Often, having failed to cope with an essay, students think that they do not have the skill for writing. But an academic essay is an assignment with particular rules. That’s why writing a great essay involves more than just skill – it requires mental discipline. In addition, academic essays are a fundamentally scalable genre. That is why, in some academic traditions, writing essays is a key element of the educational process: essays are written every week because having learned how to make a five-paragraph essay, you understand how you can adapt this knowledge to a term paper, coursework, or dissertation writing. If you are having difficulty writing a paper, then the first option is to buy a college essay, and the second one is to follow the recommendations in this article.
1. Academic essay structure
Usually, the introduction is about 5-7 sentences. The introduction can be longer if necessary but no more than a fifth of the whole paper. You can use hooks in the introduction – these are all sorts of interesting things. Your introduction should include a thesis statement.
- The thesis does not have to be announced (“my essay is about…” “my thesis is that…”). If you have chosen a successful thesis statement and formulated it convincingly, the reader will understand that this is a thesis.
- There is no need to replace the thesis statement with a specific fact. A thesis statement is a judgment that must be proven to be true.
- Control both parts of the thesis (topic + defining idea). Accidental replacement of any part of the thesis threatens a logical error (loss of the thesis statement).
If the length of the essay allows, part of the introduction may include:
- Methodology. If your main methods are dialectics or comparison, then it is better not to prescribe the methodology at all.
- The state of the research field. However, it is not necessary to describe all the relevant research. You can single out two or three viewpoints that clearly conflict with each other, and indicate your position in this conflict.
- Outline. Of course, in case you need to write a short paper, then the outline is not needed. But if you write a long paper, you can fix for the reader how you will disclose the topic.
Nothing occurs in the introduction as often as “born … lived … died…” – and only very rarely is this biographical information justified. You are not writing an article for Wikipedia.
In the essay, there is generally no unnecessary information included. Each paragraph plays its own role, understandable to the reader.
While you are learning, you should make it a rule to present exceptionally strong paragraphs in the main body of your essay.
- The topic sentence is a “small thesis” of the paragraph.
- Details (for example, a quote) and examples are always subject to the thesis statement and rationale.
- The conclusion should summarize the paragraph and make the transition to the next paragraph as a semantic unit (for example, through keywords).
Sometimes it happens that you have a quote or example that you think is perfect to support your thesis. This quote or example cannot be presented to the reader just like that: you need to write a strong paragraph, that is, present your rationale and a topic sentence, and then present a conclusion.
Support the cohesion of your text.
- Watch the coherence of the text. However, do not try to replace the transitions with unnecessary information.
- Do not lose sight of your essay thesis. This is a mistake, and in addition, poses a threat of writing an essay with unnecessary information.
- Use introductory words (firstly, secondly, in this way, at the same time, however, therefore, nevertheless, etc.).
Use the topic and focus technique.
There are simple techniques to achieve a coherent text. For example, the rule of topic and focus: a sentence consists of already known information (topic) and new, added information (focus), which, as the narrative/argumentation develops, itself becomes a topic. This sets a certain rhythm for the narrative: new becomes known and new is added, and again new becomes known and new is added, etc.
- The topic and focus technique does not necessarily coincide with the grammatical subject and predicate.
- Focus is usually, but not always, placed after the topic. The criterion for determining the composition of both topic and focus is the question that can be posed to the sentence.
- The topic is not necessary known information.
- Reintroduce the main thesis statement of your paper.
- Summarize all main arguments.
- It is not necessary to offer new information in the final part of your essay. If, at the stage of writing the conclusion, a new idea occurs to you, it deserves a place in the main body of the paper. In this case, you should revise the main body and find a suitable place for it there.
- Your conclusion indicates that the essay is over. This does not mean that you have to announce the completion of the essay (such as “I’m concluding here”).
The requirements for formatting may differ, so we will limit ourselves to indicating only the most general principles.
- Quoting and paraphrasing (quotes and footnote)
- When presenting another’s words or ideas, you must make it clear to your reader that these are not your words or ideas. Even if you have squeezed a large part of someone else’s text, you need to make a footnote. The text does not become yours because you carefully worked it out.
- Links to entire books and articles are a mistake. If you use a specific statement or a specific idea: specify a page or a range of pages.
- With rare exceptions, texts do not spontaneously originate on the Internet. Linking to a digital version (no pages) if there is a printed version (with pages) is a bad option.
Correct grammar and punctuation
To get started, find a grammar checker and use it in all disputable cases. You can check the written essay in the Grammarly service. Beware of paronyms!
Not understanding how to write a good academic essay is common for many students. However, we hope that this article has made everything clear to you. Following our suggestions, it is possible to write a good essay. Good luck!