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Essay Writing: General Tips -

Essay Writing: General Tips

Shakespeare said that a pen is stronger than a sword, but if you’ve learned how to use a pen, you still may be a long way far from becoming a new Shakespeare. If you want to write great essays, you may need inspiration and nice writing technique. However, this task isn’t so hard if you know some basic principles of essay writing. Most often, you just need to go through five simple steps, so now we will talk about five paragraph essays.

Five Paragraph Essays

Of course, there are many complicated types of essays, but if you’re a student of a university or high school, you will most often get five paragraph essays assigned. These essays consist of five sections:

  • Introduction
  • Body Paragraph 1
  • Body Paragraph 2
  • Body Paragraph 3
  • Conclusion

This structure was proven to be the easiest for readers, since it provides the easy perception of information, navigating through ideas and arguments. Generally, your main goal is to make readers understand you, and get all necessary facts.

The Introduction

The main purpose of such a section is to introduce your key thought (thesis statement). You have to describe your thesis at the very beginning, since the whole essay, with all its arguments, will be based on it, explaining and supporting your idea. However, this is not the only purpose of the introduction. A good introduction begins with a “hook”. The hook is a very first sentence of your essay, and it must grab your readers’ attention, motivating them to read more. It may be a quote from a well-known expert, an extraordinary fact, or even an anecdote.

Even though it’s the shortest part of your essay, we suggest you paying special attention to it, since it determines the success of your paper. Once you hooked your readers, get right to the thesis statement. Make sure that your position on the considered issue is clear and leaves no doubts.

The introduction must also give your readers a hint on how you’re going to support your key statement. It will help readers understand your approach and become more familiar with your topic.

The introduction ends with a transitional sentence, which connects your introduction with the body of the essay. Make sure that your introduction isn’t more than three sentences long. It shouldn’t be too long, and you don’t have to write some specific information in this section. If your introduction is longer than three sentences, take your time and edit it. You surely will be rewarded with readers’ reaction.

Here we made an example of the introduction. This introduction may be a beginning of the essay devoted to the topic “How we learn from mistakes”:

People never change? If so, it’s really sad. Most of us are influenced by our own actions and life experience; analyzing our mistakes, we may learn even more than enjoying our success. To prove this point, we will consider scientific facts and everyday situations.

Do: Write your introduction carefully, since it creates the first impression of your entire essay. This section describes your point on a topic and also explains how you will work with such an issue. Don’t hurry up, take your time and spend extra effort on the introduction.

Don’t: Don’t write in the first person, and avoid the use of passive voice. Remember that active voice sounds a lot more convincing, and it also attracts more attention. “The book sells everywhere” sounds more powerful than “the book is sold everywhere”. Along with this, don’t use personal pronounces (I, me, my) – it sounds too subjectively.

The Body

The body of the essay is the main part. Here you can consider your topic in more detail, and write all your arguments.

Given that you write a five paragraph essay, the body of the essay should consist of three paragraphs. Devote first body paragraph to the strongest argument. We suggest starting from the idea that is directly related to the introduction. In other words, if you mentioned a certain fact in your brief outline at the beginning, start with this fact.

Don’t make your paragraphs too short. For example, you shouldn’t just mention a name of a certain writer who wrote about this issue, expecting your readers to get your thought right. You have to express your thoughts in detail, explaining how such evidence supports your thesis statement. Along with this, you have to explain why such evidence is relevant.

Your examples should be tied to the context. If you’re writing about a certain person, you must clarify what exactly is related to your topic. For example, if you’re writing about Abraham Lincoln, you must take into account how complex was his life. Maybe you want to write about his contribution to the abolition of slavery? Or maybe you want to consider his personality or his life before the presidency?

Once again, you have to make sure that your example supports your thesis statement. Explain how this evidence illustrates your point, and pay special attention to this, since it’s the main reason why you include such information in your work. Let’s see an example of the body paragraph. It’s based on the example of the introduction above:

A good example of learning from mistakes is a story of Thomas Edison. Of course, we know him for his successes in science and business, but these successes would be impossible without hundreds of mistakes. One of his most significant inventions, Edison’s lightbulb, had more than a thousand variations. Edison himself wrote that he didn’t consider all these attempts fails. In his opinion, he just discovered a thousand ways the incandescent bulb wouldn’t work. Thus, he was able to find the only right construction that turned out to be successful.

