How to Write Essays - 4 Easy Essay Writing Tips

f you've been consistently struggling with how to write essays, this article will show you four easy steps to writing consistently high quality essays. The main things you need to focus on are the essay subject, the opening paragraph, the overall structure of the essay, and your essay content and analysis. This article also provides links to two excellent resources for essay writing.

1. Picking a Subject for Your Essay

The first step when working out how to write essays is to decide what your subject or theme will be. Knowing the subject of your essay enables you to focus your efforts. You can immerse yourself in finding out all there is to know about a particular topic without any chance of getting distracted.

If possible, pick a subject you are interested in, because this will make writing the essay much easier. Even if you have been given a topic, try and find an 'angle' to it that has some interest to you. Good resources for essay material are the internet, written or e-books, journals or even interviews of people versed in your chosen subject.

Once you have found your topic, the next thing to focus on is the structure of your essay.

2. Structuring Your Essay

A vital part of learning how to write essays is to understand the importance of structure. Structure helps the reader to understand where your essay is going and what you are trying to tell them. Think of the structure as a 'framework' around which you can build your writing,

Firstly, while researching your topic, write down the main points in dot point form, using only a few words - these will form the main structure for your essay. It doesn't matter much at this stage what order they are in - you can sort that out later.

Under each main point, jot down 2 or 3 sub points that go into a bit more detail about that particular aspect of your essay.

Once you have this basic structure in place, you can start thinking about how many words to write for each part of your essay.

3. Number of words in your essay

This is a very important aspect of how to write essays. Let's say you have 2000 words to write for the whole essay and 5 main points, with 2 subpoints for each. Remember that you will also need an introductory and concluding paragraph, so that makes it about 12 paragraphs in total. This means you will need to write about 150-200 words per paragraph or sub point. Once you start to break it down in this way, you can see that learning how to write essays is not overwhelming - all you have to do is write a short piece of text for each of the ideas you are presenting.

Once you have the structure written down in note form, with the number of words for each paragraph, you can start to work on the details of your essay content.

4. Essay Content and Analysis

Look at what you have read for each of the main points of your essay and work out how you can talk about it in your own words, or in a more informative way. Look at your essay research notes and decide for yourself if the writers have made claims which, in your opinion, lack substance. If necessary, compare different claims and write down which of them is more valid, in your opinion, and explain why to your reader. Remember that each paragraph needs to lead into the next. This 'smooths out' the structure and helps the essay to 'flow' better.

Analysis can be a challenging thing to tackle when you are first starting to learn how to write essays, but it is well worth persevering with because it will make your essays much more worthwhile and readable.


In this article you have seen there are only four steps to writing a great essay. Learning how to write essays is an important part of improving your communication skills. It will be time well spent and there are many tools available to make your task much easier.

Smoothness in Discursive Writing

Discursive writing demands more from a writer than fidelity to reason and logic; it also requires a fluency of expression that captures the nuances of his argumentation. While such fluency is achieved only by the commingling of many compositional elements, from grammar and punctuation to organization, it also greatly depends on the degree to which ideas and concepts are smoothly woven together. The most erudite scholar will fall short in arguing a thesis if he is unable to mirror the subtly of his thought in his writing. What guidelines might be useful in striving for such fluency?

To begin with, sentences must accurately capture the relations between and among ideas.  The techniques to attain this objective are varied, but several of them are worth a closer examination.  The link between an idea or concept and its implications, for example, can often effectively be conveyed by the use of demonstrative pronouns, such as this, that, the former, the latter, such, and so on.  When properly employed to refer to an antecedent, such demonstratives powerfully link sentences and phrases, and hence, ideas.   Participial phrases serve this function and also offer fuller explanations.  Thus, when "Hume's philosophy" appears in once sentence and "Founded on human perception and experience" begins another, the more general concept is effortlessly defined.

Contradiction or disagreement are of equal importance to any argument, and these are most effectively expressed by the use of subordination, such as when one writes: "Although designed and built to withstand the concerted assault of modern artillery and aircraft, the Maginot Line proved incapable of protecting France from flanking probes of fast moving tank forces."  Here, the relation between two related but conflating ideas - static defense versus dynamic attack - take but one sentence.

