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Essay Structure: A Step-by-Step Guide With Examples

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When you first sit down to start writing an essay, it might scare you. There is so much that you have to write, so many points that you need to cover. You do not know where to start, where to end, or how to go about it. That is why you should learn about the various structures of essays.  

While you are writing an academic essay as your assignment, it is very important for you to follow the basic structure of an essay. It helps the reader to go through the article easily. 

Importance of Essay Structure

Imagine a situation where you are sitting with your friend and telling them a very interesting story. Now, instead of smoothly transitioning from one incident to another, you decide to jump back and forth between all the events. This will confuse everyone who is listening to it. In order to prevent this from happening, you need to follow the basic essay structure while you are writing your school or college essays. 

Let’s go through a few reasons why you should follow a structure while working on your assignment. 

  • A structure is like a roadmap that guides your reader through your ideas. It helps them to understand the flow of your writing. 
  • It ensures that you maintain proper clarity while writing. The arguments that you are making should be very clear. Adding explanations also helps readers to understand a specific point in a slightly better way. 
  • Following a particular pattern helps you to organize your thoughts logically and present them in a way that is professional. 
  • There are various different structures for writing different kinds of essays. Choose accordingly.
    • Use the chronological method to write about something that follows a particular timeline. 
    • Compare and contrast methods are used to look for similarities and dissimilarities between two topics. 
    • When writing on topics that deal with how to tackle a certain issue, use the problem-method-solution format. 

Overview of Essay Structure Components

When writing an essay, your obvious focus should be on mentioning all the important details, but you also need to follow a certain structure while writing. You cannot complete your assignment haphazardly. 

The various different structural elements are – 

  • Introductory paragraph – This is one of the most important parts of your essay. You need to grab your reader’s attention with a captivating opening. The word limit for this section should be around 10% of the total word count. Briefly introduce your topic and provide some context. Also, mention your thesis statement. 
  • Body Paragraph—This is the main body of your essay and should consist of around 80% of the total word count. Whatever you write, back it up with facts, statistics, or quotes from credible sources. Explain why the evidence you provided is important and how it supports your argument. 
  • Conclusion – This is the final section of your article. Complete this section within approximately 10% of the total word count. The conclusion is like a summary. It should cover all the points that you mentioned in the previous paragraphs. Use a closing statement that leaves a lasting impression on the mind of the person who is reading your essay. 

Understand the Essay Structure: The 3 main parts of an essay

All good essays follow a basic structure. They all have three parts  – the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. The introduction and conclusion are way smaller in size than the body, but they are equally important, if not more. 

Introduction

This is where you begin your essay. The introduction paragraph of an essay is one of the most important parts of an essay. It normally consists of one paragraph and gives a brief description of the topic. You need to mention your thesis here and take a clear stance about what your viewpoint on the topic is. Your writing should not show any kind of hesitance on your part. The beginning needs to be captivating, otherwise the reader might not feel like going through the rest of your essay. 

Body paragraphs

After the introduction, the next paragraph onwards is known as the body of the essay. The main topic or the main points of the topic are discussed in this section. Each paragraph in the body of an essay should contain a topic sentence, which expresses the main idea that is being discussed in that paragraph. Mention all necessary details. Present information in such a way that it is easy for the reader to comprehend. Use transition words to smoothly move from one paragraph to another. 

Make sure that the topics that you cover in the body paragraphs are in alignment with the thesis statement that you mentioned in the introduction paragraph. This is why you should always revise at the end of writing a piece so that you can ensure that there are no mistakes. You can add any number of body paragraphs to the essay. Just remember what your word count is, and try to complete the whole essay within the given range. 

Conclusion

The final paragraph of an essay is known as the conclusion. This part also consists of only one paragraph and contains the summary of the whole essay. Try to briefly touch upon the main arguments or evidence used to support your thesis. This helps to reinforce your ideas and shows the significance of your analysis. 

As this is the ending section of your essay, this should leave a lasting impact on your readers. You could write a very powerful statement as the last sentence of the essay. You could also write a thought-provoking question to spark further discussion or a call to action that inspires change. Please mention the main point of your thesis paper in the conclusion.

