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  • 40 Useful Words and Phrases for Top-Notch Essays

good words to write an essay on

To be truly brilliant, an essay needs to utilise the right language. You could make a great point, but if it’s not intelligently articulated, you almost needn’t have bothered.

Developing the language skills to build an argument and to write persuasively is crucial if you’re to write outstanding essays every time. In this article, we’re going to equip you with the words and phrases you need to write a top-notch essay, along with examples of how to utilise them.

It’s by no means an exhaustive list, and there will often be other ways of using the words and phrases we describe that we won’t have room to include, but there should be more than enough below to help you make an instant improvement to your essay-writing skills.

This article is suitable for native English speakers and those who are  learning English at our Oxford Summer School or San Francisco Summer School and are just taking their first steps into essay writing.

General explaining

Let’s start by looking at language for general explanations of complex points.

1. In order to

Usage: “In order to” can be used to introduce an explanation for the purpose of an argument. Example: “In order to understand X, we need first to understand Y.”

2. In other words

Usage: Use “in other words” when you want to express something in a different way (more simply), to make it easier to understand, or to emphasise or expand on a point. Example: “Frogs are amphibians. In other words, they live on the land and in the water.”

3. To put it another way

Usage: This phrase is another way of saying “in other words”, and can be used in particularly complex points, when you feel that an alternative way of wording a problem may help the reader achieve a better understanding of its significance. Example: “Plants rely on photosynthesis. To put it another way, they will die without the sun.”

4. That is to say

Usage: “That is” and “that is to say” can be used to add further detail to your explanation, or to be more precise. Example: “Whales are mammals. That is to say, they must breathe air.”

5. To that end

Usage: Use “to that end” or “to this end” in a similar way to “in order to” or “so”. Example: “Zoologists have long sought to understand how animals communicate with each other. To that end, a new study has been launched that looks at elephant sounds and their possible meanings.”

Adding additional information to support a point

Students often make the mistake of using synonyms of “and” each time they want to add further information in support of a point they’re making, or to build an argument . Here are some cleverer ways of doing this.

6. Moreover

Usage: Employ “moreover” at the start of a sentence to add extra information in support of a point you’re making. Example: “Moreover, the results of a recent piece of research provide compelling evidence in support of…”

7. Furthermore

Usage:This is also generally used at the start of a sentence, to add extra information. Example: “Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that…”

8. What’s more

Usage: This is used in the same way as “moreover” and “furthermore”. Example: “What’s more, this isn’t the only evidence that supports this hypothesis.”

9. Likewise

Usage: Use “likewise” when you want to talk about something that agrees with what you’ve just mentioned. Example: “Scholar A believes X. Likewise, Scholar B argues compellingly in favour of this point of view.”

10. Similarly

Usage: Use “similarly” in the same way as “likewise”. Example: “Audiences at the time reacted with shock to Beethoven’s new work, because it was very different to what they were used to. Similarly, we have a tendency to react with surprise to the unfamiliar.”

11. Another key thing to remember

Usage: Use the phrase “another key point to remember” or “another key fact to remember” to introduce additional facts without using the word “also”. Example: “As a Romantic, Blake was a proponent of a closer relationship between humans and nature. Another key point to remember is that Blake was writing during the Industrial Revolution, which had a major impact on the world around him.”

12. As well as

Usage: Use “as well as” instead of “also” or “and”. Example: “Scholar A argued that this was due to X, as well as Y.”

13. Not only… but also

Usage: This wording is used to add an extra piece of information, often something that’s in some way more surprising or unexpected than the first piece of information. Example: “Not only did Edmund Hillary have the honour of being the first to reach the summit of Everest, but he was also appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.”

14. Coupled with

Usage: Used when considering two or more arguments at a time. Example: “Coupled with the literary evidence, the statistics paint a compelling view of…”

15. Firstly, secondly, thirdly…

Usage: This can be used to structure an argument, presenting facts clearly one after the other. Example: “There are many points in support of this view. Firstly, X. Secondly, Y. And thirdly, Z.

16. Not to mention/to say nothing of

Usage: “Not to mention” and “to say nothing of” can be used to add extra information with a bit of emphasis. Example: “The war caused unprecedented suffering to millions of people, not to mention its impact on the country’s economy.”

Words and phrases for demonstrating contrast

When you’re developing an argument, you will often need to present contrasting or opposing opinions or evidence – “it could show this, but it could also show this”, or “X says this, but Y disagrees”. This section covers words you can use instead of the “but” in these examples, to make your writing sound more intelligent and interesting.

17. However

Usage: Use “however” to introduce a point that disagrees with what you’ve just said. Example: “Scholar A thinks this. However, Scholar B reached a different conclusion.”

18. On the other hand

Usage: Usage of this phrase includes introducing a contrasting interpretation of the same piece of evidence, a different piece of evidence that suggests something else, or an opposing opinion. Example: “The historical evidence appears to suggest a clear-cut situation. On the other hand, the archaeological evidence presents a somewhat less straightforward picture of what happened that day.”

19. Having said that

Usage: Used in a similar manner to “on the other hand” or “but”. Example: “The historians are unanimous in telling us X, an agreement that suggests that this version of events must be an accurate account. Having said that, the archaeology tells a different story.”

20. By contrast/in comparison

Usage: Use “by contrast” or “in comparison” when you’re comparing and contrasting pieces of evidence. Example: “Scholar A’s opinion, then, is based on insufficient evidence. By contrast, Scholar B’s opinion seems more plausible.”

21. Then again

Usage: Use this to cast doubt on an assertion. Example: “Writer A asserts that this was the reason for what happened. Then again, it’s possible that he was being paid to say this.”

22. That said

Usage: This is used in the same way as “then again”. Example: “The evidence ostensibly appears to point to this conclusion. That said, much of the evidence is unreliable at best.”

Usage: Use this when you want to introduce a contrasting idea. Example: “Much of scholarship has focused on this evidence. Yet not everyone agrees that this is the most important aspect of the situation.”

Adding a proviso or acknowledging reservations

Sometimes, you may need to acknowledge a shortfalling in a piece of evidence, or add a proviso. Here are some ways of doing so.

24. Despite this

Usage: Use “despite this” or “in spite of this” when you want to outline a point that stands regardless of a shortfalling in the evidence. Example: “The sample size was small, but the results were important despite this.”

25. With this in mind

Usage: Use this when you want your reader to consider a point in the knowledge of something else. Example: “We’ve seen that the methods used in the 19th century study did not always live up to the rigorous standards expected in scientific research today, which makes it difficult to draw definite conclusions. With this in mind, let’s look at a more recent study to see how the results compare.”

26. Provided that

Usage: This means “on condition that”. You can also say “providing that” or just “providing” to mean the same thing. Example: “We may use this as evidence to support our argument, provided that we bear in mind the limitations of the methods used to obtain it.”

27. In view of/in light of

Usage: These phrases are used when something has shed light on something else. Example: “In light of the evidence from the 2013 study, we have a better understanding of…”

28. Nonetheless

Usage: This is similar to “despite this”. Example: “The study had its limitations, but it was nonetheless groundbreaking for its day.”

29. Nevertheless

Usage: This is the same as “nonetheless”. Example: “The study was flawed, but it was important nevertheless.”

30. Notwithstanding

Usage: This is another way of saying “nonetheless”. Example: “Notwithstanding the limitations of the methodology used, it was an important study in the development of how we view the workings of the human mind.”

Giving examples

Good essays always back up points with examples, but it’s going to get boring if you use the expression “for example” every time. Here are a couple of other ways of saying the same thing.

31. For instance

Example: “Some birds migrate to avoid harsher winter climates. Swallows, for instance, leave the UK in early winter and fly south…”

32. To give an illustration

Example: “To give an illustration of what I mean, let’s look at the case of…”

Signifying importance

When you want to demonstrate that a point is particularly important, there are several ways of highlighting it as such.

33. Significantly

Usage: Used to introduce a point that is loaded with meaning that might not be immediately apparent. Example: “Significantly, Tacitus omits to tell us the kind of gossip prevalent in Suetonius’ accounts of the same period.”

34. Notably

Usage: This can be used to mean “significantly” (as above), and it can also be used interchangeably with “in particular” (the example below demonstrates the first of these ways of using it). Example: “Actual figures are notably absent from Scholar A’s analysis.”

35. Importantly

Usage: Use “importantly” interchangeably with “significantly”. Example: “Importantly, Scholar A was being employed by X when he wrote this work, and was presumably therefore under pressure to portray the situation more favourably than he perhaps might otherwise have done.”

Summarising

You’ve almost made it to the end of the essay, but your work isn’t over yet. You need to end by wrapping up everything you’ve talked about, showing that you’ve considered the arguments on both sides and reached the most likely conclusion. Here are some words and phrases to help you.

36. In conclusion

Usage: Typically used to introduce the concluding paragraph or sentence of an essay, summarising what you’ve discussed in a broad overview. Example: “In conclusion, the evidence points almost exclusively to Argument A.”

37. Above all

Usage: Used to signify what you believe to be the most significant point, and the main takeaway from the essay. Example: “Above all, it seems pertinent to remember that…”

38. Persuasive

Usage: This is a useful word to use when summarising which argument you find most convincing. Example: “Scholar A’s point – that Constanze Mozart was motivated by financial gain – seems to me to be the most persuasive argument for her actions following Mozart’s death.”

39. Compelling

Usage: Use in the same way as “persuasive” above. Example: “The most compelling argument is presented by Scholar A.”

40. All things considered

Usage: This means “taking everything into account”. Example: “All things considered, it seems reasonable to assume that…”

How many of these words and phrases will you get into your next essay? And are any of your favourite essay terms missing from our list? Let us know in the comments below, or get in touch here to find out more about courses that can help you with your essays.

At Oxford Royale Academy, we offer a number of  summer school courses for young people who are keen to improve their essay writing skills. Click here to apply for one of our courses today, including law , business , medicine  and engineering .

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Words to Use in an Essay: 300 Essay Words

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Hannah Yang

words to use in an essay

Table of Contents

Words to use in the essay introduction, words to use in the body of the essay, words to use in your essay conclusion, how to improve your essay writing vocabulary.

It’s not easy to write an academic essay .

Many students struggle to word their arguments in a logical and concise way.

To make matters worse, academic essays need to adhere to a certain level of formality, so we can’t always use the same word choices in essay writing that we would use in daily life.

If you’re struggling to choose the right words for your essay, don’t worry—you’ve come to the right place!

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of over 300 words and phrases to use in the introduction, body, and conclusion of your essay.

The introduction is one of the hardest parts of an essay to write.

You have only one chance to make a first impression, and you want to hook your reader. If the introduction isn’t effective, the reader might not even bother to read the rest of the essay.

That’s why it’s important to be thoughtful and deliberate with the words you choose at the beginning of your essay.

Many students use a quote in the introductory paragraph to establish credibility and set the tone for the rest of the essay.

When you’re referencing another author or speaker, try using some of these phrases:

To use the words of X

According to X

As X states

Example: To use the words of Hillary Clinton, “You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health.”

Near the end of the introduction, you should state the thesis to explain the central point of your paper.

If you’re not sure how to introduce your thesis, try using some of these phrases:

In this essay, I will…

The purpose of this essay…

This essay discusses…

In this paper, I put forward the claim that…

There are three main arguments for…

Phrases to introduce a thesis

Example: In this essay, I will explain why dress codes in public schools are detrimental to students.

After you’ve stated your thesis, it’s time to start presenting the arguments you’ll use to back up that central idea.

When you’re introducing the first of a series of arguments, you can use the following words:

First and foremost

First of all

To begin with

Example: First , consider the effects that this new social security policy would have on low-income taxpayers.

All these words and phrases will help you create a more successful introduction and convince your audience to read on.

The body of your essay is where you’ll explain your core arguments and present your evidence.

It’s important to choose words and phrases for the body of your essay that will help the reader understand your position and convince them you’ve done your research.

Let’s look at some different types of words and phrases that you can use in the body of your essay, as well as some examples of what these words look like in a sentence.

Transition Words and Phrases

Transitioning from one argument to another is crucial for a good essay.

It’s important to guide your reader from one idea to the next so they don’t get lost or feel like you’re jumping around at random.

Transition phrases and linking words show your reader you’re about to move from one argument to the next, smoothing out their reading experience. They also make your writing look more professional.

The simplest transition involves moving from one idea to a separate one that supports the same overall argument. Try using these phrases when you want to introduce a second correlating idea:

Additionally

In addition

Furthermore

Another key thing to remember

In the same way

Correspondingly

Example: Additionally , public parks increase property value because home buyers prefer houses that are located close to green, open spaces.

Another type of transition involves restating. It’s often useful to restate complex ideas in simpler terms to help the reader digest them. When you’re restating an idea, you can use the following words:

In other words

To put it another way

That is to say

To put it more simply

Example: “The research showed that 53% of students surveyed expressed a mild or strong preference for more on-campus housing. In other words , over half the students wanted more dormitory options.”