Ten Ways to Improve Your Grades For Essay Writing

It is possible to improve your grades by self-editing your essay or assignment before you hand it in. Many students fail to look over their work once they have completed it, or they do not know what to look for.

This means that students are handing in work that contains spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, unclear or clumsy writing, and referencing and formatting errors. Some students have even greater problems with issues like the clarity and consistency of their argument or their essay organisation. These types of mistakes are costing you grades!

You might be very surprised how much your grades can be improved through editing your own work before you hand it in. This article will explain ten ways you can improve your essay writing yourself.

1. Spelling and Consistency

Spelling is a very important aspect of essay writing that many students overlook. Usually this is because of spell-checking programs, upon which many students rely. However, it is important to remember that if you have mistyped a word that is not a spelling mistake, the spell-checker will not find it. For example, you could mistype 'hole' instead of 'whole', 'four' instead of 'for', or 'though' instead of 'thought'. Once you have completed writing your first draft, read your work through carefully to look for these kinds of mistakes.

It is crucial that you are consistent throughout your essay. This applies to many things such as the spelling of words (some people switch between American and Australian/British English), the spelling of names, and the capitalisation of words. For example, if you are using Australian/British English you must do so throughout your essay. You cannot use the word 'recognise' and then later use the word 'organize'. You must stick with 'organise.' If you capitalise the first letter of 'Church' the first time, you cannot refer to it as 'church' later in your essay.

2. Grammar

It is very difficult to write an essay with perfect grammar, as there are many rules that must be followed and thousands of exceptions to these rules that you must know. However, there are many things that you do yourself to improve the grammar in your essay and assignment writing.

Ensuring consistency of tenses is one of these. Often students change tenses in the middle of an essay without realising; changing from present to past or vice versa. A quick check at the completion of writing your essay can ensure that you have used the correct tense throughout the essay.

Here is another grammar tip: When writing about a decade, you must write (for example) 1980s not 1980's. If you write 1980's, this indicates something belonging to the year 1980, because you are using a possessive apostrophe. To indicate a decade, you must write 1980s.

3. Paragraphing

Many students write paragraphs that are too long. A paragraph should only contain one main idea. There is no definite length for a paragraph, but normally you would have at least three paragraphs on one type-written page. Long paragraphs can cause confusion for the reader, since they would contain several ideas, and they make your essay look poorly planned.

4. Repetition

Developing a sophisticated and creative writing style can take time. One thing you can do immediately to improve your writing style is ensure that you do not repeat the same words too often in your essays. Using varied language to express yourself with mean that your writing is interesting, and will appear more stylish.

5. Essay Organisation

For some reason, many schools and universities do not spend sufficient time teaching students how to organise their essays properly. Beyond the knowledge that an essay must contain an introduction, a body and a conclusion, many students do not have a clear understanding of how to organise an essay correctly.

Here are a few tips. When writing an argumentative essay, your introduction must do two things to be considered an introduction. It must first answer the essay question. It must then introduce all the main ideas you will discuss in your essay to convince the reader why your answer is correct. An introduction should be roughly ten per cent of your essay length. So for an essay of 1,000 words, write an introduction of 100 words.

Use topic sentences. These are sentences at the beginning of each new topic that tie your essay together. They introduce new topics and explain why they are relevant to the essay question. Topic sentences give your essay an internal logic, and help you to write a convincing argument.

6. Direct and Indirect Quotations

This is an example of a direct quotation: Dr. Lisa Lines argues that 'the role of women in combat during the Spanish Civil War is highly significant'.

This is an example of an indirect quotation: Dr Lisa Lines believes the women played a very important role in combat during the Spanish Civil War.

It is preferable not to include too many direct quotations in an essay. Essays of a very high standard are written almost entirely in the student's own words, with many references to the sources they have used (using indirect quotations). You should only quote directly from a source when it is absolutely necessary, for example, if you had a need to point out a particular person's opinion on an issue, or if an issue or opinion is particularly controversial. Otherwise, it is highly favourable for you to demonstrate that you have read, understood, and assimilated the source into your own knowledge of the subject. The best way to do that is to present the ideas in your own words and then provide the reference.

