What's new

Writing General Tips on Essay Writing

C

Casp

Retired
Retired
Messages
2,977
Reaction score
6,073
My high school has turned essay writing into a science, and I have had the unfortunate experience of writing far too many of them. As a result, however, I have learned a thing or two about writing an effective essay, and I would like to try to share my tips with you.
An essay, in essence, is just a linear structure of cohesive thoughts used to prove some specific point, or get a message across. A simple essay is structured into a five-paragraph format, but more advanced essays can vary with regard to length. Even though I don't have the luxury of being able to write brief, five-paragraph essays, this thread will mostly cater to that type of writing. Keep in mind, however, that extended essays just have more body paragraphs that require more material. Most times, three paragraphs of body content are not enough to sufficiently get the point across. While I will cater to a five-paragraph format for the sake of brevity, I strongly encourage that you do not consider five paragraphs a limit nor an excuse to write flash essays.

The general layout of an essay is divided into five paragraphs: An introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
The introduction:

An introductory paragraph should attract the reader to the topic and make them want to proceed with your essay. Obviously, this paragraph should have some sort of definitive or bold statement that is followed by some sort of opinionated statement or well-proven statistic. In the latter half of this paragraph, you should introduce your thesis, which is a statement that lets the reader know what exactly you're writing about. It is a definitive statement that introduces your position and will give the reader a good idea regarding the composition of your ideas. The thesis shouldn't be a simple, five-or-six-word sentence. It should be a complete, coherent thought that gives the reader a clear idea of what to expect. Since this is an attention-grabbing paragraph, it would greatly benefit you to avoid using passive voice. If you're not sure what passive voice is, here is an example:
"This thread was made by me." - Passive voice.
"I made this thread." - Active voice.
You see how much more effective and definitive that second sentence is? Not only does active voice grab the attention of the reader, it also makes your wording significantly less clunky. Passive voice is generally not very pleasing to read, so try to avoid it if you can. This is your most paragraph, as it gives the reader a general idea as to how you write. If the opening paragraph is clumsy and unpolished, chances are the reader is going to tune out before he/she has even gotten to the meat of your essay.

The body paragraphs:
These paragraphs are where you introduce your examples to support your thesis. The general plan of action is to use one paragraph per point, and you need to squeeze every last drop out of that paragraph. A paragraph is a very small sample of text, and the general five-sentence structure probably won't be enough to sufficiently get a point across. You will need to introduce your point/example and explain how it ties back to your thesis in a concise, pristine fashion. Do not become wordy to extend the length of your paragraph. Obviously, quality does not depend on quantity. You only need to write as much as necessary to make all of your examples relevant. You do not need to make any comments regarding the relevancy of your examples, as that deflates the efficacy of them tenfold. Introduce an example, back it up, explain how it's relevant, and move on. While this is a simple process to plan out, it is not necessarily a simple process to execute. One paragraph could take anywhere from five to fifteen sentences to write, so don't think that each paragraph should be three sentences long. That is nowhere near enough to sufficiently explain cited examples.
Your body paragraphs should not simply be scattered ideas, however. This kind of writing turns your essay into a Jackson Pollack painting and not a cohesive piece. I would advise brainstorming all of your potential ideas and laying them out in a separate document. Arrange those points into a logical sequence that will be coherent. These points should be presented in a fashion that makes your point very clear.
For purposes of properly polishing your essay (how alliterative), the first and last sentences of each paragraph should be able to tie in to the preceding and proceeding paragraphs, respectively. Creating smooth segues into each paragraph will make your paper much more refined, and it will avoid taking the reader out of your piece with jarring topical shifts. Perhaps try using transitional terms ("in addition," "in a similar way") to make this easier on you. If your points don't quite cohere, then there is something wrong with the examples you have chosen.
It's not necessarily required, but I would suggest that the most potent example be introduced in the last body paragraph. A general buildup of ideas should lead to something effective, just like in a movie. You know how in The Sixth Sense there is a long buildup to something, but the payoff is definitely worth the long wait? Incorporate that concept into your essay. If you buildup to the most powerful example and then finish with a strong conclusion, your reader will be primarily left with the feeling those concluding paragraphs left them. Even if the rest of your essay sucked, leaving the reader with two powerful ending paragraphs will profoundly benefit you.