Often, you’ll need to provide examples to illustrate your point more clearly for the reader. When you’re about to give an example of something you just said, you can use the following words:

For instance

To give an illustration of

To exemplify

To demonstrate

As evidence

Example: Humans have long tried to exert control over our natural environment. For instance , engineers reversed the Chicago River in 1900, causing it to permanently flow backward.

Sometimes, you’ll need to explain the impact or consequence of something you’ve just said.

When you’re drawing a conclusion from evidence you’ve presented, try using the following words:

As a result

Accordingly

As you can see

This suggests that

It follows that

It can be seen that

For this reason

For all of those reasons

Consequently

Example: “There wasn’t enough government funding to support the rest of the physics experiment. Thus , the team was forced to shut down their experiment in 1996.”

Phrases to draw conclusions

When introducing an idea that bolsters one you’ve already stated, or adds another important aspect to that same argument, you can use the following words:

What’s more

Not only…but also

Not to mention

To say nothing of

Another key point

Example: The volcanic eruption disrupted hundreds of thousands of people. Moreover , it impacted the local flora and fauna as well, causing nearly a hundred species to go extinct.

Often, you'll want to present two sides of the same argument. When you need to compare and contrast ideas, you can use the following words:

On the one hand / on the other hand

Alternatively

In contrast to

On the contrary

By contrast

In comparison

Example: On the one hand , the Black Death was undoubtedly a tragedy because it killed millions of Europeans. On the other hand , it created better living conditions for the peasants who survived.

Finally, when you’re introducing a new angle that contradicts your previous idea, you can use the following phrases:

Having said that

Differing from

In spite of

With this in mind

Provided that

Nevertheless

Nonetheless

Notwithstanding

Example: Shakespearean plays are classic works of literature that have stood the test of time. Having said that , I would argue that Shakespeare isn’t the most accessible form of literature to teach students in the twenty-first century.

Good essays include multiple types of logic. You can use a combination of the transitions above to create a strong, clear structure throughout the body of your essay.

Strong Verbs for Academic Writing

Verbs are especially important for writing clear essays. Often, you can convey a nuanced meaning simply by choosing the right verb.

You should use strong verbs that are precise and dynamic. Whenever possible, you should use an unambiguous verb, rather than a generic verb.

For example, alter and fluctuate are stronger verbs than change , because they give the reader more descriptive detail.

Here are some useful verbs that will help make your essay shine.

Verbs that show change:

Accommodate

Verbs that relate to causing or impacting something:

Verbs that show increase:

Verbs that show decrease:

Deteriorate

Verbs that relate to parts of a whole:

Comprises of

Is composed of

Constitutes

Encompasses

Incorporates

Verbs that show a negative stance:

Misconstrue

Verbs that show a negative stance

Verbs that show a positive stance:

Substantiate

Verbs that relate to drawing conclusions from evidence:

Corroborate

Demonstrate

Verbs that relate to thinking and analysis:

Contemplate

Hypothesize

Investigate

Verbs that relate to showing information in a visual format:

Useful Adjectives and Adverbs for Academic Essays

You should use adjectives and adverbs more sparingly than verbs when writing essays, since they sometimes add unnecessary fluff to sentences.

However, choosing the right adjectives and adverbs can help add detail and sophistication to your essay.

Sometimes you'll need to use an adjective to show that a finding or argument is useful and should be taken seriously. Here are some adjectives that create positive emphasis:

Significant

Other times, you'll need to use an adjective to show that a finding or argument is harmful or ineffective. Here are some adjectives that create a negative emphasis:

Controversial

Insignificant

Questionable

Unnecessary

Unrealistic

Finally, you might need to use an adverb to lend nuance to a sentence, or to express a specific degree of certainty. Here are some examples of adverbs that are often used in essays:

Comprehensively

Exhaustively

Extensively

Respectively

Surprisingly

Using these words will help you successfully convey the key points you want to express. Once you’ve nailed the body of your essay, it’s time to move on to the conclusion.

The conclusion of your paper is important for synthesizing the arguments you’ve laid out and restating your thesis.

In your concluding paragraph, try using some of these essay words:

In conclusion

To summarize

In a nutshell

Given the above

As described

All things considered

Example: In conclusion , it’s imperative that we take action to address climate change before we lose our coral reefs forever.

In addition to simply summarizing the key points from the body of your essay, you should also add some final takeaways. Give the reader your final opinion and a bit of a food for thought.

To place emphasis on a certain point or a key fact, use these essay words:

Unquestionably

Undoubtedly

Particularly

Importantly

Conclusively

It should be noted

On the whole

Example: Ada Lovelace is unquestionably a powerful role model for young girls around the world, and more of our public school curricula should include her as a historical figure.

These concluding phrases will help you finish writing your essay in a strong, confident way.

There are many useful essay words out there that we didn't include in this article, because they are specific to certain topics.

If you're writing about biology, for example, you will need to use different terminology than if you're writing about literature.

So how do you improve your vocabulary skills?

The vocabulary you use in your academic writing is a toolkit you can build up over time, as long as you take the time to learn new words.

One way to increase your vocabulary is by looking up words you don’t know when you’re reading.

Try reading more books and academic articles in the field you’re writing about and jotting down all the new words you find. You can use these words to bolster your own essays.

You can also consult a dictionary or a thesaurus. When you’re using a word you’re not confident about, researching its meaning and common synonyms can help you make sure it belongs in your essay.

Don't be afraid of using simpler words. Good essay writing boils down to choosing the best word to convey what you need to say, not the fanciest word possible.

Finally, you can use ProWritingAid’s synonym tool or essay checker to find more precise and sophisticated vocabulary. Click on weak words in your essay to find stronger alternatives.

ProWritingAid offering synonyms for great

There you have it: our compilation of the best words and phrases to use in your next essay . Good luck!

good words to write an essay on

Good writing = better grades

ProWritingAid will help you improve the style, strength, and clarity of all your assignments.

Hannah Yang is a speculative fiction writer who writes about all things strange and surreal. Her work has appeared in Analog Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, The Dark, and elsewhere, and two of her stories have been finalists for the Locus Award. Her favorite hobbies include watercolor painting, playing guitar, and rock climbing. You can follow her work on hannahyang.com, or subscribe to her newsletter for publication updates.

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100+ Useful Words and Phrases to Write a Great Essay

By: Author Sophia

Posted on Last updated: October 25, 2023

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How to Write a Great Essay in English! This lesson provides 100+ useful words, transition words and expressions used in writing an essay. Let’s take a look!

The secret to a successful essay doesn’t just lie in the clever things you talk about and the way you structure your points.

Useful Words and Phrases to Write a Great Essay

Overview of an essay.

100+ Useful Words and Phrases to Write a Great Essay

Useful Phrases for Proficiency Essays

Developing the argument

  • The first aspect to point out is that…
  • Let us start by considering the facts.
  • The novel portrays, deals with, revolves around…
  • Central to the novel is…
  • The character of xxx embodies/ epitomizes…

The other side of the argument

  • It would also be interesting to see…
  • One should, nevertheless, consider the problem from another angle.
  • Equally relevant to the issue are the questions of…
  • The arguments we have presented… suggest that…/ prove that…/ would indicate that…
  • From these arguments one must…/ could…/ might… conclude that…
  • All of this points to the conclusion that…
  • To conclude…

Ordering elements

  • Firstly,…/ Secondly,…/ Finally,… (note the comma after all these introductory words.)
  • As a final point…
  • On the one hand, …. on the other hand…
  • If on the one hand it can be said that… the same is not true for…
  • The first argument suggests that… whilst the second suggests that…
  • There are at least xxx points to highlight.

Adding elements

  • Furthermore, one should not forget that…
  • In addition to…
  • Moreover…
  • It is important to add that…

Accepting other points of view

  • Nevertheless, one should accept that…
  • However, we also agree that…

Personal opinion

  • We/I personally believe that…
  • Our/My own point of view is that…
  • It is my contention that…
  • I am convinced that…
  • My own opinion is…

Others’ opinions

  • According to some critics… Critics:
  • believe that
  • suggest that
  • are convinced that
  • point out that
  • emphasize that
  • contend that
  • go as far as to say that
  • argue for this

Introducing examples

  • For example…
  • For instance…
  • To illustrate this point…

Introducing facts

  • It is… true that…/ clear that…/ noticeable that…
  • One should note here that…

Saying what you think is true

  • This leads us to believe that…
  • It is very possible that…
  • In view of these facts, it is quite likely that…
  • Doubtless,…
  • One cannot deny that…
  • It is (very) clear from these observations that…
  • All the same, it is possible that…
  • It is difficult to believe that…

Accepting other points to a certain degree

  • One can agree up to a certain point with…
  • Certainly,… However,…
  • It cannot be denied that…

Emphasizing particular points

  • The last example highlights the fact that…
  • Not only… but also…
  • We would even go so far as to say that…

Moderating, agreeing, disagreeing

  • By and large…
  • Perhaps we should also point out the fact that…
  • It would be unfair not to mention the fact that…
  • One must admit that…
  • We cannot ignore the fact that…
  • One cannot possibly accept the fact that…

Consequences

  • From these facts, one may conclude that…
  • That is why, in our opinion, …
  • Which seems to confirm the idea that…
  • Thus,…/ Therefore,…
  • Some critics suggest…, whereas others…
  • Compared to…
  • On the one hand, there is the firm belief that… On the other hand, many people are convinced that…

How to Write a Great Essay | Image 1

100+ Useful Words and Phrases to Write a Great Essay 1

How to Write a Great Essay | Image 2

100+ Useful Words and Phrases to Write a Great Essay 2

Phrases For Balanced Arguments

Introduction

  • It is often said that…
  • It is undeniable that…
  • It is a well-known fact that…
  • One of the most striking features of this text is…
  • The first thing that needs to be said is…
  • First of all, let us try to analyze…
  • One argument in support of…
  • We must distinguish carefully between…
  • The second reason for…
  • An important aspect of the text is…
  • It is worth stating at this point that…
  • On the other hand, we can observe that…
  • The other side of the coin is, however, that…
  • Another way of looking at this question is to…
  • What conclusions can be drawn from all this?
  • The most satisfactory conclusion that we can come to is…
  • To sum up… we are convinced that…/ …we believe that…/ …we have to accept that…

How to Write a Great Essay | Image 3

100+ Useful Words and Phrases to Write a Great Essay 3

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thank u so much its really usefull

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He or she who masters the English language rules the world!

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Word Choice

What this handout is about.

This handout can help you revise your papers for word-level clarity, eliminate wordiness and avoid clichés, find the words that best express your ideas, and choose words that suit an academic audience.

Introduction

Writing is a series of choices. As you work on a paper, you choose your topic, your approach, your sources, and your thesis; when it’s time to write, you have to choose the words you will use to express your ideas and decide how you will arrange those words into sentences and paragraphs. As you revise your draft, you make more choices. You might ask yourself, “Is this really what I mean?” or “Will readers understand this?” or “Does this sound good?” Finding words that capture your meaning and convey that meaning to your readers is challenging. When your instructors write things like “awkward,” “vague,” or “wordy” on your draft, they are letting you know that they want you to work on word choice. This handout will explain some common issues related to word choice and give you strategies for choosing the best words as you revise your drafts.

As you read further into the handout, keep in mind that it can sometimes take more time to “save” words from your original sentence than to write a brand new sentence to convey the same meaning or idea. Don’t be too attached to what you’ve already written; if you are willing to start a sentence fresh, you may be able to choose words with greater clarity.

For tips on making more substantial revisions, take a look at our handouts on reorganizing drafts and revising drafts .

“Awkward,” “vague,” and “unclear” word choice

So: you write a paper that makes perfect sense to you, but it comes back with “awkward” scribbled throughout the margins. Why, you wonder, are instructors so fond of terms like “awkward”? Most instructors use terms like this to draw your attention to sentences they had trouble understanding and to encourage you to rewrite those sentences more clearly.

Difficulties with word choice aren’t the only cause of awkwardness, vagueness, or other problems with clarity. Sometimes a sentence is hard to follow because there is a grammatical problem with it or because of the syntax (the way the words and phrases are put together). Here’s an example: “Having finished with studying, the pizza was quickly eaten.” This sentence isn’t hard to understand because of the words I chose—everybody knows what studying, pizza, and eating are. The problem here is that readers will naturally assume that first bit of the sentence “(Having finished with studying”) goes with the next noun that follows it—which, in this case, is “the pizza”! It doesn’t make a lot of sense to imply that the pizza was studying. What I was actually trying to express was something more like this: “Having finished with studying, the students quickly ate the pizza.” If you have a sentence that has been marked “awkward,” “vague,” or “unclear,” try to think about it from a reader’s point of view—see if you can tell where it changes direction or leaves out important information.