7. Formal Language

When writing an academic essay, you must use formal language. You cannot use contractions such as 'don't', 'can't' or 'won't'. You must write these words out in full ('do not', 'cannot' or 'will not'). You should also refrain from using any colloquial language (slang) in an academic essay.

8. Your Research

The research component of writing an essay should take up the majority of your time. It is the longest stage of the essay writing process. How much time you spend will depend on your year level, the word length of the essay, the type of essay (minor, major or tutorial paper) and what percentage of your grade it is worth. It also depends on what grade you are aiming for.

The way that you record your research is vital to the essay writing process. If you do not record your research properly, you could spend hours (or even days or weeks) doing your research, and then when you begin to write your essay you may discover that you have to go back and re-do things, like search for page numbers or correct quotations. This is a waste of your time!

You must record your research in a way that makes essay writing easier for you. It must be accurate, include all the information you need, and give you a chance to record your own ideas and thoughts on the material you are reading as you go along. Do not leave this to the end!

9. Referencing and Bibliography

(This point may not be relevant to high school students who are not yet required to include references in their essays.)

This stage is crucial to essay writing; however, it is often over-looked by students. If you do not reference properly at university you can get in serious trouble for what is called 'unintentional plagiarism'. One type of unintentional plagiarism is when students have found information during their research and included it in their essay (even if they have completely re-worded it) but then did not provide a reference. If you do this, you are actually claiming someone else's work as your own, which is plagiarism. Unintentional plagiarism is very different to deliberate plagiarism, which is when students are cheating on purpose. However, it can get you in just as much trouble. This is why you must learn how to reference correctly!

You must find out from your school or university which referencing system you need to use for each subject you study. Then, spend some time learning how to reference using that system correctly.

Once you know how to do it, and if you have organised and recorded your research properly, referencing your research as you are writing your essay should be simple. You should have all the information you need right in front of you. That is why it is so important for you to keep track of which books you use and on which page numbers you find information while you are doing your research.

10. Polish Your Writing

After you have written your first draft, you should edit it yourself before you have anyone else look at it. This means that you should read it very carefully; looking for mistakes and things you can improve. Since editing requires that you look for a number of different things, it can be a good idea to read over your essay several times.

The first time you read your essay, just concentrate on the writing itself. Look for spelling mistakes, things that are not explained clearly, and grammar that could be improved. Do not look for anything else at this stage.

The second time you read your essay, look for problems with your content. This is the point at which you check to see if the information you have used to write your essay is correct, if you have answered the question properly, and if you have argued your case successfully.

Three Essay Plans For Writing the Discursive Essay

A discursive essay is an expositive/argumentative piece of writing which discusses a particular issue, situation or problem. There are basically three types of discursive essays: a) For and Against; b) Opinion; and c) Solutions to Problems.

William Zinsser (Writing to Learn, Collins, 1989) teaches that clear writing is the logical arrangement of thought. One of the most difficult things about writing is how to organize are thoughts. One idea must lead and link to the next. In other words, we are talking about coherence and consistency. To be consistent, we need to plan our writing. And the best way to do this is to use a framework. No doubt, structure increases the quality of creative output. So, plans/frameworks and templates are valuable tools in helping to reduce complex problems into their component intellectual parts. But it is important to recognize, with Zinsser, that writing teaches writing, that is, writing organizes and clarifies are thoughts.

The Overall Essay Structure

There are just two parts to an essay structure: the overall essay structure and the structure of each paragraph. Every discursive essay should consist of: an introductory paragraph in which you clearly state the theme (topic) to be discussed; a main body, in which you subdivide your argument into its relevant points (these points should be clearly stated in separate paragraphs and exemplified or justified); and a closing paragraph summarizing the most important points of the essay. You may, to use a common schema, visualize the overall essay structure as something like this:

Introduction: Paragraph 1
Main Body: Paragraphs 2-5
Conclusion: Final Paragraph

This blueprint explains necessary steps. The three fundamentals for our work are: the beginning, the exposition/problem, and the ending. Simply using this framework improves performance.