Now that you know what the three main parts of the essay are, let’s get to know about the various different structures of an essay. 

What are the different types of essay structures?

Essays can be divided into three categories based on:

  • Chronological essay
  • Compare and contrast essay or Comparison essay
  • Problem-method-solution essay or Problem-Solution essay

Chronological structure

A chronological story is written according to a particular timeline. All incidents are mentioned in the sequence in which they occurred, one after another. 

The following are a few different kinds of essays that you can write using the chronological method of writing. 

  • Process Essays –  In process essays, you try to explain a step-by-step process to your reader. For example, how to bake the perfect cookies. A chronological structure takes your reader through each step, from preheating the oven to devouring those warm, gooey treats. 
  • Historical Essays – When you are writing about any historical event or events, following a chronological order helps to paint a clear picture of how, when, and why the incidents took place. 

One thing that you need to keep in mind while writing a chronological format of essay is that when you are moving from one incident to another, the transition has to be very smooth. 

Compare-and-contrast structure

This type of structure explores the similarities and differences between two things. You can use it when you are writing the following kinds of essays- 

  • Evaluating two historical events: Examine the causes and effects of the French Revolution and the American Revolution and highlight their similarities and differences. 
  • Weighing the pros and cons of an issue – Is social media a blessing or a curse? A compare-and-contrast structure will let you explore both sides of the topic. 

While writing an essay using this essay structure, you need to write everything point-by-point. Systematically compare and contrast each point of both events, topics, etc. Use separate body paragraphs for each point. If there are any similarities between the two things that you are comparing, then you also need to mention those. 

Problems-methods-solutions structure

From the name of this structure, you can understand that this structure focuses on a problem and then proposes solutions to it. Use this structure when you want to write essays like  – 

  • Argumentative Essay – Traffic congestion is a major issue in big cities. This structure lets you propose solutions like improved public transportation or carpooling.
  • Research Proposals: You can identify a gap in scientific knowledge and propose a research plan to address it.
  • Policy Papers – Using this essay format, you can propose solutions like affordable housing initiatives for homeless people. 
  • Problem Presentation: Clearly define the problem and its importance. Use statistics, examples, or anecdotes to grab the reader’s attention.

While suggesting a better solution for the given problem, make sure that it is a practical one. You need to discuss the feasibility and the effectiveness of the solution that was suggested by you. If possible, you can also provide alternative solutions. 

Essay Structure Examples

Chronological essay structure – 

  1. Process Essay – 

“A Chronological Guide to Baking the Perfect Sourdough Bread.” Break down the sourdough bread-making process, detailing each stage, from preparing the starter to baking the final loaf.

  1. Historical Essay – 

“The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire” In this essay you need to explore the key events from the founding of Rome to its eventual decline. Highlight significant battles, emperors, and societal shifts. 

  1. Narrative Essay (Personal Experience) – 

“Conquering Mount Kilimanjaro” Narrates the journey of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, detailing the challenges faced and the triumphs achieved at each stage.

  1. Scientific Discovery Essay – 

“A Chronological Look at the Discovery of Penicillin: From Mold to Miracle Cure.” Delving into the chronological journey of Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin, highlight the experiments and observations that led to the discovery of this life-saving antibiotic.

Compare and contrast essay structure – 

  1. Literary Analysis – 

“Darkness and Deception: A Compare-and-Contrast of Macbeth and Hamlet.” For this essay, you need to explore the themes of darkness, ambition, and deception present in both Shakespearean plays, highlighting similarities and differences in how these themes are portrayed.

  1. Historical Comparison – 

“Compare and Contrast the French and American Revolutions.” Analyze the causes, events, and outcomes of both revolutions, highlighting similarities in their fight for freedom and contrasting approaches.

  1. Scientific Analysis – 

“Nature vs. Nurture: A Compare-and-Contrast of Genes and Environment in Shaping Human Behavior.” In this one, you should explore the role of genes and the environment in influencing human behavior, highlighting points of agreement and areas of ongoing debate.

  1. Social or Political Issues – 

“Compare the Gun Control Policies in the United States of America and Australia.” Explore the different legislative approaches to gun control in the US and Australia, highlighting the effectiveness and potential drawbacks of each approach.

