What is the right academic essay structure

When people struggle with essay writing, their struggle often comes from not knowing how to organize the essay. Since every essay is essentially structured in the same way, once students learn how to write one essay, they can write more. The key is to know what part of the essay goes where, because the parts of the essay go in the same place in every essay. Content, length, and word choice differentiate one essay from the other.

What to Do with the Title?

Many students will ask if their essays need to have a title. The instructor will need to make a decision about this aspect of the assignment. Essays do not always need titles, unless the title will add to the purpose of the essay. Students should not name their essays anything like “My Essay.” They should also avoid naming their essays after the subjects they are writing about; for example, they should not use “Romeo and Juliet” as the title of an essay about the Shakespeare play.

Important Pieces of the Introduction

The introduction is the first section that students write. This section should be at least one paragraph in length. It needs to begin with an effective hook that is at least one sentence in length. The paragraph should end with the purpose statement. In between the two sections, writers should provide information that connects the hook and purpose statement, while providing some necessary background information on the topic.

The Magic Happens in the Body of the Essay

Following the introduction, students write their body paragraphs. These paragraphs support the purpose statement. Each paragraph should have a topic sentence that will guide the topic. They should also include evidence that is explained well. The number of paragraphs will depend on the complexity of the argument. Some short essays require only two or three body paragraphs, others need several pages.

End Effectively in Your Conclusion

The final section of the essay is the conclusion. Like the introduction, this can be done in one paragraph or more. The conclusion should seem like the introduction, but in reverse. The section should begin with a reference back to the purpose statement and end with a reference back to the hook. The sentences between those two parts of the conclusion should refer to main points and keep the reader thinking about the topic of the essay.


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