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The Writing Process | 5 Steps with Examples & Tips

Published on April 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on December 8, 2023.

The writing process steps

Good academic writing requires effective planning, drafting, and revision.

The writing process looks different for everyone, but there are five basic steps that will help you structure your time when writing any kind of text.

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five steps of essay writing

Table of contents

Step 1: prewriting, step 2: planning and outlining, step 3: writing a first draft, step 4: redrafting and revising, step 5: editing and proofreading, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about the writing process.

Before you start writing, you need to decide exactly what you’ll write about and do the necessary research.

Coming up with a topic

If you have to come up with your own topic for an assignment, think of what you’ve covered in class— is there a particular area that intrigued, interested, or even confused you? Topics that left you with additional questions are perfect, as these are questions you can explore in your writing.

The scope depends on what type of text you’re writing—for example, an essay or a research paper will be less in-depth than a dissertation topic . Don’t pick anything too ambitious to cover within the word count, or too limited for you to find much to say.

Narrow down your idea to a specific argument or question. For example, an appropriate topic for an essay might be narrowed down like this:

Doing the research

Once you know your topic, it’s time to search for relevant sources and gather the information you need. This process varies according to your field of study and the scope of the assignment. It might involve:

  • Searching for primary and secondary sources .
  • Reading the relevant texts closely (e.g. for literary analysis ).
  • Collecting data using relevant research methods (e.g. experiments , interviews or surveys )

From a writing perspective, the important thing is to take plenty of notes while you do the research. Keep track of the titles, authors, publication dates, and relevant quotations from your sources; the data you gathered; and your initial analysis or interpretation of the questions you’re addressing.

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Especially in academic writing , it’s important to use a logical structure to convey information effectively. It’s far better to plan this out in advance than to try to work out your structure once you’ve already begun writing.

Creating an essay outline is a useful way to plan out your structure before you start writing. This should help you work out the main ideas you want to focus on and how you’ll organize them. The outline doesn’t have to be final—it’s okay if your structure changes throughout the writing process.

Use bullet points or numbering to make your structure clear at a glance. Even for a short text that won’t use headings, it’s useful to summarize what you’ll discuss in each paragraph.

An outline for a literary analysis essay might look something like this:

  • Describe the theatricality of Austen’s works
  • Outline the role theater plays in Mansfield Park
  • Introduce the research question: How does Austen use theater to express the characters’ morality in Mansfield Park ?
  • Discuss Austen’s depiction of the performance at the end of the first volume
  • Discuss how Sir Bertram reacts to the acting scheme
  • Introduce Austen’s use of stage direction–like details during dialogue
  • Explore how these are deployed to show the characters’ self-absorption
  • Discuss Austen’s description of Maria and Julia’s relationship as polite but affectionless
  • Compare Mrs. Norris’s self-conceit as charitable despite her idleness
  • Summarize the three themes: The acting scheme, stage directions, and the performance of morals
  • Answer the research question
  • Indicate areas for further study

Once you have a clear idea of your structure, it’s time to produce a full first draft.

This process can be quite non-linear. For example, it’s reasonable to begin writing with the main body of the text, saving the introduction for later once you have a clearer idea of the text you’re introducing.

To give structure to your writing, use your outline as a framework. Make sure that each paragraph has a clear central focus that relates to your overall argument.

Hover over the parts of the example, from a literary analysis essay on Mansfield Park , to see how a paragraph is constructed.

The character of Mrs. Norris provides another example of the performance of morals in Mansfield Park . Early in the novel, she is described in scathing terms as one who knows “how to dictate liberality to others: but her love of money was equal to her love of directing” (p. 7). This hypocrisy does not interfere with her self-conceit as “the most liberal-minded sister and aunt in the world” (p. 7). Mrs. Norris is strongly concerned with appearing charitable, but unwilling to make any personal sacrifices to accomplish this. Instead, she stage-manages the charitable actions of others, never acknowledging that her schemes do not put her own time or money on the line. In this way, Austen again shows us a character whose morally upright behavior is fundamentally a performance—for whom the goal of doing good is less important than the goal of seeming good.

When you move onto a different topic, start a new paragraph. Use appropriate transition words and phrases to show the connections between your ideas.

The goal at this stage is to get a draft completed, not to make everything perfect as you go along. Once you have a full draft in front of you, you’ll have a clearer idea of where improvement is needed.

Give yourself a first draft deadline that leaves you a reasonable length of time to revise, edit, and proofread before the final deadline. For a longer text like a dissertation, you and your supervisor might agree on deadlines for individual chapters.

Now it’s time to look critically at your first draft and find potential areas for improvement. Redrafting means substantially adding or removing content, while revising involves making changes to structure and reformulating arguments.

Evaluating the first draft

It can be difficult to look objectively at your own writing. Your perspective might be positively or negatively biased—especially if you try to assess your work shortly after finishing it.

It’s best to leave your work alone for at least a day or two after completing the first draft. Come back after a break to evaluate it with fresh eyes; you’ll spot things you wouldn’t have otherwise.

When evaluating your writing at this stage, you’re mainly looking for larger issues such as changes to your arguments or structure. Starting with bigger concerns saves you time—there’s no point perfecting the grammar of something you end up cutting out anyway.

Right now, you’re looking for:

  • Arguments that are unclear or illogical.
  • Areas where information would be better presented in a different order.
  • Passages where additional information or explanation is needed.
  • Passages that are irrelevant to your overall argument.

For example, in our paper on Mansfield Park , we might realize the argument would be stronger with more direct consideration of the protagonist Fanny Price, and decide to try to find space for this in paragraph IV.

For some assignments, you’ll receive feedback on your first draft from a supervisor or peer. Be sure to pay close attention to what they tell you, as their advice will usually give you a clearer sense of which aspects of your text need improvement.

Redrafting and revising

Once you’ve decided where changes are needed, make the big changes first, as these are likely to have knock-on effects on the rest. Depending on what your text needs, this step might involve:

  • Making changes to your overall argument.
  • Reordering the text.
  • Cutting parts of the text.
  • Adding new text.

You can go back and forth between writing, redrafting and revising several times until you have a final draft that you’re happy with.

Think about what changes you can realistically accomplish in the time you have. If you are running low on time, you don’t want to leave your text in a messy state halfway through redrafting, so make sure to prioritize the most important changes.

Editing focuses on local concerns like clarity and sentence structure. Proofreading involves reading the text closely to remove typos and ensure stylistic consistency. You can check all your drafts and texts in minutes with an AI proofreader .

Editing for grammar and clarity

When editing, you want to ensure your text is clear, concise, and grammatically correct. You’re looking out for:

  • Grammatical errors.
  • Ambiguous phrasings.
  • Redundancy and repetition .

In your initial draft, it’s common to end up with a lot of sentences that are poorly formulated. Look critically at where your meaning could be conveyed in a more effective way or in fewer words, and watch out for common sentence structure mistakes like run-on sentences and sentence fragments:

  • Austen’s style is frequently humorous, her characters are often described as “witty.” Although this is less true of Mansfield Park .
  • Austen’s style is frequently humorous. Her characters are often described as “witty,” although this is less true of Mansfield Park .

To make your sentences run smoothly, you can always use a paraphrasing tool to rewrite them in a clearer way.

Proofreading for small mistakes and typos

When proofreading, first look out for typos in your text:

  • Spelling errors.
  • Missing words.
  • Confused word choices .
  • Punctuation errors .
  • Missing or excess spaces.

Use a grammar checker , but be sure to do another manual check after. Read through your text line by line, watching out for problem areas highlighted by the software but also for any other issues it might have missed.

For example, in the following phrase we notice several errors:

  • Mary Crawfords character is a complicate one and her relationships with Fanny and Edmund undergoes several transformations through out the novel.
  • Mary Crawford’s character is a complicated one, and her relationships with both Fanny and Edmund undergo several transformations throughout the novel.

Proofreading for stylistic consistency

There are several issues in academic writing where you can choose between multiple different standards. For example:

  • Whether you use the serial comma .
  • Whether you use American or British spellings and punctuation (you can use a punctuation checker for this).
  • Where you use numerals vs. words for numbers.
  • How you capitalize your titles and headings.

Unless you’re given specific guidance on these issues, it’s your choice which standards you follow. The important thing is to consistently follow one standard for each issue. For example, don’t use a mixture of American and British spellings in your paper.

Additionally, you will probably be provided with specific guidelines for issues related to format (how your text is presented on the page) and citations (how you acknowledge your sources). Always follow these instructions carefully.

If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy
  • Deep learning
  • Generative AI
  • Machine learning
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Supervised vs. unsupervised learning

 (AI) Tools

  • Grammar Checker
  • Paraphrasing Tool
  • Text Summarizer
  • AI Detector
  • Plagiarism Checker
  • Citation Generator

Revising, proofreading, and editing are different stages of the writing process .

  • Revising is making structural and logical changes to your text—reformulating arguments and reordering information.
  • Editing refers to making more local changes to things like sentence structure and phrasing to make sure your meaning is conveyed clearly and concisely.
  • Proofreading involves looking at the text closely, line by line, to spot any typos and issues with consistency and correct them.

Whether you’re publishing a blog, submitting a research paper , or even just writing an important email, there are a few techniques you can use to make sure it’s error-free:

  • Take a break : Set your work aside for at least a few hours so that you can look at it with fresh eyes.
  • Proofread a printout : Staring at a screen for too long can cause fatigue – sit down with a pen and paper to check the final version.
  • Use digital shortcuts : Take note of any recurring mistakes (for example, misspelling a particular word, switching between US and UK English , or inconsistently capitalizing a term), and use Find and Replace to fix it throughout the document.

If you want to be confident that an important text is error-free, it might be worth choosing a professional proofreading service instead.

If you’ve gone over the word limit set for your assignment, shorten your sentences and cut repetition and redundancy during the editing process. If you use a lot of long quotes , consider shortening them to just the essentials.

