5 Vital Essay Writing Rules
Writing an essay is an important skill for anyone who is involved in academics. Whether you are still in high school or you have moved onto college, you will need to write essays in almost every class. Once you know the five vital essay rules, you should be able to write an essay with ease. The essay rules cross all academic areas and they can be applied to all of the different formatting styles, too.
Rule #1: Create a Captivating Introduction
You will be judged by the quality of your introduction. The introduction needs to have two important ingredients: the hook and the thesis. When you craft your hook, it needs to be intelligent and clever so that your readers want to continue reading. The thesis needs to be narrowly focused, so you can address the argument in the length of the essay.
Rule #2: Write Focused Body Paragraphs
Each body paragraph needs to be focused on the thesis statement. The topic sentences need to refer back to the thesis, so the reader knows what you are trying to prove. Each body paragraph needs to be like a “sub-thesis” trying to prove a small part of the thesis.
Rule #3: Have High-Quality Examples
The body paragraphs not only need strong and focused topic sentences, but they need examples that prove the thesis. These examples need to be backed by facts and many teachers and professors will want you to record your sources, too.
Rule #4: Include a Purposeful Conclusion
The end of the essay requires a conclusion that does one of a few things. The first is that the conclusion can provide a call to action. A conclusion can also simply wrap up the main idea of the essay. Finally, a conclusion can leave the read with a thought to ponder.
Rule #5: Add Your Voice
While essays should not be full of slang and conversational language, it is important to include your own voice. Your ideas and words are what make essays more than just a collection of facts. Essays do have a strict purpose to persuade, inform, or entertain, and you will need to modify your voice based on the purpose you choose. Your personality can shine in the hook and conclusion, but you can also include your voice in transitions, sentence structure, and paragraph length.
It is important to remember that all essays are written to be read, so keep your audience in mind and write an essay that will be interesting to read.
The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.
Contributors: Jack Baker, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli
Last Edited: 2013-07-30 01:39:00
What is a narrative essay?
When writing a narrative essay, one might think of it as telling a story. These essays are often anecdotal, experiential, and personal—allowing students to express themselves in a creative and, quite often, moving ways.
Here are some guidelines for writing a narrative essay.
- If written as a story, the essay should include all the parts of a story.
This means that you must include an introduction, plot, characters, setting, climax, and conclusion.
- When would a narrative essay not be written as a story?
A good example of this is when an instructor asks a student to write a book report. Obviously, this would not necessarily follow the pattern of a story and would focus on providing an informative narrative for the reader.
- The essay should have a purpose.
Make a point! Think of this as the thesis of your story. If there is no point to what you are narrating, why narrate it at all?
- The essay should be written from a clear point of view.
It is quite common for narrative essays to be written from the standpoint of the author; however, this is not the sole perspective to be considered. Creativity in narrative essays often times manifests itself in the form of authorial perspective.
- Use clear and concise language throughout the essay.
Much like the descriptive essay, narrative essays are effective when the language is carefully, particularly, and artfully chosen. Use specific language to evoke specific emotions and senses in the reader.
- The use of the first person pronoun ‘I’ is welcomed.
Do not abuse this guideline! Though it is welcomed it is not necessary—nor should it be overused for lack of clearer diction.
Have a clear introduction that sets the tone for the remainder of the essay. Do not leave the reader guessing about the purpose of your narrative. Remember, you are in control of the essay, so guide it where you desire (just make sure your audience can follow your lead).