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10 Great Essay Writing Tips
Knowing how to write a college essay is a useful skill for anyone who plans to go to college. Most colleges and universities ask you to submit a writing sample with your application. As a student, you’ll also write essays in your courses. Impress your professors with your knowledge and skill by using these great essay writing tips.
Prepare to Answer the Question
Most college essays ask you to answer a question or synthesize information you learned in class. Review notes you have from lectures, read the recommended texts and make sure you understand the topic. You should refer to these sources in your essay.
Plan Your Essay
Many students see planning as a waste of time, but it actually saves you time. Take a few minutes to think about the topic and what you want to say about it. You can write an outline, draw a chart or use a graphic organizer to arrange your ideas. This gives you a chance to spot problems in your ideas before you spend time writing out the paragraphs.
Choose a Writing Method That Feels Comfortable
You might have to type your essay before turning it in, but that doesn’t mean you have to write it that way. Some people find it easy to write out their ideas by hand. Others prefer typing in a word processor where they can erase and rewrite as needed. Find the one that works best for you and stick with it.
View It as a Conversation
Writing is a form of communication, so think of your essay as a conversation between you and the reader. Think about your response to the source material and the topic. Decide what you want to tell the reader about the topic. Then, stay focused on your response as you write.
Provide the Context in the Introduction
If you look at an example of an essay introduction, you’ll see that the best essays give the reader a context. Think of how you introduce two people to each other. You share the details you think they will find most interesting. Do this in your essay by stating what it’s about and then telling readers what the issue is.
Explain What Needs to be Explained
Sometimes you have to explain concepts or define words to help the reader understand your viewpoint. You also have to explain the reasoning behind your ideas. For example, it’s not enough to write that your greatest achievement is running an ultra marathon. You might need to define ultra marathon and explain why finishing the race is such an accomplishment.
Answer All the Questions
After you finish writing the first draft of your essay, make sure you’ve answered all the questions you were supposed to answer. For example, essays in compare and contrast format should show the similarities and differences between ideas, objects or events. If you’re writing about a significant achievement, describe what you did and how it affected you.
Stay Focused as You Write
Writing requires concentration. Find a place where you have few distractions and give yourself time to write without interruptions. Don’t wait until the night before the essay is due to start working on it.
Read the Essay Aloud to Proofread
When you finish writing your essay, read it aloud. You can do this by yourself or ask someone to listen to you read it. You’ll notice places where the ideas don’t make sense, and your listener can give you feedback about your ideas.
Avoid Filling the Page with Words
A great essay does more than follow an essay layout. It has something to say. Sometimes students panic and write everything they know about a topic or summarize everything in the source material. Your job as a writer is to show why this information is important.
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Tips for writing short essays
Short essays usually involve answering a question related to course content and could be anywhere from 200 words to 750 words long, depending on the professor’s guidelines. The most challenging part of writing a short essay is the length, as you need to select the most important information to cover.
Steps 1-5 Introduction Argument Quotations Conclusion Step 6
Steps 1-5 of 6
1. What are you asked to do?
- Consider the question you have to answer/discuss
- See if it can be broken into parts; make sure to cover each part in your answer
2. Brainstorm the arguments and points you feel would best answer the question
3. Choose two or three of the strongest points; develop a supporting point/example/reference/argument for each
4. Create an outline to structure these points and link them to the supporting information
5. Write a draft
- Get straight to the point
- Introduce your thesis (main argument); incorporate the language of the question to frame your thesis
- Include a sentence that previews the points you will discuss
- Keep it short
- Be specific
- Provide minimal contextual detail
- Stay on topic
- Deal with points in the same order as they are listed in your preview sentence
- Use a clear topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph to introduce and summarize the paragraph’s point
- Ensure that the key words in the topic sentence echo the words used in your preview sentence so that the reader can see where and how your argument is progressing
- Use sentences, not bulleted points
- Choose quotations carefully—only use them if they back up your points, and do not quote too much (5-10% of paper at most)
- Always document your sources, even if they came from class readings
- Briefly sum up your argument and relate it to your thesis
Step 6 - revise and edit your draft:
- Be direct and concise; remove repetition; make every word count
- Stick to your topic: if there is an idea in your paper that does not serve to answer the question, remove it
- Check grammar and punctuation by reading the draft aloud
- Ensure you have documented all sources fully and correctly
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How to Write a Short Essay
Last Updated: May 22, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 102,878 times.
Essay writing is a common assignment in high school or college courses, especially within the humanities. You’ll also be asked to write essays for college admissions and scholarships. In a short essay (250-500 words), you will need to provide an introduction with a thesis, a body, and a conclusion, as you would with a longer essay. Depending on the essay requirements, you may also need to do academic or online research to find sources to back up your claims.
Picking a Topic and Gathering Research
- If you have any questions about the topic, ask your instructor. If your essay doesn't respond to the prompt, you likely won't receive full credit.
- If you're writing an essay for an in-class test or for an application, tailor the essay to the given prompt and topic. Quickly brainstorm a few ideas; for example, think of positive things you can say about yourself for a college-entrance essay.
