Guidelines for Different Types of Essay

Jenna Brandon
29 min readJul 3, 2020


The knowledge of different types of essays is critical to academic success. Students are requested to write essays on a regular basis, starting from the application process till graduation. Therefore, once you familiarize yourself with the most common types of essays, the writing assignments will seem less challenging.

A Quick Guide to Types of Essays

As a high-school student, you probably heard of some essay types, such as argumentative essay or reflection, but there are more essay types you will learn to write as you proceed to college.

Descriptive Essay

As its name suggests, a descriptive essay requires you to describe some topic. In this case, the writer’s goal is to make the readers see through his/her eyes, which is why the knowledge of the target audience is critical. However, the descriptions should not be merely informative, but also entertaining. A writer should try to enlighten the audience with his/her unique experience. In a nutshell, the purpose of a descriptive essay is to create a vivid image of a topic in the readers’ mind. Regardless of the topic of your discussion, be sure to use evocative imagery, so that the readers could imagine what you are describing.

Definition Essay

Writing this essay is like writing an extended definition of a subject. It goes without saying that you will have to do profound research and support your definition with ample evidence. Sometimes you will be asked to explain the meaning of some term or phenomenon. In most cases, professors assign abstract notions with numerous meanings, like ‘freedom’ or ‘independence,’ but if you are taking a creative course, you might need to produce some 600 words to define a table.

Compare and Contrast Essay

In this essay type, a writer has to compose a multi-paragraph text that describes the differences and similarities of two or more things. There are several approaches to writing this essay. You can either describe the subjects one by one, and then draw attention to their similarities and differences, create a step-by-step comparison, or first describe their similarities and then focus on differences. Among all types of essays, this one is extremely popular because it can be applied to any topic. Besides, it enables teachers to test their students’ analytical skills. If you want to create a powerful compare and contrast essay, there is one thing you should always keep in mind: relevance. Determine which components are worth comparing, mention them in the thesis statement, and then include only relevant information. Therefore, be sure to create a strong thesis statement because it will serve as the starting point.

Cause and Effect Essay

This can be a stand-alone essay type or be included into a larger written piece. This essay format allows you to examine the reasons for something and explain how they caused a particular effect. Another name for this essay type is ‘reason and result essay.’ This essay is frequently assigned in colleges or universities because it requires painstaking research and tests student’s ability to develop arguments. The central argument has to be clearly explained in the thesis statement. A cause and effect essay is a common form of an essay organization. Sometimes students are requested to either analyze causes or effects, not both, if the time is limited.

Narrative Essay

A defining feature of this essay type is the presence of a central point around which the narrator builds his/her story. Therefore, readers can notice a strong link between this central motif and all incidents and characters. The format of this essay is similar to that of a five-paragraph essay, with only exception that a narrative essay must describe characters, incidents, and sometimes even have dialogues. Narrative essays are similar to short stories, although the former are never open-ended. After reading a narrative essay, the reader should be fully satisfied and have no questions.

Critical Essay

This essay type allows you to both interpret and evaluate a literary piece. The audience of such essays is usually academically mature and can understand the questions raised by the author. A good critical essay explores the motifs, themes, arguments of the literary piece in question and evaluates the literary devices used by the author. Such essays study the merits and demerits of a text and explain why readers are recommended (or not) to read it.

Persuasive Essay

Persuasive essays are students’ favorite because they allow opinions. Of course, the opinions have to be substantiated but they are not necessarily rooted in logic. You can save logos for an argumentative essay. Persuasive essays are all about pathos and ethos. If you want your essay to be strong, do not forget to acknowledge the opposing view. However, if you realize your opinion is not quite based on facts, try to give the readers as little reason to disagree with you, as possible.

How to Write a Descriptive Essay

Descriptive writing is easy for those who know how to use expressive language and evocative imagery. The secret of any descriptive essay lies in the author’s ability to create a clear picture of the subject in the reader’s mind. This is usually achieved through engaging different senses, namely, smell, sight, taste, sound, and touch as you have probably noticed while reading descriptive essay examples. If you have never done descriptive writing assignments before, you have got a learn way to go before you develop good writing skills; however, the following guide will make the learning process much easier.

