Basic Guide to Writing an Essay



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Basic Guide to Writing an Essay[1]

Basic Guide to Writing an Essay

What is an Essay?

  • An essay can have many purposes, but the basic structure is the same no matter what. You may be writing an essay to argue for a particular point of view or to explain the steps necessary to complete a task. Either way, your essay will have the same basic format. If you follow a few simple steps, you will find that the essay almost writes itself. You will be responsible only for supplying ideas, which are the important part of the essay anyway.
  • Don't let the thought of putting pen to paper daunt you. Get started!

Essay Format

  • These simple steps will guide you through the essay writing process:
  • Decide on your topic.
  • Prepare an outline or diagram of your ideas.
  • Write your thesis statement.
  • Write the body.
  • Write the main points.
  • Write the subpoints.
  • Elaborate on the subpoints.
  • Write the introduction.
  • Write the conclusion.
  • Add the finishing touches.

Choosing a Topic

  • You may have no choice as to your topic. If this is the case, you still may not be ready to jump to the next step. Think about the type of paper you are expected to produce. Should it be a general overview, or a specific analysis of the topic? If it should be an overview, then you are probably ready to move to the next step. If it should be a specific analysis, make sure your topic is fairly specific. If it is too general, you must choose a narrower subtopic to discuss.
  • For example, the topic "KENYA" is a general one. If your objective is to write an overview, this topic is suitable. If your objective is to write a specific analysis, this topic is too general. You must narrow it to something like "Politics in Kenya" or "Kenya's Culture.“
  • Once you have determined that your topic will be suitable, you can move on.

Organize Your Ideas

  • The purpose of an outline or diagram is to put your ideas about the topic on paper, in a moderately organized format. The structure you create here may still change before the essay is complete, so don't agonize over this. Decide whether you prefer the cut-and-dried structure of an outline or a more flowing structure. If you start one or the other and decide it isn't working for you, you can always switch later.

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