Sometimes, though, problems with clarity are a matter of word choice. See if you recognize any of these issues:

  • Misused words —the word doesn’t actually mean what the writer thinks it does. Example : Cree Indians were a monotonous culture until French and British settlers arrived. Revision: Cree Indians were a homogenous culture.
  • Words with unwanted connotations or meanings. Example : I sprayed the ants in their private places. Revision: I sprayed the ants in their hiding places.
  • Using a pronoun when readers can’t tell whom/what it refers to. Example : My cousin Jake hugged my brother Trey, even though he didn’t like him very much. Revision: My cousin Jake hugged my brother Trey, even though Jake doesn’t like Trey very much.
  • Jargon or technical terms that make readers work unnecessarily hard. Maybe you need to use some of these words because they are important terms in your field, but don’t throw them in just to “sound smart.” Example : The dialectical interface between neo-Platonists and anti-disestablishment Catholics offers an algorithm for deontological thought. Revision : The dialogue between neo-Platonists and certain Catholic thinkers is a model for deontological thought.
  • Loaded language. Sometimes we as writers know what we mean by a certain word, but we haven’t ever spelled that out for readers. We rely too heavily on that word, perhaps repeating it often, without clarifying what we are talking about. Example : Society teaches young girls that beauty is their most important quality. In order to prevent eating disorders and other health problems, we must change society. Revision : Contemporary American popular media, like magazines and movies, teach young girls that beauty is their most important quality. In order to prevent eating disorders and other health problems, we must change the images and role models girls are offered.

Sometimes the problem isn’t choosing exactly the right word to express an idea—it’s being “wordy,” or using words that your reader may regard as “extra” or inefficient. Take a look at the following list for some examples. On the left are some phrases that use three, four, or more words where fewer will do; on the right are some shorter substitutes:

Keep an eye out for wordy constructions in your writing and see if you can replace them with more concise words or phrases.

In academic writing, it’s a good idea to limit your use of clichés. Clichés are catchy little phrases so frequently used that they have become trite, corny, or annoying. They are problematic because their overuse has diminished their impact and because they require several words where just one would do.

The main way to avoid clichés is first to recognize them and then to create shorter, fresher equivalents. Ask yourself if there is one word that means the same thing as the cliché. If there isn’t, can you use two or three words to state the idea your own way? Below you will see five common clichés, with some alternatives to their right. As a challenge, see how many alternatives you can create for the final two examples.

Try these yourself:

Writing for an academic audience

When you choose words to express your ideas, you have to think not only about what makes sense and sounds best to you, but what will make sense and sound best to your readers. Thinking about your audience and their expectations will help you make decisions about word choice.

Some writers think that academic audiences expect them to “sound smart” by using big or technical words. But the most important goal of academic writing is not to sound smart—it is to communicate an argument or information clearly and convincingly. It is true that academic writing has a certain style of its own and that you, as a student, are beginning to learn to read and write in that style. You may find yourself using words and grammatical constructions that you didn’t use in your high school writing. The danger is that if you consciously set out to “sound smart” and use words or structures that are very unfamiliar to you, you may produce sentences that your readers can’t understand.

When writing for your professors, think simplicity. Using simple words does not indicate simple thoughts. In an academic argument paper, what makes the thesis and argument sophisticated are the connections presented in simple, clear language.

Keep in mind, though, that simple and clear doesn’t necessarily mean casual. Most instructors will not be pleased if your paper looks like an instant message or an email to a friend. It’s usually best to avoid slang and colloquialisms. Take a look at this example and ask yourself how a professor would probably respond to it if it were the thesis statement of a paper: “Moulin Rouge really bit because the singing sucked and the costume colors were nasty, KWIM?”

Selecting and using key terms

When writing academic papers, it is often helpful to find key terms and use them within your paper as well as in your thesis. This section comments on the crucial difference between repetition and redundancy of terms and works through an example of using key terms in a thesis statement.

Repetition vs. redundancy

These two phenomena are not necessarily the same. Repetition can be a good thing. Sometimes we have to use our key terms several times within a paper, especially in topic sentences. Sometimes there is simply no substitute for the key terms, and selecting a weaker term as a synonym can do more harm than good. Repeating key terms emphasizes important points and signals to the reader that the argument is still being supported. This kind of repetition can give your paper cohesion and is done by conscious choice.

In contrast, if you find yourself frustrated, tiredly repeating the same nouns, verbs, or adjectives, or making the same point over and over, you are probably being redundant. In this case, you are swimming aimlessly around the same points because you have not decided what your argument really is or because you are truly fatigued and clarity escapes you. Refer to the “Strategies” section below for ideas on revising for redundancy.

Building clear thesis statements

Writing clear sentences is important throughout your writing. For the purposes of this handout, let’s focus on the thesis statement—one of the most important sentences in academic argument papers. You can apply these ideas to other sentences in your papers.

A common problem with writing good thesis statements is finding the words that best capture both the important elements and the significance of the essay’s argument. It is not always easy to condense several paragraphs or several pages into concise key terms that, when combined in one sentence, can effectively describe the argument.

However, taking the time to find the right words offers writers a significant edge. Concise and appropriate terms will help both the writer and the reader keep track of what the essay will show and how it will show it. Graders, in particular, like to see clearly stated thesis statements. (For more on thesis statements in general, please refer to our handout .)

Example : You’ve been assigned to write an essay that contrasts the river and shore scenes in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. You work on it for several days, producing three versions of your thesis:

Version 1 : There are many important river and shore scenes in Huckleberry Finn.

Version 2 : The contrasting river and shore scenes in Huckleberry Finn suggest a return to nature.

Version 3 : Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to nature.

Let’s consider the word choice issues in these statements. In Version 1, the word “important”—like “interesting”—is both overused and vague; it suggests that the author has an opinion but gives very little indication about the framework of that opinion. As a result, your reader knows only that you’re going to talk about river and shore scenes, but not what you’re going to say. Version 2 is an improvement: the words “return to nature” give your reader a better idea where the paper is headed. On the other hand, she still does not know how this return to nature is crucial to your understanding of the novel.

Finally, you come up with Version 3, which is a stronger thesis because it offers a sophisticated argument and the key terms used to make this argument are clear. At least three key terms or concepts are evident: the contrast between river and shore scenes, a return to nature, and American democratic ideals.

By itself, a key term is merely a topic—an element of the argument but not the argument itself. The argument, then, becomes clear to the reader through the way in which you combine key terms.

Strategies for successful word choice

  • Be careful when using words you are unfamiliar with. Look at how they are used in context and check their dictionary definitions.
  • Be careful when using the thesaurus. Each word listed as a synonym for the word you’re looking up may have its own unique connotations or shades of meaning. Use a dictionary to be sure the synonym you are considering really fits what you are trying to say.
  • Under the present conditions of our society, marriage practices generally demonstrate a high degree of homogeneity.
  • In our culture, people tend to marry others who are like themselves. (Longman, p. 452)
  • Before you revise for accurate and strong adjectives, make sure you are first using accurate and strong nouns and verbs. For example, if you were revising the sentence “This is a good book that tells about the Revolutionary War,” think about whether “book” and “tells” are as strong as they could be before you worry about “good.” (A stronger sentence might read “The novel describes the experiences of a soldier during the Revolutionary War.” “Novel” tells us what kind of book it is, and “describes” tells us more about how the book communicates information.)
  • Try the slash/option technique, which is like brainstorming as you write. When you get stuck, write out two or more choices for a questionable word or a confusing sentence, e.g., “questionable/inaccurate/vague/inappropriate.” Pick the word that best indicates your meaning or combine different terms to say what you mean.
  • Look for repetition. When you find it, decide if it is “good” repetition (using key terms that are crucial and helpful to meaning) or “bad” repetition (redundancy or laziness in reusing words).
  • Write your thesis in five different ways. Make five different versions of your thesis sentence. Compose five sentences that express your argument. Try to come up with four alternatives to the thesis sentence you’ve already written. Find five possible ways to communicate your argument in one sentence to your reader. (We’ve just used this technique—which of the last five sentences do you prefer?)Whenever we write a sentence we make choices. Some are less obvious than others, so that it can often feel like we’ve written the sentence the only way we know how. By writing out five different versions of your thesis, you can begin to see your range of choices. The final version may be a combination of phrasings and words from all five versions, or the one version that says it best. By literally spelling out some possibilities for yourself, you will be able to make better decisions.
  • Read your paper out loud and at… a… slow… pace. You can do this alone or with a friend, roommate, TA, etc. When read out loud, your written words should make sense to both you and other listeners. If a sentence seems confusing, rewrite it to make the meaning clear.
  • Instead of reading the paper itself, put it down and just talk through your argument as concisely as you can. If your listener quickly and easily comprehends your essay’s main point and significance, you should then make sure that your written words are as clear as your oral presentation was. If, on the other hand, your listener keeps asking for clarification, you will need to work on finding the right terms for your essay. If you do this in exchange with a friend or classmate, rest assured that whether you are the talker or the listener, your articulation skills will develop.
  • Have someone not familiar with the issue read the paper and point out words or sentences he/she finds confusing. Do not brush off this reader’s confusion by assuming he or she simply doesn’t know enough about the topic. Instead, rewrite the sentences so that your “outsider” reader can follow along at all times.
  • Check out the Writing Center’s handouts on style , passive voice , and proofreading for more tips.

Questions to ask yourself

  • Am I sure what each word I use really means? Am I positive, or should I look it up?
  • Have I found the best word or just settled for the most obvious, or the easiest, one?
  • Am I trying too hard to impress my reader?
  • What’s the easiest way to write this sentence? (Sometimes it helps to answer this question by trying it out loud. How would you say it to someone?)
  • What are the key terms of my argument?
  • Can I outline out my argument using only these key terms? What others do I need? Which do I not need?
  • Have I created my own terms, or have I simply borrowed what looked like key ones from the assignment? If I’ve borrowed the terms, can I find better ones in my own vocabulary, the texts, my notes, the dictionary, or the thesaurus to make myself clearer?
  • Are my key terms too specific? (Do they cover the entire range of my argument?) Can I think of specific examples from my sources that fall under the key term?
  • Are my key terms too vague? (Do they cover more than the range of my argument?)

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Anson, Chris M., and Robert A. Schwegler. 2010. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers , 6th ed. New York: Longman.

Cook, Claire Kehrwald. 1985. Line by Line: How to Improve Your Own Writing . Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Grossman, Ellie. 1997. The Grammatically Correct Handbook: A Lively and Unorthodox Review of Common English for the Linguistically Challenged . New York: Hyperion.

Houghton Mifflin. 1996. The American Heritage Book of English Usage: A Practical and Authoritative Guide to Contemporary English . Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

O’Conner, Patricia. 2010. Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English , 3rd ed. New York: Penguin Publishing Group.

Tarshis, Barry. 1998. How to Be Your Own Best Editor: The Toolkit for Everyone Who Writes . New York: Three Rivers Press.

Williams, Joseph, and Joseph Bizup. 2017. Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace , 12th ed. Boston: Pearson.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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How To Write The Perfect Essay

Jan 12, 2024 Blog Articles , English Language Articles , Humanities Articles , Law Articles , Politics Articles , Writing Articles

If you decide to study English or a subject within Arts and Humanities at university, it’s going to involve a lot of essay writing. It’s a challenging skill to master because it requires both creativity and logical planning, but if you ensure you do the following whenever you write an essay, you should be on the way to success. This skill is also a key focus in our Oxford Summer Courses , where essay writing is honed to perfection.

Table of Contents

This may sound time-consuming, but if you make a really good plan you will actually save yourself time when it comes to writing the essay, as you’ll know where your answer is headed and won’t write yourself into a corner. Don’t worry if you’re stuck at first – jot down a few ideas anyway and chances are the rest will follow. I find it easiest to make a mind map, with each new ‘bubble’ representing one of my main paragraphs. I then write quotations which will be useful for my analysis around the bubble.

For example, if I was answering the question, ‘ To what extent is Curley’s wife portrayed as a victim in Of Mice and Men ? ’ I might begin a mind map which looks something like this:

An example mind map for writing an essay

Y ou can keep adding to this plan, crossing bits out and linking the different bubbles when you spot connections between them. Even though you won’t have time to make such a detailed plan under exam conditions, it can be helpful just to sketch a brief one, including a few key words, so that you don’t panic and go off topic when writing your essay. If you don’t like the mind map format, there are plenty of others to choose from: you could make a table, a flowchart, or simply a list of bullet points.

2. Have a clear structure

Think about this while you are planning. Your essay is like an argument or a speech – it needs to have a logical structure, with all your points coming together to answer the question. Start with the basics: it is best to choose a few major points which will become your main paragraphs. Three main paragraphs is a good number for an exam essay, since you will be under time pressure. Organise your points in a pattern of YES (agreement with the question) – AND (another ‘YES’ point) – BUT (disagreement or complication) if you agree with the question overall, or YES – BUT – AND if you disagree. This will ensure that you are always focused on your argument and don’t stray too far from the question.

