Essay writing is as easy as ABC

Many people find essay writing intimidating; the task of putting down a few hundred words seems hopeless, and they're sure they can't do it properly. Really, though, writing an essay is as easy as ABC.

As long as you have access to the material you plan to write about - whether it's a subject you know or a book you want to discuss - writing a good essay is simply a matter of getting the structure right. Every essay has four basic parts, so let's look at each in turn and see exactly what should go there.

The Introduction

This is here to tell the reader what the essay will be about. It shouldn't go into any depth about the subject, but should contain a hook to grab the reader's interest right away. Try to come up with one or two sentences that will make them want to know what comes next.

The Thesis

Every essay should be based around a thesis, or idea. This can be a question that has to be answered, for example whether or not manned space flight is a worthwhile use of money. It can be a comparison, whether it's between two films or the performance of different economic systems. It can even just be a simple statement, such as that basket weaving is an interesting hobby or that William Golding's Lord of the Flies is an appalling book that has needlessly bored generations of schoolchildren.

The Body

The body is where arguments for and, if necessary against, the thesis are presented. Its structure will depend on the thesis. For a comparison it can either work point by point, taking each point in turn and looking at the two subjects compare, or in two blocks, with one subject described in the first block then the second subject both described and compared to the first. Otherwise it should be structured as two or more paragraphs, each dealing with one aspect of the topic. If discussing fly fishing, for example, have a paragraph about its origins, one about the equipment needed and a third about the best places to fish.

The Conclusion

The final paragraph should briefly restate the thesis then decide, based on the contents of the body, whether or not it is supported. If the essay is a comparison you should evaluate both subjects, perhaps by stating which you prefer. If it's a simple description of a hobby conclude with encouragement to the reader to try it themselves.

As you can see, the structure of an essay is not at all complicated; in fact it's very simple. As long as you either know or can research the subject it's just a matter of making headings for each section, noting what you want to put in each one then starting to write.

Posted by February 8th, 2013