essay writing
Written by Waseem Raza



Essay writing is an important part of our academic life and success at every level. Many students find difficulty in writing essays as it requires knowledge on the topic apart from writing skills. Either they fail to plan the essay or understand the expectations of the examiner. Of these expectations, an appropriate and effective essay structure is critical. Students often lose valuable marks by failing to structure their essays clearly to make the best of their ideas. Also read 7Cs in writing

Structuring an Essay

A student may have knowledge of the structure of an essay, but does not have enough practice in the art of structuring an essay. Everyone works differently. Some people have no trouble thinking everything out in their head, or making an outline, starting with the introduction, developing a body and finishing with the conclusion.

Others May not feel confident while structuring an essay. It is advisable for them to write from inside out and doing the body paragraphs first. Since each body paragraph is a main idea, they come to know what the main ideas are. These ideas easily become the outline, then they can write the introduction and conclusion.

Here are the key points they should keep in mind while structuring an essay:


An essay has different parts—introduction, main body and conclusion. Each part should be proportionate. The opening remarks in an essay should be brief. Set about the main theme as quickly as you can, without wasting time on preliminary phrases. Each division of the subject should have its due space. Important points require more treatment than minor ones.


As you pass from one main topic to another, begin a new paragraph. A good outline should ensure that the topics follow one another in proper order. 

Transitional Sentences

These are useful for indicating the logical sequence of events or ideas in an essay, and indicative of the different divisions generally.

Introductory Sentences A short statement placed at the beginning of a paragraph to indicate what follows, is very effective.

Short Sentences

The short sentences are better to build an effective essay. A long sentence is open to errors.


To bring clarity to. the text, make it well-connected. Ideas should be connected logically and each sentence should work like a knot in the chain. Do not join your sentences by the monotonous use of and so, but use appropriate connectives.


It is as important to end an essay well as to begin it well. An abrupt and feeble conclusion disappoints the reader or the examiner and leaves a bad impression. A brief summary of the previous arguments or statements often makes an effective close.


After completing your essay revise it again and again and make changes as possible.

Types of Essays

There are numerous types of essays but essentially there are six major types of essays.

Six Major Types of Essays 

Distinguishing among types of essays is simply a matter of determining the writer’s goal to write an essay. Does the writer want to tell about a personal experience, describe something, explain an issue, or convince the reader to accept a certain viewpoint? The six major types of essays address these purposes:

1. Narrative Essays: Telling a Story

When you want to write an essay about your first journey by air you may narrate a series of events. Unlike a story or a novel, a narrative essay treats the events as a topic and so the narration includes the writer’s comment. Such an essay may be written on an incident such as the celebration of a festival or an annual function; a disaster such as an earthquake or tsunami; an accident such as a plane crash, a ship-wreck; a journey by rail, bus, or car; a biographical topic such as the autobiography of a scooter or “My first year at the university”, “My childhood” etc.

2. Descriptive Essays: Painting a Picture

 Similar to a description paragraph, a descriptive essay presents a visual impression of a person, place, event, or an object. The most important thing in writing a descriptive essay is to ensure that the description is o vivid that the reader is able to visualize in his/her mind a clear picture of what has been described.

3. Expository Essays: Just the Facts

The expository essay is an informative piece of writing that presents a balanced analysis of a topic. In an expository essay, the writer provides a full explanation of the topic. Expository writing encompasses a wide range of essay variations, such as the comparison and contrast essay, the cause/effect essay, and the “how to” or process essay. Because expository essays are based on facts and not personal feelings, writers don’t reveal their emotions or write in the first person.

4. Persuasive Essays: Convince Me

While like an expository essay in its presentation of facts, the goal of the persuasive essay is to convince the reader to accept the writer’s point of view or recommendation. The writer must build a case using fat, and logic, as well as examples, expert opinion, and sound reasoning. 

5. Imaginative Essay

As the name suggests, this type of essay relies mainly on the power of one’s imagination and expression. For instance, if your task is to write an essay on au were Barack Obama”, The autobiography of a hundred rupee note” and similar topics, you have to place yourself imaginatively in a situation or position of which you have no knowledge or experience and then express yourself. Of course, you need to avoid being dreamy. As far as possible, try to be realistic. What is skimming

6- Reflective Essay

Essays on abstract concepts such as honesty, truth, patriotism, and cooperation come under this type, which contains the writer’s reflection on a topic. The writer suports his/her point of view with arguments, reliable facts and figures and sometimes with the opinions of experts/authorities on the subject. Examples of reflective essays are those on topics such as “Honesty is the best policy” and “Habits die hard”.

Characteristics of Essays
The main characteristics of a good essay are the following:

1- Order

It is the sequence of organizing the points in each paragraph of an essay. As each paragraph begins with a topic sentence, the supporting details should be sequenced in the most appropriate order to strengthen or justify the main idea in the topic sentence.

2- Unity

Each paragraph should contain only one main idea, which is supported by several subordinating ideas. The matter included in each paragraph should be closely interlinked and should throw some light on the topic. Although we can express our thoughts in many ways and treat the topic from different perspectives, the discussion should eventually lead to the conclusion that we have already formulated in our mind.

3- Brevity

Although there is no prescribed rule regarding the length of an essay, it should be long enough to fully include the discussion of our viewpoint and short enough to be read and comprehended in one sitting. In general, the nature of the topic and its treatment give some idea on the length. Many a time, either a word limit or a time limit is given to write an essay. For instance, in the GRE and TOEFL examinations, you are given 45 minutes and 30 minutes, respectively, to write an essay on the given topic. Hence, you may assume that the expected number of words in these cases would be about 300-325 and 235-250 words, respectively.

4- Effective style

The style of an essay is characterized by the clarity of and variety in the expression and by the use of plain, direct and forceful language.

5- Personal touch
As mentioned earlier, an essay is the expression of the writer’s personal views on a given topic. It essentially reflects the writer’s way of thinking and style or expressing.

Steps to Essay Writing and Checklist

The following list provides some guidelines for essay writing:

  1.  Critically think over the topic and jot down the points as they occur to you.
  2. Organize the points in various segments, giving each segment a suitable heading to help you remember the matter it contains.  
  3. Sequence the segments in a logical order, in the form of an outline.
  4.  Develop the points into paragraphs, without giving any sub-headings.
  5.  First, write the introduction, which is usually one paragraph.
  6. Move on the body, expanding each main point into one paragraph.
  7. Write the conclusion, which too is usually one paragraph.

After completing your essay, check whether the following conditions are fulfilled and if not, revise it:

  1. The introductory paragraph catches the reader’s attention and provides a general idea about the topic and the line of argument.
  2. The content of the main argument is divided into several paragraphs.
  3. Each paragraph discusses only one point.
  4. There is a smooth transition among the sentences in each paragraph and among paragraphs in the essay.
  5. The conclusion is focused and emphasizes the highlights of your view.
  6. Every sentence in each paragraph adds some value to the topic sentence and does not contain any redundant words. Read more

Leave a Comment