For many beginning English learners writing a whole essay in English can turn out to be a challenge. It’s no wonder why – English students often face a lot of difficulties because there are so many grammar rules and stylistic nuances that it can be daunting for even the most determined students.
However, essays are an integral part of the education system. Essays allow teachers to evaluate your critical thinking and written communication skills. You’ll also need good essay writing skills if you want to apply for universities in English-speaking countries.
The great news is that, with a little hard work and determination, anyone can become a proficient English writer. In this article, we'll discuss some tips that will boost your writing skills and help you ease the essay writing process. Keep reading and learn how to start writing remarkable essays in English!
Determine the Purpose of Your Essay and Stick to It
There are many different types of essays, and each one requires a different writing approach. Some essays, such as persuasive essays, require a lot of research to form well thought-out arguments. Others, such as personal narratives, are more informal and may not require as much additional research.
If you're assigned a research paper, you'll need to use more factual evidence to support your claims. Admissions essays, in turn, require you to present yourself to the admissions committee and demonstrate why you're a good fit for their school.
In an expository essay you explain or define a concept, while in a descriptive essay you'll describe something in great detail.
Understanding the purpose of your essay will help you determine what kind of information to include and how best to organize it. No matter what type of essay you're writing, it's important to determine the purpose early on and stick to it. Keep in mind that trying to accomplish too many things in one essay will only confuse and frustrate your reader.
When you want to write an essay, one of the most important steps is brainstorming. This is when you sit down and come up with ideas for your essay.
Here’s a few questions to get your brainstorming session started. What am I trying to say with my essay? What points do I want to make? What examples can I use to support my claims?
Simply jot down all of your ideas on the topic, and then look for common themes and patterns. By taking the time to think about your essay before you start writing, you'll save yourself a lot of time and frustration later on.
Develop a Thesis Statement
Once you have a general idea of what you want to write about, it's time to develop a thesis statement. This is a short, concise sentence that states the central point of your essay. It should be specific and direct, without being too narrow or broad.
Some things to keep in mind to help you develop a clear thesis statement:
- Make sure it is directly relevant to the prompt or question.
- Be as specific as possible.
- Browse sample essays to get a better idea of how yours should look like.
- Don't be afraid to revise your thesis statement as you write!
For example, if you want to explore the theme of justice in the play Antigone, a good thesis statement might be:
- In the play Antigone, Sophocles uses irony to highlight the contradictions between what is morally right and what is legally right.
This thesis statement tells us that the essay will be about how Sophocles uses irony, and what that says about the literature. It gives the reader a specific idea of what to expect, and it also helps to keep the writer focused on their essay’s main purpose.
Create an Outline
After you've developed a thesis statement, it's time to create an outline. This will be a roadmap for your essay and help you keep your thoughts organized and on track. A good outline includes a main idea for each paragraph (usually expressed in a topic sentence), and supporting details.
To get started, simply list all of the ideas that you want to include in your essay. Then, look for any common themes or patterns. From there, you can start to develop a more specific outline.
To give you an example, here is a basic outline for a five-paragraph essay on the abovementioned play Antigone:
- Brief summary of the play.
- Overview of your main argument.
- Paragraph 1: Sophocles uses irony to explore the theme of justice.
- Paragraph 2: The consequences of conflicts between morality and law.
- Paragraph 3: The role of family in Antigone's decision.
- Restate your thesis statement.
- Summarize your main points and arguments.
- Leave the reader with something to think about.
Remember, this is just a basic structure you can refer to. As you write your own essay, you may find that your ideas change or that the direction of the essay has shifted. That's okay! Just be sure to revise and adjust your outline as you go.
Now it's time to start writing your essay! Most people begin with an introduction paragraph where they present their topic and a thesis statement. If you’re struggling to write your thesis, it can also be helpful to start on a body paragraph. Experiment to find out what works for you. Be sure to use strong vocabulary and clear, concise sentence structure.
Avoid run-on sentences and stick to active voice whenever possible. Overusing passive voice is one of the most common mistakes when it comes to essay writing, as it unnecessarily complicates the text and makes it more challenging to get through. Also, avoid using first person pronouns (I, me, my, etc.) in formal academic essays.
When it comes to an overall paragraph structure, make sure that each paragraph focuses on one idea only. Keep in mind that the first sentence of each paragraph is a topic sentence. This means that you should express the main point of the paragraph in it.
Then, you can use transition words to connect sentences within a paragraph, present evidence and argument, and make the text more readable overall.
As you write, be sure to support your thesis statement and provide evidence from the source material. This could include quotes, examples, or simply referring back to specific scenes. Remember, your goal is to persuade your reader that your argument is valid. The more evidence you can provide, the stronger your argument will be.
This is especially important if you write an argumentative essay, as it should take a stance on an issue. Your goal is to make your argument as clear and easy to follow as possible to keep the reader's attention throughout the whole essay.
If you find yourself getting bogged down in the details, take a break and come back to it later. Writing essays can be taxing, but with a careful approach to word choice and a bit of creativity, you can turn a simple essay topic into something remarkable.
Edit and Proofread
After you've finished writing your first draft, it's important to edit and proofread your work. A good essay is clear, well-organized, and free of spelling and grammatical errors. You’ll need to edit and make sure that your essay meets all of these requirements.
Here are a few simple steps that will help you proofread and edit your essay:
- Start by reading through your essay aloud. You can also print your essay out and mark errors with a pen. This will help you to catch any typos, grammatical errors, or punctuation mistakes.
- Read through your essay again to ensure your sentences are clear and concise and make any necessary changes. Use a Thesaurus to find better words to use in your essay.
- Have someone else read your essay and ask for feedback. They may be able to spot errors that you missed, provide feedback on the essay’s tone and your overall writing style, or give professional opinion on an explored subject.
Once you’ve checked your writing for errors, you’ll want to make sure you properly format your final draft.
One of the most important things of essay writing is to format your final draft correctly. This includes using the correct font, margins, and spacing. It's also important to be consistent with your formatting throughout the entire essay. Be sure to check the style guide of your assignment.
Some teachers will let you choose the font, and if they do it’s a good idea to stick with something simple and easy to read. Times New Roman or Arial are both good options for academic essays. Most teachers prefer 1-inch margins on all sides of the page. Spacing is typically double-spaced, with each new paragraph indented.
If you're not sure how to format your essay, check the style guide of the assignment. If you can’t find any info there, ask your teacher for guidance. They will be able to tell you exactly what they're expecting.
With these tips, you'll be well on your way to writing an excellent essay in English! Just remember to start early, stay focused, and be willing to revise your work. With a little effort, you'll be sure to turn in an essay that you can be proud of.
The Bottom Line
Writing a good essay in English isn't as difficult as it may seem. By brainstorming ideas, developing a thesis statement, and creating an outline, you'll be well on your way to success. Just be sure to edit and proofread your work before submitting it.
With a little bit of effort and some helpful tips, you can produce an essay that is clear, concise, and well-written. Make sure to follow these guidelines and you're sure to impress your teacher (and yourself) with your writing skills. With these tips and tricks, you can write all different kinds of essays in English.
While you may think that a good writing style is something one’s born with, we at Langster know that it’s just another skill you can successfully develop by practicing. So, keep writing and you’ll get there!