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How to Write an Essay?

Essays are common in middle school, high school and college. You may even need to write essays in the business world (although they are usually called reports at that point). An essay is defined as a short piece of writing that expresses information as well as the writers opinion. Here are 10 Steps to win an essay competition.

1. Choose the Type of Essay:

The first step to writing an essay is to define what type of essay you are writing. There are four main categories into which essays can be grouped. Narrative Essay: Tell a story or impart information about your subject in a straightforward, orderly manner, like in a story. Persuasive Essay: Convince the reader about some point of view. Expository Essay: Explain to the reader how to do a given process. You could, for example, write an expository essay with step-by-step instructions on how to make a peanut butter sandwich. Descriptive Essay: Focus on the details of what is going on. For example, if you want to write a descriptive essay about your trip to the park, you would give great detail about what you experienced: how the grass felt beneath your feet, what the park benches looked like, and anything else the reader would need to feel as if he were there. Knowing what kind of essay you are trying to write can help you decide on a topic and structure your essay in the best way possible.

2. Brainstorm:

You cannot write an essay unless you have an idea of what to write about. Brainstorming is the process in which you come up with the essay topic. You need to simply sit and think of ideas during this phase. Write down everything that comes to mind as you can always narrow those topics down later. Use clustering or mind mapping to brainstorm and come up with an essay idea. This involves writing your topic or idea in the center of the paper and creating bubbles (clouds or clusters) of related ideas around it. Brainstorming can be a great way to develop a topic more deeply and to recognize connections between various facets of your topic. Once you have a list of possible topics, it is time to choose the best one that will answer the question posed for your essay. You want to choose a topic that is neither too broad nor too narrow. If you are given an assignment to write a one-page essay, it would be far too much to write about the history of the US, since that could fill entire volumes of books. Instead, you could write about a specific event within the history of the United States: perhaps signing the Declaration of Independence or when Columbus discovered the Americas. Choose the best topic idea from among your list and begin moving forward on writing your essay. But, before you move forward, take heed of these topics to avoid.

3. Research the Topic:

Once you have done your brainstorming and chosen your topic, you may need to do some research to write a good essay. Go to the library or search online for information about your topic. Interview people who might be experts in the subject. Keep your research organized so it will be easy for you to refer back to. This will also make it easier to cite your sources when writing your final essay.

4. Develop a Thesis:

Your thesis statement is the main point of your essay. It is essentially one sentence that says what the essay is about. For example, your thesis statement might be Dogs are descended from wolves. You can then use this as the basic premise to write your entire essay, remembering that all of the different points throughout need to lead back to this one main thesis. You should usually state your thesis in your introductory paragraph. The thesis statement should be broad enough that you have enough to say about it, but not so broad that you can not be thorough.

5. Outline Your Essay:

The next step is to outline what you are going to write about. This means you want to essentially draw the skeleton of your paper. Writing an outline can help to ensure your paper is logical, well organized and flows properly. If you have been tasked with an argumentative essay, here is the best formula for an Argumentative Essay Outline. Start by writing the thesis statement at the top, and then write a topic sentence for each paragraph below that. This means you should know exactly what each of your paragraphs is going to be about before you write them. Do not jumble too many ideas in each paragraph or the reader may become confused. Ensure you have transitions between paragraphs so the reader understands how the paper flows from one idea to the next.

6. Write the Essay:

Once you have an outline, it is time to start writing. Write based on the outline itself, fleshing out your basic skeleton to create a whole, cohesive and clear essay. You will want to edit and re-read your essay, checking to make sure it sounds exactly the way you want it to. Here are some things to remember: Revise for clarity, consistency, and structure. Support your thesis adequately with the information in your paragraphs. Each paragraph should have its own topic sentence. This is the most important sentence in the paragraph that tells readers what the rest of the paragraph will be about. Make sure everything flows together. As you move through the essay, transition words will be paramount. Transition words are the glue that connects every paragraph together and prevents the essay from sounding disjointed.

7. Check Spelling and Grammar:

Now the essay is written, but you are not quite done. Reread what you have written, looking out for mistakes and typos. Revise for technical errors. Check for grammar, punctuation and spelling errors. You cannot always count on spell check to recognize every spelling error. Sometimes, you can spell a word incorrectly but your misspelling will also be a word, such as spelling from as form. Another common area of concern is quotation marks. It is important to cite your sources with accuracy and clarity. Follow these guidelines on how to use quotes in essays and speeches. You might also want to consider the difference between quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing. Quoting is reserved for lines of text that are identical to an original piece of writing. Paraphrasing is reserved for large sections of someone else writing that you want to convey in your own words. Summarizing puts the main points from someone else text into your own words.

8. Provide a map of the content:

Finish the introduction with an overview of your essay’s structure. The overview should provide the reader with a general idea of what each section of your essay explores.

9. Length of the body text:

The length of the body depends on the type of essay. On average, the body comprises 60–80% of your essay. For a high school essay, this could be just three paragraphs, but for a graduate school essay of 6,000 words, the body could take up 8–10 pages.

10. Paragraph structure:

To give your essay a clear structure, it is important to make use of paragraphs and headings. This makes the content scannable and easy to digest. Each paragraph should be centred around just one argument or idea.

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