Readers need a road map through your essay. Employ transitions to help them move from one idea to the next. Also, consider headings and repetition , devices that can also create good transitions. Use concrete , specific words. Concrete words help the reader better understand what you want to communicate. Read more about word choice. People are busy and nobody has to read your essay. Write a title that makes them want to read it.
A simple subtitle will help you do this. Your title should also be searchable , since so many publications now appear online. Carefully check your work for errors. First, read your essay aloud. If anything sounds awkward, revise until you like the way it sounds. Second, make sure your grammar , punctuation , and spelling are all correct.
When you think your essay is perfect, have a friend check it again. Read more about writing essays. Back to Top writing tips. Top tips for better writing. Top tips for writing a review. Top tips for writing better essays An essay is a short piece of non-fiction about a particular topic.
Read more about structuring your writing. Read more about cohesion in writing. You might also be interested in : Top tips for better writing Top tips for writing a review. Word of the day. Which of the following is correct? The bad weather brought famine The bad weather took famine. The band will bring out a new video in June The band will take out a new video in June. I brought her hand and kissed it I took her hand and kissed it.
Will you take me back some scent from Paris? Here, by way of example, is an introductory paragraph to an essay in response to the following question:. The middle paragraphs of the essay are collectively known as the body paragraphs and, as alluded to above, the main purpose of a body paragraph is to spell out in detail the examples that support your thesis. For the first body paragraph you should use your strongest argument or most significant example unless some other more obvious beginning point as in the case of chronological explanations is required.
The first sentence of this paragraph should be the topic sentence of the paragraph that directly relates to the examples listed in the mini-outline of introductory paragraph. A one sentence body paragraph that simply cites the example of "George Washington" or "LeBron James" is not enough, however. No, following this an effective essay will follow up on this topic sentence by explaining to the reader, in detail, who or what an example is and, more importantly, why that example is relevant.
Even the most famous examples need context. The reader needs to know this and it is your job as the writer to paint the appropriate picture for them. To do this, it is a good idea to provide the reader with five or six relevant facts about the life in general or event in particular you believe most clearly illustrates your point.
Having done that, you then need to explain exactly why this example proves your thesis. The importance of this step cannot be understated although it clearly can be underlined ; this is, after all, the whole reason you are providing the example in the first place.
Seal the deal by directly stating why this example is relevant. You may have noticed that, though the above paragraph aligns pretty closely with the provided outline, there is one large exception: the first few words. These words are example of a transitional phrase — others include "furthermore," "moreover," but also "by contrast" and "on the other hand" — and are the hallmark of good writing.
Transitional phrases are useful for showing the reader where one section ends and another begins. It may be helpful to see them as the written equivalent of the kinds of spoken cues used in formal speeches that signal the end of one set of ideas and the beginning of another. In essence, they lead the reader from one section of the paragraph of another. Hopefully this example not only provides another example of an effective body paragraph but also illustrates how transitional phrases can be used to distinguish between them.
Although the conclusion paragraph comes at the end of your essay it should not be seen as an afterthought. As the final paragraph is represents your last chance to make your case and, as such, should follow an extremely rigid format. One way to think of the conclusion is, paradoxically, as a second introduction because it does in fact contain many of the same features. While it does not need to be too long — four well-crafted sentence should be enough — it can make or break and essay.
Effective conclusions open with a concluding transition "in conclusion," "in the end," etc. After that you should immediately provide a restatement of your thesis statement. This should be the fourth or fifth time you have repeated your thesis so while you should use a variety of word choice in the body paragraphs it is a acceptable idea to use some but not all of the original language you used in the introduction. This echoing effect not only reinforces your argument but also ties it nicely to the second key element of the conclusion: a brief two or three words is enough review of the three main points from the body of the paper.
Having done all of that, the final element — and final sentence in your essay — should be a "global statement" or "call to action" that gives the reader signals that the discussion has come to an end. Although it may seem like a waste of time — especially during exams where time is tight — it is almost always better to brainstorm a bit before beginning your essay. This should enable you to find the best supporting ideas — rather than simply the first ones that come to mind — and position them in your essay accordingly.
