Uncertain about how to start your essay? Curious to figure out what the introduction and conclusion sections should consist of? Which essay structure and style you should choose? If these are the questions you are wondering then there is still no need to cut corners.
For those who have spent enough time around elders, you’ve likely heard the phrase ‘there is more than one way to skin a cat’ and you know what, the same dogma can be applied to essay assignments. Before we look into the details of how to start an essay, it will make sense to briefly talk about the different types of essays.
While there are over a dozen different types of essays, they can all be grouped into the following four major categories.
Just as there are multiple types of essays, there are also multiple styles of writing an essay. The most common type of essay is the hamburger essay.
Before starting to write the essay paper, develop an essay outline that will provide an insight into what the contents of the actual essay paper will be.
According to aims.edu, “An outline allows a writer to categorize the main points, to organize the paragraphs into an order that makes sense, and to make sure that each paragraph/idea can be fully developed.”
Or to put it in simple words, an outline will help you stay on track without getting stuck when writing the essay paper. Authors and academicians have reached a consensus that outlines act as a plan of action for writers to stay organized whilst giving them the map to sufficiently discuss all the important elements of the topic without getting sidetracked. Here is what an essay outline will generally include;
Once you have figured out the key points on the topic, you can proceed to start making your essay paper. In most cases, it is better to write the main body of the essay before creating the introduction and conclusion sections.
This may sound surprising but many renowned authors and researchers have recommended this method. The idea is to develop a better understanding of the topic and supporting facts before creating the opening statement.
By waiting until you have completed the main body, you will have more information to solidify your arguments in the opening and closing paragraphs.
The purpose of the introduction paragraph is not only to introduce the paper but also grab the attention of the audience. Essentially, this section of your essay will provide the basis of the arguments you will make in the main body.
As they say, “the first impression is the last impression”. So the introduction paragraph has to be inspiring and flawless. Imagine reading an essay that starts with a bunch of spelling errors and disorganised information, you wouldn’t be tempted to read all of it?
Here you thoughtfully present your arguments and opinions on the topic of the essay. You want the readers to continue reading all of the material below, and it is vitally important to develop a hook that lures them into continuing the reading.
Including engaging quotes, facts, and statistics related to the topic will certainly grab their attention. Once that you have the readers engaged, you can move on to present the thesis statement, which should be to the point and striking.
It is important to not exaggerate with the thesis statements. Stick to a single sentence explanation so your readers know from the very beginning where you stand on the topic.
Following that, support the thesis in the rest of your essay by developing an outline of examples to give readers a richer awareness of what the essay is about and tell them what to expect in the main body of the essay paper.
Keeping your basic introduction paragraph short will encourage them to smoothly move to the paragraphs in the main body of the essay. Typically, the length of your introduction paragraph should not be more than four to five sentences. If your designed introduction paragraph section is longer than that, you may want to cut down on the word count. See the basic elements of an introductory paragraph in the below illustration;
|The DOs – The Introduction Chapter is Critical||The DONTs – Avoid Using Passive Voice and Personal Nouns|
Always pay attention to the introduction section because this is the first paragraph the readers will read. Know that it is your opportunity to impress your audience.
A good essay introduction will help the readers understand how you will present what you will present. Make sure you are putting the right amount of effort into this paragraph. Anything too short or too long will turn the readers off!
The examples provided as well as your explanation around those should be directly related to the thesis of your essay. Make every sentence count because it can be hard to condense the complete essence of any particular example in just a few sentences.
For example, if you wish to attract the attention of your readers towards the footballing talent of Lionel Messi then you might consider skipping his food preferences. Keep it relevant!
What comes after the introduction and constitutes the middle paragraphs of the essay are collectively referred to as the main body or the body content of the essay. As briefly mentioned above, the primary aim of this section is to support your thesis statement with appropriate examples and theories.
The first body paragraph starts with the most significant argument or the strongest example or theory supporting your thesis statement unless you have been instructed to do otherwise.
Some essay assignments may require students to use chronological explanations in the main body of the essay. Make sure that you are unmistakably addressing the topic of your essay in the first sentence of this paragraph with the help of the examples outlined above in the intro paragraph.
But, a one-sentence opening statement that highlights the example of “Michael Jackson”, “LED Traffic Lights” or “Doraemon” is not going to be sufficient, and so it is essential to present supporting material to help the readers understand in detail what the example is why the quoted example is relevant to your thesis statement.
Regardless of how well known your quoted examples might be, you will be expected to provide a context to them. This can be better explained by the example of “Donald Trump”.
We all know who he is but, in reality, his life is extremely complex. By using Mr. Donald Trump as an example, which of his characteristics are we referring to – his wealth, bravery, social media image, or even the colour of his hair?
Your audience would be interested in these explanations and as a writer, it is your responsibility to smear that image. A good way of doing that is to provide some relevant facts about the example that you believe would put your point of view across.