If you need to remove a lot of words, you may have to cut certain passages. Remember that everything in the text should be there to support your argument; look for any information that’s not essential to your point and remove it.

To make this process easier and faster, you can use a paraphrasing tool . With this tool, you can rewrite your text to make it simpler and shorter. If that’s not enough, you can copy-paste your paraphrased text into the summarizer . This tool will distill your text to its core message.

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The Writing Process

The writing process is something that no two people do the same way. There is no "right way" or "wrong way" to write. It can be a very messy and fluid process, and the following is only a representation of commonly used steps. Remember you can come to the Writing Center for assistance at any stage in this process. 

Steps of the Writing Process

five steps of essay writing

Step 1: Prewriting

Think and Decide

  • Make sure you understand your assignment. See  Research Papers  or  Essays
  • Decide on a topic to write about. See   Prewriting Strategies  and  Narrow your Topic
  • Consider who will read your work. See  Audience and Voice
  • Brainstorm ideas about the subject and how those ideas can be organized. Make an outline. See  Outlines

Step 2: Research (if needed) 

  • List places where you can find information.
  • Do your research. See the many KU Libraries resources and helpful guides
  • Evaluate your sources. See  Evaluating Sources  and  Primary vs. Secondary Sources
  • Make an outline to help organize your research. See  Outlines

Step 3: Drafting

  • Write sentences and paragraphs even if they are not perfect.
  • Create a thesis statement with your main idea. See  Thesis Statements
  • Put the information you researched into your essay accurately without plagiarizing. Remember to include both in-text citations and a bibliographic page. See  Incorporating References and Paraphrase and Summary  
  • Read what you have written and judge if it says what you mean. Write some more.
  • Read it again.
  • Write some more.
  • Write until you have said everything you want to say about the topic.

Step 4: Revising

Make it Better

  • Read what you have written again. See  Revising Content  and  Revising Organization
  • Rearrange words, sentences, or paragraphs into a clear and logical order. 
  • Take out or add parts.
  • Do more research if you think you should.
  • Replace overused or unclear words.
  • Read your writing aloud to be sure it flows smoothly. Add transitions.

Step 5: Editing and Proofreading

Make it Correct

  • Be sure all sentences are complete. See  Editing and Proofreading
  • Correct spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.
  • Change words that are not used correctly or are unclear.
  • APA Formatting
  • Chicago Style Formatting
  • MLA Formatting  
  • Have someone else check your work.

five steps of essay writing

Here’s how you can nail your college essay in 5 steps

How to write an essay

What is university experience without tackling the mammoth of words and hours upon hours of writing? Essays are inevitable if you’re pursuing an academic life, and you’ll encounter them soon enough just weeks into the start of your freshman year. If you’re looking for a guide on how to write an essay , here’s where we bring you the nitty-gritty stuff to ace your next paper. 

How to write an essay: A step-by-step guide for college students

Step 1: understand the assignment .

Don’t assume, and don’t underestimate how easily you can misinterpret instructions. A misunderstanding is costly; you can’t get good grades if you’re not responding to the correct questions in the first place. When you’re tasked with a writing assignment , take a few minutes to read through and digest what your professor is looking for. 

Read the instruction thoroughly, and highlight keywords that indicate the true purpose of the assignment. Are you writing a discursive essay, a précis, or a book review? Your writing style, tone, and formatting will need to conform to what’s required in the paper. If you’re still unclear about what you need to do, always ask your professor for clarification before proceeding. 

How to write an essay

Students can avoid over-researching by listing specific questions that will help narrow down certain viewpoints in a research topic. Source: Philippe Lopez/AFP

Step 2: Research the topic 

Now that you’ve cleared the confusion, it’s time to dive into the actual pre-writing work. Researching allows you to go in-depth into a subject beyond what is studied in class, hence why it’s usually the most fun part of the entire writing process. There’s such a thing as over-researching though, and you don’t want to be overwhelmed with more information than necessary. 

The key to avoiding falling into the rabbit hole of endless research is by starting smart. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes: what would you like to know most about your subject matter? Begin with a list of inquiries that are specific to your topic, eliminating anything that is too generalised. 

As you research, it’s crucial to keep track of your sources and compile a reference list so you can have your facts at hand when you start writing them in your essay. You can use citation tools from websites like Mendeley or Zotero to instantly generate citations in the correct format. Your writing process will be more streamlined if you start organising your sources early on. 

Step 3: Construct your thesis statement

An essay is as good as its thesis statement. Think of your paper as building a case in a defence trial. What’s the central argument or purpose of your paper? Does it invite the reader to hear your side of the story? 

The thesis statement has to be something that is debatable, but not too broad. It isn’t a fact, nor an opinion, but rather a claim that can be expanded on both sides of the fence. A well-crafted thesis is a prelude to how your argument will develop, and gives readers a glimpse into where you’re going with your evidence. 

How to write an essay

Proofreading your writing draft is a crucial step to polishing your essay before submitting it for grading. Source: Charly Triballeau/AFP

Step 4: Outlining, structuring, and concluding 

You’ve got your thesis statements and painstaking research to back it up — the next step is putting them all together. A convincing essay is one that can deliver coherence and consistency throughout the pages. You want your arguments to read like they develop organically, so think about ways you can order them. If there is a timeline involved, structuring your points by chronology will make your points easier to follow. 

Sectioning your paragraphs with topic sentences is another way to signal transition between ideas before introducing new supporting evidence in your writing. End each idea with real-life examples obtained from your research, and anticipate counterarguments to your claims by addressing them as much as you can in your essay. 

When writing your conclusion, don’t regurgitate your previous ideas. Use the space to make a lasting impression on your readers by summarising your arguments and providing a good closure by offering a unique perspective on the larger scholarship of your subject. 

Step 5: Proofread your draft 

While it’s tempting to submit your essay and not look back, taking time to proofread and edit your writing is a critical step in your overall writing procedure. Try to not edit immediately after finishing your draft — let it sit for a day or two if you have the time. You’ll notice more subtle mistakes with a fresh set of eyes, and won’t lose marks in stylistic errors. 

Some professors are more than happy to give feedback and suggestions to improve your draft, so make use of that if you have time to spare before the deadline. Getting professional input could be the game-changer between a lower and a higher grade for your essay. 

Once you’re happy with your final draft and have cited all your sources accordingly, you’re all good to go! Remember, learning how to write an essay gets better with practice if you plan accordingly from the beginning. 

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How to Write an Essay: 7 Steps for Clear, Effective Writing

by Yen Cabag | 9 comments

how to write an essay header image

High school students are frequently tasked with writing essays, which also play a big role in the college admissions process. But they’re not alone: professionals taking exams like the IELTS or LSATs also need to know how to write clear, concise, and persuasive essays. 

Even if you don’t consider yourself a wordsmith, you don’t have to be intimidated by essays and writing assignments. When you learn the basic steps and the most common structures, you will find that it becomes easier to write down your thoughts on any given subject.

What Are the Different Types of Essays? 

Essays can come in many different forms. The most common types include the following: 

  • Narrative Essay: The narrative essay shares information in the form of a story and from a clearly defined point of view .
  • Expository Essay: This type of essay explains, illustrates, or clarifies a topic. This also includes instructional pieces with step-by-step directions.  
  • Descriptive Essay: Descriptive essays do exactly what their name implies: they describe an event, phenomenon, or any other subject in detail. 
  • Persuasive Essay: This type of essay aims to convince the audience to adapt a certain perspective or idea. 
  • Compare and Contrast Essay: This type of writing pinpoints how similar or different two or more things are from one another.  
  • Problem-Solution Essay: This essay highlights an issue, influences the reader to care about it, suggests a solution, and tackles possible objections. 

How Do You Begin an Essay? 

Nothing is more daunting for a writer than staring at a blank page. This is why you need to have an action plan for starting your essay. 

1. Decide on your essay type and topic. 

Sometimes, you will already have an assigned essay type or topic, so that will save you one step. If these were not assigned to you, you have to think of possible topics that you can write on. This will also help determine the type of essay you will be writing. 

Some questions you can ask yourself to find a good topic include: 

  • What is something I’m passionate about? 
  • What is one thought or idea I want to share? 
  • Is there any misconception I want to correct? 
  • What is the best way to present this topic of information (with regard to the types of essays)?

2. Brainstorm and research the topic you’ve chosen. 

Once you’ve chosen your topic, brainstorm all the different supporting ideas that you can talk about for the topic. Start with the basic facts about your idea, asking questions such as what , where , who , when , why , and how . 

You can use the Mind Map method to brainstorm connecting ideas, or you can also just jot down bullet points as you encounter them in your research. 

If your topic calls for it and if time allows, you may want to consider conducting quick interviews with experts on the subject. These will serve as a primary source for your essay. 

3. Develop your thesis statement. 

After you have brainstormed and researched, write down your thesis statement . A thesis statement consists of one or two sentences that sum up the primary subject or argument of your essay.

Generally, the thesis statement will present your main topic while also expressing what position you hold regarding the subject.

4. Write your outline.

Once you have your thesis statement, you can start to prepare your outline . Many people skip the outline process, thinking it’s a waste of time.

But really, an outline can help you organize your thoughts before you start writing and actually save you time, since you’ll avoid beating around the bush or jumping from one idea to another without a clear direction. 

One common structure for an essay is the Five-Paragraph Essay, with the following parts:

  • Introduction with thesis statement
  • Main Point #1
  • Main Point #2
  • Main Point #3
  • Conclusion 

Although this structure is made up of five paragraphs, we can easily use the same model and make it into a Five-Part Essay Structure. This means that we will stay within the pattern, but each main point may have more than one paragraph. 

When you write your outline, make sure that each paragraph has only one main point. Jumbling too many points in one paragraph tends to confuse your reader. Also, make sure that your main points are all relevant to your thesis statement. 

5. Start writing. 

Using your outline, you can now begin writing your essay. Some writers choose to write their paragraphs in order, beginning with the hook. The hook is the first few lines in your essay that will grab the readers’ attention. 