For example, you could structure the Of Mice and Men sample question as follows:  

‘To what extent is Curley’s wife portrayed as a victim in Of Mice and Men?’

  • YES – descriptions of her appearance
  • AND – other people’s attitudes towards her
  • BUT – her position as the only woman on the ranch gives her power as she uses her femininity to advantage

If you wanted to write a longer essay, you could include additional paragraphs under the ‘YES/AND’ category, perhaps discussing the ways in which Curley’s wife reveals her vulnerability and insecurities and shares her dreams with the other characters; on the other hand, you could also lengthen your essay by including another ‘BUT’ paragraph about her cruel and manipulative streak.

Of course, this is not necessarily the only right way to answer this essay question: as long as you back up your points with evidence from the text, you can take any standpoint that makes sense.

3. Back up your points with well-analysed quotations

You wouldn’t write a scientific report without including evidence to support your findings, so why should it be any different with an essay? Even though you aren’t strictly required to substantiate every single point you make with a quotation, there’s no harm in trying. A close reading of your quotations can enrich your appreciation of the question and will be sure to impress examiners.</spanWhen selecting the best quotations to use in your essay, keep an eye out for specific literary techniques. For example, you could discuss Curley’s wife’s use of a rhetorical question when she says, ‘An’ what am I doin’? Standin’ here talking to a bunch of bindle stiffs’:

The rhetorical question “An’ what am I doin’?” signifies that Curley’s wife is very insecure; she seems to be questioning her own life choices. Moreover, the fact that she does not expect anyone to respond to her question highlights her loneliness.

Other literary techniques to look out for include:

  • Tricolon – a group of three words or phrases placed close together for emphasis
  • Tautology – using different words that mean the same thing, eg ‘frightening’ and ‘terrifying’
  • Parallelism – ABAB structure; often signifies movement from one concept to another
  • Chiasmus – ABBA structure; draws attention to that phrase
  • Polysyndeton – many conjunctions in a sentence
  • Asyndeton – lack of conjunctions; can speed up the pace of a sentence
  • Polyptoton – using the same word in different forms for emphasis, eg ‘done’ and ‘doing’
  • Alliteration – repetition of the same sound; different forms of alliteration include assonance (similar vowel sounds), plosive alliteration (‘b’, ‘d’ and ‘p’ sounds) and sibilance (‘s’ sounds)
  • Anaphora – repetition of words; often used to emphasise a particular point

Don’t worry if you can’t locate all of these literary devices in the work you’re analysing – you can also discuss more obvious effects, like metaphor, simile and onomatopoeia. It’s not a problem if you can’t remember all the long names – it’s far more important to explain the effect of the literary techniques and their relevance to the question than to use the correct terminology.

4. Be  creative and original right the way through

Anyone can write an essay using the tips above, but the thing that really makes it ‘perfect’ is your own unique take on the topic you’re discussing. If you’ve noticed something intriguing or unusual in your reading, point it out: if you find it interesting, chances are the examiner will too.

Creative writing and essay writing are more closely linked than you might imagine; keep the idea that you’re writing a speech or argument in mind, and you’re guaranteed to grab your reader’s attention.

It’s important to set out your line of argument in your introduction, introducing your main points and the general direction your essay will take, but don’t forget to keep something back for the conclusion, too. Yes, you need to summarise your main points, but if you’re just repeating the things you said in your introduction, the essay itself is rendered pointless.

Think of your conclusion as the climax of your speech, the bit everything else has been leading up to, rather than the boring plenary at the end of the interesting stuff.

To return to Of Mice and Men once more, here is an example of the ideal difference between an introduction and a conclusion:

Introduction:

In John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men , Curley’s wife is portrayed as an ambiguous character. She could be viewed either as a cruel, seductive temptress or a lonely woman who is a victim of her society’s attitudes. Though she does seem to wield a form of sexual power, it is clear that Curley’s wife is largely a victim. This interpretation is supported by Steinbeck’s description of her appearance, other people’s attitudes, her dreams, and her evident loneliness and insecurity.

Conclusion:

Overall, it is clear that Curley’s wife is a victim and is portrayed as such throughout the novel, in the descriptions of her appearance, her dreams, other people’s judgemental attitudes, and her loneliness and insecurities. However, a character who was a victim and nothing else would be one-dimensional and Curley’s wife is not. Although she suffers in many ways, she is shown to assert herself through the manipulation of her femininity – a small rebellion against the victimisation she experiences.

Both refer back consistently to the question and summarise the essay’s main points; however, the conclusion adds something new which has been established in the main body of the essay and yet complicates the simple summary which is found in the introduction.

To summarise:

  • Start by writing a thorough plan
  • Ensure your essay has a clear structure and overall argument
  • Try to back up each point you make with a quotation
  • Answer the question in your introduction and conclusion but remember to be creative too

Next Steps for Aspiring English Students

  • Challenge yourself and test your writing skills by signing up for top essay writing competitions , like the annual OxBright essay competition .
  • Start a book club or joining an existing one. This can provide a platform to discuss and analyze writing styles, themes, and authors, enhancing your understanding and appreciation of literature. It’s also a great way to get different perspectives on the same work, which can be invaluable in developing critical thinking and analytical skills.
  • Want to write for a living? Read our blog post on How to Become a Writer
  • Prepare for university and experience what it’s like studying on the Oxford University campus in one of our Oxford Summer Schools , like our Oxford writing program .

Want to learn more skills for academic success?

Summer Courses at the Oxford Scholastica Academy combine hands-on learning experiences with stimulating teaching and masterclasses, for an unforgettable summer amongst students from around the world.

Hannah Patient

Hannah Patient

Literature Editor

Hannah is an undergraduate English student at Somerville College, Oxford, and has a particular interest in postcolonial literature and the Gothic. She thinks literature is a crucial way of developing empathy and learning about the wider world, and is excited to be Scholastica Inspires’ Literature Editor! When she isn’t writing essays about 17th-century court masques, she enjoys acting, travelling and creative writing.

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good words to write an essay on

100 Essay Writing Tips for Students (How to write a good essay)

good words to write an essay on

Written by:

Natalie Hayes

Natalie Hayes

Administrator

Are you searching for the best tips to create the most compelling essay? We’ve compiled some of the best essay writing tips so that you don’t have to search far and wide to learn how to write a good essay. Take a look at these top 100 essay writing tips!

100 Essay Writing Tips

#1 Analyse the question 

#2 Define your argument

#3 Use reputable sources of evidence to support your claims (i.e. not Wikipedia)

#4 Share different perspectives

#5 On draft number 1, don’t worry about spelling, punctuation or grammar!

#6 Rewrite draft 2 on a new blank document 

#7 Use transitional phrases and words 

#8 Divide your essay into three main parts: introduction, main body, conclusion

#9 End your essay on a relevant quote 

#10 Check your spelling, punctuation and grammar in your final draft 

#11 Cite your sources correctly (check the guidelines or ask your teacher)

#12 Avoid using conjunctions at the start of sentences e.g. And / But / Also

#13 Put direct quotes in quotation marks, citing them correctly

#14 Avoid plagiarism (your teacher or the marker will know if you have copied)

#15 Rephrase your research – put it into your own words

#16 Avoid the repetition of phrases and words

#17 Use a thesaurus to find synonyms for words you have used often 

#18 Provide statistics to support your claims

#19 Include facts to support your arguments 

#20 Use emotive language where appropriate to write a compelling argument

good words to write an essay on

#21 Avoid spending too much time on your introduction and conclusion 

#22 Get somebody else to proofread it

#23 Get feedback from friends and family (or even a teacher)

#24 Don’t be afraid to delete irrelevant points and evidence 

#25 Avoid slang and colloquial language 

#26 Use formal language throughout your essay 

#27 Double space your essay (check essay requirements to ensure you format it correctly)

#28 Use appropriate titles and headings 

#29 Use an appropriate font (Times New Roman, size 12 is the most common, acceptable font)

#30 Avoid images unless you have been asked to use them 

#31 Avoid talking about yourself or providing anecdotal information 

#32 Avoid cliches, try to be original in your writing 

#33 Keep your introduction and conclusion short 

#34 Stick to the word count (universities usually allow 10% over or under)

#35 Distribute the word count appropriately across your introduction, main body and conclusion (e.g. 10/80/10)

#36 Read it out loud to spot errors 

#37 Make sure your writing is clear and concise 

#38 Avoid citing sources in your bibliography that are irrelevant 

#39 Use grammar checking software to check for grammar errors

#40 Don’t depend solely on grammar checking software (because it’s a computer, it may get context wrong)

good words to write an essay on

#41 Read your work critically – have you answered the question?

#42 Don’t get distracted by what you WANT to write, focus on answering the question

#43 Check the grading criteria and set your goals – if you want an A, what do you need to do to get there?

#44 Create a checklist based on the grading criteria

#45 Create a timetable to write your essay and plan your time wisely

#46 Plan your writing during times when you’re least likely to get disturbed

#47 Work in a place where you are least likely to get distracted 

#48 Write your essay in 25-minute increments and take a break after each one

#49 Have snacks and refreshments to hand

#50 Take a break after writing each draft, for example, 2 days where you don’t look at it (this will allow you to process information and go back to your essay with fresh eyes)

#51 Remember that stress doesn’t help – you’re most likely going to write well when you’re the least stressed. 

#52 If you’re struggling to write your essay at home, do it in a study group or at the library. You’ll likely be more productive surrounded by other people who are working, too. 

#53 Don’t leave it to the last minute – write several drafts in good time

#54 Plan your final week to work on formatting only (do the bulk of the work way before the final week)

#55 Swap work with a friend and give each other feedback, or do this in a group

#56 Make sure you know the submission criteria way before submitting e.g. the format of your essay, rules for submission, etc.

#57 Define the type of essay you’re writing – is it argumentative, persuasive, expository, admissions, compare/contrast, analytical or narrative? 

#58 Brainstorm the essay before writing it

#59 Keep your notes handy 

#60 Identify the gaps in your knowledge before writing 

good words to write an essay on

#61 Before you begin writing, do as much productive research as you can

#62 Read relevant books and reputable articles to learn more about your topic

#63 Write notes in the form of short answers to your question, it will be easier to put them into your essay later on 

#64 If you’re finding it difficult to answer the question, more research is needed 

#65 Identify your WHY – Why do you need to write this essay? What will happen if you get an A or win the essay competition? Why is it important to you? 

#66 When essay writing is becoming a struggle, remember your WHY to keep motivated 

#67 In your introduction, remember to clearly state your topic and your main points 

#68 Avoid explaining your points in your introduction (you do that in the main body)

#69 For every point or opinion you introduce, be sure to include some evidence and an explanation

#70 Avoid filling your essay up with opinions with no supporting evidence

#71 Explain your points clearly and concisely 

#72 Stay on topic 

#73 When proofreading, consider if the essay sparks the reader’s interest. If it doesn’t, see what you can do to improve this. 

#74 Double check you have used paragraphs correctly 

#75 Ensure each argument has a single focus and a clear connection to the thesis statement

#76 Ensure you have clear transitions between your sentences and paragraphs

#77 Ensure your essay has an informative and compelling style 

#78 Try using these phrases such as: In view of; in light of; considering

#79 Use one of the following sentence structure when writing about your evidence “According to…” “…. stated that, “Referring to the views of…”

#80 Maintain an unbiased voice in your writing – your goal is to present some intriguing arguments to the reader

good words to write an essay on

#81 Try using phrases such as “In order to…”, “To that end…”,  “To this end…”

#82 Use phrases like these to emphasize a point: In other words; to put it another way; that is; to put it more simply

#83 Other phrases you could use are: Similarly; likewise; another key fact to remember; as well as; an equally significant aspect of

#84 When comparing ideas or opinions, use phrases such as: By contrast; in comparison; then again; that said; yet

#85 Use these phrases to demonstrate a positive aspect of something: Despite this; provided that; nonetheless

#86 Another way to add contrast is using these phrases: Importantly; significantly; notably; another key point

#87 When giving examples, try using phrases like these: For instance; to give an illustration of; to exemplify; to demonstrate; as evidence; to elucidate

#88 Try using these phrases in your conclusion: In conclusion; to conclude; to summarise; in sum; in the final analysis; on close analysis

#89 This phrase can be used to highlight the most compelling argument in your research “the most compelling argument is…”

#90 When explaining the significance of something, use one of these phrases: Therefore; this suggests that; it can be seen that; the consequence is

#91 When summarizing, you can use some of these phrases: Above all; chiefly; especially; most significantly; it should be noted

#92 You might want to use the phrase “All things considered” when summarizing towards the end of your essay 

#93 Avoid using Wikipedia 

#94 Remember that the marker will always check to see if you have copied your work – so don’t do it

#95 Try your best

#96 Remember that writing an essay is also an opportunity to learn 

#97 Build your vocabulary while writing by using a dictionary to replace common words

#98 Make sure you understand the definition of the words you have used 

#99 Work hard but remember to take breaks 

#100 Submit your essay on time! 