- For example, the topic “depression in American literature” is far too broad. Narrow down your topic to something like “Willie Loman’s depression in Death of a Salesman .”
- Or, you could write about a narrow topic like “the increase in the USA’s national debt in the 1950s” rather than a broad topic like “the American economy in the 20th century.”
- Depending on the field in which you’re writing the essay—e.g., hard sciences, sociology, humanities, etc.—your instructor will direct you towards appropriate databases. For example, if you’re writing a high-school or college-level essay for your English class, visit online literary databases like JSTOR, LION, and the MLA Bibliography.
- If you're writing the essay for a college or graduate-school application, it's unlikely that you'll need to include any secondary sources.
- If you're writing a timed or in-class essay, you may not be able to find research articles. But, still do draw information from texts and sources you've studied both in and out of class, and build from points made in any provided reading passages.
- If you’re writing about current events or journalism topics, read articles from well-known news sites like CNN or the BBC.
- Avoid citing unreliable websites like blogs or any sites that have a clear bias about the topic they’re reporting on.
Composing the Essay
- If you write the essay without outlining, the essay will be poorly organized.
- This thesis statement is far too weak: “ Death of a Salesman shows the difficulty of living in America after WWII.”
- Instead, hone your thesis to something like: “Arthur Miller uses Death of a Salesman to show that the American Dream is materialist and impractical.”
- So, avoid beginning the paragraph by writing something like, “Since the beginning of time, all people have been consumed with the desire for their father’s approval.”
- Instead, write something like, “In the play Death of a Salesman , Willie Loman’s sons compete for their father’s approval through various masculine displays."
- Then, you can say, "To examine this topic, I will perform a close reading of several key passages of the play and present analyses by noted Arthur Miller scholars."
- In a short essay, the conclusion should do nothing more than briefly restate your main claim and remind readers of the evidence you provided.
- So, take the example about Death of a Salesman . The first body paragraph could discuss the ways in which Willie’s sons try to impress him.
- The second body paragraph could dive into Willie’s hopelessness and despair, and the third paragraph could discuss how Miller uses his characters to show the flaws in their understanding of the American Dream.
- Always cite your sources so you avoid charges of plagiarism. Check with your instructor (or the essay prompt) and find out what citation style you should use.
- For example, if you’re summarizing the inflation of the American dollar during the 1930s, provide 2 or 3 years and inflation-rate percentages. Don’t provide a full-paragraph summary of the economic decline.
- If you're writing an in-class essay and don't have time to perform any research, you don't need to incorporate outside sources. But, it will impress your teacher if you quote from a reading passage or bring up pertinent knowledge you may have gained during the class.
- If no one agrees to read the essay, read over your own first draft and look for errors or spots where you could clarify your meaning. Reading the essay out loud often helps, as you’ll be able to hear sentences that aren’t quite coherent.
- This step does not apply to essays written during a timed or in-class exam, as you won't be able to ask peers to read your work.
- It’s always a mistake to submit an unrevised first draft, whether for a grade, for admissions, or for a scholarship essay.
- However, if you're writing an essay for a timed exam, it's okay if you don't have enough time to combine multiple drafts before the time runs out.
Condensing Your Essay
- So, if you’re writing about Death of a Salesman , an article about symbolism in Arthur Miller’s plays would be useful. But, an article about the average cost of Midwestern hotels in the 1940s would be irrelevant.
- If you’re writing a scholarship essay, double-check the instructions to clarify what types of sources you’re allowed to use.
- A common cliche you might find in an essay is a statement like, "I'm the hardest working student at my school."
- For example, this sentence is too verbose: “I have been a relentlessly stellar student throughout my entire high school career since I am a seriously dedicated reader and thoroughly apply myself to every assignment I receive in class.”
- Shortened, it could read: “I was a stellar student throughout my high school career since I was a dedicated reader and applied myself to every assignment I received.”
- Avoid writing something like, “Willie Loman can be seen as having achieved little through his life because he is not respected by his sons and is not valued by his co-workers.”
- Instead, write, “Arthur Miller shows readers that Willie’s life accomplishments have amounted to little. Willie’s sons do not look up to him, and his co-workers treat him without respect.”
- For example, if you’re trying to prove that WWII pulled the USA out of the Great Depression, focus strictly on an economic argument.
- Avoid bringing in other, less convincing topics. For example, don’t dedicate a paragraph to discussing how much it cost the USA to build fighter jets in 1944.
