How to write an essay


An essay is a type of writing based mainly on interpretation, evidence, and research. Although you may come up with many different types of essays, the purpose is almost always the same.

Writing process

Preparation Writing Revision
Define an essay topic
Start writing introduction
Overall organization
Continue with the body
Read your essay once again for content
Find a thesis statement
Summarize in conclusion
Proofread the paper
Prepare an outline
Let your friend have a look
Check for plagiarism

Essay writing process usually consists of three consecutive stages; preparation, writing, and revision. 

However, the time and effort on each stage depends on your essay type. If you are working on a college-level argumentative essay, you may have to spend much more time on preparing your argumentation.

But when you are assigned to a two-page expository essay for high school, you can start writing almost instantly, without comprehensive research.

What to do before writing

First, understand the type of essay and its requirements. Take the steps below to ensure a structured approach. 

1. Understand your assignment

Your essay should respond to the assignment requirements such as length, type, and deadline. 

2. Choose your topic

Some instructors allow students to choose their own topic. Just make sure it is interesting to grab the readers’s attention. 

If you’re not feeling creative, simply read our blog post on, “Essay Topic Ideas.

3. Start researching

Researching is quite significant in writing an academic essay. You may need to cite them in APA, MLA, etc. to avoid plagiarism.

These tools below will help you a lot for researching  and citations. 

4. Draft your thesis statement

The thesis statement is the goal of an essay. Find a clear and strong thesis statement and keep highlighting it throughout your essay.

5. Prepare an outline

Now, map out your essay in an organized outline. You will see the benefits of an outline as you continue writing. 

Introduction guide and example


Introduction paragraph is where you need to grab the reader’s attention by informing what you will include in your essay.

This part generally is around 10% of the whole essay

Look at the below example and hover over the sentences to see a detailed example of introduction.

International trade has been highly controlled by developed countries for centuries and developing countries have struggled to access this market. Hook: This sentence doesn’t include the main focus, but introduces the main issue/controversy for the argument. Fair trade is a worldwide initiative aimed at improving the livelihood of producers and empowering workers in developing countries by generating better terms and sufficient wages (Fair Trade International, 2017). Context: Present a paraphrased definition by referencing the source or simply explain the context with your own ideas. Overall, Fair Trade develops economic stability, provides higher salaries compared to conventional producers, and educates community diversification. Thus, to a large extent the claim that Fair Trade negatively impacts producers and workers in developing countries in invalid. Thesis Statement: State your central argument and position. This essay will focus on the main arguments connected to stability, salaries and diversification and conclude with suggestions on how Fair Trade could be improved. Structure Overview: Explain what your essay will cover.

1. Grab reader's attention with a hook sentence

Think of yourself as a reader. Would you read an essay that lacks interest right from the beginning? 

So, start with a hook sentence to trigger the reader’s interest. You may start with a shocking statistic, a question, or even a quote.

Say you’re writing an essay about the relationship between social media and psychological disorders. Your hook could be like the below example to boost the interest of readers: 

2. Elaborate by providing background information

Good essay topics create curiosity for the reader. It is important to provide historical or academic context on your topic, which helps reader comprehend your essay topic.

Feel free to make use of information on the background, overview, critical debates, and references (APA, MLA, etc.) in your introduction.

However, don’t dig deep into the topic yet as it is a bit early now. You will have plenty of space to give even more information in the body paragraphs.

3. State your thesis statement

Now, present your thesis statement, which is the central argument of your whole paper. 

Readers will understand your position on the topic by reading your thesis statement. Generally, a thesis statement is one or two sentences long. 

