15 proven essay writing tips for beginners and experts
Tips to write a good essay
“Every challenge presents an opportunity to learn”
Writing essays has been the mainstay of our school and college life and most of the students find this task a tedious affair due to dearth of creative writing skills, lack of planning and the information related to the topic. Therefore, this article aims to simplify the mammoth task of drafting an essay by incorporating simple and valueable tips which will enable a person to write clear and cohesive essays, useful for both beginners and advanced levels.
Effective essay writing tips
- Decide the essay type:
Academic essays are generally divided into five categories:
- Narrative essay: A simple and straightforward story. For instance, Your first day at school
- Persuasive essay: Also known as an argumentative essay where logical reasoning is used to provide legitimacy to your point of view. For example, Should non vegetarian food be banned?
- Descriptive essay: An essay genere that requires a student to describe an object, person, place, experience or an emotion. For instance, A memorable trip.
- Problem and solution essay: Gives the description about an issue and the student has to suggest the possible solutions.
- Compare and contrast essay: Highlights the same aspects and the subtle differences between the two subjects. To cite an example, Nazism vs fascism
- Read a lot
For writing an impressive essay, possessing the relevant information regarding the topic is a must. Hence, it is advised to read as much as possible about the relevant topic. Moreover, diverse essay categories require different styles of writing and the skill sets that can only be gained while exposing yourself to the variety of topics and genres. What is more, reading the content will facilitate the readers in encountering the usage of complex sentences and variety of words and phrases. Remember, ardent readers make better writers.
- Brainstorm for ideas
Writing an essay without brainstorming for ideas is the biggest mistake that students commit. It is the process of generating ideas pertaining to a particular topic. The best way to brainstorm is via mind-mapping in which just write your main topic in the center of the paper and drawing clouds of ideas around it.
- Research the topic
After drawing the mind map, you can do some research on the topic with the help of online resources and essay books. Sometimes we are not familiar with the topic so, this process of going through various relevant texts will fill your mind with ideas and even introduce us to whole new perspectives never thought before.
Most of the students are of the opinion that planning is just a waste of time and usually skip this step as their focus is to start writing instantly after reading the topic statement. Nonetheless, this step will assist you in structuring your essay in a proper manner and make it more coherent.
Just devote a few minutes after having an in-depth understanding of the topic. Furthermore, an essay plan can simply be the list of ideas and the words you need to paraphrase to avoid repetition.
- Be creative
Each individual has a different perspective about a particular topic due to the different thought process, Therefore, rely on your own viewpoint instead of copying others for engaging and impressive content. If you are unable to think of relevant points only then depend on others for the main points. Showcase your creative writing skills wherever possible to gain extra marks.
- Appropriate grammar
The key to an incredible essay is the correct and suitable usage of grammatical structures in English such as tenses, verb forms, punctuation, sentence structure and other parts of the sentence.
- Apt vocabulary
The choice of words is critical component of essay writing since the right words can enable you to communicate your ideas in an effective manner and customized according to the audience type. Furthermore, to boost your word power it is advisable to create a word bank that consists of word lists of various topics and domains such as environment, sports, politics, law, education, health and so on.
- A correct mix of sentences
An important attribute of a well written essay is the optimum usage of simple compound and complex sentences. Excess use of any of the sentence types can lead to the reader losing interest in the essay. Moreover, the key to keep the readers engaged is to make use of simple and short sentences which also reduce the chances of committing grammatical errors.
- Avoiding irrelevant ideas
Some essays are loaded with plethora of unrelated information which usually happens when the writer deviates from the provided topic. Therefore, it is advised to stick to the topic and not include unnecessary information to increase the word limit. Always keep in mind that Quality matters more than quality. By adopting these simple and easy steps you can increase the length of your essay without adding irrelevant ideas.
- Include relevant examples: Support your arguments by citing strongly related examples that can include statistical figures and can also be derived from the real life situations.
- Abstain from using the short forms: In academic essays, the usage of shortened words or contractions like shouldn’t and don’t. Similarly, in the case of numbers use spellings instead of numerals.
- Include expert quotes: Research for appropriate and top quality sayings that can fit in your write-up which will be helpful in raising the word count. Remember to cite the resources and quotes in the references and bibliography.
- Include more description: Try to figure out those areas that can be made longer by the addition of more details.
- Include both the sides of an argument
Unless specified, covering both the positive and the negative aspects of the argument is considered ideal in writing complex and long essays. Even if you have to choose a specific side of the argument, but by listing the points pertaining to both the aspects side by side you can develop your thesis.
Let us understand this with the help of an example. Suppose, you are writing an essay about the detrimental effects of mobile phone on our health, explore both the benefits and the ill effects of the cell phones to provide a clear understanding of the points you need to focus upon and enrich yourself with more vocabulary to include in your draft.