Topic Choice

Descriptive essay topics usually focus on one subject, be it an event, a person, or an item. The purpose of the essay is to communicate your idea about the topic through detailed description. The biggest trick here is to try to show the readers your topic, rather than tell them about it. So a writer has to create an accurate illustration of their idea using words.

How to write a descriptive essay once the topic is selected? First of all, choose the best approach to writing. For instance, if you are planning to describe an event, chronological approach will be the most logical choice. If you are describing a person or a place, start with general description and then proceed to more specific features. The background is discussed in the introduction. This is where you explain the readers what your essay is going to be and why they should read it.

Make a Statement

A thesis statement is the most important sentence in the whole essay because if written incorrectly, it can put the readers off. This is a sentence (sometimes two) that explains the main idea of the essay. Thesis statement performs two functions — it explains the purpose of the essay and serves as a roadmap for the readers.

Use the Right Senses

Take a sheet of paper and create five columns, each for one of human senses. Think about the five senses as they relate to your topic and put them down in the table. For example, which smells do you associate with the topic? The sensory details will help you describe the topic more accurately and will make the essay more interesting to read. Figures of speech and literary devices are very helpful at this stage of descriptive writing, so try to use some similes, metaphors, as well as descriptive adjectives.

During the prewriting stage, list as many senses as you can, so you could pick out the most appropriate ones while working on the first draft.

Create an Outline

A well-thought-out descriptive essay outline is crucial to creating an organized and comprehensive essay that is easy to read. When working on the outline, use the thesis statement as the guide. Some new aspect of the thesis statement is to be described in s separate body paragraph. A body paragraph should start with a topic sentence that has an obvious link to the thesis statement. Remember to refer to the columns with senses as you add details to your paragraphs.

Quite often teachers ask students to use five-paragraph essay structure. This structure is appropriate for a descriptive paper because it allows describing a topic in-depth although the essay will be short. If you are requested to follow this format, this means that your essay should consist of an introduction, three body paragraph, and conclusion. While working on descriptive essay ideas, keep in mind that the essay has to be concise but comprehensive.

Write a Conclusion

The last paragraph should summarize the entire essay. Apart from reminding the readers of the main pieces of evidence, restate the thesis statement (but paraphrase it). Even though there will not be any new ideas in the conclusion, do not underestimate this paragraph. Conclusion can help you produce a lasting (hopefully positive) impact on the reader so give them some food for thought.

Revise the Essay

Once the work is completed, put the essay aside for some time. Taking a break from your writing is very important so allocate some time for this when planning your schedule. This will give you a chance to look at the essay with fresh anew and view it as if you have not read it before.

Ideally, you should give yourself a daylong break before reading the essay again. However, if you do not have this time, take a short walk or drink a cup of coffee. After that, read the essay from the beginning till the end and put yourself in your reader’s shoes. Would you make the sense out of the essay if you were not its author? Is the topic easy to understand? Maybe there are some confusing paragraphs that have to be rewritten?

Finally, proofread your essay. Pay attention to grammar and punctuation and try to notice any typos. There can never be too much checking and proofreading.

How to Write Definition Essay

Writing definition essay seems difficult at first, but in reality, this is one of the easiest essay formats you will write as a student. In a nutshell, a definition essay requires you to provide your own definition of a subject but in a professional and objective manner. There are numerous definition essay topics which you can choose from. We’ve prepared a list of professional guidelines for those who want to know how to write a definition essay.

Select a Word to Define

There are several rules to consider when approaching the topic selection:

  • Select a word that denotes an abstract and complicated concept.

If you go for a simple and clear word, you won’t have much to write about. On the other hand, a complex topic provides more information to explore. As a general rule of thumb, nouns referring to a living being, a place, or an item are a bad choice because they won’t give you a chance to write a sophisticated definition essay. However, nouns denoting an abstract idea are a better option.

  • Go for a word that is disputable

Ideally, a definition essay should be dedicated to a topic that is disputable, which means that different people should have opposing views on it. This makes a definition essay a little subjective because it means that the author describes his/her own understanding of the topic. Beware of describing the most obvious approach if you do not want your essay to be superficial and not interesting.

  • Choose a word you understand

Definitions found in dictionaries only tell readers so much. Therefore, you will have to conduct some research to provide an elaborated definition. For this reason, choosing a word you are completely unfamiliar with is not the best way to approach writing.