If you can write the hook right away, well and good. If not, don’t worry, you can always come back to it after you write the body of your essay. Here are some more helpful tips for writing the body of your essay: 

  • Elaborate on each of your main ideas with at least one paragraph each. If your main ideas will require more than one paragraph each, feel free to write more.
  • For anything point that takes up two paragraphs or more, it helps to have a brief introductory paragraph. 
  • Stay as concise as possible. 
  • Include anecdotal examples if it will help you make your point more clear. 
  • If you are writing a formal academic essay, avoid using first-person pronouns. 

6. Pay attention to how you cite references. 

In ancient Greece, using other people’s ideas was seen as the mark of a smart person. But in this day and age, plagiarism is a serious offense, so you need to be careful when citing other people’s work. 

To avoid plagiarism , be sure to paraphrase any ideas you collect from your research instead of copying them word for word. If you do use them as is, put them in quotes. 

Next, use the proper citations. Plagiarism does not only constitute copying the idea verbatim, but you also have to reference the source of the idea itself, if possible. Depending on your teacher’s preferences, you can use the APA in-text citation style or the MLA style . 

7. Edit your work. 

After you write your first draft, refine and proofread your work to make sure you fix all grammatical and spelling errors. You can use a tool like Grammarly when you do this to have fresh “eyes” looking at your work, but don’t rely solely on software—always review your work at least once yourself or have another (human) do it!

When editing, pay attention to the words you use: remove all unnecessary words and work on using strong verbs in place of weak ones. 

Also, fact check all the information you have in your essay, especially when citing other sources. 

Tips for Writing Essays

If you keep these tips in mind, writing an essay will soon become much easier for you and you’ll see your writing (of all kinds) start to improve.

Keep practicing and you will find that it’s much easier to get your thoughts on paper and present a coherent piece for your readers. 

Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comments below!

If you enjoyed this post, then you might also like:

  • How to Write a Thesis Statement
  • How to Avoid Plagiarism: 6 Tips for Staying Out of Trouble
  • How to Write a Research Paper: The Complete Guide for Students
  • Grammarly Review: Is It Worth the Hype?

Yen Cabag

Yen Cabag is the Blog Writer of TCK Publishing. She is also a homeschooling mom, family coach, and speaker for the Charlotte Mason method, an educational philosophy that places great emphasis on classic literature and the masterpieces in art and music. She has also written several books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her passion is to see the next generation of children become lovers of reading and learning in the midst of short attention spans.

Clarise Pinder

I found this post to be informative and very helpful

Kaelyn Barron

Thanks Clarise, we’re so glad you found the post helpful! :)

Andi Duferense

Thanks for the info

you’re very welcome, we hope you found it helpful! :)

Luis

It ws usefull information. Thanks a lot.

Sara

After you write your first draft, refine and proofread your work to make sure you fix all grammatical and spelling errors.

Hi Sara, yes, it’s very important to proofread and self-edit essays before submitting them :)

Fatima Idris

I really find this guidelines helpful and I appreciate it

We’re glad you found the post helpful, Fatima! :)

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How to Write a Narrative Essay in 5 Steps

Lindsay Kramer

When you have a personal story to tell and don’t want to write an entire book, a narrative essay may be the perfect fit. Unlike other types of essays, narrative essays don’t need to stick to certain requirements or include a bibliography. They have a looser structure, more creative language, and just one requirement: to tell a story.

Give your writing extra polish Grammarly helps you communicate confidently Write with Grammarly

What is a narrative essay?

A narrative essay typically tells a true story that may have a few elements changed for clarity or dramatic purposes. However, this isn’t a requirement. You can format a fictional story as a narrative essay.

Narrative essays, perhaps unsurprisingly, are defined by the presence of a narrative in the text. Rather than presenting and defending a position, as in an argumentative essay , or analyzing another text, like in an analytical essay , a narrative essay tells a coherent story. They’re often personal essays that detail specific episodes in their authors’ lives, which is why they’re popular for college essays .

Unlike most other types of essays , narrative essays have room for literary devices , such as metaphor and onomatopoeia . You can be creative in a narrative essay because you’re writing a story rather than presenting and dissecting others’ statements or work.

5 steps to writing a narrative essay

Step 1: topic choice (or prompt given).

The first step in writing a narrative essay is to determine the topic. Sometimes, your topic is chosen for you in the form of a prompt. You might map out the topics you want to mention in the essay or think through each point you’d like to make to see how each will fit into the allotted word count (if you’re given one).

At this stage, you can also start thinking about the tone you’ll use in your essay and any stylistic choices you’d like to incorporate, such as starting each paragraph with the same phrase to create anaphora or leaving the reader with a cliffhanger ending. You can change these later if they don’t mesh with your first draft, but playing with these ideas in the idea-generating stage can help you craft multiple drafts.

Step 2: Make an outline

After you’ve explored your ideas and gotten a clear sense of what you’ll write, make an outline. An outline is a bare-bones precursor to your essay that gives a high-level view of the topics it will cover. When you’re writing, your essay outline can act as a map to follow when you’re not sure how to start or help you transition between topics once you’ve started.

Step 3: Write your narrative essay

Next, it’s time to write ! With your outline as a guide, flesh out the sections you’ve listed with clear, engaging language. A narrative essay doesn’t—and shouldn’t—stick to the same requirements as an academic essay, so don’t feel a need to use formal language or summarize your essay in its introductory paragraph.

Tip: Use a first-person point of view

Most narrative essays are written from a first-person point of view . That means using pronouns such as I and me when describing the experiences you explore in your essay.

Tip: Use storytelling or creative language

If you’ve ever written fiction or creative nonfiction, use the same kind of language and conventions in your narrative essay. By this, we mean using storytelling techniques, such as dialogue , flashbacks, and symbolism , to engage readers and communicate your essay’s themes.

Step 4: Revise your narrative essay

If you can, wait at least a few hours—or if possible, a day or so—before rereading your essay and making changes. By doing this, you’ll have an easier time spotting mistakes and catching places where the narrative could be smoothed out or enhanced. As you read your draft, think back to the goals you identified when you approached your topic:

  • Does the draft address the points you planned to address?
  • Does it fit the tone you decided you would use?
  • If you had a prompt, does it sufficiently answer the prompt?

With these points in mind, make any changes you think will improve your narrative essay. Tools such as the Grammarly Editor can help you with this stage by flagging mistakes and making suggestions.

Step 5: Proofread and publish your narrative essay

Give your second draft another read-through to catch any grammatical mistakes you may have missed. At this stage, you’re done making substantial changes to the narrative—you’re polishing it to make sure you’re submitting the best version of your essay.

Once you’ve done your read-through and made any necessary changes, hit “send,” “submit,” or “publish” and congratulate yourself for finishing a narrative essay.

Narrative essay vs. descriptive essay

Both narrative essays and descriptive essays incorporate vivid figurative language to help readers visualize their subjects. However, in a descriptive essay, vividly describing the subject is the goal. In a narrative essay, the goal is to tell a story. In-depth descriptions may be part of the essay, but they need to support the narrative.

Narrative essay outline example

Title: Careful, You Might End Up in My Book!

Introduction: Real-life characters make the best subjects.

Body paragraph: We’re all characters in countless stories.

Body paragraph: It’s possible to be both the protagonist and the antagonist.

Body paragraph: Recognize yourself? Don’t worry, it’s our little secret.

Conclusion: Write whom you know.

Narrative essay FAQs

A narrative essay is an essay that tells a story. Typically, it’s nonfiction but may include some enhanced language to clarify or heighten the dramatic effect.

What are the steps to writing a narrative essay?

1 Choose a topic and generate ideas for your essay.

2 Write an outline.

3 Write a first draft.

4 Edit the draft.

5 Proofread and submit your final draft.

What’s the difference between a narrative essay and a descriptive essay?

While a narrative essay tells a story, a descriptive essay provides a vivid description of a place, person, object, or feeling. In a descriptive essay, the text focuses on exploring its subject, whereas a narrative essay tells a story with a beginning, middle, and end.

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Do you need to write an analytical essay for school? What sets this kind of essay apart from other types, and what must you include when you write your own analytical essay? In this guide, we break down the process of writing an analytical essay by explaining the key factors your essay needs to have, providing you with an outline to help you structure your essay, and analyzing a complete analytical essay example so you can see what a finished essay looks like.

What Is an Analytical Essay?

Before you begin writing an analytical essay, you must know what this type of essay is and what it includes. Analytical essays analyze something, often (but not always) a piece of writing or a film.

An analytical essay is more than just a synopsis of the issue though; in this type of essay you need to go beyond surface-level analysis and look at what the key arguments/points of this issue are and why. If you’re writing an analytical essay about a piece of writing, you’ll look into how the text was written and why the author chose to write it that way. Instead of summarizing, an analytical essay typically takes a narrower focus and looks at areas such as major themes in the work, how the author constructed and supported their argument, how the essay used  literary devices to enhance its messages, etc.

While you certainly want people to agree with what you’ve written, unlike with persuasive and argumentative essays, your main purpose when writing an analytical essay isn’t to try to convert readers to your side of the issue. Therefore, you won’t be using strong persuasive language like you would in those essay types. Rather, your goal is to have enough analysis and examples that the strength of your argument is clear to readers.

Besides typical essay components like an introduction and conclusion, a good analytical essay will include:

  • A thesis that states your main argument
  • Analysis that relates back to your thesis and supports it
  • Examples to support your analysis and allow a more in-depth look at the issue

In the rest of this article, we’ll explain how to include each of these in your analytical essay.

How to Structure Your Analytical Essay

Analytical essays are structured similarly to many other essays you’ve written, with an introduction (including a thesis), several body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Below is an outline you can follow when structuring your essay, and in the next section we go into more detail on how to write an analytical essay.