Short Essay Template and Example
- When composing the text of your essay, resist the temptation to pull words from a thesaurus in an attempt to sound academic or intelligent. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- If your high school or college has an online or in-person writing center, schedule an appointment. Taking advantage of this type of service can improve your essay and help you recognize structural or grammatical problems you would not have noticed otherwise. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/common_writing_assignments/research_papers/choosing_a_topic.html
- ↑ https://monroecollege.libguides.com/c.php?g=589208&p=4072926
- ↑ https://www.utep.edu/extendeduniversity/utepconnect/blog/march-2017/4-ways-to-differentiate-a-good-source-from-a-bad-source.html
- ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/essay-outline/
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/thesis-statements/
- ↑ https://libguides.newcastle.edu.au/how-to-write-an-essay/essay-introduction
- ↑ https://lsa.umich.edu/sweetland/undergraduates/writing-guides/how-do-i-write-an-intro--conclusion----body-paragraph.html
- ↑ https://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/essay-structure
- ↑ https://mlpp.pressbooks.pub/writingsuccess/chapter/8-3-drafting/
- ↑ https://www.trentu.ca/academicskills/how-guides/how-write-university/how-approach-any-assignment/writing-english-essay/using-secondary
- ↑ https://patch.com/michigan/berkley/bp--how-to-shorten-your-college-essay-without-ruining-it
- ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/style/ccs_activevoice/
- ↑ https://wordcounter.net/blog/2016/01/26/101025_how-to-reduce-essay-word-count.html
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The Beginner's Guide to Writing an Essay | Steps & Examples
An academic essay is a focused piece of writing that develops an idea or argument using evidence, analysis, and interpretation.
There are many types of essays you might write as a student. The content and length of an essay depends on your level, subject of study, and course requirements. However, most essays at university level are argumentative — they aim to persuade the reader of a particular position or perspective on a topic.
The essay writing process consists of three main stages:
- Preparation: Decide on your topic, do your research, and create an essay outline.
- Writing : Set out your argument in the introduction, develop it with evidence in the main body, and wrap it up with a conclusion.
- Revision: Check the content, organization, grammar, spelling, and formatting of your essay.
Table of contents
Essay writing process, preparation for writing an essay, writing the introduction, writing the main body, writing the conclusion, essay checklist, lecture slides, frequently asked questions about writing an essay.
The writing process of preparation, writing, and revisions applies to every essay or paper, but the time and effort spent on each stage depends on the type of essay .
For example, if you’ve been assigned a five-paragraph expository essay for a high school class, you’ll probably spend the most time on the writing stage; for a college-level argumentative essay , on the other hand, you’ll need to spend more time researching your topic and developing an original argument before you start writing.
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Before you start writing, you should make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to say and how you’re going to say it. There are a few key steps you can follow to make sure you’re prepared:
- Understand your assignment: What is the goal of this essay? What is the length and deadline of the assignment? Is there anything you need to clarify with your teacher or professor?
- Define a topic: If you’re allowed to choose your own topic , try to pick something that you already know a bit about and that will hold your interest.
- Do your research: Read primary and secondary sources and take notes to help you work out your position and angle on the topic. You’ll use these as evidence for your points.
- Come up with a thesis: The thesis is the central point or argument that you want to make. A clear thesis is essential for a focused essay—you should keep referring back to it as you write.
- Create an outline: Map out the rough structure of your essay in an outline . This makes it easier to start writing and keeps you on track as you go.
Once you’ve got a clear idea of what you want to discuss, in what order, and what evidence you’ll use, you’re ready to start writing.
The introduction sets the tone for your essay. It should grab the reader’s interest and inform them of what to expect. The introduction generally comprises 10–20% of the text.
1. Hook your reader
The first sentence of the introduction should pique your reader’s interest and curiosity. This sentence is sometimes called the hook. It might be an intriguing question, a surprising fact, or a bold statement emphasizing the relevance of the topic.
Let’s say we’re writing an essay about the development of Braille (the raised-dot reading and writing system used by visually impaired people). Our hook can make a strong statement about the topic:
The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.
2. Provide background on your topic
Next, it’s important to give context that will help your reader understand your argument. This might involve providing background information, giving an overview of important academic work or debates on the topic, and explaining difficult terms. Don’t provide too much detail in the introduction—you can elaborate in the body of your essay.
3. Present the thesis statement
Next, you should formulate your thesis statement— the central argument you’re going to make. The thesis statement provides focus and signals your position on the topic. It is usually one or two sentences long. The thesis statement for our essay on Braille could look like this:
As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness.
4. Map the structure
In longer essays, you can end the introduction by briefly describing what will be covered in each part of the essay. This guides the reader through your structure and gives a preview of how your argument will develop.
The invention of Braille marked a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by blind and visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.
Write your essay introduction
The body of your essay is where you make arguments supporting your thesis, provide evidence, and develop your ideas. Its purpose is to present, interpret, and analyze the information and sources you have gathered to support your argument.
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.
To give your essay a clear structure , it is important to organize it into paragraphs . Each paragraph should be centered around one main point or idea.
That idea is introduced in a topic sentence . The topic sentence should generally lead on from the previous paragraph and introduce the point to be made in this paragraph. Transition words can be used to create clear connections between sentences.
After the topic sentence, present evidence such as data, examples, or quotes from relevant sources. Be sure to interpret and explain the evidence, and show how it helps develop your overall argument.
Lack of access to reading and writing put blind people at a serious disadvantage in nineteenth-century society. Text was one of the primary methods through which people engaged with culture, communicated with others, and accessed information; without a well-developed reading system that did not rely on sight, blind people were excluded from social participation (Weygand, 2009). While disabled people in general suffered from discrimination, blindness was widely viewed as the worst disability, and it was commonly believed that blind people were incapable of pursuing a profession or improving themselves through culture (Weygand, 2009). This demonstrates the importance of reading and writing to social status at the time: without access to text, it was considered impossible to fully participate in society. Blind people were excluded from the sighted world, but also entirely dependent on sighted people for information and education.