  • Consult an academic dictionary

You do not have to rely on the dictionary definition too heavily, but familiarizing yourself with the concept prior to collecting relevant material is highly useful. Try to find a simple explanation of the concept and compare your own understanding to that definition.

  • Do a research into the origins of the word

You can find this information in a reliable academic dictionary, for example, Oxford English Dictionary. The word origins are sometimes surprisingly informative and can provide you with a valuable insight that you can further use in your piece. Track down the changes in meaning, note the historical context and the language of origin and use this information to make your own definition more comprehensive.

The Approaches to the Definition Essay Outline

  • Analyze the word

Start by dividing the word into parts and then discuss each of them in a separate paragraph. A meaningful analysis will require sophisticated defining tactics, for instance, classification or negation. However, this approach is suitable for words consisting of multiple components.

  • Create a classification

Identify the classes to which the word in its direct meaning belongs to. Although this information might seem a little dry, it will improve your understanding of the word and its current uses.

  • Compare the unfamiliar to familiar

This technique works best when you are writing a definition paper on some term. Try explaining the word that appears complicated by dividing it into smaller parts that are familiar to the average reader.

  • Discuss the traditional understanding of the term

Explore the traditional thoughts associated with the term. This includes any physical characteristics and earlier uses of the word.

  • Illustrate the word using examples

Vivid images and colorful language will not only make the essay more interesting to read, but will also enhance the readers’ understanding of the subject. Examples are especially helpful if you are describing an abstract notion, for example, some feeling or process.

  • Use negation

Explain what the term means by focusing on what it does not mean. However, this is appropriate for terms that are typically misunderstood and misinterpreted. Otherwise, you might confuse the readers even more.

The Structural Components of a Definition Essay

Writing definition essay is not really different from writing other academic papers. With a few exceptions, the structural components are that of a standard essay.

  • Introduction

Tell the readers which word the essay is going to explore and include a dictionary definition. This is how you ensure that the readers have the basic level of knowledge necessary to continue reading the paper.

  • Thesis statement

After setting the context for the discussion, provide your own definition of the word. This sentence should not be cumbersome. Keep in mind that you will elaborate more on it in the body of the paper.

  • Body paragraphs

Remember when you were breaking down the word into different parts? Now discuss each part in a separate body paragraph. Even though there will be more than one paragraph, strive to create a comprehensive, well-rounded picture when writing definition essay.

  • Conclusion

Summarize the most notable ideas of your essay in the last paragraph.

How to Write Compare and Contrast Essay

A comparison contrast essay belongs to the types of papers that are the easiest to write. Whether you are studying at college or university, you will be assigned this kind of essay on a regular basis. Comparison and contrast essay examples can be found on the Internet, so you can always find an example how to properly analyze similarities and differences between two or more phenomena, objects, cases, situations or people. The main aim of writing a compare and contrast paper is not merely to pinpoint to similarities and differences but to put forward solid claims about the phenomena under discussion. Although you do not know how to write compare and contrast essay, do not worry — you can definitely improve your skills and competence with practice. Read on the article and find out detailed steps how to write a compare and contrast paper in an efficient way.

Compare and Contrast Essay Structure

According to the rules of compare & contrast essay writing, an essay can be organized in block structure and point-by-point structure.

Block structure

Here you focus on each of the compared concepts separately. First, you present all information about one concept and then on the other one. This organization scheme resembles the one used in cause-and-effect papers, where you first focus on causes and then on outcomes.

Point-by-point structure

When you choose this form of paper organization, make sure that you need to first analyze both similarities and differences of one concept and then of the other one.

These two ways of essay organization can be used alike — just choose the one you prefer more.

Tips on Writing Good Compare and Contrast Essays

An essay writing prompt will guide you in the process of writing. As a rule, you will find a list of topics to choose from, so you will not spend extra time on coming up with a proper topic. As such, you need to choose the concepts that you find interesting and compare and contrast them according to specific criteria (either stated or chosen on your own). When choosing concepts for comparison, you can either choose two similar phenomena or completely different ones.