Your best supporting idea — the one that most strongly makes your case and, simultaneously, about which you have the most knowledge — should go first. Even the best-written essays can fail because of ineffectively placed arguments. Sentences and vocabulary of varying complexity are one of the hallmarks of effective writing.
When you are writing, try to avoid using the same words and phrases over and over again. If you are asked about "money," you could try "wealth" or "riches. In the end, though, remember that good writing does not happen by accident.
This short essay is a truly powerful one. In the beginning, the atmosphere is happy. Life is in full force. And then, suddenly, it starts to fade away. Meghan Daum — My Misspent Youth. Many of us, at some point or another, dream about living in New York. Probably the greatest film critic of all time, Roger Ebert, tells us not to rage against the dying of the light.
This essay is full of courage, erudition, and humanism. George Orwell — Shooting an Elephant. Orwell, apparently a free representative of British rule, feels to be nothing more than a puppet succumbing to the whim of the mob. George Orwell — A Hanging. The most horrible thing is the normality of it. Christopher Hitchens — Assassins of The Mind. In one of the greatest essays written in defense of free speech, Christopher Hitchens shares many examples of how modern media kneel to the explicit threats of violence posed by Islamic extremists.
He recounts the story of his friend, Salman Rushdie, author of Satanic Verses who, for many years had to watch over his shoulder because of the fatwa of Ayatollah Khomeini. With his usual wit, Hitchens shares various examples of people who died because of their opinions and of editors who refuse to publish anything related to Islam because of fear and it was written long before the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
After reading the essay, you will realize that freedom of expression is one of the most precious things we have and that we have to fight for it. Christopher Hitchens — The New Commandments. Watch, as Christopher Hitchens slays one commandment after the other on moral, as well as historical grounds. For example, did you know that there are actually many versions of the divine law dictated by God to Moses which you can find in the Bible? If you approach it with an open mind, this essay may change the way you think about the Bible and religion in general.
Phillip Lopate — Against Joie de Vivre. If you want to remain happy, just remain stupid. Personally, I can bear the onus of happiness or joie de vivre for some time. Philip Larkin — The Pleasure Principle. This piece comes from the Required Writing collection of essays. Well worth a read.
How the peaceful, European countries could engage in a war that would eventually cost more than 17 million lives? What stirs people to kill each other? Is it their nature, or are they puppets of imperial forces with agendas of their own? Zadie Smith — Some Notes on Attunement. This one is about the elusiveness of change occurring within you. For Zadie, it was hard to attune to the vibes of Joni Mitchell — especially her Blue album. But eventually, she grew up to appreciate her genius, and all the other things changed as well.
This top essay is all about the relationship between human, and art. We should like it because it has an instantaneous, emotional effect on us. Annie Dillard — Total Eclipse. My imagination was always stirred by the scene of the solar eclipse in Pharaoh, by Boleslaw Prus. I wondered about the shock of the disoriented crowd when they saw how their ruler was apparently able to switch off the light.
Getting immersed in this essay by Annie Dillard has a similar effect. It produces amazement and some kind of primeval fear. After the eclipse, nothing is going to be the same again. This suicidally beautiful essay will teach you a lot about the appreciation of life. Gloria E. She was American, but her culture was grounded in Mexico. In this way, she and her people were not fully respected in either of the countries. This essay is an account of her journey of becoming the ambassador of the Chicano Mexican-American culture.
In terms of style, this essay is flawless. Mary Ruefle — On Fear. Most psychologists and gurus agree that fear is the greatest enemy of success or any creative activity. Mary Ruefle takes on this basic human emotion with flair. Susan Sontag — Against Interpretation. In this highly intellectual essay, Sontag fights for art and its interpretation.
Hell if I know! I will judge it through my subjective experience! This is a heartwarming, coming-of-age story about a young girl who waits for her breasts to finally grow. As it happens, the size of breasts is a big deal for women. Carl Sagan was one of the greatest proponents of skepticism, and an author of numerous books, including one of my all-time favorites — The Demon-Haunted World.
