The basic structure of an essay

Essays come in many different varieties. There is a whole world of topics available to write about – as well as books worth of different styles and citation types. For each class, these requirements often change, and are molded by the individual professor, but there is still one constant within the process: structure.

Though the content may change, the simple structure of an essay is essentially the same, no matter the length, subject, or citation style.

Structure of an Essay

The basic structure of an essay is the five-paragraph design. This includes five “areas” within the essay that keep the piece focused and connected. The five-paragraph model doesn’t have to literally mean five paragraphs, but it does include five sections that should be represented in any piece of academic writing.

Using this basic essay structure, you should include:

  1. Introduction: The introduction section is literally just that – an introduction of your point or argument. This section will explain to the reader what your paper is about – and it will clearly establish your thesis. Your thesis is the backbone of your paper as it establishes your main argument. All other sections will tie back to your thesis.
  2. Topic 1: The next section explains your first topic. This topic will point back at, and prove your thesis argument.
  3. Topic 2: The next section transitions to your second topic. Again, this topic will point back at the thesis and help establish your argument.
  4. Topic 3: The next section transitions to your final topic. This will still point back to your original argument – and prove it for you.
  5. Conclusion: Finally, the conclusion section allows you to summarize all of your arguments and connect them to your overall thesis.

Cohesive Argument

The most important part of any essay is a cohesive point or argument. Your reader should always know what your main point is. To ensure that they do, you must always redirect and prove your thesis statement.

Topic sentences that connect all areas of your research are also important. You should always transition from one point to the next, and remind the reader what the overall point of your essay is.

Planning for an Effective Essay

Using the five paragraph essay format, you should always create an outline of some sort to help you plan ahead. Refining and directing your argument using an outline will make your essay much more efficient – and, as a bonus, it will also make the process of writing it much easier as well.