After you have chosen the concepts for analysis, you now need to formulate your essay topic in an effective way. Proper topic formulation is a must for a successful comparison and contrast essay. After you have decided on the topic, you need to put your efforts into formulation of a strong thesis statement that will be related to similar and different parts of the two chosen concepts. A thesis for compare and contrast essay should be strong, clear, and argumentative whereby it should present a claim that conveys the central idea of the paper. Make sure you make it clear to the reader in what ways the concepts are similar and different.

Writing a Comparison & Contrast Essay Outline

When you have your thesis statement, it is high time to plan how your paper will look like. In other words, you need to have a clear vision of your whole essay structure: from the introduction to the conclusion. An outline is really helpful as it will serve as a kind of an essay template, which will help you spend less time on the very writing process. With the help of the outline, you will develop the body paragraphs and ideas more easily.

Organization of Comparison and Contrast Essay

Regardless of the fact, which essay structure you choose, you need to adhere to the basic principles of essay writing:

  • Start with an introductory paragraph

This is an opening paragraph that should set the context of your writing and provide necessary background information on the subject. It should be clear for your target audience what you would like to compare and contrast. Besides, it should be clear why the paper is worth attention and research. The first paragraph also sets the tone of the whole paper, so make sure it contains some attention-hook.

  • Body paragraphs

This is the core part of the paper, which contains the bulk of analysis and discussion of the subject. Besides, you need to make sure your essay contains adequate number of examples and illustrations. Preferably, you need to devote one paragraph per each aspect or phenomenon under discussion. Make sure the flow of the essay is logical and consistent. Keep in mind that you are encouraged to use transitions between ideas and paragraphs. You may also provide counter-arguments to the essay and refute them to make sure the essay is strong.

  • Compare contrast essay conclusion

If you wonder how to conclude a compare and contrast essay, follow these aspects: reiterate the thesis and re-emphasize the most important points you have conveyed. In such a way, the essay will be stronger and argumentative.

Write the Final Paper

After you have carefully studied comparison and contrast essay examples and designed a paper outline, start the writing process.

Afterwards, carefully edit the paper in terms of structure and content and proofread it for grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. You may as well ask some other person to look through your paper and tell you whether it is clear and comprehensible.

Check for buzzwords that are specifically used in comparison and contrast papers. A list of the commonly used words comprises the following:

  • In contrast;
  • In comparison;
  • Similarly;
  • To be alike;
  • Likewise;
  • Also;
  • Besides;
  • On the contrary;
  • On the other hand;
  • Not only … but …;
  • Just like;
  • Whereas;
  • While.

How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay

All parts of the world are connected with each other: nature phenomena, people, things, animals, plants, ideas, and events. In most cases, people are aware of these connections and relationships but in many cases they are not. Each causative factor has its specific outcomes and effects in the future. Results always take place even though we may not notice it. This is one of the fundamental principles of cause and effect essay topic that is often assigned to students in colleges and universities. In cause and effect papers, a writer needs to develop and idea and analyze it. The guidelines provided in the article highlight the basic principles of cause and effect text structure.

If you have no idea how to write an academic cause-and-effect essay, make sure to find a proper definition. A cause-and-effect essay focuses on determination how different concepts and ideas are interrelated. When writing such paper, a writer should create a scenario when a specific cause provides certain consequences and effects. As such, you need to formulate a cause and effect essay topic that expresses deep understanding of the subject and concentrates on explaining all the questions behind it. So, when you write a cause-and-effect essay, you do not only have to describe the causes and effects but analyze the connections between then in a logical manner.

Subject Areas

You can choose any topic for cause-and-effect writing that is interesting to you. In other words, you can write about anything that happens in the world around. Thus, everything you read, listen to, watch or experience personally can be included in the essay since literally every action has its outcomes.

You can choose your cause and effect essay topic from the following list of categories:

  • History;
  • Law;
  • Environment;
  • Economics;
  • World events;
  • Social issues; research and science;
  • Politics;
  • Family relations and issues;
  • Ecology and environment;
  • Technological advances;
  • Marriage and family life;
  • Education and teaching.

What Is a Cause and Effect Essay Proper Structure?

Before starting to write an essay, you need to devise a proper outline. Although many students think that outline writing is a waste of time, it really helps to structure the essay and write the paper faster and easier. Actually, the quality of the cause and effect essay is dependent on whether you follow the outline. As such, an outline can be regarded as the backbone of the essay since it determines paragraph structure.