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 177 college essay examples for 11 schools + expert analysis.

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College Admissions , College Essays

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The personal statement might just be the hardest part of your college application. Mostly this is because it has the least guidance and is the most open-ended. One way to understand what colleges are looking for when they ask you to write an essay is to check out the essays of students who already got in—college essays that actually worked. After all, they must be among the most successful of this weird literary genre.

In this article, I'll go through general guidelines for what makes great college essays great. I've also compiled an enormous list of 100+ actual sample college essays from 11 different schools. Finally, I'll break down two of these published college essay examples and explain why and how they work. With links to 177 full essays and essay excerpts , this article is a great resource for learning how to craft your own personal college admissions essay!

What Excellent College Essays Have in Common

Even though in many ways these sample college essays are very different from one other, they do share some traits you should try to emulate as you write your own essay.

Visible Signs of Planning

Building out from a narrow, concrete focus. You'll see a similar structure in many of the essays. The author starts with a very detailed story of an event or description of a person or place. After this sense-heavy imagery, the essay expands out to make a broader point about the author, and connects this very memorable experience to the author's present situation, state of mind, newfound understanding, or maturity level.

Knowing how to tell a story. Some of the experiences in these essays are one-of-a-kind. But most deal with the stuff of everyday life. What sets them apart is the way the author approaches the topic: analyzing it for drama and humor, for its moving qualities, for what it says about the author's world, and for how it connects to the author's emotional life.

Stellar Execution

A killer first sentence. You've heard it before, and you'll hear it again: you have to suck the reader in, and the best place to do that is the first sentence. Great first sentences are punchy. They are like cliffhangers, setting up an exciting scene or an unusual situation with an unclear conclusion, in order to make the reader want to know more. Don't take my word for it—check out these 22 first sentences from Stanford applicants and tell me you don't want to read the rest of those essays to find out what happens!

A lively, individual voice. Writing is for readers. In this case, your reader is an admissions officer who has read thousands of essays before yours and will read thousands after. Your goal? Don't bore your reader. Use interesting descriptions, stay away from clichés, include your own offbeat observations—anything that makes this essay sounds like you and not like anyone else.

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Technical correctness. No spelling mistakes, no grammar weirdness, no syntax issues, no punctuation snafus—each of these sample college essays has been formatted and proofread perfectly. If this kind of exactness is not your strong suit, you're in luck! All colleges advise applicants to have their essays looked over several times by parents, teachers, mentors, and anyone else who can spot a comma splice. Your essay must be your own work, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting help polishing it.

And if you need more guidance, connect with PrepScholar's expert admissions consultants . These expert writers know exactly what college admissions committees look for in an admissions essay and chan help you craft an essay that boosts your chances of getting into your dream school.

Check out PrepScholar's Essay Editing and Coaching progra m for more details!

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Links to Full College Essay Examples

Some colleges publish a selection of their favorite accepted college essays that worked, and I've put together a selection of over 100 of these.

Common App Essay Samples

Please note that some of these college essay examples may be responding to prompts that are no longer in use. The current Common App prompts are as follows:

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. 2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? 3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? 4. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you? 5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. 6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

Now, let's get to the good stuff: the list of 177 college essay examples responding to current and past Common App essay prompts. 

Connecticut college.

  • 12 Common Application essays from the classes of 2022-2025

Hamilton College

  • 7 Common Application essays from the class of 2026
  • 7 Common Application essays from the class of 2022
  • 7 Common Application essays from the class of 2018
  • 8 Common Application essays from the class of 2012
  • 8 Common Application essays from the class of 2007

Johns Hopkins

These essays are answers to past prompts from either the Common Application or the Coalition Application (which Johns Hopkins used to accept).

  • 1 Common Application or Coalition Application essay from the class of 2026
  • 6 Common Application or Coalition Application essays from the class of 2025
  • 6 Common Application or Universal Application essays from the class of 2024
  • 6 Common Application or Universal Application essays from the class of 2023
  • 7 Common Application of Universal Application essays from the class of 2022
  • 5 Common Application or Universal Application essays from the class of 2021
  • 7 Common Application or Universal Application essays from the class of 2020

Essay Examples Published by Other Websites

  • 2 Common Application essays ( 1st essay , 2nd essay ) from applicants admitted to Columbia

Other Sample College Essays

Here is a collection of essays that are college-specific.

Babson College

  • 4 essays (and 1 video response) on "Why Babson" from the class of 2020

Emory University

  • 5 essay examples ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ) from the class of 2020 along with analysis from Emory admissions staff on why the essays were exceptional
  • 5 more recent essay examples ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ) along with analysis from Emory admissions staff on what made these essays stand out

University of Georgia

  • 1 “strong essay” sample from 2019
  • 1 “strong essay” sample from 2018
  • 10 Harvard essays from 2023
  • 10 Harvard essays from 2022
  • 10 Harvard essays from 2021
  • 10 Harvard essays from 2020
  • 10 Harvard essays from 2019
  • 10 Harvard essays from 2018
  • 6 essays from admitted MIT students

Smith College

  • 6 "best gift" essays from the class of 2018

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Books of College Essays

If you're looking for even more sample college essays, consider purchasing a college essay book. The best of these include dozens of essays that worked and feedback from real admissions officers.

College Essays That Made a Difference —This detailed guide from Princeton Review includes not only successful essays, but also interviews with admissions officers and full student profiles.

50 Successful Harvard Application Essays by the Staff of the Harvard Crimson—A must for anyone aspiring to Harvard .

50 Successful Ivy League Application Essays and 50 Successful Stanford Application Essays by Gen and Kelly Tanabe—For essays from other top schools, check out this venerated series, which is regularly updated with new essays.

Heavenly Essays by Janine W. Robinson—This collection from the popular blogger behind Essay Hell includes a wider range of schools, as well as helpful tips on honing your own essay.

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Analyzing Great Common App Essays That Worked

I've picked two essays from the examples collected above to examine in more depth so that you can see exactly what makes a successful college essay work. Full credit for these essays goes to the original authors and the schools that published them.

Example 1: "Breaking Into Cars," by Stephen, Johns Hopkins Class of '19 (Common App Essay, 636 words long)

I had never broken into a car before.

We were in Laredo, having just finished our first day at a Habitat for Humanity work site. The Hotchkiss volunteers had already left, off to enjoy some Texas BBQ, leaving me behind with the college kids to clean up. Not until we were stranded did we realize we were locked out of the van.

Someone picked a coat hanger out of the dumpster, handed it to me, and took a few steps back.

"Can you do that thing with a coat hanger to unlock it?"

"Why me?" I thought.

More out of amusement than optimism, I gave it a try. I slid the hanger into the window's seal like I'd seen on crime shows, and spent a few minutes jiggling the apparatus around the inside of the frame. Suddenly, two things simultaneously clicked. One was the lock on the door. (I actually succeeded in springing it.) The other was the realization that I'd been in this type of situation before. In fact, I'd been born into this type of situation.

My upbringing has numbed me to unpredictability and chaos. With a family of seven, my home was loud, messy, and spottily supervised. My siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing—all meant my house was functioning normally. My Dad, a retired Navy pilot, was away half the time. When he was home, he had a parenting style something like a drill sergeant. At the age of nine, I learned how to clear burning oil from the surface of water. My Dad considered this a critical life skill—you know, in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed. "The water's on fire! Clear a hole!" he shouted, tossing me in the lake without warning. While I'm still unconvinced about that particular lesson's practicality, my Dad's overarching message is unequivocally true: much of life is unexpected, and you have to deal with the twists and turns.

Living in my family, days rarely unfolded as planned. A bit overlooked, a little pushed around, I learned to roll with reality, negotiate a quick deal, and give the improbable a try. I don't sweat the small stuff, and I definitely don't expect perfect fairness. So what if our dining room table only has six chairs for seven people? Someone learns the importance of punctuality every night.

But more than punctuality and a special affinity for musical chairs, my family life has taught me to thrive in situations over which I have no power. Growing up, I never controlled my older siblings, but I learned how to thwart their attempts to control me. I forged alliances, and realigned them as necessary. Sometimes, I was the poor, defenseless little brother; sometimes I was the omniscient elder. Different things to different people, as the situation demanded. I learned to adapt.

Back then, these techniques were merely reactions undertaken to ensure my survival. But one day this fall, Dr. Hicks, our Head of School, asked me a question that he hoped all seniors would reflect on throughout the year: "How can I participate in a thing I do not govern, in the company of people I did not choose?"

The question caught me off guard, much like the question posed to me in Laredo. Then, I realized I knew the answer. I knew why the coat hanger had been handed to me.

Growing up as the middle child in my family, I was a vital participant in a thing I did not govern, in the company of people I did not choose. It's family. It's society. And often, it's chaos. You participate by letting go of the small stuff, not expecting order and perfection, and facing the unexpected with confidence, optimism, and preparedness. My family experience taught me to face a serendipitous world with confidence.

What Makes This Essay Tick?

It's very helpful to take writing apart in order to see just how it accomplishes its objectives. Stephen's essay is very effective. Let's find out why!

An Opening Line That Draws You In

In just eight words, we get: scene-setting (he is standing next to a car about to break in), the idea of crossing a boundary (he is maybe about to do an illegal thing for the first time), and a cliffhanger (we are thinking: is he going to get caught? Is he headed for a life of crime? Is he about to be scared straight?).

Great, Detailed Opening Story

More out of amusement than optimism, I gave it a try. I slid the hanger into the window's seal like I'd seen on crime shows, and spent a few minutes jiggling the apparatus around the inside of the frame.

It's the details that really make this small experience come alive. Notice how whenever he can, Stephen uses a more specific, descriptive word in place of a more generic one. The volunteers aren't going to get food or dinner; they're going for "Texas BBQ." The coat hanger comes from "a dumpster." Stephen doesn't just move the coat hanger—he "jiggles" it.

Details also help us visualize the emotions of the people in the scene. The person who hands Stephen the coat hanger isn't just uncomfortable or nervous; he "takes a few steps back"—a description of movement that conveys feelings. Finally, the detail of actual speech makes the scene pop. Instead of writing that the other guy asked him to unlock the van, Stephen has the guy actually say his own words in a way that sounds like a teenager talking.

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Turning a Specific Incident Into a Deeper Insight

Suddenly, two things simultaneously clicked. One was the lock on the door. (I actually succeeded in springing it.) The other was the realization that I'd been in this type of situation before. In fact, I'd been born into this type of situation.

Stephen makes the locked car experience a meaningful illustration of how he has learned to be resourceful and ready for anything, and he also makes this turn from the specific to the broad through an elegant play on the two meanings of the word "click."

Using Concrete Examples When Making Abstract Claims

My upbringing has numbed me to unpredictability and chaos. With a family of seven, my home was loud, messy, and spottily supervised. My siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing—all meant my house was functioning normally.

"Unpredictability and chaos" are very abstract, not easily visualized concepts. They could also mean any number of things—violence, abandonment, poverty, mental instability. By instantly following up with highly finite and unambiguous illustrations like "family of seven" and "siblings arguing, the dog barking, the phone ringing," Stephen grounds the abstraction in something that is easy to picture: a large, noisy family.

Using Small Bits of Humor and Casual Word Choice

My Dad, a retired Navy pilot, was away half the time. When he was home, he had a parenting style something like a drill sergeant. At the age of nine, I learned how to clear burning oil from the surface of water. My Dad considered this a critical life skill—you know, in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed.

Obviously, knowing how to clean burning oil is not high on the list of things every 9-year-old needs to know. To emphasize this, Stephen uses sarcasm by bringing up a situation that is clearly over-the-top: "in case my aircraft carrier should ever get torpedoed."

The humor also feels relaxed. Part of this is because he introduces it with the colloquial phrase "you know," so it sounds like he is talking to us in person. This approach also diffuses the potential discomfort of the reader with his father's strictness—since he is making jokes about it, clearly he is OK. Notice, though, that this doesn't occur very much in the essay. This helps keep the tone meaningful and serious rather than flippant.

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An Ending That Stretches the Insight Into the Future

But one day this fall, Dr. Hicks, our Head of School, asked me a question that he hoped all seniors would reflect on throughout the year: "How can I participate in a thing I do not govern, in the company of people I did not choose?"

The ending of the essay reveals that Stephen's life has been one long preparation for the future. He has emerged from chaos and his dad's approach to parenting as a person who can thrive in a world that he can't control.