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The conclusion is the final paragraph of an essay. It should generally take up no more than 10–15% of the text . A strong essay conclusion :
- Returns to your thesis
- Ties together your main points
- Shows why your argument matters
A great conclusion should finish with a memorable or impactful sentence that leaves the reader with a strong final impression.
What not to include in a conclusion
To make your essay’s conclusion as strong as possible, there are a few things you should avoid. The most common mistakes are:
- Including new arguments or evidence
- Undermining your arguments (e.g. “This is just one approach of many”)
- Using concluding phrases like “To sum up…” or “In conclusion…”
Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them. Louis Braille’s innovation was to reimagine existing reading systems from a blind perspective, and the success of this invention required sighted teachers to adapt to their students’ reality instead of the other way around. In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.
Write your essay conclusion
My essay follows the requirements of the assignment (topic and length ).
My introduction sparks the reader’s interest and provides any necessary background information on the topic.
My introduction contains a thesis statement that states the focus and position of the essay.
I use paragraphs to structure the essay.
I use topic sentences to introduce each paragraph.
Each paragraph has a single focus and a clear connection to the thesis statement.
I make clear transitions between paragraphs and ideas.
My conclusion doesn’t just repeat my points, but draws connections between arguments.
I don’t introduce new arguments or evidence in the conclusion.
I have given an in-text citation for every quote or piece of information I got from another source.
I have included a reference page at the end of my essay, listing full details of all my sources.
My citations and references are correctly formatted according to the required citation style .
My essay has an interesting and informative title.
I have followed all formatting guidelines (e.g. font, page numbers, line spacing).
Your essay meets all the most important requirements. Our editors can give it a final check to help you submit with confidence.
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An essay is a focused piece of writing that explains, argues, describes, or narrates.
In high school, you may have to write many different types of essays to develop your writing skills.
Academic essays at college level are usually argumentative : you develop a clear thesis about your topic and make a case for your position using evidence, analysis and interpretation.
The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.
The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.
Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:
- An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
- Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
- A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.
The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .
A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.
The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:
- It gives your writing direction and focus.
- It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.
Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.
A topic sentence is a sentence that expresses the main point of a paragraph . Everything else in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence.
At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).
Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.
The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .
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Your Guide Towards Writing An Outstanding Short Essay!
Table of Contents
Olla Peeps! 🙂 Writing college essays have always been a challenge. Essays are also of different types. You might have to write long essays or sometimes short essays. In long essays, we can still express ourselves in a broader form and more openly. But, the short or brief essay deals with writing limited and point to point.
You might be facing difficulties in writing a 200-word essay or a 500-word essay, but don’t worry as I am here to help you. You can also visit allassignmenthelp.com to get quick online essay help.
This article will cover the following points:
- Short Essay Definition
- How long is a short essay?
- Short essay format
- How to Write a Short Essay?
- Short essay examples
So, let’s get started with our article.
1) Short Essay Definition
Before moving on to know about an essay of short length, let’s learn a bit about “what is an essay?” It will help you to understand better.
What is an essay?
So, an essay is a piece of writing which highlights the author’s own argument. Essays are mainly classified as formal or informal and are generally used as a silent weapon to express thoughts on various themes and topics.
Essays might be used as arguments, favour or criticism, daily life-based observations, etc. Formal essays deal with topics related to serious purposes, dignity, organization, etc. Informal essays are defined by self-revelation, humour, graceful style, etc.
Essays can be written long, fully expressing your thoughts on a topic. But, when it comes to writing down a short essay, you need to be very clear with your points. It is crucial to write down the information in a compact manner. Usage of limited words with maximum details.
Read also: How to Write a Top-Class 500-Word Essay
What qualifies as a short length essay?
The name itself says it all. A short length essay means an essay that is written in short. The guidelines for writing short length essays are almost similar to that of writing a normal long essay. The main difference is the length.
A short or brief essay is defined by its length and the depth of ideas that are presented in it. There is a limited word count for this type of essay, so you need to make sure that you put in the right words and ideas.
Your ideas should be very clear from the beginning itself. Short essays cover catchy topics. Your essay should need to respond to an argument or a question. You can even present your individual opinion or view. In a short length or limited words essay, the ideas are predicted shallowly as the essay length is limited.
2) Short Essay Length- How long is a Short Essay?
Well, this is the most asked question of all. A short essay should be a minimum of half-page & a maximum of 1 page if we work single-spaced. It can go up to max 2 pages if we work double-spaced. Short essays should consist of a maximum of 400 words. You can go up to 500 but, if only it’s the need for the topic.
The topics of your short essays should be very catchy. It helps in catching the attention of the reader. If you have an issue deciding the topic of your essay, then just prepare an outline of all the topics which you have, and it will help you to find out the best topic. If you already have a topic, then you need to prepare an outline for its content. Let’s now discuss the Guidelines on Writing Short Essays.
Short Essay Guidelines:
Following are the 4 crucial guidelines for writing a short essay:
- A short essay should be of approximately 400-500 words and 1 page to 2 pages. Page no. depends on the spacing between the lines.