Structure of a Cause and Effect Essay:

  • Introduction

The opening paragraph sets the background and context of the essay and sets the overall tone of writing. The introductory paragraph needs to draw attention of readers and maintain the focus of the paper. Another role of the introduction is to provide background information to the topic. The thesis statement should finish the paragraph and put forward a central claim.

  • Cause and effect body paragraphs

This is the main part of the essay that can be developed in a variety of ways. The causes can be mentioned separately before the effects or you can choose a point-by-point way of essay development where you simultaneously discuss the causal factors and outcomes. The approach to body paragraph development can be chosen according to your preferences.

  • Conclusive paragraph

It should reiterate the thesis and restate the most important aspects of the topic. As an option, you can finish the conclusion with a call to action.

General Writing Tips Taken from Cause and Effect Essay Examples

The process of writing a cause and effect paper can be overwhelming, especially if you have to cover many important details in a controversial topic. Do not be overly worried about your lack of skills or competence in writing. It is natural to be concerned about it. Writing can really cause much stress but to minimize it, you need to understand the following principles of writing:

  • Understand the causes and effects that you need to analyze. Make sure you properly differentiate them in order not to mix them up. Cause is interpreted as a reason why a specific event happened. Effect refers to the outcome of the situation.
  • Conduct research. No matter what type of academic writing you need to complete, you have to carry out research. You need to explore the subject and rely on expert opinion. It is also important to analyze the topic from different perspectives.
  • Establish meaningful connections. You need to logically link causes with effects. The relationship should be proved and discussed in detail.
  • Prefer quality to quantity. Do not try to cram the essay with numerous causes and effects. Rather choose 2–3 of them but provide a thorough analysis.
  • Come up with a method. You can organize the causes and effects either chronologically or based on specific topic categories.
  • Provide smooth connection between ideas and paragraphs. Make sure you use transitions between paragraphs to highlight logical connections between them. If you analyze causes, you have to use such transitions as: due to, because of, hence, because, since, etc. For effects use such transitions as thus, therefore, consequently, thereby, etc.
  • Adhere to the clear purpose of writing. The main goal a writer perseveres with the essay regarding causes and effects on the subject.
  • Write in an objective manner without prejudice. You may agree or disagree with some aspects but try not to be overly emotional and do not exaggerate the issues. Rely only on facts.

How to Write a Narrative Essay

How to write a narrative essay if you have never written it before? Although it sounds complicated, a narrative essay is probably one of the easiest essay types, so once you understand its basic principles and read a few clear narrative essay examples, you should be able to write it on your own. Narrative essays are easy because they allow sharing personal experience, so you do not have to spend days on research. Nevertheless, there are several rules to follow. All of them are explained below, so studying this guide means you are half way through with your assignment.

Choose a Story to Share

How to start a narrative essay? Begin with the most essential step — pick out the story to tell! Of course, your whole life will not fit in a narrative essay format, so focus on one interesting event. Writing a narrative essay should not be challenging for those whose life is filled with bright events, however, if choosing a story to share is not easy for you, consider the following options. First, you can discuss an event, which shattered your beliefs. Life changing experience is always exciting to read and share, so you can also describe a situation/person/book, etc. that influenced you in a positive way. Frankly speaking, the list of topics could go on forever. Just try to select something that serves the purpose of writing in the best possible way. Whichever topic you chose, remember to make your essay focused.

Narrative Essay Structure

Just like other essays, a narrative essay must have an introduction, body, and conclusion. Obviously, the reader should be able to identify the characters of the story, settings, and plot. Do your best to properly describe each of these components if you want your readers to be interested in what you are trying to tell them.

In most cases, narrative essays are written from the point of view of the authors but you are free to choose any other perspective. Most importantly, let the readers know the reasons you are telling the story. What purpose does the story serve? What will be the readers’ takeaway? How would you like the reader to feel about your story?

This does not mean that your essay must teach some big moral lesson, but you should communicate a specific message. Think about the purpose you want to fulfil and focus on it as you write.