Let us see now three models that are a kind of procedure to enhance the process of writing. Surely, as is true with all structures, others can modify it successfully. Recall that to write a discursive essay you should use formal, impersonal style.

Three Essay Plans

Your goal is to write a simple six-paragraph article following the structures bellow. Notice that each of the four body paragraphs should expand on the points you identify in your thesis using ideas and examples.

1) For and Against
Paragraph 1 - state topic, without your opinion
Main Body:
Paragraphs 2-3 - arguments for and justifications, examples or reasons
Paragraphs 4-5 - arguments against and justifications, examples or reasons
Final Paragraph - balanced consideration or opinion

2) Opinion
Paragraph 1 - state the topic including your opinion
Main Body:
Paragraphs 2-4 - viewpoints and reasons or examples
Paragraph 5 - opposing viewpoint and reason or example
Final Paragraph - summarize/restate your opinion

3) Solutions to Problems
Paragraph 1 - state the problem and its causes/effects
Main Body:
Paragraphs 2-5 - suggestions/examples/results
Final Paragraph - summarize your opinion

This is a simple strategy that will enable you to quickly write a short focused informational essay that you can use for your school needs.

How to Write Distinction Essays Every Time - The Six Steps to Academic Essay Writing

There are six steps to writing an academic essay. If you follow each of these steps correctly, you will find that you can write university essays that will earn you a distinction (or high distinction) every time. It is simply a matter of understanding what steps to follow, and then completing each of them thoroughly.

This article provides an outline and brief description of each of these steps. It is an introduction to a series of articles that will examine each step in more depth. Reading just this article alone will provide you with assistance in learning how to plan, research and write your essays. However, reading all the articles in the series will allow you to gain a more sophisticated insight into essay writing, and to improve your grades even further.

These are the six steps you need to follow to write high quality university essays:

1. Analyse the Question

There are generally two types of essays: argumentative essays and explanatory essays. In an argumentative essay, you are expected to put forward an academic argument in answer to the essay question and support your argument with academic sources (references). In an explanatory essay, you are expected to explain or describe a process or topic in answer to an essay question and support your argument with academic sources (references). Regardless of the type of essay you are writing, it is very important that you understand what is being asked of you before you begin your research and writing your essay.

You must be sure that you understand all parts of the question and what it is asking you to do. You must be able to recognise the 'task words' in the question, which tell you what you have to do (for example, 'discuss', 'compare', 'analyse' or 'argue') and the 'key words' in the question, which tell you what you are being asked to write about (for example, Critical Thinking, or the roles of registered nurses). (More information on this step will be provided in the article 'How to Write Distinction Essays Every Time: Step 1. Analyse the Question.')

2. Draft the Essay Plan

You must write the first draft of your essay plan before you start your research. This will give your research direction and ultimately make it easier for you to write your essay. Having a plan will let you know what you need to research and how much research you need on each topic or subject that you will be writing about.

You will base this first draft of your essay plan on your essay question, and your current knowledge of your subject. It will not happen very often that you are asked to write an essay on a topic you know nothing about, since you will already be studying the subject and will normally have had one or more lectures or tutorials on the topic.

It is acceptable if your essay plan is rough or vague at this point, or if you do not have a great deal of detail. You will develop your essay plan (expanding it and including more detail) and possibly even change it as you go through the research process.

3. Conduct the Research

Part One: Organising your Research using a Research Document

Your research should be organised so that the transition from doing your research to writing your essay is simple. The best way to do this is to organise your research so that it matches the organisation of the essay. In Step 2 of writing an academic essay, you would have written a rough essay plan before you began your research. This essay plan is the guide you need to use to organise your research.

Copy and paste this essay plan into a Word document. All your research for this essay will be recorded in this one document. Use each of the dot points from your essay plan (topics you are planning to discuss) as a heading in your research document. When you do your research, you will organise it in the order that the information will appear in your essay. Doing this means you will be organising your research by theme or topic, not by source.

Part Two: Research Skills and Academic Sources

Being able to tell the difference between an academic source and a non-academic source, knowing where to find academic sources and deciding what sources are relevant to your research are important skills that you will develop during your tertiary studies.