Do: Keep sentences related to each other. First of all, write transition sentences between different arguments, it will simplify reading significantly. Ideally, the entire body part of your essay must have an idea that goes through all the sentences, connecting your thoughts, and creating a holistic picture that can be easily perceived by readers.

Don’t: Don’t be too general. Your arguments must be related to the thesis statement, explaining particular features of your topic. Don’t expect that your readers will understand your point after reading a few words that you consider a “well-known fact”. We also suggest not including unnecessary information. For example, if you’re writing about the role of Abraham Lincoln in the abolition of slavery, don’t write about his childhood or private life.


The common feature of good essays is transitional constructions. Use such phrases as “moreover”, “on the other hand”, “furthermore”, and so on.

These transitions help your readers understand where one sentence ends, and another sentence begins. It also gives a reader a short pause between arguments, so your essay won’t be too boring, and your readers will be able to perceive new information naturally.

Let’s take a look at the second paragraph of the body:

Obviously, we all are in a sense like Thomas Edison. Every time we have to master a certain skill (driving, painting, cooking, etc.), we go through many mistakes, to learn how to make it right. Of course, some people are able to go from the theory right to the successful result, but these are exceptions rather than a rule. We cannot cook a tasty pie without smashing a few eggs, so the whole process of learning is a sequence of mistakes that turn into experience.

This is an example of a good body paragraph, and it also illustrates how you can use transitions.

The Conclusion

Even though it’s the last part of the essay, it shouldn’t be considered a separated part. It still must be devoted to your topic, and tied to the thesis statement.

A fun fact is that the conclusion is somewhat similar to the introduction – these two sections have a lot in common. Just like the introduction, this part is short, and it’s able to either make your essay great or break it.

This paragraph should begin with a transition phrase, which is a peculiar “hook” of the conclusion. This phrase leads to your thesis statement, since you have to remind it once again, in order to help your readers bring all arguments together.

Generally, you may repeat your thesis statement four or five times, so make sure that you don’t use the exact same words every time. You should repeat your ideas in different words, not copying your own sentences over and over again. The conclusion is also a good place to remind your strongest arguments.

At the end of the essay, write a sentence that pushes your readers to action, or explains how your thoughts may be used.

In the end, we see that mistakes help us learn and improve our skills. There are many examples in science and everyday life that show us how important mistakes are. The main thing is not to consider each mistake as a fail. Mistakes can teach us more than successes, being steps on the way to improvement.

Do: Be strong. Your conclusion must be brief and persuasive, so it may be not an easy task. However, we suggest taking your time and take this task as serious as possible, since it’s your last chance to make your readers agree with you. You have to be confident. If you think that your arguments are obvious, make sure that every reader will think so.

Don’t: Don’t write the same words again and again. Although the conclusion must express the same ideas as the introduction, make sure that these parts of the essay don’t sound the same. Show how good your writing skills are.

Generally, the structure of the essay looks like this:


  • A hook
  • A thesis statement
  • A brief outline of your arguments

Body Paragraph 1

  • A transition from the general topic to the subtopic
  • Examples
  • An explanation of how your examples prove your thesis statement

Body Paragraph 2

  • Another subtopic, and a transition
  • Examples
  • An explanation of how your examples prove your thesis statement

Body Paragraph 3

  • Another subtopic, and a transition
  • Examples
  • An explanation of how your examples prove your thesis statement


  • A transition, and a thesis statement
  • Mentions of subtopics and the main topic
  • A sentence that motivates your readers to act or think

Other Tips

Plan your work. Even if you have too little time, and want to write the whole essay right now, we suggest taking your time and prepare. Planning your essay, you are able to find the best arguments instead of writing the first things that come to your mind.

Determine which idea is the most familiar to you. If you know a lot about a certain thing, write about it first. The success of the entire essay depends on how you sort your ideas by importance.

Try not to repeat yourself word for word. Add some variance, and use your writing skills.

If you’re writing about wealth, you can also say “prosperity”, or “welfare”. At the same time, try not to use obvious constructions that consist of a subject, verb, and a direct object. Creativity takes more time, but you’ll be rewarded for your effort.


It’s almost impossible to write a perfect essay from the very first time. You may read this article and feel confident, but don’t forget that theory always looks easier than practice.

Try to write more. Choose topics that are simple for your, try to make the proper structure, taking into account all our tips. You’ll see how your skills improve with each new essay, and you’ll easily write an essay on any topic when the time comes.

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