It’s hard to imagine studying in school or college without essay writing. This type of assignment seems to be any teacher’s favorite. Why? First of all, essays help us learn how to reflect and express our ideas in the written form, conveying them to the reader. It’s crucial to organize your thoughts and choose the main ones from the whole heap of ideas that run in your head.
A brilliant paper is distinguished not only by a wide vocabulary and originality but also by the correct structure. At first glance, the essay has a free form, but to come up with something outstanding, it’s necessary to understand the essay structure definition.
There are three main parts (introduction, body, and conclusion) as well as elements they must contain: the thesis (the key statement you’re going to prove), arguments supporting it, and vivid examples.
How To Structure An Essay
Before you start wondering why structure is important, it’s necessary to do three things. First, make sure the topic and the task are clear to you. Pay attention to the professor’s requirements: they should include a specific type of essay (persuasive, narrative, etc – the type is key for structuring an essay), volume, and citation style.
Second, research the topic as well as you can – turn to other authors’ books, articles, reviews, and opinions. They will serve as inspiration and references. Third, start brainstorming. At this point, students often struggle as they don’t know where to begin and what to write about.
Here are two simple ways to organize your viewpoints. They will also give insights into how should an essay be structured.
The mind map is related to the association method. Write the topic of the paper in the center of the sheet. Next, add elements around it – they all will be your first associations. For instance, if your theme is linked to literature, these may be heroes, events, problems of the novel, literary techniques, and so on.
Each branch on such a diagram may turn out to be a separate paragraph of your work. A proper essay structure deals with a thesis, specific arguments, and examples – and a mind map is extra handy with figuring them all out.
Freewriting is another common technique to structure essay. The key task is to write whatever comes to your mind for 10 minutes without a pause. Don’t analyze your thoughts and don’t edit them. When the time is over, re-read everything written, perhaps you will find something worthy there.
As it was mentioned earlier, a good essay structure mainly depends on a paper type, so let’s learn more about them.
Essay Structure Types
Basically, there are five common essay structure types.
The first on the list of types of essay structure is an analytical one. It requires you to discuss, review or investigate something. It’s recommended to divide the theme into main components, then you’ll explore them in different paragraphs.
The structure of an essay should include the next components:
- Introduction (set a scene for a future paper, describe the background and the issues you’ll write about, then mention your thesis statement);
Paragraph 1 (the first subject + a topic sentence to outline it, explanation and supporting evidence, conclusion to summarize your thoughts and link to the next part);
Paragraph 2 (the second subject + a topic sentence to outline it, explanation and supporting evidence, conclusion to summarize your thoughts and link to the next part);
Paragraph 3 (the third subject + a topic sentence to outline it, explanation and supporting evidence, conclusion to summarize your thoughts);
- Conclusion (restate your key points and overall opinion, justify or evaluate them, if needed).
In an argumentative essay, you’ll write about your position concerning some issue and support it with arguments. To make the essay stronger, represent an opposing view in the end, adding evidence to prove that it’s wrong. Here is a structure of an essay:
- Introduction (set a background, state your position, and briefly mention the arguments you’re going to talk about);
Paragraph 1 (highlight argument 1 with a topic sentence, explain it, and support it with evidence, your concluding sentence will be a transition to the next paragraph);
Paragraph 2 (highlight argument 2 with a topic sentence, explain it, and support it with evidence, your concluding sentence will be a transition to the next paragraph);
Paragraph 3 (highlight argument 3 with a topic sentence, explain it and support it with evidence);
- Conclusion (restate your position and summarize the most important points, mentioned earlier).
As for a comparative essay, you’ll discuss the similarities and differences between two or more events, works, theories, styles, and so on. To make your structure in writing easier, follow the scheme:
- Introduction (set a background, explaining who or what exactly will be compared, state a purpose of the work and overview which features you’ll take into account);
Paragraph 1 (explore similarity/difference 1, explain it, if needed, provide evidence, and make a transition to the next part);
Paragraph 2 (explore similarity/difference 2, explain it, if needed, provide evidence, and make a transition to the next paragraph);
Paragraph 3 (explore similarity/difference 3, explain it, if needed, provide evidence);
- Conclusion (restate the purpose of the work, summarize key points as you always do in a standard essay structure, and outline them with a final topic sentence).
In a narrative essay, you will tell a story about your experience and analyze its consequences. The task is to intrigue the reader and make the story engaging. In the end, make a personal statement – it must be specific and vivid. A well-structured essay shows events in chronological order.
The task of a persuasive essay is to convince readers that your ideas are right, or your recommendation is worth following. To make such an essay a success, turn to logic and facts, provide reasonable examples. To sound like an expert, transfer your ideas clearly.
Basic Essay Structure
When it comes to a basic structure of an essay, there are two rules:
- Present your thoughts in the form of short theses;
- Theses must be supported by evidence – therefore arguments follow the thesis in the essay body structure.
The thesis is a short specific idea that is rather controversial. To prove it, use arguments (events and phenomena from real life, experience, scientific evidence, references, and facts). It’s best to provide two arguments in favor of each thesis. Why? One argument seems unconvincing, while three will “overload” the essay.
To be truly consistent, structure in writing an essay should be laconic and logical.
Of course, there are different essay structures, but all of them have a circular form:
- Thesis, arguments;
- Thesis, arguments;
- Thesis, arguments;
The introduction and conclusion focus on the problem (in the introduction – it’s posed, in the conclusion – it’s summarized). The essay introduction structure doesn’t have to be long – one or two paragraphs will be enough.
Depending on the paper’s type, the body of an essay is made up of:
- Reverse structure (facts-summary);
- Thesis and several arguments (facts).
Ending the essay writing structure, note that in conclusion we summarize everything that was said earlier. Following the structure of writing step-by-step, both the author and the reader sum up the results of the thinking process. Keep in mind that conclusions don’t arise “out of nowhere”. Mention only those ideas that the reader should come to, having read your work.