- The essay needs to answer the question or, you can say the topic assigned to you. You can put in your views if required.
- You need to be very Precise when you write a short essay. So, you need to understand the topic really well.
- The main parts that build up a short essay are introduction, body and a conclusion. Introduction and conclusion should not be more than one paragraph, and the body can be about 3 paragraphs. The body depends on the topic of the essay.
Read: An Essay on Action Speaks Louder than Words
3) Short Essay Format
The major feature of a short essay is that you have to limit the words of your arguments and ideas. You need to follow the structure. Short essays have a specific structure to be followed. It is basically a 5 paragraphs structure. 1 paragraph Introduction, 3 paragraphs body, and 1 paragraph conclusion.
It is the most important part of a short essay. It should be of one paragraph and not more. The first impression is crucial. Your introduction should build up the interest of the audience, and it should be clear what is the topic. It should be concise, catchy and informative.
The first sentence itself should claim the urgency of the topic which becomes worth reading. End the sentence with a precise statement. It should focus on the main problem. The statement can be debatable so that opponents will want to argue on your issue.
3 paragraphs out of 5, should be of the main body. This part contains your main ideas and supporting evidence or facts. You need to put the strongest argument in the first paragraph and then later support it with appropriate facts.
Make sure that your evidence contains quotations and cite them according to the requirements of the format. Use linking words and conjunctions to make your text cohesive. It will bring flow to your narration.
This paragraph is for the final results. It should be 1 paragraph long. In this paragraph, you need to show how your ideas from the body support the statement in the first paragraph. It is not a summary, but this part will close the question raised in the introduction part.
The main aim is to provide the reader with a new view of the subject. The last sentence of the conclusion part should satisfy the reader. The reader should be satisfied with what he read in the first place in the introduction. For more best essays visit allassignmenthelp.com.
4) How to write a short essay?
A short essay is very different from a long essay. While writing long essays, you have full freedom to express your ideas in a much bigger space. But, in a short essay, you may feel that you don’t have much space to make an argument, as you need to be precise with your words. Below are the components of a short essay.
Components of a brief essay
- Length: The length of a short essay is very important. You can’t write too much on it. If you write too much, then it will become a long essay. It is therefore important to first prepare an outline and then work on it. Identify a few points on which you need to write and which will support the argument much better.
- Thesis Statement: Your short essay is guided by thesis statements. The length of an essay will define the placement of the thesis statement. If the essay is very short, then the thesis statement will come just after the introductory line. In some cases, the thesis statement is used as an introductory statement. The main of using a thesis statement is to tell the user directly that what he is about to read. Thesis statements are words which can be both explanatory or argumentative.
- Sections/Parts: It is important that you keep in mind the section in which the essay has to be divided. There are 3 parts; an Introductory paragraph, body and conclusion paragraphs. The introduction and conclusion, both are equally important. One paragraph each is enough for the intro and conclusion. The body part can be of 2 to 3 paragraphs depending on the topic on which you are working.
Summary of the above components
As a short essay is determined by its length, it should have a maximum of 3 body paragraphs. Each paragraph can represent one point but, there should be a flow between those paragraphs. The introductory paragraph must introduce the idea which will be discussed in the essay.
A short essay should have about five paragraphs. The intro should be very catchy as it will attract the readers and then they can easily get your point. A thesis statement should be placed in the introductory paragraph of your essay.
The three paragraphs in the body part should support the thesis statement. As for the conclusion part, it should not only sum up the argument, but it should also lift up the idea presented in the essay. Ideas which you will present in the essay should be logical, and there should be an easy flow. At last, you should always proofread your essay. It is to check for any grammatical or other logical errors.
Read also: Tips to Write the Five-Paragraph Essay
5) Short essay examples
Well, I hope, that the above sections cleared it all. What is a short essay? How to write a short essay? All these questions have been answered above. To make it more clear for you, here are a few examples which you can refer to understand more. Click here , to read those examples. These are short essay examples that you will easily understand.
Tips to follow while writing a short essay
Essay writing is quite a common task for students of high school and college. But essay writing got more challenging when you have given a task to write a short essay. A short essay demands more skills and practice. There are different types of short essays such as college application essays , 200-word essays, 500-word essays etc. When a student sits to write a short essay, he/she may have a number of ideas. But, the catch is you have to select the best idea and use it in a short essay. Here you can see some tips that will help you in writing a short essay.
Identify your topic carefully
The first thing before you initiate the writing process is reading. Read your essay prompt carefully. You can underline important information or encircle the main question. You have to make sure what the question wants you to write. Students sometimes in a hurry fail to understand the topic and end up writing on something else.
If you have any queries regarding the question or do not understand it, ask your instructor.
Narrow down your argument
You have got the task to write a short essay, right? So you cannot discuss everything in the essay. You have to cling to one single topic. So choose one topic and work on it. For instance, “Tragedy in Shakespeare’s plays” this topic is too vast. Here you have to research different plays of Shakespeare to bring out the tragic elements. Discussing all the tragedies of Shakespeare would make your essay a long one. Therefore, you can focus on a single tragedy by him. So, your topic should be, “Discuss Hamlet as a tragedy”. Such a topic will help you to write a short essay easily.
