★Essay Structure

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★Essay Structure


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Essay Structuring Guide

Aug 14, 2018

Even when students decided on a topic, they may still have a hard time getting down to the actual writing because their heads at this stage are full of unconnected ideas. Therefore, the best way of structuring them and thus achieving a perfectly organized paper is brainstorming. The thing that makes it highly effective is the fact that you actually know how to organize essential ideas in a manner that the reader can understand. Apart from being a framework that helps make the paper content stand out, an essay structure is also a right way of reaching out to your audience.

Most students do not know what a proper structure of an essay looks like, which is why their writing skills leave a lot to be desired. The major problem they usually face is related to having too much poorly structured information in their papers. Which is why learning how to structure it can help them organize their ideas efficiently and make their essay easy to follow. Being able to come up with a proper structure can also be a solution to your instructor’s challenging requirements.

Essay Paragraphs – the Structure

Nearly all students are aware of the so-called ‘five-paragraph structure,’ which is the first thing their tutors introduce them to when teaching the basics of essay writing. Though being a basic structure, it is rarely used in colleges or universities where all papers commonly comprise three paragraphs, i.e., the introduction, body, and conclusion.

Each student should know that the basic essay structure is the same for all essay types, be it persuasive, narrative or descriptive papers. A poorly structured essay will, therefore, hardly impress your instructor and you may even end up losing valuable grades. Good essay papers should read like a remarkable story and have a proper introduction, main body and conclusion. This example of a good standard structure:

  • Introduction ( 1 paragraph).
  • The main body ( any number of paragraphs depending on the required number of pages, i.e., three or more sections).
  • Conclusion (1 paragraph).

Essay Introduction

Being the first paragraph of your essay, the introduction lets the reader know about its topic, as well as your viewpoint regarding it. The opening should contain the thesis statement which can be two to three sentences long, comprising a summary of the main points and/or arguments presented in the essay. The manner in which you write your introduction will help the reader decide whether they would like to proceed with reading the paper or just stop right there. Therefore, knowing the type of audience you are writing for is vital because that way you will be able to come up with a compelling thesis statement that will grab their attention immediately.

Essay Body Paragraphs Structure

If the student chooses to go with the five-paragraph structure, they need to make sure that there are three body paragraphs in their paper. If it is a college or university student who has been assigned to come up with an essay containing five or more pages, then the number of paragraphs can be correspondingly higher.

The paragraphs between the introduction and conclusion are what is commonly referred to as the main body of the essay. You are supposed to make sure that you divide your main body into structural segments, such as subheadings and paragraphs so that it does not look so clustered and confusing to the reader. To achieve this, one should keep in mind a few simple rules, such as:

  • Each subheading and paragraph should present a new point, topic, subject, or idea.
  • Your argument should be supported by evidence, e.g., examples, data, facts, etc.
  • A quick conclusion needs to be drawn.
  • This part should keep the reader interested, so make sure that you do not drag one point for too long and include quotes wherever applicable.
  • And remember – you can always seek essay help to ensure that your main content is structured correctly and well-presented.

The second paragraph of an essay is where you make a smooth transition from the topic introduced in the first body paragraph, thus making it easier for the reader to follow your key ideas. The seamless transition concept is also applicable to all your remaining paragraphs; however, each point or idea should be supported with evidence, e.g., examples, research results or statistical data. Keep in mind that it is not merely your writing skills that your professor is testing, but rather logical thinking, as well as your ability to create a meaningful and persuasive argument that will help you draw a definitive conclusion.

Essay Conclusion Paragraph

The conclusion is the last paragraph of the essay, which provides the reader with a summary of the main points presented in your work. You shouldn’t introduce any new ideas here but rather restate the thesis statement in such a way as to avoid repetition and to induce boredom in your audience. A well-written conclusion will leave the reader with the best impression of your paper, so do not try to rush things up because you may end up ruining your entire essay. It is a good idea to come up with a rough draft of the last paragraph, which will let you iron out any remaining inconsistencies and repetitions in the final product.

The structure of an essay is an effective way of communication with the reader, showing how well the student understands the topic and requirements of the assignment, as well as their ability to raise an argument and reach a conclusion.

The citation or bibliography is an integral part of an essay structure that comes after the conclusion and states all the material that you have referenced. If your paper has direct quotes, paraphrased quotes or content from other sources, citations are essential and should, therefore, not be left out. Keep in mind that unless you add proper citations, you can get penalized for plagiarism or even lose grades for submitting a poorly referenced essay. If a specific format is stated in your instructor’s requirements, you need to make sure that you painstakingly adhere to it because failure to do so may entail very unpleasant consequences. In case no format has been specified, just pick any commonly accepted one that you find easy-to-use and format your paper accordingly.

How you structure your essay determines the manner (or sequence) in which you would like the audience to receive information contained therein. Depending on an essay type, the format of the body paragraphs may differ; however, the overall layout remains the same at all times. Please, see below for a standard essay structure (citations included):

  • Introduction
  • Body Paragraphs
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography/Citation

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Massey University > OWLL > Assignment types > Essay > Essay planning and structure

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Essay planning and structure

It is really important to plan your essay before you begin writing. Planning will save you time later. It is also essential that you have a starting point to plan from, even if it is in a very rough form.

The obvious place to start is at the assignment question itself. From the question you can develop your answer in the form of a thesis statement . From there you can decide what your essay’s subtopics will be and what you want to say about them. After you have a basic idea of what you want to talk about, you can begin to write the essay.

However, when writing an essay, it can also be difficult to come up with a point of view early on. Therefore, instead of developing a thesis statement first, you may choose to read up on the assignment question and make notes on relevant concepts, theories, and studies. Once you have these notes and can develop a summary of the issues, it should be much easier to write a thesis statement.

For more information on analysing the assignment question and planning your essay, see planning assignments .

Essay structure

All essays share the same basic structure, although they may differ in content and style. The essence of an essay is an opinion, expressed as a thesis statement or proposition, and a logical sequence of arguments and information organised in support of the proposition.

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