Make a Powerful Start

A narrative essay allows creativity, so use it from the first sentence. Experienced writer will tell you how to begin a narrative essay — grab the reader’s attention from the very first sentence. You will learn to write effective attention grabbers with time, but until then, you can start with a meaningful quote or impressive fact. Another important component of a narrative essay is language, which should be colorful, descriptive, and expressive. It goes without saying that such language should be used already in the introduction. Language is your most powerful instrument. Even if yours is not on the list of the world’s most exciting narrative essay topics, sophisticated language and vivid imagery can turn your narration into a prose gem.

After attracting the reader’s attention with the opener, reveal other components of the narrative story to the reader. Introduction should contain information about the main characters and setting. Once the introduction is written, ask yourself whether it discusses the who, what, when, where, and why of your narrative paper. If yes, you can proceed to the next step.

Show Your Story

Now it is time to tell the rest of the story. Usually, chronological order is the most appropriate. How to write a narrative essay that impresses the readers? Show the story instead of narrating it. In other words, use descriptive language, evocative imagery, and dialogues that will engage the readers. If readers become a part of your story, call it a success.

Apart from that, remember that a mere retelling of facts might be informative, but it is boring. You do not want to put the readers off, so use your creativity. As you tell your story, focus on what you felt, smelt, or tasted.

Share Your Message

Your point should be made clear and there is no better moment to do it than in the climax. The reader should realize that something important happened and they should be presented sufficient details to draw their own conclusions.

The climax is usually the most memorable element of a story. Add a little twist, some narrative essay ideas, and include bright details to make sure the readers remember the most important moment.

Revise and Proofread the Essay

Knowing how to write a narrative essay is not enough because you should also proofread and edit your essay. Pay attention to grammar, spelling, and punctuation to make sure that small mistakes do not distract the readers.

How to Write a Critical Essay

Before working on a critical essay assignment, you need to learn a critical analysis definition. As such, a critical analysis writing type is a piece of academic writing that includes analysis, interpretation, and evaluation of a certain media form or a literary piece. As a rule, critical writing is frequently referred to by wide audiences that want to find out expert or unbiased opinion on a topic, for example on a movie, book, article whatsoever.

According to the critical analysis definition, a critical essay should contain a thought-provoking explanation of a media form. Besides, a person writing an article critique should include his/ her personal opinion or standpoint on the discussed issue. Thus, it can be inferred that one should possess critical and analytical writing skills in order to manage to write a critical essay. Apart from being informed and well-versed in the principles of academic writing, it is important to be logical in narrating the ideas and establishing logical connections between them. What is even more important, the way a writer presents and analyzes the topic should be clear to the audience.

According to the critical analysis definition, a critical analysis paper should have the following goals:

  1. Propose an objective perspective of the writer on a specific movie, book, event, etc.;
  2. Conduct an in-depth and thorough analysis of the logical development of the analyzed media form;
  3. Provide a detailed evaluation of the analyzed work, taking into account the main ideas, concepts, and arguments of the work;
  4. Pinpoint to the strengths and weaknesses of the chosen media form;
  5. Provide a critique of the original artist’s or writer’s work.

Guidelines on How to Write a Critical Essay

At first sight, it may seem challenging to provide a critical essay, especially if you plan to write it for the first time. As a matter of fact, with practice, you will find the process easier and easier. First, you have to make sure that you have perfectly understood paper instructions and followed each step regarding paper writing. The primary cause of failures in writing is that students fail to read the assignments carefully while in critical writing it is important to be as attentive and careful as possible.
Look through the following steps to know how to provide a successful essay:

  1. Understand what is expected from you.
  2. Make sure you understand which sources to search for and which expert materials to consult.
  3. Make notes in the process of preparation for writing. When you read some materials, you need to get used to a habit to make notes and highlight important information.
  4. Find out what challenges you have when you critique a specific work.
  5. Identify solutions to the problems you have found out.

Why Are There So Many Types of Cause and Effect Essays?

Students may be asked to write cause and effect essays in different subject areas and research categories. For example:

  • Gender criticism;
  • Mythological criticism;
  • Biographical criticism;
  • Sociological criticism;
  • New historicism;
  • Reader-response criticism;
  • Formalist criticism;
  • Psychoanalytical criticism.

Regardless of the discipline or topic you write the essay on, you need to adhere to the basic principles and rules of essay writing. As such, a successful piece of essay writing should consist of an introduction with a strong thesis statement, the main body that is developed according to the essay prompt or rules of a specific essay type, and a conclusive paragraph. This paper template is important as it ensures that you adhere to the principles of proper paragraph development. In other words, such knowledge of general essay writing structure serves as a roadmap for your future works.