Always use reliable sources for collecting information
If your information is from reliable sources, your chances of getting excellence will get high. Try to go for the websites that end with .edu or .gov. Such websites usually have unbiased information. For example, if you are writing on any journalism topic, then go for BBC or other well-known news websites. Always avoid the least reliable sources, such as blogs or random articles.
Be careful about the essay words
Words are the soul of an essay. If your words are not expressive enough, you might fail to get the desired grade. Students, especially those who are from non-English speaking backgrounds need to be careful about words. While writing the essay focus on words, use transition words in your essays. These words act as a bridge between sentences and ideas. Read more about linking words: Mega linking words for essay
Along with linking words, your focus should be on vocabulary as well. Use words that express the idea clearly. Students often in a hush forget about words. Make sure that you are using correct proverbs, words etc. in your essay.
Remove verbiage from your essay
You have a limit over the word count, therefore, using excessively long speech doesn’t make sense in a short essay. Remove all lengthy verb phrases, adjectives etc. Keep your sentences short and should explain the meaning perfectly.
Try to be more active than passive
To make your essay succinct, make your sentences in the active voice. Active voice will convey to the point meaning in a crisp and clear manner. Write sentences that can help in explaining the meaning in a direct way. This will cut short the words from your essay.
Keep the relevant arguments only
A passionate essay writer always wants to add multiple arguments in his/her essay. But in a short essay, you have to control yourself. Only put useful arguments and weed out irrelevant ones. But, be alert, never remove the most convincing points or else your essay will lose its purpose.
Following these 7 tips while composing a short essay, you may end up with an excellent piece of writing. If still finding issues in writing a short essay, read: Effective ways of writing a short essay .
So, guys, this article was all about a short essay. I hope, it answered all your questions. If you have any other questions, or you want me to add something to this article, then kindly comment down below and let me know. For any other queries, or for any online essay assignment help , you can contact us on the id given on our website. We would love to help you. Thank you for reading. 🙂
- Academic Skills
- Essay writing
Six top tips for writing a great essay
An essay is used to assess the strength of your critical thinking and your ability to put that thinking into an academic written form. This resource covers some key considerations when writing an essay at university.
While reading a student’s essay, markers will ask themselves questions such as:
- Does this essay directly address the set task?
- Does it present a strong, supported position?
- Does it use relevant sources appropriately?
- Is the expression clear, and the style appropriate?
- Is the essay organised coherently? Is there a clear introduction, body and conclusion?
You can use these questions to reflect on your own writing. Here are six top tips to help you address these criteria.
1. Analyse the question
Student essays are responses to specific questions. As an essay must address the question directly, your first step should be to analyse the question. Make sure you know exactly what is being asked of you.
Generally, essay questions contain three component parts:
- Content terms: Key concepts that are specific to the task
- Limiting terms: The scope that the topic focuses on
- Directive terms: What you need to do in relation to the content, e.g. discuss, analyse, define, compare, evaluate.
Look at the following essay question:
Discuss the importance of light in Gothic architecture.
- Content terms: Gothic architecture
- Limiting terms: the importance of light. If you discussed some other feature of Gothic architecture, for example spires or arches, you would be deviating from what is required. This essay question is limited to a discussion of light. Likewise, it asks you to write about the importance of light – not, for example, to discuss how light enters Gothic churches.
- Directive term: discuss. This term asks you to take a broad approach to the variety of ways in which light may be important for Gothic architecture. You should introduce and consider different ideas and opinions that you have met in academic literature on this topic, citing them appropriately .
For a more complex question, you can highlight the key words and break it down into a series of sub-questions to make sure you answer all parts of the task. Consider the following question (from Arts):
To what extent can the American Revolution be understood as a revolution ‘from below’? Why did working people become involved and with what aims in mind?
The key words here are American Revolution and revolution ‘from below’. This is a view that you would need to respond to in this essay. This response must focus on the aims and motivations of working people in the revolution, as stated in the second question.
2. Define your argument
As you plan and prepare to write the essay, you must consider what your argument is going to be. This means taking an informed position or point of view on the topic presented in the question, then defining and presenting a specific argument.
Consider these two argument statements:
The architectural use of light in Gothic cathedrals physically embodied the significance of light in medieval theology.
In the Gothic cathedral of Cologne, light served to accentuate the authority and ritual centrality of the priest.
Statements like these define an essay’s argument. They give coherence by providing an overarching theme and position towards which the entire essay is directed.
3. Use evidence, reasoning and scholarship
To convince your audience of your argument, you must use evidence and reasoning, which involves referring to and evaluating relevant scholarship.
- Evidence provides concrete information to support your claim. It typically consists of specific examples, facts, quotations, statistics and illustrations.
- Reasoning connects the evidence to your argument. Rather than citing evidence like a shopping list, you need to evaluate the evidence and show how it supports your argument.
- Scholarship is used to show how your argument relates to what has been written on the topic (citing specific works). Scholarship can be used as part of your evidence and reasoning to support your argument.
