The essay has become one of the most overused and underappreciated parts of a high school or college application. It’s also one of the most challenging and rewarding. The essay is, at its core—writing. An effective essay must meet five essential guidelines that prevent it from being annoying or sanctimonious: It covers a relevant topic, It is well-written with good spelling and grammar, It presents the author’s point of view lucidly and clearly, It minimizes attributed ideas, personal attacks, and ad hominem. This post will outline the five parts of an essay and tips on how to write one that people want to read.
Most people writing their first or second essay ever will skip this section. But it’s essential and something you need to do once. It’s the first step to a lifetime of successful papers and great essays. This may seem obvious, but it’s rarely said aloud. It’s the writer’s obligation to the readers to know why they’re writing the essay they’re currently writing. Don’t just start writing and then start wondering why. If you’re unsure why you’re writing what you’re writing, the reader will be confused. And confusion leads to uncertainty and dissatisfaction.
This is the meat and potatoes of an essay. It’s the portion of the essay that everyone wants to read. And it’s also the portion that can often be the most difficult to write. A good argument is like a car engine. You can crank it up to high speed and listen for the exhaust sound, but you won’t know how it runs until you turn the key and give the engine some gas.
First, the author must ‘connect the dots between the various points made in the hypothesis and the data. They must explain how and why the two things mentioned in the essay match up.
An essay is often a rebuttal to the points made in the prior section, the introduction. But this is only half the story. An article isn’t just a rebuttal; it’s also an evaluation. This means the author takes the prior section’s arguments, facts, and conclusions and ‘judges them,’ i.e., gives them a score. The score, of course, is not to be taken as an estimate of how well the argument or the argument’s conclusion tie up the facts. The score, instead, is meant to be a rough indication of how much confidence the author has in the discussion or its conclusion. It’s intended as a guide to help the reader decide how much they should attribute to the essay writer and how much to the essay itself. Again, this is not an indication that the argument is necessarily wrong.
The refutation is the final and most crucial section of the essay. Here, the author responds to the various points made in the argumentative area by pointing out and correcting the errors, fallacies, misstatements, and misunderstandings that were brought to light in the other two sections. You might have written several paragraphs on how great the essay is and how you can’t wait to start writing the one on racism, sexism, or your hometown. Then all of a sudden, the author brings up the subject of race or gender. The refutation should address both the what and the why of the issue.
The conclusion answers the reader’s questions. It summarises the major points made in the essay, gives the author’s take on how the essay was received and offers a closing thought. This can be as short or as long as the reader wants it to be.
It’s also important to note that the conclusion can be as short or as long as the reader wants it to be. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy, drawn-out statement about how great you think your essay is.
Writing a Great Essay
Now that we’ve gone over all the basics, it’s time to look at specific writing tips and techniques that can improve an essay.
Focus on the Point
An essay’s main topic shouldn’t be the individual’s or the writer’s feelings about the topic. The essay’s main point should be to focus on the facts, and only the facts, without any opinions or judgment on the matter. The reader wants facts, not opinions. The reader wants information, not emotional support. Readers wish for facts and analysis, not feel-good content.
Another tip is to avoid contradictions. If you state that one thing happened because of the author’s actions and the other thing happened because of outside circumstances, you’re contradicting yourself. Contradictions are errors that readers notice and show up in the following ways: “That’s not possible; that’s a contradiction in terms.” “That’s ridiculous!” “That’s incorrect!”
Finally, don’t overgeneralize. Overgeneralization is the opposite of specificness. It’s the tendency to make broader claims with less evidence. Don’t make generalizations you don’t have specific data for—that’s an overgeneralization.
Organize and Edit Your Papers Wisely
One of the most important things you can do to improve your essay is to organize and edit your papers wisely. You should set a goal for yourself when editing your essays. First, find the point you want to make and focus on that. Then, look for examples that support your point and use those. Next, look for formatting and organization problems. Since the reader will be reading your essay from start to finish, there should be no breaks or colons in the middle of a paragraph. Organize your ideas, data, and citations logically and consistently.