Problem method solution essay structure – 

  1. Environmental Issues – 

“How to Combat Plastic Pollution” In this essay you need to delve into the detrimental effects of plastic pollution on our environment before exploring solutions like reducing plastic consumption, promoting recycling initiatives, and developing biodegradable alternatives.

  1. Social Problems – 

“Exploring Solutions to Homelessness in Urban Areas.” Analyze the causes and consequences of homelessness, followed by exploring solutions like providing affordable housing, increasing access to mental health services, and offering job training programs.

  1. Technological Challenges – 

“Safeguarding the Digital Age” For this, you need to explore the growing threat of cyber attacks before proposing solutions like stricter regulations, improved data encryption methods, and increased public awareness campaigns.

  1. Educational Reforms – 

“Solutions to Student Loan Debt Crisis.” First, analyze the burden of student loan debt on graduates. Then explore solutions like income-based repayment plans, government loan forgiveness programs, or making college more affordable.

Tips for Crafting Effective Essay Structures

To help you write a well structured essay, here are some tips. 

  • Planning is Key. The first thing you need to do is create an outline for your essay. Prepare a draft where you write down all the points that you want to elaborate on while writing the essay. You can arrange the sequence in which you want to address your topics or club certain points together. 
  • Remember the Basics – The basic structure consists of three elements –  the introduction, the body paragraphs, and the conclusion.
    • Introduction – The introduction needs to have a nice hook so that it can capture the reader’s attention. Give a brief gist of the topic that you are writing your essay on. You can also add why you are writing your essay on this particular topic. 
    • Body paragraphs—This section consists of numerous paragraphs where you explain and elaborate on the points that you want to discuss. Write down all the main points and elaborate on them. If required, explain their significance or back them up with evidence. 
    • Conclusion—At the end of your essay, write a brief summary of its main ideas. The last sentence may contain your final thoughts on the topic. 
  • Essay Type – Essays can be classified based on their purposes.
    • An argumentative essay focuses on presenting a clear and convincing argument. 
    • A persuasive essay appeals to the reader’s emotions and logic and convinces them to adopt a specific viewpoint or course of action. 
    • An expository essay or effect essay provides information about a specific topic in an objective manner. 
    • A narrative essay is one where you weave a captivating story using vivid descriptions and engaging language to create a strong emotional connection with your reader. 
  • Essay Structures – There are three different options to choose from.
    • Chronological – You need to write the essay in the chronological order in which certain events took place. 
    • Compare-and-Contrast—In this kind of essay, you will compare two events, objects, etc.
    • Problems-methods-solutions – When you are writing this kind of essay, you explain the issue, then analyze its impact, and finally propose effective solutions. 
  • Revise—After you have completed writing your entire essay, go through it. Check whether there are any grammatical or spelling errors. Ensure that your work is structured correctly.

The most important part is to remember to consult with your teacher or your peers and clarify all doubts before you start writing the essay. If you are not sure what type of essay to write or what structure you need to follow, ask your teachers. You definitely do not want to submit your school or college essays written in the wrong format. 

Why should you get help from Myassignmenthelp? 

If you feel that you need help writing a short essay or you do not know how to write a synthesis essay, then you can definitely come to us. We at Myassignmenthelp provide various kinds of assignment writing services along with essay help services. The professionals who work with us are experts in their respective subjects and can provide you with the best possible work. We guarantee to provide you with the work within the given deadline. We also maintain 100% confidentiality, so you do not need to worry about someone else getting to know that you completed your task by taking help from us.

Ruby Walker

Hi everyone, I am Ruby Walker, an irreverent copywriter, blogger, and an essay writing expert. I have been working as an English and essay writing specialist at myassignmenthelp.com for 12 years now. With a never-dying passion for writing, I pursued a PhD in English. As a PhD student, I became familiar with the major struggles that students face working on essays, assignments, and dissertations. So, now, I use my knowledge and guide students on how to beat all those hurdles and get closer to top grades. When I am not creating some money-minting sales copies or killer essays, you'll probably find me travelling to different corners in the world. 

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