4. Organise a coherent essay
An essay has three basic components - introduction, body and conclusion.
The purpose of an introduction is to introduce your essay. It typically presents information in the following order:
- A general statement about the topic that provides context for your argument
- A thesis statement showing your argument. You can use explicit lead-ins, such as ‘This essay argues that...’
- A ‘road map’ of the essay, telling the reader how it is going to present and develop your argument.
"To what extent can the American Revolution be understood as a revolution ‘from below’? Why did working people become involved and with what aims in mind?"
Historians generally concentrate on the twenty-year period between 1763 and 1783 as the period which constitutes the American Revolution [This sentence sets the general context of the period] . However, when considering the involvement of working people, or people from below, in the revolution it is important to make a distinction between the pre-revolutionary period 1763-1774 and the revolutionary period 1774-1788, marked by the establishment of the continental Congress(1) [This sentence defines the key term from below and gives more context to the argument that follows] . This paper will argue that the nature and aims of the actions of working people are difficult to assess as it changed according to each phase [This is the thesis statement] . The pre-revolutionary period was characterised by opposition to Britain’s authority. During this period the aims and actions of the working people were more conservative as they responded to grievances related to taxes and scarce land, issues which directly affected them. However, examination of activities such as the organisation of crowd action and town meetings, pamphlet writing, formal communications to Britain of American grievances and physical action in the streets, demonstrates that their aims and actions became more revolutionary after 1775 [These sentences give the ‘road map’ or overview of the content of the essay] .
The body of the essay develops and elaborates your argument. It does this by presenting a reasoned case supported by evidence from relevant scholarship. Its shape corresponds to the overview that you provided in your introduction.
The body of your essay should be written in paragraphs. Each body paragraph should develop one main idea that supports your argument. To learn how to structure a paragraph, look at the page developing clarity and focus in academic writing .
Your conclusion should not offer any new material. Your evidence and argumentation should have been made clear to the reader in the body of the essay.
Use the conclusion to briefly restate the main argumentative position and provide a short summary of the themes discussed. In addition, also consider telling your reader:
- What the significance of your findings, or the implications of your conclusion, might be
- Whether there are other factors which need to be looked at, but which were outside the scope of the essay
- How your topic links to the wider context (‘bigger picture’) in your discipline.
Do not simply repeat yourself in this section. A conclusion which merely summarises is repetitive and reduces the impact of your paper.
Although, to a large extent, the working class were mainly those in the forefront of crowd action and they also led the revolts against wealthy plantation farmers, the American Revolution was not a class struggle [This is a statement of the concluding position of the essay]. Working people participated because the issues directly affected them – the threat posed by powerful landowners and the tyranny Britain represented. Whereas the aims and actions of the working classes were more concerned with resistance to British rule during the pre-revolutionary period, they became more revolutionary in nature after 1775 when the tension with Britain escalated [These sentences restate the key argument]. With this shift, a change in ideas occurred. In terms of considering the Revolution as a whole range of activities such as organising riots, communicating to Britain, attendance at town hall meetings and pamphlet writing, a difficulty emerges in that all classes were involved. Therefore, it is impossible to assess the extent to which a single group such as working people contributed to the American Revolution [These sentences give final thoughts on the topic].
5. Write clearly
An essay that makes good, evidence-supported points will only receive a high grade if it is written clearly. Clarity is produced through careful revision and editing, which can turn a good essay into an excellent one.
When you edit your essay, try to view it with fresh eyes – almost as if someone else had written it.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you clearly stated your argument in your introduction?
- Does the actual structure correspond to the ‘road map’ set out in your introduction?
- Have you clearly indicated how your main points support your argument?
- Have you clearly signposted the transitions between each of your main points for your reader?
- Does each paragraph introduce one main idea?
- Does every sentence in the paragraph support that main idea?
- Does each paragraph display relevant evidence and reasoning?
- Does each paragraph logically follow on from the one before it?
- Is each sentence grammatically complete?
- Is the spelling correct?
- Is the link between sentences clear to your readers?
- Have you avoided redundancy and repetition?
See more about editing on our editing your writing page.
6. Cite sources and evidence
Finally, check your citations to make sure that they are accurate and complete. Some faculties require you to use a specific citation style (e.g. APA) while others may allow you to choose a preferred one. Whatever style you use, you must follow its guidelines correctly and consistently. You can use Recite, the University of Melbourne style guide, to check your citations.
- Germov, J. (2011). Get great marks for your essays, reports and presentations (3rd ed.). NSW: Allen and Unwin.
- Using English for Academic Purposes: A guide for students in Higher Education [online]. Retrieved January 2020 from http://www.uefap.com
- Williams, J.M. & Colomb, G. G. (2010) Style: Lessons in clarity and grace. 10th ed. New York: Longman.
* Example introduction and conclusion adapted from a student paper.
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How to Write a Short Essay?
Table of Contents
What is a Short essay?
The short essay definition is an academic written assignment that requires a writer to formulate their thoughts and opinions according to the proper structure and within 500 words. Sometimes the assignment gets even shorter and requires only 200 words. Just like regular essays, it can be of different types: narrative, argumentative, expository, descriptive, etc.