Introduction

Your introduction will begin with some sort of attention-grabbing sentence to get your audience interested, then you’ll give a few sentences setting up the topic so that readers have some context, and you’ll end with your thesis statement. Your introduction will include:

  • Brief background information explaining the issue/text
  • Your thesis

Body Paragraphs

Your analytical essay will typically have three or four body paragraphs, each covering a different point of analysis. Begin each body paragraph with a sentence that sets up the main point you’ll be discussing. Then you’ll give some analysis on that point, backing it up with evidence to support your claim. Continue analyzing and giving evidence for your analysis until you’re out of strong points for the topic. At the end of each body paragraph, you may choose to have a transition sentence that sets up what the next paragraph will be about, but this isn’t required. Body paragraphs will include:

  • Introductory sentence explaining what you’ll cover in the paragraph (sort of like a mini-thesis)
  • Analysis point
  • Evidence (either passages from the text or data/facts) that supports the analysis
  • (Repeat analysis and evidence until you run out of examples)

You won’t be making any new points in your conclusion; at this point you’re just reiterating key points you’ve already made and wrapping things up. Begin by rephrasing your thesis and summarizing the main points you made in the essay. Someone who reads just your conclusion should be able to come away with a basic idea of what your essay was about and how it was structured. After this, you may choose to make some final concluding thoughts, potentially by connecting your essay topic to larger issues to show why it’s important. A conclusion will include:

  • Paraphrase of thesis
  • Summary of key points of analysis
  • Final concluding thought(s)

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5 Steps for Writing an Analytical Essay

Follow these five tips to break down writing an analytical essay into manageable steps. By the end, you’ll have a fully-crafted analytical essay with both in-depth analysis and enough evidence to support your argument. All of these steps use the completed analytical essay in the next section as an example.

#1: Pick a Topic

You may have already had a topic assigned to you, and if that’s the case, you can skip this step. However, if you haven’t, or if the topic you’ve been assigned is broad enough that you still need to narrow it down, then you’ll need to decide on a topic for yourself. Choosing the right topic can mean the difference between an analytical essay that’s easy to research (and gets you a good grade) and one that takes hours just to find a few decent points to analyze

Before you decide on an analytical essay topic, do a bit of research to make sure you have enough examples to support your analysis. If you choose a topic that’s too narrow, you’ll struggle to find enough to write about.

For example, say your teacher assigns you to write an analytical essay about the theme in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath of exposing injustices against migrants. For it to be an analytical essay, you can’t just recount the injustices characters in the book faced; that’s only a summary and doesn’t include analysis. You need to choose a topic that allows you to analyze the theme. One of the best ways to explore a theme is to analyze how the author made his/her argument. One example here is that Steinbeck used literary devices in the intercalary chapters (short chapters that didn’t relate to the plot or contain the main characters of the book) to show what life was like for migrants as a whole during the Dust Bowl.

You could write about how Steinbeck used literary devices throughout the whole book, but, in the essay below, I chose to just focus on the intercalary chapters since they gave me enough examples. Having a narrower focus will nearly always result in a tighter and more convincing essay (and can make compiling examples less overwhelming).

#2: Write a Thesis Statement

Your thesis statement is the most important sentence of your essay; a reader should be able to read just your thesis and understand what the entire essay is about and what you’ll be analyzing. When you begin writing, remember that each sentence in your analytical essay should relate back to your thesis

In the analytical essay example below, the thesis is the final sentence of the first paragraph (the traditional spot for it). The thesis is: “In The Grapes of Wrath’s intercalary chapters, John Steinbeck employs a variety of literary devices and stylistic choices to better expose the injustices committed against migrants in the 1930s.” So what will this essay analyze? How Steinbeck used literary devices in the intercalary chapters to show how rough migrants could have it. Crystal clear.

#3: Do Research to Find Your Main Points

This is where you determine the bulk of your analysis--the information that makes your essay an analytical essay. My preferred method is to list every idea that I can think of, then research each of those and use the three or four strongest ones for your essay. Weaker points may be those that don’t relate back to the thesis, that you don’t have much analysis to discuss, or that you can’t find good examples for. A good rule of thumb is to have one body paragraph per main point

This essay has four main points, each of which analyzes a different literary device Steinbeck uses to better illustrate how difficult life was for migrants during the Dust Bowl. The four literary devices and their impact on the book are:

  • Lack of individual names in intercalary chapters to illustrate the scope of the problem
  • Parallels to the Bible to induce sympathy for the migrants
  • Non-showy, often grammatically-incorrect language so the migrants are more realistic and relatable to readers
  • Nature-related metaphors to affect the mood of the writing and reflect the plight of the migrants

#4: Find Excerpts or Evidence to Support Your Analysis

Now that you have your main points, you need to back them up. If you’re writing a paper about a text or film, use passages/clips from it as your main source of evidence. If you’re writing about something else, your evidence can come from a variety of sources, such as surveys, experiments, quotes from knowledgeable sources etc. Any evidence that would work for a regular research paper works here.

In this example, I quoted multiple passages from The Grapes of Wrath  in each paragraph to support my argument. You should be able to back up every claim you make with evidence in order to have a strong essay.

#5: Put It All Together

Now it's time to begin writing your essay, if you haven’t already. Create an introductory paragraph that ends with the thesis, make a body paragraph for each of your main points, including both analysis and evidence to back up your claims, and wrap it all up with a conclusion that recaps your thesis and main points and potentially explains the big picture importance of the topic.

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Analytical Essay Example + Analysis

So that you can see for yourself what a completed analytical essay looks like, here’s an essay I wrote back in my high school days. It’s followed by analysis of how I structured my essay, what its strengths are, and how it could be improved.

One way Steinbeck illustrates the connections all migrant people possessed and the struggles they faced is by refraining from using specific titles and names in his intercalary chapters. While The Grapes of Wrath focuses on the Joad family, the intercalary chapters show that all migrants share the same struggles and triumphs as the Joads. No individual names are used in these chapters; instead the people are referred to as part of a group. Steinbeck writes, “Frantic men pounded on the doors of the doctors; and the doctors were busy.  And sad men left word at country stores for the coroner to send a car,” (555). By using generic terms, Steinbeck shows how the migrants are all linked because they have gone through the same experiences. The grievances committed against one family were committed against thousands of other families; the abuse extends far beyond what the Joads experienced. The Grapes of Wrath frequently refers to the importance of coming together; how, when people connect with others their power and influence multiplies immensely. Throughout the novel, the goal of the migrants, the key to their triumph, has been to unite. While their plans are repeatedly frustrated by the government and police, Steinbeck’s intercalary chapters provide a way for the migrants to relate to one another because they have encountered the same experiences. Hundreds of thousands of migrants fled to the promised land of California, but Steinbeck was aware that numbers alone were impersonal and lacked the passion he desired to spread. Steinbeck created the intercalary chapters to show the massive numbers of people suffering, and he created the Joad family to evoke compassion from readers.  Because readers come to sympathize with the Joads, they become more sensitive to the struggles of migrants in general. However, John Steinbeck frequently made clear that the Joads were not an isolated incident; they were not unique. Their struggles and triumphs were part of something greater. Refraining from specific names in his intercalary chapters allows Steinbeck to show the vastness of the atrocities committed against migrants.

Steinbeck also creates significant parallels to the Bible in his intercalary chapters in order to enhance his writing and characters. By using simple sentences and stylized writing, Steinbeck evokes Biblical passages. The migrants despair, “No work till spring. No work,” (556).  Short, direct sentences help to better convey the desperateness of the migrants’ situation. Throughout his novel, John Steinbeck makes connections to the Bible through his characters and storyline. Jim Casy’s allusions to Christ and the cycle of drought and flooding are clear biblical references.  By choosing to relate The Grapes of Wrath to the Bible, Steinbeck’s characters become greater than themselves. Starving migrants become more than destitute vagrants; they are now the chosen people escaping to the promised land. When a forgotten man dies alone and unnoticed, it becomes a tragedy. Steinbeck writes, “If [the migrants] were shot at, they did not run, but splashed sullenly away; and if they were hit, they sank tiredly in the mud,” (556). Injustices committed against the migrants become greater because they are seen as children of God through Steinbeck’s choice of language. Referencing the Bible strengthens Steinbeck’s novel and purpose: to create understanding for the dispossessed.  It is easy for people to feel disdain for shabby vagabonds, but connecting them to such a fundamental aspect of Christianity induces sympathy from readers who might have otherwise disregarded the migrants as so many other people did.

The simple, uneducated dialogue Steinbeck employs also helps to create a more honest and meaningful representation of the migrants, and it makes the migrants more relatable to readers. Steinbeck chooses to accurately represent the language of the migrants in order to more clearly illustrate their lives and make them seem more like real paper than just characters in a book. The migrants lament, “They ain’t gonna be no kinda work for three months,” (555). There are multiple grammatical errors in that single sentence, but it vividly conveys the despair the migrants felt better than a technically perfect sentence would. The Grapes of Wrath is intended to show the severe difficulties facing the migrants so Steinbeck employs a clear, pragmatic style of writing.  Steinbeck shows the harsh, truthful realities of the migrants’ lives and he would be hypocritical if he chose to give the migrants a more refined voice and not portray them with all their shortcomings. The depiction of the migrants as imperfect through their language also makes them easier to relate to. Steinbeck’s primary audience was the middle class, the less affluent of society. Repeatedly in The Grapes of Wrath , the wealthy make it obvious that they scorn the plight of the migrants. The wealthy, not bad luck or natural disasters, were the prominent cause of the suffering of migrant families such as the Joads. Thus, Steinbeck turns to the less prosperous for support in his novel. When referring to the superior living conditions barnyard animals have, the migrants remark, “Them’s horses-we’re men,” (556).  The perfect simplicity of this quote expresses the absurdness of the migrants’ situation better than any flowery expression could.

