When you are writing an essay, the first step is to choose a topic and determine what direction or point of view you will take. Your essay may try to persuade the reader to share your view on the topic, it may try to explain to the reader how to complete a particular task, or it may try to inform or educate the reader on a particular topic.
Every good essay will follow the following outline:
- Outline of your topic
- Body (Usually 3-6 Paragraphs)
To create your outline, list the topic you have chosen as item 1. Under item 1, list three to six main ideas about your topic, list these as A, B, C, and so on. You will use your outline to construct your essay’s paragraphs. Your outline may look similar to this one:
- Topic Idea
A. This idea about topic
B. This fact about topic
C. This information about topic
The first paragraph consists of the introduction and a thesis statement. The introduction should attract the reader’s attention and give the reader an idea of the essay’s focus. You may begin with an attention grabber such as intriguing information, captivating dialogue, or a startling fact.
Start with a few sentences, explaining your topic in general terms and lead into your thesis statement. Each sentence of your opening statement should become a bit more specific, until you reach your thesis.
The thesis statement tells the reader what the essay will be about, and what points you will be making in your essay. In your thesis, you should state the topic of the essay and state the point of the essay or the main ideas on your topic that you determined in your outline.
The body paragraphs will describe and explain your essay topic. Each of the main ideas that you listed in your outline will become a paragraph in your essay. If you had three main ideas, you will have three body paragraphs.
Start by writing down one of your main ideas, in sentence form. In three to five sentences, explain your views or the facts surrounding this main idea. Go on to the next main idea, which will form paragraph 2, and follow the same steps until each main idea has been turned into a paragraph.
The conclusion brings closure to the reader. Three or four sentences are all that is needed to write a conclusion. You may use your conclusion, to sum up the points of your essay, to provide a final perspective on your topic, or to simply review the main points.