Writing Guides for School Students: Basic Essay Structure
Writing well thought, grammatically correct essays can seem daunting at first, especially for high school students who are just getting their feet wet. Learning to write well is an important skill that will not only enable students to succeed in school, but can provide a good foundation for life after school.
This short writing guide shows students how to create a basic essay structure.
- Thesis Statement
- Body Paragraph Content
- Conclusion Paragraph
The introductory paragraph is a way to let your reader know what your essay is going to be about, and can be thought of as a kind of mini outline for your paper. The most important part of your introduction is your thesis statement, which identifies the argument you will be making throughout your essay. It should be concise, clearly expressed and have a point from which an opposing view or argument can be made.
Your body will consist of three paragraphs with pieces of evidence to support your thesis statement. Each of these paragraphs should deal with one distinct topic but may any of a number of supportive evidence pieces directly related to the topic. In the best essays each sentence should be in support of your central argument, so don’t stray far from your main topic and be sure to cut out any extraneous writing.
Just as important as keep a single topic in each body paragraph, your reader wants to see a smooth transition from one idea to the next. You aren’t merely writing one point followed by another. You need to show how your points are related. When writing your essay you may notice that one of your topic paragraphs would make more sense coming ahead of the second. Well-written transitions will help keep the logic of your central argument in focus and help prevent your reader from getting confused.
Your conclusion paragraph is basically a wrap-up of the entire essay. It’s more than a summary, however, in that it shows how each of the points you made in the paper are related to one another and how they all work to prove your central argument or thesis. Your conclusion paragraph is written with the belief that you have proven your point and should leave the reader with a lasting impression of your ability to do just that.
This isn’t the only format for writing an essay, but its structure is tried and proven and is a great way to organize your argument when you are first learning to write effective essays. Putting in the necessary work and structuring your essay to follow the above format will ensure early success and get you well on your way towards lots of great writing.