How to Plan an Effective Essay by Wilsimara Rocha


Writing is an art! Knowing how to put down your ideas on paper can be easy to many people but to others it can be a very difficult task. To make the writer’s life easier, there are some steps to follow in order to compose an essay effectively. According to Folse and Pugh (2010), essays are short written compositions that share our thoughts about a given topic with an audience. Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind some recommendations you should pay attention to while writing an essay, such as the structure and organization of the paragraphs; the use of formal language; the use of low-frequency words to enrich the vocabulary; and the lack of contractions. All these tips are helpful for you to practice your writing skills. Taking these tips into consideration, the purpose of this text is to present the steps to write an effective essay, based on what is learned in an academic writing course.


Developing an essay starts with an introduction that gives background information to the reader. A good introduction should contain a hook and a clear thesis statement. A hook is a phrase or a sentence that keeps the reader’s attention and makes him/her curious to know about what you are going to write about. Regarding the thesis statement, it is the unifying force of the essay, that is, the main idea under which the writer wants to explore his/her points of view. In my opinion, the hardest part in performing an essay is to create a clear thesis statement. For that, you need to know exactly the points you want to develop along your text.

Once you have defined you thesis statement and then finished your introduction, it is time to start developing the body of your essay. In general, the body should contain three paragraphs and each one of them based on a topic, which is the unifying force of the paragraph. In other words, the topic is the main idea you want to explore in each paragraph. After mentioning your topic, you should give examples and details to support it. The recommendation is to present at least two examples or details to enrich your topic and to make your audience more interested in what you are telling them. I can say that sometimes it is hard to find enough details, but they make the whole difference when well highlighted.


After finishing the body of your text, it is time to write the conclusion, where you will summarize all the ideas you have explored previously. In doing so, you should avoid introducing new information or giving details and examples not mentioned along the text. An effective conclusion wraps up, in an interesting way, what was already commented on earlier. You can even add a suggestion or recommendation to your audience, related to the topic you developed. In my opinion, this part can be easier if you are able to present clearly each topic discussed in the body.


As we have seen, the steps to write an essay are simple and if you follow them, you will probably write an effective text. However, it is important remember that the best way to internalize new knowledge is practicing what was learned. So if you really want to develop more and more your writing skills, take the recommendations and tips given here and start to write soon.


Folse, K. S and Pugh, T. Greater Essays. Second Edition, 2010.


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