  • Introduction

When you write introduction, you need to maintain clarity of writing and draw attention and interest of your target audience to the topic. The introduction should be logical, clear, and concise. It should provide sufficient background information and highlight the main focus of the paper.

  • Body paragraphs

Each body paragraph should be devoted to a separate aspect of the topic. You need to make sure that each body paragraph is developed properly and fully discussed the issue. Besides, the ideas presented in the body paragraphs should be related to the aspects mentioned in the thesis statement. As a rule, you can develop from three to six body paragraphs depending on the paper length.

  • Conclusion

A conclusion of a critical essay is in no way different from an ordinary conclusion of any other essay types. As such, to start the conclusion in an effective way, you need to reiterate the thesis and restate the main points. Besides, it is prudent to include a call to action if you want to attract readers’ attention to something particularly significant.

Outline for a Critical Essay

The outline is needed as for any other essay parts. It will help structure the paper and help you develop smooth and consistent paragraphs. Afterwards, make sure to complete a draft before submitting a final version. Even though you think that it is the process of writing that is of utmost importance, you have to pay careful consideration to editing and proofreading.

How to Write a Persuasive Essay

The goal of persuasive writing is to convince the readers and make them see things your way. However, if you have hardly written such essays and you are not sure how to write a persuasive essay, you will have to put considerable efforts in creating a piece that meets your professor’s expectations. Nevertheless, the process becomes easier if you have a clear step-by-step guide and can access well-written persuasive essay examples.

Creating a persuasive essay can be compared to talking to a friend when you are trying to prove your point. In other words, your essay is an attempt to convince the readers by presenting your thoughts. Even though a persuasive writing is opinion-based, you have to rely on strong evidence and express your thoughts calmly and professionally. Whether you are supporting or opposing an idea/belief/statement, etc., be sure to clearly explain your position and use evidence to substantiate it. For those who have a limited writing experience and do not know how to write a persuasive essay, we recommend following the guide below.

Step 1: Pre-Writing Procedure

Students often assume that writing does not entail any preparation; however, there are numerous pre-writing procedures that have to be done before you even start writing. If you do not know where to begin, create a persuasive essay outline after you have picked a topic from a list of persuasive essay topics provided by your professor. After that, you will have to dedicate some time to research. Once you have read up on the topic, put down some ideas about what to include in your future essay. At this stage, do not think about how logical those ideas might be or how to follow the persuasive essay format. Brainstorming is effective when it is uncontrolled. Having gathered enough ideas, try to select the most interesting ones and organize them. Remember that each major point should be explained and supported with evidence.

Step 2: Drawing an Outline

The answer to the question ‘How to start a persuasive essay’ is simple: make a statement and start gathering evidence. As soon as you learn how to effectively collect and synthesize evidence, writing a persuasive essay will never be a problem. When doing research, use only reputable sources. Having gathered enough evidence, create an essay outline. Some students write their persuasive papers without outlines to save time but a teacher can always tell if a paper was written without an outline. If you aim for a high grade, do not skip this step.

Step 3: Introduction

The first paragraph should do two things:

  • Grab the readers’ attention
  • Present the author’s persuasive essay thesis

It should also create the context for the discussion but as long as the abovementioned goals are achieved, your chances of persuading the reader rise considerably. However, beware of such simplicity, for it is deceptive. Creating a strong thesis statement is the biggest challenge because it must present your argument and inform the readers about the topic of the discussion.

Finally, keep in mind that the introduction should be brief, usually, between 4–5 sentences.

Step 4: Supporting the Thesis Statement

Body paragraphs are the parts of a persuasive essay where the author supports the thesis statement by giving reasons to believe in the validity of his/her claims. Every paragraph should discuss one aspect of the thesis statement, thus convincing the readers that what you are trying to say is reasonable.

Very often, professors ask students to follow a five-paragraph essay format, which means that apart from an introduction and conclusion, the essay should comprise three body paragraphs. This format is not difficult to follow, so it is appropriate for persuasive essays.