Once you have done that, you can proceed to enlighten the readers about why that particular example was a valid argument for your thesis. Seal the deal right here.
The importance of this transitional step should never be ignored because, by all means, it is why you presented the example to start with.
|The Dos – Keep It Tight||The DONTs – Avoid Generalisation|
All the different fragments of the first sentence of the main body must be effectively put together so you can paint the image for your readers exactly the way wish to.
While it is critical to make use of transitional phrases for a seamless switch from one idea to the next, it is equally important to maintain a common theme that ties the relationship between the paragraphs. For instance, you can make use of phrases such as “moreover”, “furthermore”, “secondly”, “lastly”, and “on the other hand” to synchronize the different pieces of information.
Make use of active voice – don’t let the actions happen to the subjects, rather make the subjects direct actions.
For example, “she won the gold medal” is a much more potent and gripping way of writing rather than presenting the same information as “she was handed over a gold medal”.
With the exception of personal narratives, do not make use of personal nouns such as Mr, My and I. Better keep it general and you will attract the attention of the readers.
When starting a new paragraph, do not forget to make use of transitional phrases such as “moreover”, “similarly”, “in contrast” or “furthermore” as these phrases will give so much more meaning to your justifications and help you introduce new sets of ideas flawlessly.
Here are some interesting and useful transitional phrases that you can use in your essay.
Also Read: How to Use Transitions in Essay
The conclusion of an essay is the final step of your essay assignment but that does not mean it is the least important. The closing paragraph is your final opportunity to justify your thesis statement and should follow a very logical structure.
In most cases, the conclusion paragraph contains much of the same information as presented in the opening paragraph of the essay.
Note that you don’t want to end your essay on the wrong foot, so it is important not to get carried away when writing the conclusion paragraph. Most experts recommend keeping the length of the closing paragraph to 4-5 lines.
You might want to use concluding transitions such as “in the end”, “in conclusion”, “finally”, “to summarize”, “to sum up”, etc with a passing reference to the hook in the introductory paragraph of the essay.
Following that, you should quickly reiterate your thesis statement and this will be the 4th or 5th time you have restated your proposition.
Reinstating the thesis strengthens your point of view and also aids smooth transition into the subsequent portion of the conclusion paragraph – usually a few words emphasizing the key points in the essay body.
|The Dos – Deliver A Strong Message||The DONTs – Do not copy from Introduction Paragraph|
|While primarily a reiteration of your original idea, the conclusion paragraph is tricky to write, and gives you the last chance to reinforce the thesis and influence the audience. Reaffirm the thesis statement confidently and unveil your opinions clearly so your audience may perceive the same vibes.||Make sure to not copy the keywords from the opening paragraph into the concluding statement.|
Avoid copying your statement verbatim as this will only showcase your expertise as a writer.
Example of How to Start a Conclusion in an Essay
Here is an example for you to better learn how to start an essay conclusion!
While this might sound easy, it can be really tricky if you have no prior knowledge of how to start an essay about yourself. There is more to writing an essay about yourself than simply listing your experiences and achievements.
Before starting, list all your weaknesses and strengths - whether emotional, physical, spiritual or mental. Ask yourself questions such as who are the people who have influenced your life? Do you have any special abilities and skills that set you apart from others?
Choose the most suitable essay structure. The five-paragraph essay structure will be convenient if you have not been advised to use a more specific essay format. The structure of the five-paragraph essay is outlined below;
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Here is the structure of a typical five-paragraph essay once all pieces of the puzzle are put together;
Planning is the key to success: Ever heard the quote “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”? Planning for your essay my sound like a waste of time especially during the busy exams season, but it really pays off to plan ahead.
Brainstorming before starting the essay would enable you to unearth the most powerful subtopics/examples, and craft a perfect essay.
On the other hand, throwing up the first idea that comes to your mind without fine-tuning should be avoided in order to make justifiable arguments. Incompetently placed arguments can ruin the quality of even the best-written essays!
Extensive Vocabulary: Writing the same words over and over will get very boring for the reader. As a writer you want the writer to remain engaged with the content of your essay throughout. So bringing that variety in the vocabulary will add much more spice to the text. Mix it up a little for effective writing.
Keep It Relevant: “Short”, “precise” and “to the point” are the keywords that should be remembered when writing an essay. Too much content with muddled and untidy delivery can result in diversion from the main topic of the essay, which further echoes the significance and needs for planning.
It always helps to have an outline of what message do you want to deliver and how it will be put in writing.
Proofreading, Editing, and Improvement: An essay with spelling and grammatical mistakes is likely to turn the readers off. Invest some time in proofreading your essay to identify and remove factual, grammatical, structural, and spelling errors.
There should be coherence between the different elements of the essay framework. Learn how our essay proofreading and editing services can polish your essay.
Learning how to do an essay is easy as long as you know the topic. If you don’t have a topic, simply pick one that in interesting and manageable, study some great examples and get going!
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