This connection of past experience to current maturity and self-knowledge is a key element in all successful personal essays. Colleges are very much looking for mature, self-aware applicants. These are the qualities of successful college students, who will be able to navigate the independence college classes require and the responsibility and quasi-adulthood of college life.

What Could This Essay Do Even Better?

Even the best essays aren't perfect, and even the world's greatest writers will tell you that writing is never "finished"—just "due." So what would we tweak in this essay if we could?

Replace some of the clichéd language. Stephen uses handy phrases like "twists and turns" and "don't sweat the small stuff" as a kind of shorthand for explaining his relationship to chaos and unpredictability. But using too many of these ready-made expressions runs the risk of clouding out your own voice and replacing it with something expected and boring.

Use another example from recent life. Stephen's first example (breaking into the van in Laredo) is a great illustration of being resourceful in an unexpected situation. But his essay also emphasizes that he "learned to adapt" by being "different things to different people." It would be great to see how this plays out outside his family, either in the situation in Laredo or another context.

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Example 2: By Renner Kwittken, Tufts Class of '23 (Common App Essay, 645 words long)

My first dream job was to be a pickle truck driver. I saw it in my favorite book, Richard Scarry's "Cars and Trucks and Things That Go," and for some reason, I was absolutely obsessed with the idea of driving a giant pickle. Much to the discontent of my younger sister, I insisted that my parents read us that book as many nights as possible so we could find goldbug, a small little golden bug, on every page. I would imagine the wonderful life I would have: being a pig driving a giant pickle truck across the country, chasing and finding goldbug. I then moved on to wanting to be a Lego Master. Then an architect. Then a surgeon.

Then I discovered a real goldbug: gold nanoparticles that can reprogram macrophages to assist in killing tumors, produce clear images of them without sacrificing the subject, and heat them to obliteration.

Suddenly the destination of my pickle was clear.

I quickly became enveloped by the world of nanomedicine; I scoured articles about liposomes, polymeric micelles, dendrimers, targeting ligands, and self-assembling nanoparticles, all conquering cancer in some exotic way. Completely absorbed, I set out to find a mentor to dive even deeper into these topics. After several rejections, I was immensely grateful to receive an invitation to work alongside Dr. Sangeeta Ray at Johns Hopkins.

In the lab, Dr. Ray encouraged a great amount of autonomy to design and implement my own procedures. I chose to attack a problem that affects the entire field of nanomedicine: nanoparticles consistently fail to translate from animal studies into clinical trials. Jumping off recent literature, I set out to see if a pre-dose of a common chemotherapeutic could enhance nanoparticle delivery in aggressive prostate cancer, creating three novel constructs based on three different linear polymers, each using fluorescent dye (although no gold, sorry goldbug!). Though using radioactive isotopes like Gallium and Yttrium would have been incredible, as a 17-year-old, I unfortunately wasn't allowed in the same room as these radioactive materials (even though I took a Geiger counter to a pair of shoes and found them to be slightly dangerous).

I hadn't expected my hypothesis to work, as the research project would have ideally been led across two full years. Yet while there are still many optimizations and revisions to be done, I was thrilled to find -- with completely new nanoparticles that may one day mean future trials will use particles with the initials "RK-1" -- thatcyclophosphamide did indeed increase nanoparticle delivery to the tumor in a statistically significant way.

A secondary, unexpected research project was living alone in Baltimore, a new city to me, surrounded by people much older than I. Even with moving frequently between hotels, AirBnB's, and students' apartments, I strangely reveled in the freedom I had to enjoy my surroundings and form new friendships with graduate school students from the lab. We explored The Inner Harbor at night, attended a concert together one weekend, and even got to watch the Orioles lose (to nobody's surprise). Ironically, it's through these new friendships I discovered something unexpected: what I truly love is sharing research. Whether in a presentation or in a casual conversation, making others interested in science is perhaps more exciting to me than the research itself. This solidified a new pursuit to angle my love for writing towards illuminating science in ways people can understand, adding value to a society that can certainly benefit from more scientific literacy.

It seems fitting that my goals are still transforming: in Scarry's book, there is not just one goldbug, there is one on every page. With each new experience, I'm learning that it isn't the goldbug itself, but rather the act of searching for the goldbugs that will encourage, shape, and refine my ever-evolving passions. Regardless of the goldbug I seek -- I know my pickle truck has just begun its journey.

Renner takes a somewhat different approach than Stephen, but their essay is just as detailed and engaging. Let's go through some of the strengths of this essay.

One Clear Governing Metaphor

This essay is ultimately about two things: Renner’s dreams and future career goals, and Renner’s philosophy on goal-setting and achieving one’s dreams.

But instead of listing off all the amazing things they’ve done to pursue their dream of working in nanomedicine, Renner tells a powerful, unique story instead. To set up the narrative, Renner opens the essay by connecting their experiences with goal-setting and dream-chasing all the way back to a memorable childhood experience:

This lighthearted–but relevant!--story about the moment when Renner first developed a passion for a specific career (“finding the goldbug”) provides an anchor point for the rest of the essay. As Renner pivots to describing their current dreams and goals–working in nanomedicine–the metaphor of “finding the goldbug” is reflected in Renner’s experiments, rejections, and new discoveries.

Though Renner tells multiple stories about their quest to “find the goldbug,” or, in other words, pursue their passion, each story is connected by a unifying theme; namely, that as we search and grow over time, our goals will transform…and that’s okay! By the end of the essay, Renner uses the metaphor of “finding the goldbug” to reiterate the relevance of the opening story:

While the earlier parts of the essay convey Renner’s core message by showing, the final, concluding paragraph sums up Renner’s insights by telling. By briefly and clearly stating the relevance of the goldbug metaphor to their own philosophy on goals and dreams, Renner demonstrates their creativity, insight, and eagerness to grow and evolve as the journey continues into college.

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An Engaging, Individual Voice

This essay uses many techniques that make Renner sound genuine and make the reader feel like we already know them.

Technique #1: humor. Notice Renner's gentle and relaxed humor that lightly mocks their younger self's grand ambitions (this is different from the more sarcastic kind of humor used by Stephen in the first essay—you could never mistake one writer for the other).

My first dream job was to be a pickle truck driver.

I would imagine the wonderful life I would have: being a pig driving a giant pickle truck across the country, chasing and finding goldbug. I then moved on to wanting to be a Lego Master. Then an architect. Then a surgeon.

Renner gives a great example of how to use humor to your advantage in college essays. You don’t want to come off as too self-deprecating or sarcastic, but telling a lightheartedly humorous story about your younger self that also showcases how you’ve grown and changed over time can set the right tone for your entire essay.

Technique #2: intentional, eye-catching structure. The second technique is the way Renner uses a unique structure to bolster the tone and themes of their essay . The structure of your essay can have a major impact on how your ideas come across…so it’s important to give it just as much thought as the content of your essay!

For instance, Renner does a great job of using one-line paragraphs to create dramatic emphasis and to make clear transitions from one phase of the story to the next:

Suddenly the destination of my pickle car was clear.

Not only does the one-liner above signal that Renner is moving into a new phase of the narrative (their nanoparticle research experiences), it also tells the reader that this is a big moment in Renner’s story. It’s clear that Renner made a major discovery that changed the course of their goal pursuit and dream-chasing. Through structure, Renner conveys excitement and entices the reader to keep pushing forward to the next part of the story.

Technique #3: playing with syntax. The third technique is to use sentences of varying length, syntax, and structure. Most of the essay's written in standard English and uses grammatically correct sentences. However, at key moments, Renner emphasizes that the reader needs to sit up and pay attention by switching to short, colloquial, differently punctuated, and sometimes fragmented sentences.

Even with moving frequently between hotels, AirBnB's, and students' apartments, I strangely reveled in the freedom I had to enjoy my surroundings and form new friendships with graduate school students from the lab. We explored The Inner Harbor at night, attended a concert together one weekend, and even got to watch the Orioles lose (to nobody's surprise). Ironically, it's through these new friendships I discovered something unexpected: what I truly love is sharing research.

In the examples above, Renner switches adeptly between long, flowing sentences and quippy, telegraphic ones. At the same time, Renner uses these different sentence lengths intentionally. As they describe their experiences in new places, they use longer sentences to immerse the reader in the sights, smells, and sounds of those experiences. And when it’s time to get a big, key idea across, Renner switches to a short, punchy sentence to stop the reader in their tracks.

The varying syntax and sentence lengths pull the reader into the narrative and set up crucial “aha” moments when it’s most important…which is a surefire way to make any college essay stand out.

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Renner's essay is very strong, but there are still a few little things that could be improved.

Connecting the research experiences to the theme of “finding the goldbug.”  The essay begins and ends with Renner’s connection to the idea of “finding the goldbug.” And while this metaphor is deftly tied into the essay’s intro and conclusion, it isn’t entirely clear what Renner’s big findings were during the research experiences that are described in the middle of the essay. It would be great to add a sentence or two stating what Renner’s big takeaways (or “goldbugs”) were from these experiences, which add more cohesion to the essay as a whole.

Give more details about discovering the world of nanomedicine. It makes sense that Renner wants to get into the details of their big research experiences as quickly as possible. After all, these are the details that show Renner’s dedication to nanomedicine! But a smoother transition from the opening pickle car/goldbug story to Renner’s “real goldbug” of nanoparticles would help the reader understand why nanoparticles became Renner’s goldbug. Finding out why Renner is so motivated to study nanomedicine–and perhaps what put them on to this field of study–would help readers fully understand why Renner chose this path in the first place.

4 Essential Tips for Writing Your Own Essay

How can you use this discussion to better your own college essay? Here are some suggestions for ways to use this resource effectively.

#1: Get Help From the Experts

Getting your college applications together takes a lot of work and can be pretty intimidatin g. Essays are even more important than ever now that admissions processes are changing and schools are going test-optional and removing diversity standards thanks to new Supreme Court rulings .  If you want certified expert help that really makes a difference, get started with  PrepScholar’s Essay Editing and Coaching program. Our program can help you put together an incredible essay from idea to completion so that your application stands out from the crowd. We've helped students get into the best colleges in the United States, including Harvard, Stanford, and Yale.  If you're ready to take the next step and boost your odds of getting into your dream school, connect with our experts today .

#2: Read Other Essays to Get Ideas for Your Own

As you go through the essays we've compiled for you above, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can you explain to yourself (or someone else!) why the opening sentence works well?
  • Look for the essay's detailed personal anecdote. What senses is the author describing? Can you easily picture the scene in your mind's eye?
  • Find the place where this anecdote bridges into a larger insight about the author. How does the essay connect the two? How does the anecdote work as an example of the author's characteristic, trait, or skill?
  • Check out the essay's tone. If it's funny, can you find the places where the humor comes from? If it's sad and moving, can you find the imagery and description of feelings that make you moved? If it's serious, can you see how word choice adds to this tone?

Make a note whenever you find an essay or part of an essay that you think was particularly well-written, and think about what you like about it . Is it funny? Does it help you really get to know the writer? Does it show what makes the writer unique? Once you have your list, keep it next to you while writing your essay to remind yourself to try and use those same techniques in your own essay.

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#3: Find Your "A-Ha!" Moment

All of these essays rely on connecting with the reader through a heartfelt, highly descriptive scene from the author's life. It can either be very dramatic (did you survive a plane crash?) or it can be completely mundane (did you finally beat your dad at Scrabble?). Either way, it should be personal and revealing about you, your personality, and the way you are now that you are entering the adult world.

Check out essays by authors like John Jeremiah Sullivan , Leslie Jamison , Hanif Abdurraqib , and Esmé Weijun Wang to get more examples of how to craft a compelling personal narrative.

#4: Start Early, Revise Often

Let me level with you: the best writing isn't writing at all. It's rewriting. And in order to have time to rewrite, you have to start way before the application deadline. My advice is to write your first draft at least two months before your applications are due.

Let it sit for a few days untouched. Then come back to it with fresh eyes and think critically about what you've written. What's extra? What's missing? What is in the wrong place? What doesn't make sense? Don't be afraid to take it apart and rearrange sections. Do this several times over, and your essay will be much better for it!

For more editing tips, check out a style guide like Dreyer's English or Eats, Shoots & Leaves .

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What's Next?

Still not sure which colleges you want to apply to? Our experts will show you how to make a college list that will help you choose a college that's right for you.

Interested in learning more about college essays? Check out our detailed breakdown of exactly how personal statements work in an application , some suggestions on what to avoid when writing your essay , and our guide to writing about your extracurricular activities .

Working on the rest of your application? Read what admissions officers wish applicants knew before applying .

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

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The recommendations in this post are based solely on our knowledge and experience. If you purchase an item through one of our links PrepScholar may receive a commission.

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Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia. She is passionate about improving student access to higher education.

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Top 300+ List of Essay Words To Use

Here is our top list of essay words you can add to your writing.