In The Grapes of Wrath , John Steinbeck uses metaphors, particularly about nature, in order to illustrate the mood and the overall plight of migrants. Throughout most of the book, the land is described as dusty, barren, and dead. Towards the end, however; floods come and the landscape begins to change. At the end of chapter twenty-nine, Steinbeck describes a hill after the floods saying, “Tiny points of grass came through the earth, and in a few days the hills were pale green with the beginning year,” (556). This description offers a stark contrast from the earlier passages which were filled with despair and destruction. Steinbeck’s tone from the beginning of the chapter changes drastically. Early in the chapter, Steinbeck had used heavy imagery in order to convey the destruction caused by the rain, “The streams and the little rivers edged up to the bank sides and worked at willows and tree roots, bent the willows deep in the current, cut out the roots of cottonwoods and brought down the trees,” (553). However, at the end of the chapter the rain has caused new life to grow in California. The new grass becomes a metaphor representing hope. When the migrants are at a loss over how they will survive the winter, the grass offers reassurance. The story of the migrants in the intercalary chapters parallels that of the Joads. At the end of the novel, the family is breaking apart and has been forced to flee their home. However, both the book and final intercalary chapter end on a hopeful note after so much suffering has occurred. The grass metaphor strengthens Steinbeck’s message because it offers a tangible example of hope. Through his language Steinbeck’s themes become apparent at the end of the novel. Steinbeck affirms that persistence, even when problems appear insurmountable, leads to success. These metaphors help to strengthen Steinbeck’s themes in The Grapes of Wrath because they provide a more memorable way to recall important messages.

John Steinbeck’s language choices help to intensify his writing in his intercalary chapters and allow him to more clearly show how difficult life for migrants could be. Refraining from using specific names and terms allows Steinbeck to show that many thousands of migrants suffered through the same wrongs. Imitating the style of the Bible strengthens Steinbeck’s characters and connects them to the Bible, perhaps the most famous book in history. When Steinbeck writes in the imperfect dialogue of the migrants, he creates a more accurate portrayal and makes the migrants easier to relate to for a less affluent audience. Metaphors, particularly relating to nature, strengthen the themes in The Grapes of Wrath by enhancing the mood Steinbeck wants readers to feel at different points in the book. Overall, the intercalary chapters that Steinbeck includes improve his novel by making it more memorable and reinforcing the themes Steinbeck embraces throughout the novel. Exemplary stylistic devices further persuade readers of John Steinbeck’s personal beliefs. Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath to bring to light cruelties against migrants, and by using literary devices effectively, he continuously reminds readers of his purpose. Steinbeck’s impressive language choices in his intercalary chapters advance the entire novel and help to create a classic work of literature that people still are able to relate to today. 

This essay sticks pretty closely to the standard analytical essay outline. It starts with an introduction, where I chose to use a quote to start off the essay. (This became my favorite way to start essays in high school because, if I wasn’t sure what to say, I could outsource the work and find a quote that related to what I’d be writing about.) The quote in this essay doesn’t relate to the themes I’m discussing quite as much as it could, but it’s still a slightly different way to start an essay and can intrigue readers. I then give a bit of background on The Grapes of Wrath and its themes before ending the intro paragraph with my thesis: that Steinbeck used literary devices in intercalary chapters to show how rough migrants had it.

Each of my four body paragraphs is formatted in roughly the same way: an intro sentence that explains what I’ll be discussing, analysis of that main point, and at least two quotes from the book as evidence.

My conclusion restates my thesis, summarizes each of four points I discussed in my body paragraphs, and ends the essay by briefly discussing how Steinbeck’s writing helped introduce a world of readers to the injustices migrants experienced during the dust bowl.

What does this analytical essay example do well? For starters, it contains everything that a strong analytical essay should, and it makes that easy to find. The thesis clearly lays out what the essay will be about, the first sentence of each of the body paragraph introduces the topic it’ll cover, and the conclusion neatly recaps all the main points. Within each of the body paragraphs, there’s analysis along with multiple excerpts from the book in order to add legitimacy to my points.

Additionally, the essay does a good job of taking an in-depth look at the issue introduced in the thesis. Four ways Steinbeck used literary devices are discussed, and for each of the examples are given and analysis is provided so readers can understand why Steinbeck included those devices and how they helped shaped how readers viewed migrants and their plight.

Where could this essay be improved? I believe the weakest body paragraph is the third one, the one that discusses how Steinbeck used plain, grammatically incorrect language to both accurately depict the migrants and make them more relatable to readers. The paragraph tries to touch on both of those reasons and ends up being somewhat unfocused as a result. It would have been better for it to focus on just one of those reasons (likely how it made the migrants more relatable) in order to be clearer and more effective. It’s a good example of how adding more ideas to an essay often doesn’t make it better if they don’t work with the rest of what you’re writing. This essay also could explain the excerpts that are included more and how they relate to the points being made. Sometimes they’re just dropped in the essay with the expectation that the readers will make the connection between the example and the analysis. This is perhaps especially true in the second body paragraph, the one that discusses similarities to Biblical passages. Additional analysis of the quotes would have strengthened it.

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Summary: How to Write an Analytical Essay

What is an analytical essay? A critical analytical essay analyzes a topic, often a text or film. The analysis paper uses evidence to support the argument, such as excerpts from the piece of writing. All analytical papers include a thesis, analysis of the topic, and evidence to support that analysis.

When developing an analytical essay outline and writing your essay, follow these five steps:

Reading analytical essay examples can also give you a better sense of how to structure your essay and what to include in it.

What's Next?

Learning about different writing styles in school?  There are four main writing styles, and it's important to understand each of them. Learn about them in our guide to writing styles , complete with examples.

Writing a research paper for school but not sure what to write about?   Our guide to research paper topics has over 100 topics in ten categories so you can be sure to find the perfect topic for you. 

Literary devices can both be used to enhance your writing and communication. Check out this list of 31 literary devices to learn more !

Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!

Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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The Ultimate Guide to the 5-Paragraph Essay

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  • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
  • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

A five-paragraph essay is a prose composition that follows a prescribed format of an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph, and is typically taught during primary English education and applied on standardized testing throughout schooling.

Learning to write a high-quality five-paragraph essay is an essential skill for students in early English classes as it allows them to express certain ideas, claims, or concepts in an organized manner, complete with evidence that supports each of these notions. Later, though, students may decide to stray from the standard five-paragraph format and venture into writing an  exploratory essay  instead.

Still, teaching students to organize essays into the five-paragraph format is an easy way to introduce them to writing literary criticism, which will be tested time and again throughout their primary, secondary, and further education.

Writing a Good Introduction

The introduction is the first paragraph in your essay, and it should accomplish a few specific goals: capture the reader's interest, introduce the topic, and make a claim or express an opinion in a thesis statement.

It's a good idea to start your essay with a hook (fascinating statement) to pique the reader's interest, though this can also be accomplished by using descriptive words, an anecdote, an intriguing question, or an interesting fact. Students can practice with creative writing prompts to get some ideas for interesting ways to start an essay.

The next few sentences should explain your first statement, and prepare the reader for your thesis statement, which is typically the last sentence in the introduction. Your  thesis sentence  should provide your specific assertion and convey a clear point of view, which is typically divided into three distinct arguments that support this assertation, which will each serve as central themes for the body paragraphs.

Writing Body Paragraphs

The body of the essay will include three body paragraphs in a five-paragraph essay format, each limited to one main idea that supports your thesis.

To correctly write each of these three body paragraphs, you should state your supporting idea, your topic sentence, then back it up with two or three sentences of evidence. Use examples that validate the claim before concluding the paragraph and using transition words to lead to the paragraph that follows — meaning that all of your body paragraphs should follow the pattern of "statement, supporting ideas, transition statement."

Words to use as you transition from one paragraph to another include: moreover, in fact, on the whole, furthermore, as a result, simply put, for this reason, similarly, likewise, it follows that, naturally, by comparison, surely, and yet.

Writing a Conclusion

The final paragraph will summarize your main points and re-assert your main claim (from your thesis sentence). It should point out your main points, but should not repeat specific examples, and should, as always, leave a lasting impression on the reader.

The first sentence of the conclusion, therefore, should be used to restate the supporting claims argued in the body paragraphs as they relate to the thesis statement, then the next few sentences should be used to explain how the essay's main points can lead outward, perhaps to further thought on the topic. Ending the conclusion with a question, anecdote, or final pondering is a great way to leave a lasting impact.

Once you complete the first draft of your essay, it's a good idea to re-visit the thesis statement in your first paragraph. Read your essay to see if it flows well, and you might find that the supporting paragraphs are strong, but they don't address the exact focus of your thesis. Simply re-write your thesis sentence to fit your body and summary more exactly, and adjust the conclusion to wrap it all up nicely.

Practice Writing a Five-Paragraph Essay

Students can use the following steps to write a standard essay on any given topic. First, choose a topic, or ask your students to choose their topic, then allow them to form a basic five-paragraph by following these steps:

  • Decide on your  basic thesis , your idea of a topic to discuss.
  • Decide on three pieces of supporting evidence you will use to prove your thesis.
  • Write an introductory paragraph, including your thesis and evidence (in order of strength).
  • Write your first body paragraph, starting with restating your thesis and focusing on your first piece of supporting evidence.
  • End your first paragraph with a transitional sentence that leads to the next body paragraph.
  • Write paragraph two of the body focussing on your second piece of evidence. Once again make the connection between your thesis and this piece of evidence.
  • End your second paragraph with a transitional sentence that leads to paragraph number three.
  • Repeat step 6 using your third piece of evidence.
  • Begin your concluding paragraph by restating your thesis. Include the three points you've used to prove your thesis.
  • End with a punch, a question, an anecdote, or an entertaining thought that will stay with the reader.

Once a student can master these 10 simple steps, writing a basic five-paragraph essay will be a piece of cake, so long as the student does so correctly and includes enough supporting information in each paragraph that all relate to the same centralized main idea, the thesis of the essay.

Limitations of the Five-Paragraph Essay

The five-paragraph essay is merely a starting point for students hoping to express their ideas in academic writing; there are some other forms and styles of writing that students should use to express their vocabulary in the written form.

