

Narrative Essays

Narrative essays fall into the category of creative writing and fill in the reader on some events that took place. Such essays need to have all the traditional elements of a story, plus encourage you to use first-person (unlike other types of essays):

  • Introduction that sets the tone of the narrative and preps the scene for subsequent events.
  • Plot with a clear narrative and consistent story arch that you keep throughout the narrative. A plot helps you ensure that your story goes somewhere.
  • Character(s) narrative essays can be first-person accounts or use characters to communicate the author’s point of view.
  • Climax the highest element in your narrative, a turning point where your essay reaches a certain development or resolution on something.
  • Conclusions these can be creative or formal ones, depending on how creative the remaining of your narrative is.

A good narrative essay example would be A Ticket to the Fair by David Foster Wallace, where the author expertly describes his vivid experience of being press at the Illinois State Fair. Apart from painting the picture for the reader and creating a sense of presence, Wallace also manages to communicate a subtle, but the recurrent point about how the East Coast views the Midwest.

The popular subtypes of narrative essays are:

  • Personal essays autobiographical nonfiction writing that’s often conversational and rather intimate.
  • Scholarship essays winning scholarship essays typically include a strong narrative linking the author’s experience to the values or knowledge that the particular university can provide.
  • Reflective essays prompt the author to explore their personal feelings, emotions, or experiences and provide a narrative about how either of these had cast an impact on their life.

PPT Templates 4 Steps Diagram Essays

Descriptive Essays

A descriptive essay encourages the writer to provide a vivid picture of some place, event, or person using vivid language and figurative forms of speeches such as metaphors, allegories, and analogies among others.

However, it’s important to note the writing descriptively does not always mean using “flowery” language. Take Hemingway as an example. He is well-known for being a brief, yet skillful writer that manages to effortlessly describe things using the most basic words. For example, here’s an excerpt from The Sun Also Rises:

“In the morning I walked down the Boulevard to the rue Soufflot for coffee and brioche. It was a fine morning. The horse-chestnut trees in the Luxembourg gardens were in bloom. There was the pleasant early-morning feeling of a hot day.”

This paragraph does not contain any metaphors or other complex language structures. Yet, it creates a rich scene for the reader, full of small details and observations. His writing style is rather matter-of-fact and direct, yet still highly descriptive!

Persuasive Essays

A strong persuasive essay pursues one clear goal convince the reader of the point you are trying to make as a writer. Typically, you are required to pick up a controversial essay topic and find strong arguments to influence the common line of thought on the matter.

You can learn more about this type of writing from our previous post on persuasive speech writing.

The most popular sub-type of persuasive writing is an argumentative essay. As an author of an argumentative essay you are challenged to collect main points and counterpoints from multiple sources, and then apply critical thinking skills to synthesize a narrative that defends the key point that you are trying to make.

Typically, the body of the argumentative essay will include several paragraphs that support your key argument (thesis statement), made in the introduction, and then a concluding paragraph that summarizes your reading. All the arguments should be presented in a clear, coherent matter and connected with one another using essay transition words such as ‘additionally’, ‘as well’ ‘equally’, ‘furthermore’ and so on.

The Essay Outline

Once you understood what an essay is, which is the basic structure, and what type of essay will you be writing, it is important to create your essay outline. Think of this document as a summary of your essay. It will contain the mentioned sections and elements of the essay structure but in a condensed form. This means you will be listing elements and ideas withing the structure, before of deep diving into it. Creating the essay outline is a critical step in order to organize the ideas. It will help you collect the evidence and examples in an ordered fashion and will improve your arguments,

Follow the essay outline scene

Conclusions

Essay writing is a skill every university student will have to master. While writing comes naturally to some people, others can also learn to craft great stories and build up persuasive narratives with some targeted practice! Remember: the key is understanding what type of essay you are planning to write and then using the appropriate structure and writing techniques to organize your main ideas and arguments and glue them together with transition words. Stop wondering how to write an essay ? Just start with the structure and put your writing skills into practice.

1. Essay Outline PowerPoint Template

How to Write an Essay PowerPoint Template

Want to start with the right foot in your essay pitch? Are our you researching how to write an essay ? Download the Essay Outline PowerPoint Template and create an Essay Outline that will help you structure and organize the information using best practices. The PowerPoint Template of Essay Outline is designed using layouts that contemplate text and images, in a way that can be used as a shareable document rather than only a presentation to be displayed in a screen.

Use This Template

2. 4-Item Target Diagram for PowerPoint

Need to create professional infographics for your PowerPoint Presentation ? Use the 4-Item Target Diagram for PowerPoint to display four elements in a visual appealing fashion. Inforaphics represent data or context in a way that can be visually interpreted. PowerPoint Diagrams are ideal for this purpose, as you can easily edit placeholders with your own data or context information, apply your theme and you are ready to go. In this How To Write An Essay post we described the four Essay Types with this diagram, providing a visual summary of our content, making it ready for an Types of Essay presentation.

Use This Template

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