The first place you should go is the library, even if this means ordering in books from other libraries. For academics to have their books (and journal articles) published, they must go through a process called peer-reviewing. During this process, one or more other academics who are experts in the field will read and assess a book or article to decide if it is of publishable standard. This is why your research will be of the highest quality if you use books, monographs, textbooks and journal articles written by academics for your research, because the work had to meet academic standards. There is no such process for publishing on the internet; anyone can write whatever they like on any subject.

Your second stop after books, monographs and textbooks will be journal articles. Some of these will only be available in hardcopy from the library, but many will be available in their full-text versions through online electronic databases, such as JStore, ProQuest and Ingenta.

4. Finalise the Essay Plan

In Step 2, you would have drafted a rough essay plan before you began your research. During the research process (in Step 3), you would have developed this plan further as you learned more information on your topic. Once you have completed your research, and before you begin writing your first draft, you need to re-think your essay plan and write a final version based on what you discovered during your research. Your final essay plan will contain more detail than your first draft and be a very specific guide to how to write your essay. Once you have completed the final draft of your essay plan, you are ready to begin writing the first draft of your essay.

5. Write the First Draft of the Essay

Now that you have completed your research in an organised way and have written a final draft of your essay plan, writing the first draft of your essay will be easier than it ever has been. All of the following decisions about your essay have already been made:

* What your answer to the essay question is
* What main points you will discuss in order to back up your argument
* The order in which to discuss your main points
* How long to spend discussing each main point
* What information each paragraph will contain (i.e. what information you will use to discuss each of your main points)
* What references you will use to back up your argument

Thus, there is no reason for you to feel lost or stare at your computer screen not knowing what to write. If you do get stuck for any reason, the best thing to do is to just keep writing. You can always improve something once you have written something down. If you have not written anything, not much can be done until you do.

6. Professional Academic Editing

Once you have completed writing your essay, it is vital that you have it professionally edited by an academic editor. You have just spent a significant amount of time doing the best possible job on your essay or assignment, doing your research and writing up your results. After all this effort, it is critical that your work is presented in the best possible way. Using a professional academic editor will ensure that your work is polished, well written, and presented correctly.

If English is your second language, having your essay or assignment professionally edited is even more important. You do not want mistakes in your writing to confuse your markers or distract them from the important arguments you are making. This could lead to you receiving a grade lower than the grade you really deserve.

Tips For Successfully Writing on Discursive Essay Topics

Discursive essay topics are a favourite form of assessment at university, as the writing process develops a students critical and analytical skills. Further writing ability is acquired as a student is tested in terms of his/her critical, analytical, integrative and problem solving abilities.

These skills, honed by writing on discursive essay topics are crucial for higher level university tests; literature reviews and dissertations. Acquiring these academic writing skills are key to leaving university with a decent grade.

Of course, these skills are desirable in real world settings too. The development of such skills is one reason why employers are willing to employ people from university regardless of subject studied.

In order to write an effective discursive essay it is essential to understand the question correctly. The question will have some form of instructional phrase intended to advise the student as to how the essay should be structured in regard to the question.

The instruction make be simply 'discuss' or could involve a combination of instructions 'compare and contrast' or even a phrase 'while referring to X study, discuss'. When planning the response to the question it is vital the instruction word is considered so the answer truly reflects the question. If not your grade will not be as good as it could be.

Once the question has been analysed and understood, research can be tailored appropriately and response planned. Once the plan is drafted it should be checked against the question, if it does not correspond some adjustment is required. It is a lot easier to make any adjustment prior to actually writing the essay.

The plan should include a short introduction which expands on the question and presents some of the issues behind the question. Then the pro's and con's of the issues can be presented with reference to evidence from your research, any implications of the issues need to be expanded on. This should all be written objectively and pulled together in the conclusion, where the writers point of view can be expressed.

Once completed it is a good idea to read through the question and the response again to ensure they are compatible. If not you will need to tweak the whole essay. It is essential that the meaning of the instructional words are represented in the essay. If you have been informed to 'discuss' ensure you have not merely 'explained'.

When writing discursive essays it is important to properly analyse the question posed by understanding and acting on the instruction words. To get a decent grade it is essential that the essay content is compatible with the question.