Any student or academic will tell you writing academic papers requires patience, thorough research, and appropriate words to relay ideas effectively. Below, we have prepared a list of essay words for your essay or academic piece’s introduction, body, and conclusion.

What Are Essay Words?

Essay words printable, essay words for the introduction, essay words for giving examples, essay words for highlighting arguments, essay words for showing sequence, essay words for adding information, essay words for comparing and contrasting ideas, essay words for the conclusion, what is the one word that can be applied to this kind of essay, what words can i use when writing an essay, what are other words for you in an essay, what are the 5 types of essays.

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Along with a paper’s arguments, format, and structure, essay words are used to adequately explain the subject in a formal but clear manner. Picking the correct phrases and words helps your audience realize your key point and persuade them to follow your thinking.

Plus, applying suitable words to introduce and expound ideas convinces your readers that you’ve done your research correctly. These English essay words are also helpful if you spend time paraphrasing the ideas of other writers and academics. If you need more help, consider using a good essay checker .  Here are essay words you can use:

Essay words list printable

Most academic essays require a formal writing style because using informal writing makes it hard to edit and grade based on a standard the school or university gives. Even personal and narrative essays must stay formal. These are the words to create and enhance your introduction without losing the sense of formality in academic writing.

According to the most recent data, more employees prefer working at home than in the office.

This essay will address the issue of gender inequality in the workforce.

In this essay, we will analyze the various factors that contribute to climate change.

The approach we’ll use in discussing this topic involves a combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis.

Some experts argue that human activities are the major contributors to global warming.

The author asserts that the lack of early education is one of the main drivers of economic inequality.

Let’s assume for a moment that we’ve already optimized all renewable energy sources.

Before we begin analyzing the effects of the problem, we must first know the root of it.

This essay takes a broad look at the implications of global warming on agricultural productivity.

  • Challenging

Drug addiction is the most challenging global problem every government must solve.

Mental illness is a topic with many complex issues.

We will consider both sides of the argument before drawing conclusions.

  • Significance

What is the significance of following rules?

In the context of this discussion, “productivity” refers to the output of a worker per hour.

Mental health is a sensitive topic affecting people of all ages.

There is a debate about the effectiveness of the new tax policy in reducing income disparity.

This essay will detail the causes and effects of deforestation.

Our task is to determine the causes of the rise in mental health issues among college students.

We will discuss the ethical implications of genetic engineering in this essay.

This essay will elaborate on the role of social movements in bringing about societal change.

In the next section, the researchers will enumerate the benefits of adopting a plant-based diet.

We will evaluate the impact of climate change on biodiversity.

This essay will explore the important aspect of artificial intelligence in modern healthcare.

To understand the subject better, we will first discuss its history.

First and foremost , it’s essential to understand that not all politicians are bad.

We can learn a lot from the book “ The Little Prince ,” such as about the fundamental nature of love.

The essay will highlight the importance of community participation in local governance.

This essay will illuminate the effects of screen time on children’s development.

This essay will introduce the concept of sustainable development and its significance.

The main goal of this essay is to discuss the value of justice in our lives.

There’s a myriad of factors that affect a country’s tourism.

The objective of this essay is to spread awareness about the violence women and children face daily. 

An overview of the current state of renewable energy technologies will be provided in this essay.

We will present an argument in favor of implementing more stringent environmental regulations.

Lack of knowledge in managing finances is a prevalent problem today.

A good speaker delivers their speech without referring to notes.

In this essay, we will review studies related to the impact of social media on teenagers.

Let’s shed some light on the impact of fast fashion on the environment in this essay.

The youth’s mental state today has been disturbed by societal pressures, such as the impossible beauty standards they see on social media. 

Research suggests that adolescent mental health can be severely affected by excessive screen time.

  • To that end

To that end , this essay aims to challenge conventional thinking and inspire more inclusive practices in our communities.

This essay will touch on the issue of gender disparity in corporate leadership.

We will unpack the factors contributing to the rapid development of technology.

My essay aims to validate the hypothesis that a healthier diet can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.

This essay will weigh the pros and cons of genetic modification in agriculture.

We’ll zoom in on the specific impacts of pollution on marine ecosystems in this essay.

Essays need examples to present arguments and illustrate cases. Examples support claims offer evidence, make complex concepts easier for readers, and usually lead to higher grades! Knowing several essay words for giving examples is vital to avoid the repetition of similar words or phrases. 

Akin to the effects of climate change, deforestation also leads to a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

To analogize, the effect of deforestation on our planet is like removing the lungs from a living organism.

It appears from recent studies that regular exercise can improve mental health.

Our justice system’s flaws are apparent, such as in the case of O.J. Simpson , who was acquitted despite murdering his wife.

To clarify, this essay argues that renewable energy is more sustainable than fossil fuels.

This essay conveys the importance of cultivating empathy in a diverse society.

  • Corroborate

Recent studies corroborate the theory that mindfulness meditation can reduce stress.

  • Demonstrate

Statistics demonstrate a significant correlation between diet and heart disease.

This essay will depict the socio-economic impacts of the ongoing pandemic.

Current research discloses a worrying trend of increasing cyber threats.

The data displays a significant increase in the usage of renewable energy sources.

To elucidate, this essay aims to explore the intricate relationship between mental health and social media use.

The evidence suggests that pollution is a major factor contributing to global warming.

The effects of climate change exemplify the urgent need for environmental preservation.

The graphs below exhibit the significant impact of human activities on climate change.

  • For example

For example, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can significantly lower the risk of heart disease.

  • For instance

For instance, aerobic exercises like running and swimming improve cardiovascular health.

  • I.e. (Id est)

A healthy lifestyle, i.e., a balanced diet and regular exercise, can prevent numerous diseases.

This essay will illustrate how technology has transformed modern education.

Imagine if we could harness all the power from the sun; we would have an unlimited source of clean energy.

  • In other words

In other words, this essay will deconstruct the complexities of artificial intelligence in layman’s terms.

The data indicates a steady decline in the population of bees worldwide.

Like a domino effect, one small change can trigger a series of events in an ecosystem.

This essay will outline the main strategies for maintaining mental wellness amid a pandemic.

This essay seeks to portray the various forms of discrimination prevalent in society.

  • Pretend that

Pretend that each tree cut down is a breath of air taken away; perhaps then we’ll understand the severity of deforestation.

The melting polar ice caps are undeniable proof of global warming.

This essay proposes a holistic approach to dealing with the issue of cyberbullying.

Each data point represents a respondent’s opinion in the survey.

Recent studies reveal a direct correlation between screen time and sleep disorders.

The experts say that practicing mindfulness can help reduce anxiety.

The graphs show a significant increase in the global temperature over the past century.

Similar to how a car needs fuel to run, our bodies need a balanced diet for optimal performance.

The current situation with the global pandemic has underscored the importance of mental health.

  • Substantiate

The studies substantiate the claim that smoking can lead to a multitude of health issues.

In this context, melting ice caps symbolize the urgent need for climate action.

The data tells us that stress levels have spiked during the pandemic.

The increasing global temperatures are a testament to the impact of human activities on climate change.

  • To give an idea

To give an idea, think of the human brain as a super-computer, continuously processing and storing information.

The goal of this essay is to underline the importance of sustainable practices.

The findings verify the hypothesis that meditation can improve mental health.

These words appear throughout the essay but are mainly for the body. You can use these words to effectively show the importance of an argument and emphasize essential paragraphs in your essay.

Above all, it’s essential to maintain a balance between work and personal life for overall well-being.

  • Acknowledge

We must acknowledge the crucial role of teachers in shaping the future of our society.

Environmentalists advocate for sustainable practices to mitigate climate change effects.

The research affirms the beneficial impact of regular exercise on mental health.

The government is taking measures to amplify the reach of digital literacy.

Adding evidence from credible sources can bolster your argument in an essay.

The author cites numerous studies to support his theory of human behavior.

  • Conclusively

Conclusively, the findings suggest a strong correlation between diet and heart health.

The experiments confirm the effectiveness of the vaccine against the virus.

Some experts contend that implementing a carbon tax reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

These new findings contradict the previously held beliefs about the origins of the universe.

The president will declare a state of emergency in a few days.

Exercise can definitely improve your mood and energy levels.

The speaker emphasizes the need for more mental health services.

Many celebrities endorse the idea of adopting a plant-based diet for environmental reasons.

Children, especially, should be taught the value of resilience from an early age.

These viral scandals expose the corruption within the political system.

The law expressly forbids discrimination based on race or gender.

The situation is extremely concerning and requires immediate attention.

The fact is that climate change is a reality we must confront.

We should focus on adopting renewable sources of energy to mitigate climate change.

  • Fundamentally

Fundamentally, equality is a basic human right that everyone deserves.

The data seems to imply a shift in consumer behavior towards sustainable products.

  • Importantly

Importantly, regular check-ups are crucial for early detection of diseases.

  • in light of

In light of recent research, it’s vital to re-examine the previous findings.

Regular exercise, indeed, has been proven to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses.

  • Irrefutable

The damaging effects of plastic pollution on marine life are irrefutable .

We must maintain a commitment to practice sustainability in our daily lives.

  • Make certain of

Before the researchers start any experiments, they must make certain of procedures and goals.

Several factors contribute to climate change, namely deforestation, industrial pollution, and urbanization.

It’s necessary to reduce our carbon footprint to protect the planet.

Notably, the use of renewable energy has been making significant progress in recent years.

Obviously, a balanced diet and regular exercise are key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

  • On the whole

On the whole, implementing green practices can significantly improve our environmental impact.

  • Particularly

Air pollution is a concern, particularly in densely populated cities.

The study points out the beneficial effects of meditation in reducing stress.

The organization is primarily focused on promoting gender equality.

The success stories reinforce the importance of perseverance and hard work.

I would like to reiterate the need for consistent efforts in maintaining mental health.

  • Significantly

Regular physical activity can significantly decrease the risk of heart disease.

The project was singularly successful due to the dedicated efforts of the team.

  • Specifically

The legislation specifically targets unfair practices in the industry.

Ultimately, the decision rests on the collective agreement of the team.

Alice in Wonderland syndrome, or AIWS , is undeniably one of the rarest diseases.

  • Undoubtedly

Undoubtedly, regular reading considerably enhances vocabulary and comprehension skills.

  • Unquestionably

Unquestionably, education plays a pivotal role in societal development.

These words show the order of events or progress in an essay. They are used to give examples to further expound on a point or introduce another concept. However, be careful that each paragraph should only focus on one idea.

After completing the coursework, the students began preparing for the final exams.

The team celebrated their victory, afterwards, they began to prepare for the next season.

He accepted the job, albeit with some reservations.

As soon as the rain stopped, we left for our hike.

Before the introduction of modern technology, tasks were manually done.

  • Concurrently

The two events were happening concurrently, no wonder there was a scheduling conflict.

  • Consecutively

She was late for work three days consecutively .

  • Consequently

He forgot his wallet, consequently, he couldn’t pay for lunch.

  • Continually

The organization is continually striving to improve its services.

She loves the beach. Conversely, he prefers the mountains.

The team is currently working on the new project.

During the conference, several new initiatives were announced.

Earlier in the day, we had discussed the pros and cons.

Eventually, she managed to finish her book.

Firstly, we need to identify the root of the problem.

Following the events yesterday, we decided to meet up today.

He was tired, hence he went to bed early.

Henceforth, all meetings will be held in the new conference room.

Hereafter, we must ensure that all protocols are strictly followed.

  • Immediately

He left immediately after the meeting.

  • In the interim

In the interim, we’ll continue with our current strategies.

  • In the meantime

In the meantime, let’s clean up the workspace.

  • Incidentally

Incidentally, I came across this book while cleaning my attic.

With the constant disagreements, the project inevitably failed.

She invariably arrives late for meetings.

We decided to postpone the discussion for later .

Latterly, there has been a surge in the use of online learning platforms.

He will cook dinner. Meanwhile, I will set the table.

  • Momentarily

He was momentarily distracted by the noise.

Next, we need to review the project plan.

  • Periodically

The software updates periodically to ensure optimal performance.

She is presently attending a conference in New York.

Previously, we discussed the risks involved in the project.

Prior to the event, we need to finalize all arrangements.

  • Sequentially

The tasks must be completed sequentially .

  • Simultaneously

We cannot handle multiple tasks simultaneously .

She will arrive soon .

  • Subsequently

He completed his degree and subsequently found a job in the field.

The power suddenly went out.

He got promoted and thereafter received a substantial raise in salary.

Thereupon, he decided to retire and write a book.

Thus, we conclude our discussion.

Keep stirring until the sugar dissolves.

We will begin when everyone arrives.

Call me whenever you need help.

While she cooked the meal, he set the table.

No matter what type of essay you write, it should remain informative. Words used to add information create flow, expand arguments, and incorporate details that support your points.