The point of such assignments is to teach expressing thoughts in the shortest form. Students must avoid repetition and stick to being laconic. The paper doesn’t require cliché phrases, slang, and vague information. Only an opinion and facts, strong arguments, statistics to prove it.
How Many Paragraphs is a Short Essay?
When learning everything about the paper’s volume and style, it’s important to remember how to write a short essay according to the precise structure. The text must be subdivided into three main parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. While the opening and closing paragraphs are quite short and simple, the main part – the body – can contain several paragraphs. Each argument you use to prove your point of view must be singled out into a separate paragraph. So, depending on the essay’s length and content, the text could have between three and five paragraphs.
Keep in mind that sometimes the new assignment you receive from the teacher already mentions how many paragraphs there should be. Keep an eye on such details to create the best text.
Short Essay Format
When reading a sample short essay, you’ll notice that being clear is essential. It’s better to avoid complicated phrasing and sentences since they often confuse the readers and make the text hard to comprehend.
Choosing the proper terms and words is also significant. Stick to the academic vocabulary to make your paper sound convincing. When editing the paper, make sure you have the most crucial bits of information that are structured according to their relevance. Furthermore, even short texts require references and quotes. Make sure to avoid plagiarism or copy/paste as well.
How to Start a Short Essay?
Before you begin the short essay writing, you should do some research. Look through the topical literature on the given theme, pick the best ideas, and strong facts to support your point of view. The preliminary stage serves as a proper foundation for the high-quality paper. It could be reasonable to make a mind map or draw the scheme of how each argument is connected to the other one. Such a visual representation will help you find where to start your text and how to present the rest of the data.
Giving the paper an extraordinary start is the best way to attract readers’ attention. There are plenty of ways to do that:
- Pick a quote from a book or famous person;
- Begin with a rhetorical question;
- Use an unexpected statistical fact;
- Describe the theme without revealing the arguments (since you’ll need them later in the text).
A strong and comprehensive beginning is a foundation for an excellent paper. However, it’s better to keep it simple and laconic. Too complicated or confusing introduction and ruin the impression from your paper.
However, a strong beginning doesn’t guarantee the rest of the text will be equally impressive. Dedicate enough time to the rest of the paper and deliver relevant information to support your ideas.
7 Tips on How to Write a Good Short Essay
Writing essays is always time- and energy-consuming. It requires good writing skills, enough knowledge about the subject, and attention to detail. In case you don’t feel confident about writing the paper, you can learn more about the writing process beforehand. Discover the list of the most helpful tips on how to write a short essay. It is sure to help you do the best job and write an outstanding essay.
Select an exciting topic you feel passionate about
In case the teacher hasn’t provided a specific topic and gave only general recommendations, do your research. Discover the latest news related to the subject and brainstorm the possible ideas you can dwell on. Pick the topic you are interested in to create a high-quality paper that will inspire others to learn more on the subject.
Mind the readers
It’s not always crucial to know how many paragraphs in a short essay but who will read the paper. Take into account their possible opinions, background knowledge on the topic, and other factors. Use proper stylistic devices to maintain their attention and comprehensively deliver your idea.
Make sure you have enough expertise before writing the text
Read on the chosen topic and learn as much as possible. It’s the most significant thing one should do in the shortest possible time to succeed with the essay’s content. Choosing relevant resources and respected scholars as a foundation for the paper increases readers’ trust and openness to the given information.
Focus on writing, eliminating every distraction
Many students are used to writing while listening to music, watching TV shows, or hearing others talk in the background. Such distractions can impact the text quality a lot. Moreover, it takes more time to write the text. So, to present the facts and arguments properly, it’s better to get rid of all distractions and temptations and focus solely on the topic.
Stick to the given requirements
In case a teacher/instructor/professor has a list of requirements and guidelines, make sure to address the given aspects. Ignoring such details can reflect poorly on the grades. Mark the essential details you must include in the paper and reread the text afterward to verify each requirement was accounted for.
Double-check the paper before submitting
Read the finished text several times to enhance clarity and remove all sorts of possible mistakes: typos, spelling errors, grammar mistakes, stylistic issues, etc. There are lots of websites that offer free proofreading software and premium services. Select the most helpful assistance and improve the paper before submitting it.
Delegate the job to professional
Writing a good essay requires lots of time and patience. If you don’t feel like writing the paper and following all the tips above, you can simply hire professional writers who will take care of those assignments for you. You are sure to receive high-quality texts on time and save time for other important things in your life.
Short essay examples
In case you prefer to write an essay on your own, reading some samples is always a good idea. These are free essays on various topics that anyone can download here and use to their benefit for at least two reasons.
First of all, good samples give an insight into how a high-quality essay looks like: what structure it has, how the arguments are arranged, what stylistic devices are used, etc. Such technical details can help learn the proper structure, formatting, and other key features.
Secondly, they can serve as an inspiration on what topic to pick, which aspects to focus on, and how to keep the readers interested in the content. Discover some excellent samples and create equally great papers using them. No charge necessary. They are free to use as you please but remember that others have access to them as well. Submitting them as your own is not the best solution.
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