Process of Writing an Essay

Regardless of the fact that, as Shakespeare said,"the pen is mightier than the sword," the pen itself is not sufficient to create an effective writer. In reality, though we may all like to consider ourselves as another Shakespeare, inspiration alone isn't the key to successful essay writing. You see, the conventions of English essays are more formulaic than you may think -- and, in many ways, it is often as simple as counting to 5.

The Five Paragraph Essay

Though more innovative academic papers are a category all their own, the basic high school or college essay has the following standardized, five paragraph structure:

Paragraph 1: Introduction

Paragraph 2: Body 1

Paragraph 3: Body 2

Paragraph 4: Body 3

Paragraph 5: Conclusion

Even though it can look formulaic -- and, well, it is - the idea behind this structure is to make it easier for the reader to browse the notions put forth in an essay. You see, even if your essay has the same structure as every other one, any reader should be able to rapidly and easily discover the information most relevant to them.

The Introduction

The principle purpose of this introduction would be to present your own position (that is also known as the"thesis" or"argument") about the problem at hand but effective introductory paragraphs are a whole lot more than that. Before you even get to this particular thesis statement, for instance, the essay should begin with a"hook" that catches the reader's attention and cause them to want to read on.

Only then, with the reader's attention"hooked," should you move on to the thesis. The thesis should be a clear, one-sentence explanation for the position that leaves no doubt in the reader's mind about which side you're on from the beginning of your essay.

Adhering to the thesis, you should offer a mini-outline that previews the examples you may use to support your thesis in the remainder of the essay. Does this inform the reader what to expect in the paragraphs to come but in addition, it gives them a clearer comprehension of what the essay is all about.

Ultimately, designing the previous sentence in this way has the extra benefit of seamlessly moving the reader to the very first paragraph of the body of the paper. This way we can realize that the basic introduction doesn't need to be far more than three or four paragraphs in length. If yours is much longer you may want to consider editing it down a little!