Sometimes students do not know how to write a persuasive essay using just three paragraphs but as soon as you avoid redundancies, you should not experience any problems.

Step 5: Making a Conclusion

The last paragraph should summarize everything that was mentioned in the body. The simplest way to write it is by restating the thesis statement and summarizing the main supporting evidence. Similar to introduction, the concluding paragraph should not be too long. However, keep in mind that a conclusion is your last chance to produce an impact on the reader, so try to make this paragraph meaningful.

How to Write an Argumentative Essay

The purpose of an argumentative essay is to convince the intended audience that your ideas are correct and viable judging from the evidence you have presented. Argumentative essay writing skills are developed in high school and college but they can be useful in everyday life, as well. Indeed, the ability to prove one’s point eloquently is extremely helpful. If you want to succeed in argumentative essay writing, you should learn to choose successful essay topics and select the most relevant evidence. But before you do that, make sure you familiarize yourself with an argumentative essay outline.

Argumentative Essay Ideas

Sometimes students do not know how to write an argumentative essay or even how to start an argumentative essay. The first step is topic choice. Whether you are choosing from a list provided by the professor or creating a topic of your own, make sure it is something you understand and can do research on. If the number of publications on the topic is ridiculous, you won’t be able to construct a strong argument. Writing an argumentative essay is not only about expressing your own views, it’s more about proving them, so ample evidence is a must.

How to Create a Good Argumentative Essay?

First, make sure you understand an argumentative essay outline. Students who do not know how to write an argumentative paper usually focus on the content of their future essay to such an extent that its structure is completely neglected. You do not want to adopt this approach. An argumentative essay outline is the cornerstone of your paper.

Where to Start?

Now that you know the basics of argumentative essay writing, you must be wondering where to start. Most professional tips for writing an argumentative essay recommend beginning your paper with the discussion of the context. Then introduce the issue and its importance, present your opinion and explain why you think it is correct. This is going to be your thesis statement. In the body of the essay, you will defend your thesis by providing and explaining relevant evidence.

The thesis statement should be a concise and argumentative sentence that clearly presents the central idea of the essay. In addition, it must summarize the supporting arguments. Usually, it appears at the end of the introduction although some students choose to start their essays with a thesis statement.

How to Build Your Argument

Reading argumentative essay examples is helpful but you still have to learn to build an argument on your own. The main argument of your essay is summarized in the thesis statement, with the subsequent paragraphs explaining it in detail. Start each paragraph with a topic sentence. Each topic should reveal another aspect of the thesis statement. In other words, each body paragraph should make a claim. Some argumentative essay topics might limit you to only one claim but it is better to make several claims so that you could create a multi-paragraph essay without repetitions and redundancies.

As you improve your writing skills, you should understand that a mere statement is not a fact, so you have to support each claim with reliable evidence. Similarly, drawing on evidence from your personal experience is not appropriate in this type of papers, thus you need to collect evidence using scientific studies and research. Develop a habit of consulting reliable sources, such as peer-reviewed articles, governmental publications, etc.

Address the Opposing View

An argumentative essay structure requires addressing the opposing views, i.e. the viewpoint different from yours. Think about what other people might say about the topic. By acknowledging their views you demonstrate your own competence because it means that you have indeed studied the issue at hand. After describing the opinions of the opponents, you have to refute them using facts, statistics, and logical reasoning.

This part of an argumentative essay is vital because if you want the readers to see the things your way, you have to be sufficiently persuasive. To achieve this, use convincing evidence and creativity.

So when do you discuss the opposing view? Most argumentative essays bring up the counterarguments in the penultimate body paragraph and provide refutation in the paragraph preceding the conclusion. Some essays introduce counter arguments in the first paragraph. Whichever way you do this, be sure to accurately cite your sources so that the readers can double-check your evidence.

Write a Conclusion

Now that you know how to start an argumentative essay, how to introduce your argument and address the opposing view, you should learn how to properly wrap up the discussion. The last paragraph has to restate your central argument (thesis statement), summarize the main evidence, and mention the implications of the issue.

Learn to express your opinions in a calm and professional manner, rely on facts rather than opinions, and acknowledge other people’s views and the readers will surely appreciate your essay.

Originally published at on July 3, 2020.



Jenna Brandon

Jenna Brandon is a blogger, content creator, and digital marketer at