According to Tory Young's "Studying English Literature: A Practical Guide":

"Although school students in the U.S. are examined on their ability to write a  five-paragraph essay , its  raison d'être  is purportedly to give practice in basic writing skills that will lead to future success in more varied forms. Detractors feel, however, that writing to rule in this way is more likely to discourage imaginative writing and thinking than enable it. . . . The five-paragraph essay is less aware of its  audience  and sets out only to present information, an account or a kind of story rather than explicitly to persuade the reader."

Students should instead be asked to write other forms, such as journal entries, blog posts, reviews of goods or services, multi-paragraph research papers, and freeform expository writing around a central theme. Although five-paragraph essays are the golden rule when writing for standardized tests, experimentation with expression should be encouraged throughout primary schooling to bolster students' abilities to utilize the English language fully.

  • How To Write an Essay
  • How to Write a Great Essay for the TOEFL or TOEIC
  • Write an Attention-Grabbing Opening Sentence for an Essay
  • How to Write and Format an MBA Essay
  • How to Structure an Essay
  • How to Help Your 4th Grader Write a Biography
  • Definition and Examples of Body Paragraphs in Composition
  • What Is Expository Writing?
  • What an Essay Is and How to Write One
  • Paragraph Writing
  • 3 Changes That Will Take Your Essay From Good To Great
  • An Introduction to Academic Writing
  • Tips on How to Write an Argumentative Essay
  • The Five Steps of Writing an Essay
  • How to Write a Solid Thesis Statement
  • The Introductory Paragraph: Start Your Paper Off Right

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The 5 step essay writing process that will help you write better papers.

five steps of essay writing

Whether you’re writing a 500 word paper or a 30 page paper, writing an essay can be challenging. Figuring out how to get your point across, the proper diction, paragraph organization, and more before a deadline can feel like a daunting task. Even if you’re a great writer, the writing process isn’t always going to be easy. Fortunately, I have a 5 step writing process that makes essay writing a bit easier, and that helps you write better papers:

Step 1: Determine your purpose for writing the paper.

This first step is probably the most important step you can take when writing a paper. Defining the subject of the paper will help guide you in what to write. It is much easier to research something and write about it when you know exactly what it is you’re trying to write. Look over the assignment carefully to gain a better understanding of what your professor wants from the paper. Ask yourself the following question: What do you want the reader to know after reading this paper? Remember: When you write with a purpose in mind, your paper will have purpose. Make sure you know the goal you’re trying to accomplish well and how you can convey the message to your reader.

Step 2: Write down everything and anything about your topic.

Before you can start to write or even outline, you have to have ideas. Ideas are the starting point of any paper. Think about the overall point you want to get across to your reader that you defined in step one. For example, let’s say you’re writing a paper on why business X is successful. Do research on the business and on what defines success for that business and dump thoughts, links, quotes, statistics, and anything you can find on the subject into a document. This doesn’t need to have any structure or clear reasoning behind it just yet. This is simply a chance for you to brainstorm and collect information. This will also help give you a better understanding of the topic of your paper and will be extremely useful when the time comes to start writing. 

Step 3: Organize your thoughts.

Step three is when you sift through the research from step two and find the most valuable pieces of information that you’ll want to include in your paper. This is the step where you can create an outline. Keep in mind that outlines don’t have to be extremely detailed and lengthy; just think of the main points you want to write about and underneath those points, include supporting information. While you may be eager to begin the writing process and want to skip doing an outline, I wouldn’t recommend it. Outlines are a great way to organize your paper in a logical way. Start with your introduction which should include your thesis (what you want the reader to know after reading your paper), then body paragraphs where you share information that supports your thesis, and a conclusion that ties the paper together and summarizes what you’ve written. It sounds simple enough, and you’ve most likely been writing papers with this structure for most of your life, but it can be easy to neglect the basics and let your paper go off the tracks. Create an outline to organize your paper and see how each element of the paper will work together to accomplish your vision.

Step 4: Start writing, then take a step back.

Step four is when the writing begins. It might sound a little late in the process to start writing the paper itself, but after you’ve done the first three steps, this part of the process will be made significantly easier. Use your outline as a guide for writing. It is also very important to make sure that you read all of your professors guidelines for the paper so you know you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, as I mentioned in step one. If there is a rubric, make sure to look it over so that you know what you’re being graded on.

Remember that you can always go back to previous steps in this process and do more research or add things to your outline if you realize adjustments need to be made as you write. In fact, I strongly encourage you to do this to make sure your paper is exactly how you want it to be and satisfies the requirements. Refer back to your professors instructions regularly to make sure you’re on the right track. After you’ve written your paper, I recommend you step away from it for a while and do something else. This is so that when you come back to it, you can find mistakes that you may have overlooked before. It also gives you a mental break and prevents you from becoming overwhelmed.

Step 5: Grade your own paper.

This last step requires you to put yourself in your professors shoes. Once your paper is finished, read it over as if you weren’t the one who wrote it. When you’re done reading, write down what you believe the purpose of the paper was. If this matches the purpose you wrote down for yourself in step one, that’s great! That means you effectively conveyed what you wanted to to the reader. However, it’s always good to get a second opinion, so I would recommend having a peer, someone from the Writing Center , or even your professor look it over and give you their thoughts. You should also give yourself a grade and some feedback after reading it. It might feel a little strange to grade your own paper, but it’s very useful. If you feel like your paper was worthy of a B, think about what you could change to make it an A-worthy paper. What do you feel like was missing? What did you like about the paper? Was there anything you disliked about it? Being totally honest with yourself during this step will improve the quality of your paper. 

Try using this 5 step process for your next writing assignment!

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Literacy Ideas

How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps

Persuasive essay | LEarn how to write a perfect persuasive essay 1 | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

WHAT IS A PERSUASIVE ESSAY?

What is a persuasive essay?

A persuasive text presents a point of view around a topic or theme that is backed by evidence to support it.

The purpose of a persuasive text can be varied.  Maybe you intend to influence someone’s opinion on a specific topic, or you might aim to sell a product or service through an advertisement.

The challenge in writing a good persuasive text is to use a mix of emotive language and, in some cases, images that are supported by hard evidence or other people’s opinions.

In a persuasive essay or argument essay, the student strives to convince the reader of the merits of their opinion or stance on a particular issue. The student must utilise several persuasive techniques to form a coherent and logical argument to convince the reader of a point of view or to take a specific action.

Persuasive essay | persuasive essays | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

PERSUADING PEOPLE REQUIRES A CONSISTENT APPROACH…

Persuasive texts are simple in structure.  You must clearly state your opinion around a specific topic and then repeatedly reinforce your opinions with external facts or evidence.  A robust concluding summary should leave little doubt in the reader’s mind.  ( Please view our planning tool below for a detailed explanation. )

TYPES OF PERSUASIVE TEXT

We cover the broad topic of writing a general persuasive essay in this guide, there are several sub-genres of persuasive texts students will encounter as they progress through school. We have complete guides on these text types, so be sure to click the links and read these in detail if required.

  • Argumentative Essays – These are your structured “Dogs are better pets than Cats” opinion-type essays where your role is to upsell the positive elements of your opinions to your audience whilst also highlighting the negative aspects of any opposing views using a range of persuasive language and techniques.
  • Advertising – Uses persuasive techniques to sell a good or service to potential customers with a call to action.
  • Debating Speeches – A debate is a structured discussion between two teams on a specific topic that a moderator judges and scores. Your role is to state your case, sell your opinions to the audience, and counteract your opposition’s opinions.
  • Opinion Articles, Newspaper Editorials. – Editorials often use more subtle persuasive techniques that blur the lines of factual news reporting and opinions that tell a story with bias. Sometimes they may even have a call to action at the end.
  • Reviews – Reviews exist to inform others about almost any service or product, such as a film, restaurant, or product. Depending on your experiences, you may have firm opinions or not even care that much about recommending it to others. Either way, you will employ various persuasive techniques to communicate your recommendations to your audience.
  • Please note a DISCUSSION essay is not a traditional persuasive text, as even though you are comparing and contrasting elements, the role of the author is to present an unbiased account of both sides so that the reader can make a decision that works best for them. Discussions are often confused as a form of persuasive writing.

A COMPLETE TEACHING UNIT ON PERSUASIVE WRITING SKILLS

Persuasive essay | opinion writing unit 1 | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

Teach your students to produce writing that  PERSUADES  and  INFLUENCES  thinking with this  HUGE  writing guide bundle covering: ⭐ Persuasive Texts / Essays ⭐ Expository Essays⭐ Argumentative Essays⭐ Discussions.

A complete 140 PAGE unit of work on persuasive texts for teachers and students. No preparation is required.

THE STRUCTURE OF A PERSUASIVE ESSAY

Persuasive essay | persuasive essay template | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

1. Introduction

In the introduction, the student will naturally introduce the topic. Controversial issues make for great topics in this writing genre. It’s a cliche in polite society to discourage discussions involving politics, sex, or religion because they can often be very divisive. While these subjects may not be the best topics of conversation for the dinner table at Thanksgiving, they can be perfect when deciding on a topic for persuasive writing. Obviously, the student’s age and abilities should be considered, as well as cultural taboos, when selecting a topic for the essay. But the point holds, the more controversial, the better.

Let’s take a look at some of the critical elements of the introduction when writing a persuasive essay:

Title: Tell your audience what they are reading.

This will often be posed as a question; for example, if the essay is on the merits of a vegetarian lifestyle, it may be called something like: To Eat Meat or Not?

Hook : Provide your audience with a reason to continue reading.

As with any genre of writing, capturing the reader’s interest from the outset is crucial. There are several methods of doing this, known as hooks. Students may open their essays with anecdotes, jokes, quotations, or relevant statistics related to the topic under discussion.

Background: Provide some context to your audience.

In this introductory section, students will provide the reader with some background on the topic. This will place the issue in context and briefly weigh some opinions on the subject.

Thesis statement: Let the audience know your stance.

After surveying the topic in the first part of the introduction, it is now time for the student writer to express their opinion and briefly preview the points they will make later in the essay.