- Create topic sentences
A topic sentence is the beginning sentence in the paragraph that is instrumental in giving a summary of the rest of the paragraphs . Hence, it is advised to formulate these sentences to ensure you stick to the topic while writing the paragraphs.
For the thesis “Mobile phones have negative effects on our health” the topic sentence can be “The harmful radiations emanating from the screen weaken our eyesight”.
- Curiosity pays
When the topic is assigned to you, just ask a lot of questions to yourself to formulate the thesis statement. More questions asked will result in the accumulation of ample amount of information such as quotes, vocabulary and other resources to begin the process of essay writing.
For instance, if you are writing about ‘A balanced diet’ then you can ask questions like “What are the components of a balanced diet” and “What steps an individual take to adopt this diet in the daily routine”.
- Stick to the format
A typical essay format includes three constituents;
The purpose of giving an introduction fulfills the objectives of grabbing the reader’s attention and to apprise them of the things which will be covered in an essay. It is the first paragraph of an essay and comprises of about 15-20% of the text.
Step 1: Hook your reader by inciting curiosity: This can be done by a beginning sentence called ‘the hook’. It can be a question, a quote, a shocking statistic or a bold statement emphasizing the topic’s relevance.
Let’s say you are writing an essay about the impact of smart phones, the opening sentence could be something like this:
|In this technological era, smart phones have become an indispensible component of human life|
Step 2: Develop the context: After attaining the attention it is imperative to prepare a background to make reader comprehend your argument. This can be achieved by giving the background information and to build on the ‘hook sentence’. Don’t provide too much detail in this portion.
Step 3: Form a thesis statement: Also called as the central argument, a thesis statement is that which outlines the summary of the main point, an argument or a claim of an essay. It is usually one or two sentences long and is developed, supported and explained in the body paragraphs with the help of examples and evidence. For instance,
|In my viewpoint, mobile phones have both positive and negative effects on an individual.|
Step 4: Overview statement: This statement forms the last part of the introduction paragraph and contains the general idea of the composition of the body paragraphs let’s look at an example
|This essay will look at both the positive and negative aspects of the usage of mobile phones and support the arguments with suitable examples.|
Body of an essay
The body constitutes the majority portion of an essay. It comprises of the arguments or the points supporting the thesis that has been written in the introduction. On an average the length of the body paragraph forms approximately 60-70% of the essay. In a high school it can be two or three paragraphs on the contrary in research based essays at college level it can be 2000 words to 6000 words long.
Components of a typical essay body paragraphs
To cite an example, consider the following paragraph:-
|To begin, the most prominent advantage of using mobile phones in our daily routine is that this device has made our life convenient by providing most of the facilities with just a tap of a finger. To elaborate, a person can accomplish all the major tasks such as tickets and hotel bombings, ordering food, purchasing groceries and online shopping with the help of various mobile application and websites. As a result carrying out the major tasks and activities has become easy and simplified and we do not have to go to the shops and outlets as in few years ago. For instance, mobile applications such as Paytm and Google Pay enable a user to avail a hot of amenities ranging from online payments to booking movie tickets via the app.|
The conclusion is the last or the final paragraph of the essay. It should not make up more than 10-15% of the total word count. A strong conclusion should NOT include the following features:-
- Do not treat it as a repetition of an introduction.
- Do not add new points, arguments and suggestions in this paragraph. In other words do not add new information in it.
- Not just a summary of the body paragraphs
Instead, a conclusion should incorporate the following :-
- Explore the wider ramifications and significance of the topic.
- Connects the arguments specified in the essay body.
- Lay stress on the relevance and significance of the thesis statement for the policymakers, academicians and the world as a whole.
A sample conclusion:-
|To conclude, mobile phones affect the human lives in both positive and negative ways as it has made our life easy by bringing a host of applications which can perform a variety of tasks. On the contrary, the addiction of this gadget has had an adverse impact on our health especially the eyes.|
- Proof reading at the end
After completion of the essay, many students do not consider proofreading worthy of their time as they are in a hurry to submit their draft. This process should be made the final step in the essay writing process because of the following reasons:-
- Going through your content provides a final polish to your essay.
- It can save you from the negative feedback as you can rectify most of the errors that are mostly grammatical in nature.
- It guarantees professionalism.
- It saves both time and effort.
Look out for the common errors especially the spellings and the grammatical ones. In addition to these incorrect use of words such as to, too, there/their etcetera.
- Read slowly.
- Search for the errors that are common.
- Watch out for the incorrect spellings, punctuation and capitalization of the names and the terms used in the specific domains.
Check for Plagiarism
A person who is passionate about writing never copies the content of other writers. So, formulate your own content that specifies your thoughts and opinion on a certain topic and write according to a fixed format that is apt for that kind of essays.
At the end, the only way to develop excellent essay writing skills is to implement the entire above mentioned essay writing tips in the practice. Write on a variety of topics to understand each and every component of various essay types. Practice is the way forward!!!
All the best for your writing endeavors!!!!