essay structure and format tips
Expository Essay: Explain to the reader how to do a given process. You could, for example, write an expository essay with step-by-step instructions on how to make a peanut butter sandwich.
Once you have an outline, it’s time to start writing. Write based on the outline itself, fleshing out your basic skeleton to create a whole, cohesive and clear essay.
Now you should have a solid grasp of a typical essay structure, but might not know how to actually begin structuring your essay. Everyone works differently. Some people have no trouble thinking everything out in their head, or putting together an outline, and starting with the introduction and finishing with the conclusion.
So how do you structure academic writing? What is the best essay structure format?
Writing an academic essay means fashioning a coherent set of ideas into an argument. Because essays are essentially linear—they offer one idea at a time—they must present their ideas in the order that makes most sense to a reader. Successfully structuring an essay means attending to a reader’s logic.
Essay maps ask you to predict where your reader will expect background information, counterargument, close analysis of a primary source, or a turn to secondary source material. Essay maps are not concerned with paragraphs so much as with sections of an essay. They anticipate the major argumentative moves you expect your essay to make. Try making your map like this:
This is the part of the essay that you are supposed to explain, describe or argue the topic. The main ideas you wrote down on your outline becomes separate paragraphs. Each paragraph carries the main idea. The paragraph begins with an introductory sentence which carries the main idea. Supporting ideas follow suit in sentence format backed with relevant information and examples. Don’t forget to cite every reference materials used. Direct quotes must also be cited using the required format style.
You already have a topic and the paper outline it is time to start the writing. Begin by creating a thesis statement which must tell your reader the purpose of your essay. Read through your outline to help you create an appropriate thesis. Your thesis statement must state the topic and the main argument of your essay. The single statement must carry the overall response to the problem. Put your thesis statement in your first paragraph then make sure you refer to it several times within the essay then restate it in your conclusion.
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.
Finally, designing the last sentence in this way has the added benefit of seamlessly moving the reader to the first paragraph of the body of the paper. In this way we can see that the basic introduction does not need to be much more than three or four sentences in length. If yours is much longer you might want to consider editing it down a bit!