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How to write an essay?

Essays in English are organized into paragraphs. Regardless of whether you write an argument, a preference or a comparison essay, the basic principles remain the same.

Introduction

The first paragraph of your essay is called the introduction. The introduction begins with an interesting statement called a hook and ends with a thesis statement. As you can see, your opening statement or hook is what encourages people to read the essay and hence it has to be as compelling as possible. The thesis statement outlines your opinion or preference and your reasons. The middle sentences, if any, may give a brief overview of the situation.

Body paragraphs

The middle paragraphs of your essay are called the body paragraphs. Each paragraph must discuss one point that supports your thesis. Three body paragraphs are usually enough to thoroughly defend an opinion or preference. The last paragraph is your conclusion. In your conclusion, you have to restate your thesis. You may also include a general comment or prediction about the topic.

Here are the various components of your essay.

I. Introduction (first paragraph)

a) First sentence = a hook

b) Middle sentences = background

c) Last sentence = thesis statement

II. First body paragraph

a) First sentence = topic sentence (the first key point supporting your thesis statement)

b) Rest of the paragraph = relevant examples and arguments that support your topic statement

III. Second body paragraph

a) First sentence = topic sentence (the second key point supporting your thesis statement)

b) Rest of the paragraph = relevant examples and arguments that support your topic statement

IV. Third body paragraph

a) First sentence = topic sentence (the third key point supporting your thesis statement)

b) Rest of the paragraph = relevant examples and arguments that support your topic statement

V. Conclusion

a) Restatement of your thesis

b) Your comments, predictions or suggestions about the whole topic

Understand the difference between an opinion and a preference

All essays have the same basic components, but there are some differences in the way the supporting points are made.

An opinion-based essay needs to be defended with objective, logical arguments that would convince the reader why you feel so. For example, someone might support providing free education to the poor because they feel that it will make education accessible to everyone. Someone else might oppose the same idea because of its impact on the public exchequer. Regardless of which position you adopt, you have to defend it logically and objectively. You cannot simply state that you support free education because you believe that it is right. Instead, you need to defend your opinion with logical arguments that could be accepted and repeated by a wide range of people.

A preference, on the other hand, is a choice based on a writer’s likes, dislikes or personality. For example, a person might prefer living on her own, because she enjoys being responsible and taking risks. Another person might prefer living with her parents because it makes her feel secure. These reasons are subjective because they are based on what the writer likes or dislikes. Of course, you still need to explain why prefer or do not prefer something. However, your arguments don’t have to be persuasive. You don’t have to convince the reader that living on one’s own is better than living with one’s parents. You just need to explain why you prefer it.

On the other hand, if you state that you support free education for all because you are poor and need financial assistance, you fail to convince the reader. This is a weak argument. When you prefer one choice over another one, you are not expected to convince or persuade the reader that your preference is better or logical. Of course, you can do it if you really want to but that is not necessary. Preferences don’t have to be persuasive. They just need to be supported and explained.

The main point is that an opinion or argument-led essay must be persuasive. In an argument, you are required to convince your reader that your argument is better or more logical than someone else’s.