Body paragraph guide and example

You should make your arguments and provide evidence regarding your research and thesis statement in the body of an essay

In other words, you are free to give as much detail as you can depending on the total length of your essay.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can generate a positive reputation for a company leading to possibly more sales and growth. Topic sentence: This is where you introduce the paragraph’s main idea. According to Jones et al. (2019), a corporation that invests in the environmental and ethical approaches of CSR will demonstrate to the public and the media that they are a responsible company. Watson (2018) provides evidence that this improves consumer sales as customers tend to support ethical green business practices thus improving profitability and encouraging growth. Evidence: Give your evidence by paraphrasing your sources. For example, a yoghurt company called Yeo Valley has been investing in making its products organic, creating fully recyclable packaging and reducing its CO2 output. As a result, profits have doubled within the last two years providing the company with a range of opportunities to expand (Peterson, 2019). Example: You may give examples to show your evidence is valid. Overall, the evidence seems to suggest that investing in CSR can improve brand image and productivity. Interpretation: Express the significance of your evidence and summarize the paragraph finding.

1. Length of the body paragraphs

In general, the type of essay defines the lengthAlthough reflective essays tend to be 3 to 5 paragraphs, a graduate essay may be at least 5,000 words.

But generally, the body paragraphs are around 80% of your whole essay

2. Structure of paragraphs

An understandable structure is vital when writing an academic essay. So, with each paragraph, present a central idea or argument, which are called “topic sentences.

When starting a new paragraph, make transitions from the previous paragraph with a transition sentence.

After the topic sentence, present some evidence, examples, data, or even quotes. But, don’t forget to paraphrase and reference primary and secondary sources to avoid plagiarism.

Conclusion paragraph and example

This step is the last paragraph of an essay, and it takes around 10% of the whole essay. Writing a conclusion is as significant as an introduction and thesis statement.

After all, this essay has discussed three key areas of CSR and has argued that it is an important consideration for larger companies in 2020.Thesis statement: Restate your thesis statement and opinion. In promoting a good reputation in being environmentally friendly, supporting local companies and providing positive working conditions, evidence suggests that this will in the long-run improve profitability and encourage outside investment. Summary: Review the key points of the article One future prediction is that as consumers are becoming more ethically minded, now is the time to invest in CSR. Recommendation: You may state a solution, prediction, or future focus.

Best practices in conclusion paragraph

Things to avoid in conclusion paragraph

A memorable and solid conclusion is essential for the last impression. There are some steps to avoid while writing a conclusion, which are:

Frequently Asked Questions

Before starting, understand the type of essay and its requirements. There are specific steps to be taken on how to prepare for the writing process.

Good essay topics create curiosity for the reader. It is significant to provide historical or academic context that helps the reader comprehend your essay topic.

Most common essay consist of three core parts; introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion

Thank you for reading. If you need further information, feel free to have a look at our essay samples.

Pelin Dalkiran
Pelin Dalkiran
Studied Maths and Coding @DEU, currently working as Front End Lead at Tamara Research, loves writing, coding, and hiking.

Recently on Tamara Blog

How to write an essay
Fatih Gul

Essay Topic Ideas

In the writing process, generating ideas is the least systematic and most innovative step. Now, let’s continue with the steps you can follow in order to find a topic for your academic essay.

Read More »
Pelin Dalkiran

Differences between US and UK English

Your English style should always be consistent throughout the process of writing your research paper, essay, or dissertation. Even though there are more than 160 different English dialects worldwide, American English and British English are known as the most commonly used styles.

Read More »
Education concept. Student studying and brainstorming campus con
Deniz Akcaoglu

Active and passive voice in writing

Active voice and passive voice define how an action is told. While the subject is doing the action in active voice, the person or thing that receives the action comes before the verb in passive voice. You should use the correct verb tense to create a passive voice.

Read More »
Ibrahim Akturk

First-person pronouns in academic writing

There are many different perspectives on using first-person pronouns (I, we, our, etc.) in academic writing among various disciplines. While many experts advise using first-person pronouns even in fields of science, there is no consensus.

Read More »
Ibrahim Akturk

Common phrasal verbs in writing

The two lists below show commonly used phrasal verbs in academic writing and their one-word synonyms. Although it is academically acceptable to use phrasal verbs, you might want to switch them to their one-word synonyms to make your writing diverse and more professional. 

Read More »
Ibrahim Akturk

Tense selection in academic writing

Every type of an academic paper (essays, theses, and dissertations) might require you to choose different tenses. This article will show you the different tense selections in different parts of an academic paper.

Read More »