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How to Structure an Essay

Have you been struggling with an essay structure lately? We know you have because our essay writing service gets a lot of students asking for help with essay structure. And guess what – we want to help you too!

If you need just a quick fix, let us tell you right away that the average essay always follows the same structure consisting of an intro, a few body paragraphs, and a conclusion. So if you’re feeling lost and don’t know how to start or finish your essay, make sure to follow this general structure we’re about to explain in more detail.

Basic Essay Structure

As we already mentioned, the basic essay structure is quite simple and consists of three parts.

The introduction is the very beginning of your essay where you present the topic to your reader. Body paragraphs represent the main part where you develop ideas and support them with evidence. The conclusion is the last part of your essay where you summarize everything you’ve said and leave your reader with a strong impression.

But how does all that work in reality? We will show you a full-scale essay writing guide in the coming sections.

Main Parts of an Essay

Now that you know the general structure, let’s move on to more specific details about each part of your essay. We are going to analyze each part of your essay one by one.

Introduction

The introduction is usually one paragraph long, and its main purpose is to introduce the topic to your reader. In almost all cases, this is the section where you will want to present your thesis statement. In order to write a good introduction, make sure to include the following:

  • Attention grabber: It can be a rhetorical question, a shocking statement, or something else that will make your reader want to keep reading.
  • Background information: This is the part where you give your reader some context for your essay and tell them what it’s all about.
  • Thesis statement: It represents the main argument that you will be developing in your body paragraphs.

Keep in mind that the introduction should not be too long, so make sure to get straight to the point.

Full guide on: How to Write an Essay Introduction

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs are usually where you do most of the work in your essay. It’s a longer section in which you develop your ideas and provide evidence to support them. Each body paragraph ought to consist of the following:

  • Topic sentence: It represents the main idea of your paragraph, and it’s usually placed at the beginning.
  • Supporting details: These are the facts, statistics, examples, or anything else that will help you develop your idea.
  • Analysis: It is the part where you explain how your evidence supports your topic sentence.
  • Concluding sentence: It’s a brief statement that wraps up your paragraph and makes a transition to the next one.

When writing body paragraphs, make sure that each of them focuses on just one main idea. Also, try to keep them somewhat short – around five to seven sentences should do the trick in most cases.

Conclusion

This is the final part of your essay, and it’s where you summarize everything you’ve said. It’s usually one paragraph long, and it includes the following:

  • Restatement of your thesis: This is where you remind your reader of your main argument.
  • Summary of main points: You should briefly go over all the main ideas that you’ve covered in your body paragraphs.
  • Final thoughts: The last task for you is to leave your reader with a final impression. It can be a strong statement, a call to action, or anything else that you think will resonate with your audience.

When writing the conclusion, make sure not to introduce any new ideas. The primary purpose of the last section is to sum up everything you’ve said in your essay and leave your reader with a convincing impression.

Read more: How to Write an Essay Conclusion

Key Structuring Conventions To Be Used In An Essay

A good essay must adhere to certain key structuring conventions.
First and foremost, your essay must have a clear and concise thesis statement that sets out your central argument. It’s pretty much impossible to overestimate the importance of a good thesis statement. Not only does it give your essay direction, but it also serves as a roadmap for your reader, letting them know what to expect from the rest of the paper.
Secondly, each body paragraph in your essay should focus on just one main idea. This not only makes your essay easier to read and understand, but it also makes it easier for you to write. Trying to cover too many ideas in one paragraph will only confuse and overwhelm your reader.

Suggested Structures for Different Types of Essays

Different types of essays demand different structures. While it’s certainly possible to write a successful essay without adhering to any specific structure, there are certain formats that are more frequently used for certain types of essays. Let’s breeze through each one here:

Compare and contrast essays

This type represents an essay that compares and contrasts two or more ideas, concepts, or objects. In order to write a successful compare and contrast essay, you need to have a clear understanding of what you’re writing about. Here’s how it works:

  • Introduction: Explain your topic and provide readers with enough background information about both concepts. Remember to mention why you’ve decided to compare and contrast these two ideas in the first place.
  • Body paragraphs: In each body paragraph, take one element from each concept and discuss how they compare and contrast. Make sure to use evidence to support your claims.
  • Conclusion: Summarize your main points and leave your reader with a clear understanding of how the two concepts differ from one another.

Argumentative or persuasive essays

This type of essay aims to convince your reader of your opinion on a certain issue. In order for your arguments to sound concincing, you need to have a clear thesis statement that sets out your position, as well as solid evidence to support your claims. Here’s how it works:

  • Introduction: In the introduction, you need to provide background information on your topic and explain why your reader should care about it. You should also introduce your thesis statement here.
  • Body paragraphs: In each body paragraph, you’ll need to present a different piece of evidence that supports your argument. Make sure to explain how this evidence relates to your thesis statement.
  • Conclusion: In the conclusion, you’ll need to summarize your main points and leave your reader with a strong impression of your argument.

Cause and effect essay

It’s a type of essay that explores the causes and effects of a certain event or situation. In order to write a successful cause-and-effect essay, you need to have a clear understanding of what caused the event or situation in question. Here’s how it works:

  • Introduction: In the introduction, you’ll need to briefly explain the event or situation in question. You should also briefly discuss the cause/effect story of your interest.
  • Body paragraphs: In each body paragraph, you’ll need to discuss a certain aspect of the cause of the event or situation. As always, don’t forget to support your claims with evidence.
  • Conclusion: In the conclusion, you’ll need to discuss the effects of the event or situation. You should also explain how these effects relate to the causes you discussed in your body paragraphs.

Expository, descriptive, and narrative essays

These three types of essays are often confused with one another, so here’s a quick rundown of each one.
Expository essays are all about explaining a certain topic. Just like the name suggests, descriptive essays have the purpose of describing a certain subject. On the other hand, narrative essays are all about telling a story. The good thing is that each of these types can follow pretty much the same structure:

  • Introduction: In the introduction, you’ll need to provide some background information on your topic. You should also introduce the main idea of your essay here.
  • Body paragraphs: In each body paragraph, you’ll need to thoroughly discuss a different aspect of your topic.
  • Conclusion: In the conclusion, you’ll need to summarize your main points and leave your reader with a clear understanding of your essay.

FAQ

Why essay structuring is important?

It’s important because it can help you organize your thoughts and ideas, and it can also make your essay flow better.

How to structure an essay at university level?

The same way you would structure an essay at any level. The only difference is that you might need to be more concise and to the point when you’re writing at a university level.

How to structure an essay for college?

Again, the same way you would structure an essay at any level. However, you might want to focus on your thesis statement and make sure that your argument is clear and concise.

How many paragraphs should include every part of essay?

It depends on the type of essay you’re writing. However, each part will have at least one paragraph. In the body section, you’ll need at least five paragraphs per topic.

Conclusion

As you can see, there’s no one-size-fits-all in terms of an essay structure. It all depends on the type of essay you’re writing, as well as the level at which you’re writing it. However, the general structure of an essay always includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. So if you’re stuck on how to structure your essay, start with that, and you’ll be on your way.

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