Simple Guide to Writing a Basic Essay – Part 1

Although there are many topics and purposes for writing an essay, your essay will have the same format and the basic structure. This article will guide you to the things you should consider and the necessary steps that you should follow to write a simple basic essay.

There are three important things you should consider when you decide to write an essay: subject, target reader(s) and purpose.

1. Subject:

Most of the times, the subject of the essay will be given to you. If it’s not, you should write about what you know.

2. Target reader(s):

Many times, your target reader will be your teacher but other times your target readers will be your peers, parents, employers, newspaper editors or the community.

Your target readers determine what to write in your essay and how to write it. So before you start writing, you should consider the following:

  • The interests and perspectives of your readers.
  • Selecting the topic that is relevant to your readers if it is not given to you.
  • Using language and examples that are appropriate to your readers.

3. Purpose:

Considering the purpose means you determine why you are writing the essay and what type of essay you are writing. Each type has certain uses and styles. Here are the main four types of essays:

1. Narrative essays: Telling a story.

In this essay, you tell a story about a real-life experience and involve the readers by making the story as vivid as possible.

2. Descriptive essays: Painting a picture.

In this essay, you describe a person, place, object, …etc. and communicate a deeper meaning through the description using colorful words and sensory details.

3. Expository essays: Writing only facts.

In this essay, you present a balanced analysis of the topic. You explain or define a topic using facts, statistics and examples. This kind of essay includes the comparison and contrast essay, the cause and effect essay, and the “how to” or process essay.

4. Persuasive essays: Convincing me.

In this essay, you try your best to convince the reader to accept your point of view or recommendation. Here, you should use logic, examples, expert opinion and sound reasoning. You should also present all sides of the argument and communicate clearly why a certain point of view is correct.

Structure of the essay:

Every essay has three components: a beginning, middle and an end. The beginning is the first paragraph which is called the introduction. The middle is called the body of the essay. It often consists of three or two paragraphs. At the end of the essay there is a final paragraph which is the conclusion of the essay.

1. The introduction:

The first paragraph of the essay or the introduction has two main purposes: to attract the reader’s attention and make him/her want to read more, and to prepare the reader for the direction that the essay is going to take. The introduction usually has two main parts:

1. The dramatic opener or the hook:

It pulls the reader to the essay. It grabs his/her attention. It is often a short sentence that frames your essays. Here are some examples of some hooks:

  • (Question) What is more valuable than gold? (an essay on friendship).
  •  (Imperative) Look into the heavens and count the stars if you can. (an essay on outer space).

2. The thesis statement or topic sentence:

It states the main idea of the essay. It is one or two sentences at the end of the introduction that tells the reader what your essay is about. Here is an example of a thesis statement about friendship: Having good friends is great as they make life enjoyable.

Here is an example of the whole first paragraph of an essay on “friendship”.

What is more valuable than gold? “A good friend” is my answer. Having good friends is great as they make life valuable and enjoyable.

To Be Continued …

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