The conclusion:
As stated above, the conclusion is the last paragraph your reader will be left with, and it will be their final impression of your paper. Don't screw it up. Your conclusion should deftly summarize everything you've introduced with your preceding paragraphs and tie it all in to definitively prove your thesis statement. You need to clearly demonstrate how you have proven your initial point. While you've surely repeated your thesis statement many times within your body paragraphs, don't take this as a redundancy that needs to be omitted. Since the entire purpose of your paper is this thesis statement (and also a good grade), you really need to hammer the point home. Subtlety belongs in creative pieces. You can try using a few key words from your introductory paragraph, but don't copy entire sentences. Finish your concluding paragraph off with a final sentence that drives your entire essay to one point, and try your hardest to make it as effective as possible. Definitely incorporate your thesis into that sentence, and try to paint your thesis in a way that makes it seem obvious. If you write your point in such a way that makes it seem like it's evident, then your reader will adopt this mindset, and that is the entire purpose of writing an essay.

A few tips to improve your writing:
  • Refer to this thread if you need grammatical assistance.
  • Avoid first person (I/me/we) at all costs. Try to use the third-person singular pronoun "one" instead. ("One would think essay writing wouldn't be this horrible.")
  • Avoid directly referring to the reader by using second-person ("you.")
  • Do not be redundant with your speech. If you find yourself using a word within two or three sentences after initially employing it, think of a synonym to use there instead.
  • Keep verb tense consistent. Don't write things like, "He made a topic, read a book, and goes outside." While it's easy to lose track of what verb tense you introduced, you absolutely need to do so. That sentence is incredibly clunky because it uses past tense for two verbs, and abruptly switches to present tense. When formulating a sentence like this, find one verb tense and stick to it. However, if your sentences reads like, "He went outside, he's currently reading a book, and he will go get dinner later," that's perfectly fine, since the tenses are clearly referring to different points of time and they are introduced in a fashion that makes this evident.
  • It is one thing to prove a general statement, but it is another thing entirely to use opposing viewpoints to further prove the aforementioned statement. Acknowledge stances that contradict the one you're trying to prove, and attempt to use them to your advantage. Prove the others wrong, and in turn, prove yourself correct.
  • Don't get wordy. While there is nothing wrong with extending your vocabulary a little bit, don't intentionally shoehorn terms that you're not sure how to use. Don't try to impress your reader like this, because you will certainly misuse a term and look like a goof instead.
  • As stated above, avoiding passive voice and the verb "to be," if you can.
  • When using quotations, clearly introduce the quotation and its purpose for being in your essay. Don't just throw a quotation in without context.
  • In addition, try to use quotations sparingly. While they are certainly effective in proving your point with third-party sources, there comes a point where quotations become filler, then become plagiarism. If you can effectively use a small number of quotations to prove a point, you're on the right track.
  • Proofread your essay out loud. You will easily be able to pick up on any misspellings or grammatical mistakes by doing this.
If there's anything else I should add, feel free to suggest things. I've certainly missed a thing or two, since there's no 100% objective way to write an essay. Most essays vary, and I definitely didn't cover every topic. If you don't feel entirely confident about your essay, feel free to send it my way. While I will not write an entire essay for you, I will correct it to the best of my ability. Nobody's perfect, though, so send it to more people than just me. I would also advise referring to Feyfolken's magnificently crafted thread for people that want to join the MSB crew.

Any questions or comments, feel free to run them by me.
 
C

Comit

Experienced Member
Messages
2,528
Reaction score
1,658
*Saves for future essays*

I currently take ACE 2 (AP) Language arts and they expect a lot from us and we get little to no help. This will help me a **** ton.

Thank you, C Casp
 
X

xJet Gaming

COD/GTA 5 Hoster :P
Messages
217
Reaction score
94
I'm just seeing this but knowing that this site isn't just for modding its also for teaching basically is awesome! Like this really blows my mind.
 
A

Aydind

Super Moderator
Super Moderators
Messages
12,013
Reaction score
14,201
Great tips. What an outstanding writer you are...
 
F

flexomob

Newbie
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
I used to always believe that writing a text is easy and doesn't require much effort. But when I started doing it professionally, I realized how hard it's and it requires certain knowledge and skills for high quality
 
M

Muller21QQQ

Newbie
Messages
6
Reaction score
1
I used to always believe that writing a text is easy and doesn't require much effort. But when I started doing it professionally, I realized how hard it's and it requires certain knowledge and skills for high quality
Truthfully, this isn't difficult. It is enough for you to delve into the topic, concentrate, and turn on your imagination. Then it all depends on your creativity, how diverse you will be able to compose the text. For example, this is what helped me write a good text. Although sometimes there are days when it's very difficult to concentrate and at such moments there are no thoughts in your head. In these cases, I get out of this situation by using a cheap service for writing high-quality texts at https://edubirdie.com/cheap-dissertation-writing-services who has never helped me out before. In a short period of time, they manage to write a great text that will definitely be good and will appeal to everyone
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom