Essay Structure

Essay Structure
An essay is a complete piece of writing on a particular subject. It does not contain headings or subheadings,
diagrams, pictures or tables.
There are three distinct parts to any essay:
• introduction
• body of the text
• conclusion
Introduction (Opening Paragraph)
A good introduction will address the topic immediately and clearly, and capture the reader’s interest. It will
contain a statement of the main idea of the essay given in one or two sentences. It may include interesting
facts which provide a context for the main idea, or definitions of important terms. Also, state your aims and the
direction you want to take. If you want to persuade the reader of a particular thing, argue a particular point, or
provide your reader with a detailed analysis of a subject, then say so. You should already give an indication of
your conclusion.
Your reader then knows what you are talking about and where you are going, right from the start!
In the body of your essay you will develop the main points that you have mentioned in your introduction. Select
from your reading and class notes only those points which are relevant to your main idea, and decide what
sequence to put them in.
Each point may then be developed in a paragraph. A paragraph is a section of writing dealing with a new idea
or a different aspect of a new idea. It will state the main point, usually in the opening sentence, and develop it
with further details, explanation, examples or evidence. There may be quotes or references in a paragraph to
illustrate or support your point.
Try to relate each paragraph to the main topic of the essay, and link it to the paragraph before. The aim is to
progress towards a logical conclusion.
Traps to avoid:
• Straying from the main theme
• Trying to say too much within the given word limit
• Padding or repeating yourself to make up the word limit
• Failing to provide a proper balance to the different parts of the topic, or leaving out...