2. Body Paragraphs

The number of paragraphs forming this essay section will depend on the number of points the writer chooses to make to support their opinion. Usually three main points will be sufficient for beginning writers to coordinate. More advanced students can increase the number of paragraphs based on the complexity of their arguments, but the overall structure will largely remain intact.

Be sure to check out our complete guide to writing perfect paragraphs here .

The TEEL acronym is valuable for students to remember how to structure their paragraphs.  Read below for a deeper understanding.

Topic Sentence:

The topic sentence states the central point of the paragraph. This will be one of the reasons supporting the thesis statement made in the introduction.

These sentences will build on the topic sentence by illustrating the point further, often by making it more specific.

These sentences’ purpose is to support the paragraph’s central point by providing supporting evidence and examples. This evidence may be statistics, quotations, or anecdotal evidence.

The final part of the paragraph links back to the initial statement of the topic sentence while also forming a bridge to the next point to be made. This part of the paragraph provides some personal analysis and interpretation of how the student arrived at their conclusions and connects the essay as a cohesive whole.

3. Conclusion

The conclusion weaves together the main points of the persuasive essay. It does not usually introduce new arguments or evidence but instead reviews the arguments made already and restates them by summing them up uniquely. It is important at this stage to tie everything back to the initial thesis statement. This is the writer’s last opportunity to drive home their point, to achieve the essay’s goal, to begin with – persuade the reader of their point of view.

Persuasive essay | 7 top 5 essay writing tips | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

Ending an essay well can be challenging, but it is essential to end strongly, especially for persuasive essays. As with the hooks of the essay’s opening, there are many tried and tested methods of leaving the reader with a strong impression. Encourage students to experiment with different endings, for example, concluding the essay with a quotation that amplifies the thesis statement.

Another method is to have the student rework their ending in simple monosyllabic words, as simple language often has the effect of being more decisive in impact. The effect they are striving for in the final sentence is the closing of the circle.

Several persuasive writing techniques can be used in the conclusion and throughout the essay to amp up the persuasive power of the writing. Let’s take a look at a few.

ETHOS, PATHOS & LOGOS TUTORIAL VIDEO (2:20)

Persuasive essay | RHETORIC | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

TIPS FOR WRITING A GREAT PERSUASIVE ESSAY

Persuasive writing template and graphic organizer

PERSUASIVE TECHNIQUES

In this article, we have outlined a basic structure that will be helpful to students in approaching the organization of their persuasive writing. It will also be helpful for the students to be introduced to a few literary techniques that will help your students to present their ideas convincingly. Here are a few of the more common ones:

Repetition: There is a reason why advertisements and commercials are so repetitive – repetition works! Students can use this knowledge to their advantage in their persuasive writing. It is challenging to get the reader to fully agree with the writer’s opinion if they don’t fully understand it. Saying the same thing in various ways ensures the reader gets many bites at the ‘understanding’ cherry.

Repetition Example: “The use of plastic bags is not only bad for the environment, but it is also bad for our economy. Plastic bags are not biodegradable, meaning they will not decompose and will continue to take up space in landfills. Plastic bags are also not recyclable, meaning they will not be reused and will instead end up in landfills. Plastic bags are not only bad for the environment, but they are also bad for our economy as they are costly to dispose of and take up valuable space in landfills.”

In this example, the phrase “not only bad for the environment but also bad for our economy” is repeated multiple times to reinforce the idea that plastic bags are not just a problem for the environment but also the economy. The repetition of the phrase emphasizes the point and makes it more persuasive.

It is also important to note that repetition could be used differently, such as repeating a word or phrase to create rhythm or emphasis.

Storytelling: Humans tend to understand things better through stories. Think of how we teach kids important values through time-tested fables like Peter and the Wolf . Whether through personal anecdotes or references to third-person experiences, stories help climb down the ladder of abstraction and reach the reader on a human level.

Storytelling Example: “Imagine you are walking down the street, and you come across a stray dog clearly in need of food and water. The dog looks up at you with big, sad eyes, and you cannot help but feel a twinge of compassion. Now, imagine that same scenario, but instead of a stray dog, it’s a homeless person sitting on the sidewalk. The person is clearly in need of food and shelter, and their eyes also look up at her with a sense of hopelessness.

The point of this story is to show that just as we feel compelled to help a stray animal in need, we should also feel compelled to help a homeless person. We should not turn a blind eye to the suffering of our fellow human beings, and we should take action to address homelessness in our community. It is important to remember that everyone deserves a roof over their head and a warm meal to eat. The story is designed to elicit an emotional response in the reader and make the argument more relatable and impactful.

By using storytelling, this passage creates an image in the reader’s mind and creates an emotional connection that can be more persuasive than just stating facts and figures.

Persuasive essay | Images play an integral part in persuading an audience in advertisements | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

Dissent: We live in a cynical age, so leaving out the opposing opinion will smack of avoidance to the reader. Encourage your students to turn to that opposing viewpoint and deal with those arguments in their essays .

Dissent Example: “Many people argue that students should not have to wear uniforms in school. They argue that uniforms stifle creativity and individuality and that students should be able to express themselves through their clothing choices. While these are valid concerns, I strongly disagree.

In fact, uniforms can actually promote individuality by levelling the playing field and removing the pressure to dress in a certain way. Furthermore, uniforms can promote a sense of community and belonging within a school. They can also provide a sense of discipline and structure, which can help to create a more focused and productive learning environment. Additionally, uniforms can save families money and eliminate the stress of deciding what to wear daily .

While some may argue that uniforms stifle creativity and individuality, the benefits of uniforms far outweigh the potential drawbacks. It is important to consider the impact of uniforms on the school as a whole, rather than focusing solely on individual expression.”

In this example, the writer presents the opposing viewpoint (uniforms stifle creativity and individuality) and then provides counterarguments to refute it. By doing so, the writer can strengthen their own argument and present a more convincing case for why uniforms should be worn in school.

A Call to Action: A staple of advertising, a call to action can also be used in persuasive writing. When employed, it usually forms part of the conclusion section of the essay and asks the reader to do something, such as recycle, donate to charity, sign a petition etc.

A quick look around reveals to us the power of persuasion, whether in product advertisements, newspaper editorials, or political electioneering; persuasion is an ever-present element in our daily lives. Logic and reason are essential in persuasion, but they are not the only techniques. The dark arts of persuasion can prey on emotion, greed, and bias. Learning to write persuasively can help our students recognize well-made arguments and help to inoculate them against the more sinister manifestations of persuasion.

Call to Action Example: “Climate change is a pressing issue that affects us all, and it’s important that we take action now to reduce our carbon footprint and protect the planet for future generations. As a society, we have the power to make a difference and it starts with small changes that we can make in our own lives.

I urge you to take the following steps to reduce your carbon footprint:

  • Reduce your use of single-use plastics
  • Use public transportation, carpool, bike or walk instead of driving alone.
  • Support clean energy sources such as solar and wind power
  • Plant trees and support conservation efforts

It’s easy to feel like one person can’t make a difference, but the truth is that every little bit helps. Together, we can create a more sustainable future for ourselves and for the planet.

So, let’s take action today and make a difference for a better future, it starts with minor changes, but it all adds up and can make a significant impact. We need to take responsibility for our actions and do our part to protect the planet.”

In this example, the writer gives a clear and specific call to action and encourages the reader to take action to reduce their carbon footprint and protect the planet. By doing this, the writer empowers the reader to take action and enables them to change.

Now, go persuade your students of the importance of perfecting the art of persuasive writing!

A COMPLETE UNIT ON TEACHING FACT AND OPINION

Persuasive essay | fact and opinion unit 1 | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

This  HUGE 120 PAGE  resource combines four different fact and opinion activities you can undertake as a  WHOLE GROUP  or as  INDEPENDENT READING GROUP TASKS  in either  DIGITAL  or  PRINTABLE TASKS.

20 POPULAR PERSUASIVE ESSAY TOPICS FOR STUDENTS

Writing an effective persuasive essay demonstrates a range of skills that will be of great use in nearly all aspects of life after school.

Persuasive essay | persuasive essays | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

In essence, if you can influence a person to change their ideas or thoughts on a given topic through how you structure your words and thoughts, you possess a very powerful skill.

Be careful not to rant wildly.  Use facts and other people’s ideas who think similarly to you in your essay to strengthen your concepts.

Your biggest challenge in getting started may be choosing a suitable persuasive essay topic.  These 20 topics for a persuasive essay should make this process a little easier.

  • WHY ARE WE FASCINATED WITH CELEBRITIES AND WEALTHY PEOPLE ON TELEVISION AND SOCIAL MEDIA?
  • IS IT RIGHT FOR SCHOOLS TO RAISE MONEY BY SELLING CANDY AND UNHEALTHY FOODS TO STUDENTS?
  • SHOULD GIRLS BE ALLOWED TO PLAY ON BOYS SPORTING TEAMS?
  • IS TEACHING HANDWRITING A WASTE OF TIME IN THIS DAY AND AGE?
  • SHOULD THERE BE FAR GREATER RESTRICTIONS AROUND WHAT CAN BE POSTED ON THE INTERNET?
  • SHOULD PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES HAVE TO TAKE DRUG TESTS?
  • ARE TEENAGE PREGNANCY SHOWS A NEGATIVE OR POSITIVE INFLUENCE ON VIEWERS?
  • SHOULD GAMBLING BE PROMOTED IN ANY WAY IN SPORTS EVEN THOUGH IT BRINGS IN LARGE AMOUNTS OF REVENUE?
  • SHOULD SPORTING TEAMS THAT LOSE BE REWARDED BY RECEIVING INCENTIVES SUCH AS HIGH DRAFT PICKS AND / OR FINANCIAL BENEFITS?
  • SHOULD SHARKS THAT ATTACK PEOPLE BE DESTROYED? SHOULD WE GET INVOLVED IN FOREIGN CONFLICTS AND ISSUES THAT DON’T DIRECTLY AFFECT OUR COUNTRY?
  • SHOULD WE GET INVOLVED IN FOREIGN CONFLICTS AND ISSUES THAT DON’T DIRECTLY AFFECT OUR COUNTRY?
  • COULD VIDEO GAMES BE CONSIDERED AS A PROFESSIONAL SPORT?
  • IF YOU WERE THE LEADER OF YOUR COUNTRY AND HAD A LARGE SURPLUS TO SPEND, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH IT?
  • WHEN SHOULD A PERSON BE CONSIDERED AND TREATED AS AN ADULT?
  • SHOULD SMOKING BECOME AN ILLEGAL ACTIVITY?
  • SHOULD THE VOTING AGE BE LOWERED?
  • DOES PROTECTIVE PADDING IN SPORTS MAKE IT MORE DANGEROUS?
  • SHOULD CELL PHONES BE ALLOWED IN THE CLASSROOM?
  • IS TEACHING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE A WASTE OF TIME?
  • SHOULD WE TEACH ETIQUETTE IN SCHOOLS?

