Keys to writing a winning essay

Writing essays isn’t as difficult as people make out. By remembering a few basic steps, you will be able to write essays that will inform, describe, amuse and even inspire. The first thing to remember is the structure of the piece.

How to write essays

The structure

The very basic essay consists of three parts; the introduction, the body, and the conclusion.

The introduction introduces the reader to the topic, and the way you will be approaching it. Most questions are general, for example, love, or pollution and have different ways of being tackled. But if you’re writing a research paper about a particular aspect of civil engineering you cannot afford to be rambling and vague. The opening paragraph of the essay should give a basic idea of the topic you will be discussing and the course you plan to take. It also usually contains a thesis statement. This statement usually shows the purpose of the essay. The thesis statement for the topic “Traffic” could be:

‘In today’s busy lifestyle, traffic is an everyday problem.’

The body of the essay will provide the information, categorically or random, of whichever topic you plan to write about. Let us take the example of “Traffic” again. The body of the essay could detail what form of traffic you are talking about, the reason traffic is such a problem nowadays, the cause of traffic, and how to avoid getting caught in traffic (if there is such a possibility).

The conclusion should summarize all the points that the essay has discussed, and provide a concluding statement. For example, you could conclude the topic “Traffic” like this:

"Unfortunately, traffic has become an unavoidable part of our daily routine; but to look at the positive side, in today’s hectic lifestyle, traffic provides the few moments of leisure we might ever have throughout the day."

Once you understand the structure of an essay, writing one won’t be so difficult.

But here are a few extra pointers on how you can write better, more intelligent articles.

  • Research your essays: though this might seem obvious, many people begin their essays without collecting any extra information and hope that things they remember will carry them through. It usually doesn’t, and lack of research shows clean through. Be aware of what you’re writing about, and if you aren’t, look up the information you need. Never be unprepared.
  • Compile your notes systematically: Good essays never ramble. They are succinct and to the point. The best essayists make lists and order out the information they wish to provide to the reader. Methodically placing your data will make the essay easier to read and comprehend.
  • Improve your writing style: Here are a few mistakes most people make in their essays:
  • Indulging in hyperbole: Overstatement does not equal proof. In an essay on “television,” it is unwise to state that television is the greatest invention of man. This statement is not provable, and will cause the reader to doubt whether the author has enough facts to back the statement up.
  • Avoid personalization informal essays: In personal essays, using “I” or “you” and everyday language is acceptable and in some cases, preferred. But when you’re writing a formal essay such as a research paper, avoid using the personal approach. “I think…” and “let me show you…” make the writing seem unprofessional and childish.
  • Avoid using the same words repeatedly: Vary your words to add interest in your essay.