He was also a renowned physicist and the host of the fantastic Cosmos: A Personal Voyage series, which inspired a whole generation to uncover the mysteries of the cosmos. He was also a dedicated weed smoker — clearly ahead of his time.
The Internet is flooded with a large number of articles and videos that are supposed to tell you what to do with your lives. Most of them are worthless, but this one is different. Please, read the essay and let it help you gain fulfillment from your work. John Jeremiah Sullivan — Mister Lytle. A young, aspiring writer is about to become a nurse of a fading writer — Mister Lytle Andrew Nelson Lytle , and there will be trouble.
This essay by Sullivan is probably my favorite one from the whole list. The amount of beautiful sentences it contains is just overwhelming. It also takes you to the Old South which has an incredible atmosphere.
Joan Didion — On Self Respect. Normally, with that title you would expect some straightforward advice about how to improve your character and get on with your goddamn life — but not from Joan Didion. You can learn more from this essay than from whole books about self-improvement. Susan Sontag — Notes on Camp. After reading this essay, you will know what camp is.
You will vastly increase your appreciation for art. All the listicles we usually see on the web simply cannot compare with it. Ralph Waldo Emerson — Self-Reliance. Written in , it still inspires generations of people. It will let you understand what it means to be self-made. It contains some of the most memorable quotes of all time. Emerson told me and he will tell you to do something amazing with my life.
The language it contains is a bit archaic but that just adds to the weight of the argument. You can consider it to be a meeting with a great philosopher who really shaped the ethos of the modern United States. He sees right through the hypocrisy and cruelty behind killing hundreds of thousands of innocent lobsters — by boiling them alive. This essay uncovers some of the worst traits of modern American peoples.
After reading this essay, you may reconsider the whole animal-eating business. The famous novelist and author of the most powerful commencement speech ever done is going to tell you about the joys and sorrows of writing a work of fiction. But you love that child and you want others to love it too. If you ever plan to write a novel, you should definitely read that one.
And the story about the Chinese farmer is just priceless. Margaret Atwood — Attitude. This is not an essay per se, but I included it on the list for the sake of variety. Soon after leaving university, most graduates have to forget about safety, parties, and travel and start a new life — one filled with a painful routine that will last until they drop.
Read that one as soon as possible. To summarize the story would be to spoil it, so I recommend that you just dig in and devour this essay during one sitting. No need for flowery adjectives here. To me, Terence McKenna was one of the most interesting thinkers of the twentieth century.
McKenna consumed psychedelic drugs for most of his life and it shows in a positive way. Many people consider him a looney, and a hippie, but he was so much more than that. He had the courage to go into the abyss of his own psyche, and come back to tell the tale. He also wrote many books most famous being Food Of The Gods , built a huge botanical garden in Hawaii , lived with shamans, and was a connoisseur of all things enigmatic and obscure.
Take a look at this essay, and learn more about the explorations of the subconscious mind. Eudora Welty — The Little Store. By reading this little-known essay, you will be transported into the world of the old American South.
There are all these beautiful memories that live inside of us. They lay somewhere deep in our minds, hidden from sight. The work by Eudora Welty is an attempt to uncover some of them and let you get reacquainted with some of the smells and tastes of the past.
The Search for Marvin Gardens contains many layers of meaning. It also presents a historical perspective on the rise and fall of civilizations, and on Atlantic City which once was a lively place, and then, slowly declined, the streets filled with dirt and broken windows. A dead body at the bottom of the well makes for a beautiful literary device.
Who was this woman? Why did she do it? Read the essay. Slouching Towards Bethlehem is one of the most famous collections of essays of all time. In it, you will find a curious piece called On Keeping A Notebook. This one touched me because I also lived in New York City for a while. They are powerful. As the sound of sirens faded, Tony descended into the dark world of hustlers and pimps.
Anyway, this essay is amazing in too many ways. You just have to read it. George Orwell — Reflections on Gandhi. George Orwell could see things as they were. No exaggeration, no romanticism — just facts. He recognized totalitarianism and communism for what they were and shared his worries through books like and Animal Farm.
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