PERSUASIVE PROMPTS FOR RELUCTANT WRITERS

If your students need a little more direction and guidance, here are some journal prompts that include aspects to consider.

  • Convince us that students would be better off having a three-day weekend .  There are many angles you could take with this, such as letting children maximize their childhood or trying to convince your audience that a four-day school week might actually be more productive.
  • Which is the best season?  And why?   You will really need to draw on the benefits of your preferred season and sell them to your audience.  Where possible, highlight the negatives of the competing seasons.  Use lots of figurative language and sensory and emotional connections for this topic.
  • Aliens do / or don’t exist?  We can see millions of stars surrounding us just by gazing into the night sky, suggesting alien life should exist, right? Many would argue that if there were aliens we would have seen tangible evidence of them by now.  The only fact is that we just don’t know the answer to this question.  It is your task to try and convince your audience through some research and logic what your point of view is and why.
  • Should school uniforms be mandatory? Do your research on this popular and divisive topic and make your position clear on where you stand and why.  Use plenty of real-world examples to support your thoughts and points of view.  
  • Should Smartphones be banned in schools?   Whilst this would be a complete nightmare for most students’ social lives, maybe it might make schools more productive places for students to focus and learn.  Pick a position, have at least three solid arguments to support your point of view, and sell them to your audience.

VISUAL JOURNAL PROMPTS FOR PERSUASIVE WRITING

Try these engaging, persuasive prompts with your students to ignite the writing process . Scroll through them.

Persuasive writing prompts

Persuasive Essay Examples (Student Writing Samples)

Below are a collection of persuasive essay samples.  Click on the image to enlarge and explore them in greater detail.  Please take a moment to read the persuasive texts in detail and the teacher and student guides highlight some of the critical elements of writing a persuasion.

Please understand these student writing samples are not intended to be perfect examples for each age or grade level but a piece of writing for students and teachers to explore together to critically analyze to improve student writing skills and deepen their understanding of persuasive text writing.

We recommend reading the example either a year above or below, as well as the grade you are currently working with, to gain a broader appreciation of this text type.

Persuasive essay | year 4 persuasive text example 1536x1536 1 | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

VIDEO TUTORIALS FOR PERSUASIVE WRITING

Persuasive essay | persuasive writing tutorial video | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

OTHER GREAT ARTICLES RELATED TO PERSUASIVE ESSAY WRITING

Persuasive essay | LITERACY IDEAS FRONT PAGE 1 | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps | literacyideas.com

Teaching Resources

Use our resources and tools to improve your student’s writing skills through proven teaching strategies.

WHERE CAN I FIND A COMPLETE UNIT OF WORK ON HOW TO WRITE PERSUASIVE ESSAYS?

persuasive writing unit

We pride ourselves on being the web’s best resource for teaching students and teachers how to write a persuasive text. We value the fact you have taken the time to read our comprehensive guides to understand the fundamentals of writing skills.

We also understand some of you just don’t have the luxury of time or the resources to create engaging resources exactly when you need them.

If you are time-poor and looking for an in-depth solution that encompasses all of the concepts outlined in this article, I strongly recommend looking at the “ Writing to Persuade and Influence Unit. ”

Working in partnership with Innovative Teaching Ideas , we confidently recommend this resource as an all-in-one solution to teach how to write persuasively.

This unit will find over 140 pages of engaging and innovative teaching ideas.

PERSUASIVE ESSAY WRITING CHECKLIST AND RUBRIC BUNDLE

writing checklists

The Ultimate Guide to Opinion Writing for Students and Teachers

Persuasive essay | PersuasiveWritingSkills | Top 5 Persuasive Writing Techniques for Students | literacyideas.com

Top 5 Persuasive Writing Techniques for Students

Persuasive essay | persuasiveWriting | 5 Top Persuasive Writing Lesson Plans for Students and Teachers | literacyideas.com

5 Top Persuasive Writing Lesson Plans for Students and Teachers

Persuasive essay | persuasive writing prompts | 23 Persuasive writing Topics for High School students | literacyideas.com

23 Persuasive writing Topics for High School students

Persuasive essay | 1 reading and writing persuasive advertisements | How to Write an Advertisement: A Complete Guide for Students and Teachers | literacyideas.com

How to Write an Advertisement: A Complete Guide for Students and Teachers

Persuasive essay | how to start an essay 1 | How to Start an Essay with Strong Hooks and Leads | literacyideas.com

How to Start an Essay with Strong Hooks and Leads

The content for this page has been written by Shane Mac Donnchaidh.  A former principal of an international school and English university lecturer with 15 years of teaching and administration experience. Shane’s latest Book, The Complete Guide to Nonfiction Writing , can be found here.  Editing and support for this article have been provided by the literacyideas team.

five steps of essay writing

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Steps to writing an essay: the complete guide, sponsored post.

  • February 22, 2024

Starting an essay writing journey may look scary at first, but don’t worry! When approached correctly and following a clear map, anyone can come up with a strong essay. This guide will help you to understand how to write an essay by breaking down the steps for writing an essay, and thus you will have a complete comprehension of the whole process. No matter if you are working on argumentative, persuasive, informative, or narrative essays, these steps on writing an essay will act as a good set of instructions to show you the way through the world of essay writing.

First 5 steps of writing an essay

1. Understanding the essay type: To begin the writing process, first, you will have to identify the type of an essay you are working on. What is its type? There are specific features and demands for each type. For instance, an argumentative essay needs a clear standpoint on a particular issue, while narrative essay comprises story telling. Spend some time musing over the core of your essay so that you will have an easier time writing.

2. Brainstorming and research: Once you have determined the essay type you are expected to write, make sure you do proper brainstorming and get all the necessary data. Put down the main arguments and explanations you wish to include in your essay. Do thorough research to guarantee the information is based on reliable sources. If you struggle to research information, ask for help at EssayHave. It’s an essay writing service which can help you with research.

3. Creating an outline: A good essay should be supported by a proper outline. Break down your essay into three main parts: The introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction lists the main points, the body paragraphs are subtitled with the main arguments and the conclusion summarizes the main arguments and leaves a lasting impression. An outline makes your essay coherent and arranged in a certain chain of sequence.

4. Crafting a strong introduction: The introductory paragraph of your essay is its voice and it is what attracts the reader. First of all include a hook – interesting fact, challenging question, or good quote. Ensure that your thesis is clearly defined in your essay; it should lay down the central idea. Briefly introduce what readers will get and see to it that your intro is not long but still creative.

5. Developing the body: The body of your essay is the major component where you put forth and support your key issues in English studies. Every paragraph must have a main idea and certain. Lay out your arguments in simple and plain language, the connecting between paragraphs is also needed to be smooth. If you are writing an argumentative essay, one thing to think about is the counterarguments to build your position.

Tips on how to make an outstanding essay

Now that we’ve covered the initial steps to writing an essay, let’s explore some tips to elevate your essay writing skills:

  • Be clear and concise: Eliminate extraneous complexity from your writing. Your ideas, thus, argue eloquently. Make every word matter, and cut out any extraneous details that don’t support your essay’s main point.
  • Tailor your writing style to the essay type: Different kinds of essays demand different writing approaches. The tone of an argumentative essay must be strong and assertive whereas a narrative essay is more open and personal. Your writing style should conform to the objective of your essay.
  • Create a captivating thesis statement: Your thesis should capture your essay’s main idea in no more than one sentence. This is your reader’s compass as it points them to the central argument of your paper. Formalize a thesis statement which is precise, not too long, and impressive.
  • Revise and edit: Revise and edit your essay when you are done with the first draft. Check for grammatical errors, clarity of expression, and overall coherence. Think of asking fellow students or professors for their useful suggestions in the refinement process.

Refining your writing with style and clarity

An ideal essay is not just a matter of following the steps asked but is about having your own voice in the piece of writing and making it appeal to your reader with ease. Here’s how you can refine your essay to make it truly stand out:It is predicted.

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Final essay writing steps

6. Writing an engaging conclusion: Here the conclusion is the final chance to make a deep impact in the minds of the readers. In conclusion, and synthesis of the central idea of discussion, the thesis should be restated in a new light. Do not introduce some new information in the conclusion and let your readers think about it.

7. Proofreading: Before you hand in your essay, make a complete proofreading. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes, make your writing style consistent, and make sure that you have followed your teacher’s instructions. A well-reflected essay is a sign of your commitment to quality research.

8. Seeking feedback: In the essay writing steps, try to ask for feedback in the form of your peers, friends, and teachers. New angles can provide a different viewpoint and identify areas of deficiency. Criticism is supposed to help a writer grow and develop, and that is an integral aspect of the writing process.

Summing up!

Having mastered the segments of writing a great essay is an invaluable ability that sets the course open for competent communication and self-expression. No matter what type of essay you have to write, whether argumentative, persuasive, informative, or narrative, if you follow these steps of writing an essay and apply the tips provided, you will get a good essay. Practice makes perfect, so you should not be afraid of trying different types of essays and developing your techniques with time. Happy writing!

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COMMENTS

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