She’s asking him about that project the boss wants them to do.

The results were not as bad as anticipated; actually, they were quite good.

This is a great product; in addition, it’s very affordable.

  • Additionally

The car is economical; additionally, it’s environmentally friendly.

She tried again after failing the first time.

He worked alongside his colleagues to complete the project.

We will also need to consider the budget.

  • Alternatively

If the plan fails, we could alternatively try a different approach.

She likes to read books and watch movies.

He is open to another perspective on the matter.

She will attend the meeting as well .

The project will assuredly be completed on time.

Besides the main dish, we also have a variety of desserts.

She will certainly appreciate the gesture.

The rules were clearly explained to everyone.

This is a problem commonly encountered in this field.

  • Complementary

The two studies are complementary, providing a comprehensive understanding of the issue.

  • Correspondingly

The workload increased, and correspondingly, the need for more staff became apparent.

The increased workload, coupled with tight deadlines, created a stressful atmosphere.

The team members contributed equally to the project.

The cake was delicious, and the icing made it even more enjoyable.

  • Furthermore

He is qualified for the job; furthermore, he has relevant experience.

  • In addition

She is a great leader; in addition, she is an excellent communicator.

  • In contrast

He is outgoing; in contrast, his brother is quite shy.

She did not like the book; in fact, she found it boring.

  • In particular

She loves flowers, roses in particular .

It appears simple; in reality, it’s quite complex.

  • In the same way

He treats all his employees fairly, in the same way he would like to be treated.

He enjoys reading; likewise, his sister loves books.

  • More importantly

She passed the exam; more importantly, she scored highest in the class.

The house is beautiful; moreover, it’s located in a great neighborhood.

  • Not only… but also

He is not only a talented musician, but also a great teacher.

  • On the one hand

On the one hand, he enjoys his current job; on the other, he aspires for a higher position.

  • On top of that

The food was delicious; on top of that, the service was excellent.

She has impressive qualifications; plus, she has a lot of experience.

He was disheartened after failing the exam; similarly, she was upset after losing the match.

He woke up late, and then rushed to work.

He is a skilled programmer; to add, he has an exceptional understanding of user experience design.

  • Together with

He completed the project together with his team.

She is tired, and she is hungry too .

  • With this in mind

With this in mind, we should proceed cautiously.

These are words used to include information that confirms or disagrees with a point in your essay. Words that compare and contrast ideas are common in argumentative essays. It’s because this type demands a counterargument to fairly present other experts’ take on the issue.

He went to work although he was feeling unwell.

  • Analogous to

The structure of an atom is analogous to our solar system.

  • As opposed to

She prefers tea as opposed to coffee.

  • By the same token

He is a great teacher; by the same token, he is a superb mentor.

  • Comparatively

My new laptop works comparatively faster than the old one.

Upon comparison, his work proved far superior.

  • Contrariwise

The day was hot; contrariwise, the night was chilly.

Contrary to his usual behavior, he arrived on time.

Her efforts are directly correlated to her success.

His words were counter to his actions.

Despite the rain, they continued the game.

  • Different from

His opinion is different from mine.

Their views on the subject are disparate .

  • Dissimilar to

His style of writing is dissimilar to that of his peers.

  • Distinct from

Her dress is distinct from the others.

  • Divergent from

His findings are divergent from the initial hypothesis.

  • Equivalent to

His happiness was equivalent to that of a child.

He failed the test; however, he didn’t stop trying.

  • In comparison

In comparison, his work is of a higher standard.

He gave a donation in lieu of flowers.

  • In like manner

She dresses in like manner to her sister.

  • In opposition to

He voted in opposition to the proposed bill.

  • In spite of

In spite of the challenges, she never gave up.

  • In the same vein

In the same vein, he continued his argument.

He chose to walk instead of taking the bus.

Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, success doesn’t come overnight.

Much as I appreciate your help, I must do this on my own.

  • Nevertheless

He was tired; nevertheless, he continued to work.

  • Notwithstanding

Notwithstanding the difficulties, he completed the task on time.

  • On the contrary

He is not lazy; on the contrary, he is a hard worker.

  • Opposite of

Joy is the opposite of sorrow.

His life parallels that of his father.

  • Rather than

She chose to laugh rather than cry.

  • Regardless of

Regardless of the consequences, he went ahead with his plan.

His answer is the same as mine.

  • Set side by side

When set side by side, the differences are clear.

Though he was late, he still got the job.

Unlike his brother, he is very outgoing.

It was a match of experience versus youth.

He is tall, whereas his brother is short.

He is rich, yet very humble.

The conclusion is an essential part of the essay. The concluding paragraph or section reiterates important points, leaves the readers with something to think about, and wraps up the essay nicely so it doesn’t end abruptly. 

  • Accordingly

He performed well on the job; accordingly, he was promoted.

  • After all is said and done

After all is said and done, it’s the kindness that counts.

All in all, the concert was a great success.

  • All things considered

All things considered, I think we made the best decision.

The event, altogether, was a memorable one.

  • As a final observation

As a final observation, her dedication to the project was commendable.

  • As a final point

As a final point, the successes outweighed the failures.

  • As a result

He worked hard; as a result, he achieved his goals.

His actions were inappropriate; as such, he was reprimanded.

  • By and large

By and large, the feedback has been positive.

The event was, chiefly, a success.

In close, I must say the performance was extraordinary.

The evidence was compelling and led to his conviction.

  • Effectively

The team effectively handled the project.

  • Everything considered

Everything considered, the trip was beneficial.

Evidently, he was not involved in the crime.

Finally, she announced her decision.

  • In a nutshell

In a nutshell, the plan was not effective.

  • In conclusion

In conclusion, we need to strive for better communication.

  • In drawing things to a close

In drawing things to a close, I’d like to thank everyone for their contributions.

In essence, we need to focus on quality, not quantity.

  • In retrospect

In retrospect, our methodology was correct.

In summary, the event was a success.

In the end, hard work always pays off.

  • In the final analysis

In the final analysis, the project was a success.

  • Last but not the least

Last but not the least, we need to thank our sponsors.

Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy the process.

On balance, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

Overall, it was a productive meeting.

Summarily, we need to focus on our key strengths.

The report summarizes the main findings of the study.

Summing up, we made significant progress this year.

  • Taking everything into account

Taking everything into account, it was a successful campaign.

He was ill; therefore, he couldn’t attend the meeting.

  • To cap it all off

To cap it all off, we had a great time at the party.

To close, we need your continued support.

  • To conclude

To conclude, let’s aim for higher targets next year.

To finish, remember that success comes to those who dare.

To sum up, we achieved our objectives.

  • Without a doubt

Without a doubt, it was an unforgettable experience.

To wrap, it was a journey worth taking.

Learning how to use the right essay words is just one of the many writing skills students and those writing in academia must develop. Others include a good knowledge of grammar and an ability to write an essay that’s readable and accurate. It just takes practice. Check out our guide packed full of transition words for essays .

Some words that could be used to describe different kinds of essays include argumentative, persuasive, expository, narrative, descriptive, analytical, compare and contrast, cause and effect, reflective, and personal.

When writing an essay, it’s important to choose appropriate and effective words to express your ideas clearly and concisely. Here are some words you can use to enhance your essay writing: 1. First, secondly, third 2. Moreover, furthermore, additionally 3. In addition, also, likewise 4. However, nevertheless, yet 5. Although, despite, regardless

Here are some other words that can be used as alternatives for “you” in an essay: yourself, oneself, one, someone, somebody, anyone, everybody, people, individuals, persons, others, them, they, yourselves, thou, thee.

1. Narrative essays 2. Descriptive essays 3. Expository essays 4. Persuasive essays 5. Argumentative essay

good words to write an essay on

Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.

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So much is at stake in writing a conclusion. This is, after all, your last chance to persuade your readers to your point of view, to impress yourself upon them as a writer and thinker. And the impression you create in your conclusion will shape the impression that stays with your readers after they've finished the essay.

The end of an essay should therefore convey a sense of completeness and closure as well as a sense of the lingering possibilities of the topic, its larger meaning, its implications: the final paragraph should close the discussion without closing it off.

To establish a sense of closure, you might do one or more of the following:

  • Conclude by linking the last paragraph to the first, perhaps by reiterating a word or phrase you used at the beginning.
  • Conclude with a sentence composed mainly of one-syllable words. Simple language can help create an effect of understated drama.
  • Conclude with a sentence that's compound or parallel in structure; such sentences can establish a sense of balance or order that may feel just right at the end of a complex discussion.

To close the discussion without closing it off, you might do one or more of the following:

  • Conclude with a quotation from or reference to a primary or secondary source, one that amplifies your main point or puts it in a different perspective. A quotation from, say, the novel or poem you're writing about can add texture and specificity to your discussion; a critic or scholar can help confirm or complicate your final point. For example, you might conclude an essay on the idea of home in James Joyce's short story collection,  Dubliners , with information about Joyce's own complex feelings towards Dublin, his home. Or you might end with a biographer's statement about Joyce's attitude toward Dublin, which could illuminate his characters' responses to the city. Just be cautious, especially about using secondary material: make sure that you get the last word.
  • Conclude by setting your discussion into a different, perhaps larger, context. For example, you might end an essay on nineteenth-century muckraking journalism by linking it to a current news magazine program like  60 Minutes .
  • Conclude by redefining one of the key terms of your argument. For example, an essay on Marx's treatment of the conflict between wage labor and capital might begin with Marx's claim that the "capitalist economy is . . . a gigantic enterprise of dehumanization "; the essay might end by suggesting that Marxist analysis is itself dehumanizing because it construes everything in economic -- rather than moral or ethical-- terms.
  • Conclude by considering the implications of your argument (or analysis or discussion). What does your argument imply, or involve, or suggest? For example, an essay on the novel  Ambiguous Adventure , by the Senegalese writer Cheikh Hamidou Kane, might open with the idea that the protagonist's development suggests Kane's belief in the need to integrate Western materialism and Sufi spirituality in modern Senegal. The conclusion might make the new but related point that the novel on the whole suggests that such an integration is (or isn't) possible.

Finally, some advice on how not to end an essay:

  • Don't simply summarize your essay. A brief summary of your argument may be useful, especially if your essay is long--more than ten pages or so. But shorter essays tend not to require a restatement of your main ideas.
  • Avoid phrases like "in conclusion," "to conclude," "in summary," and "to sum up." These phrases can be useful--even welcome--in oral presentations. But readers can see, by the tell-tale compression of the pages, when an essay is about to end. You'll irritate your audience if you belabor the obvious.
  • Resist the urge to apologize. If you've immersed yourself in your subject, you now know a good deal more about it than you can possibly include in a five- or ten- or 20-page essay. As a result, by the time you've finished writing, you may be having some doubts about what you've produced. (And if you haven't immersed yourself in your subject, you may be feeling even more doubtful about your essay as you approach the conclusion.) Repress those doubts. Don't undercut your authority by saying things like, "this is just one approach to the subject; there may be other, better approaches. . ."

Copyright 1998, Pat Bellanca, for the Writing Center at Harvard University

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5 Examples of Concluding Words for Essays

5 Examples of Concluding Words for Essays

4-minute read

  • 19th September 2022

If you’re a student writing an essay or research paper, it’s important to make sure your points flow together well. You’ll want to use connecting words (known formally as transition signals) to do this. Transition signals like thus , also , and furthermore link different ideas, and when you get to the end of your work, you need to use these to mark your conclusion. Read on to learn more about transition signals and how to use them to conclude your essays.

Transition Signals

Transition signals link sentences together cohesively, enabling easy reading and comprehension. They are usually placed at the beginning of a sentence and separated from the remaining words with a comma. There are several types of transition signals, including those to:

●  show the order of a sequence of events (e.g., first, then, next)

●  introduce an example (e.g., specifically, for instance)

●  indicate a contrasting idea (e.g., but, however, although)

●  present an additional idea (e.g., also, in addition, plus)

●  indicate time (e.g., beforehand, meanwhile, later)

●  compare (e.g., likewise, similarly)

●  show cause and effect (e.g., thus, as a result)

●  mark the conclusion – which we’ll focus on in this guide.

When you reach the end of an essay, you should start the concluding paragraph with a transition signal that acts as a bridge to the summary of your key points. Check out some concluding transition signals below and learn how you can use them in your writing.

To Conclude…

This is a particularly versatile closing statement that can be used for almost any kind of essay, including both formal and informal academic writing. It signals to the reader that you will briefly restate the main idea. As an alternative, you can begin the summary with “to close” or “in conclusion.” In an argumentative piece, you can use this phrase to indicate a call to action or opinion:

To conclude, Abraham Lincoln was the best president because he abolished slavery.

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As Has Been Demonstrated…

To describe how the evidence presented in your essay supports your argument or main idea, begin the concluding paragraph with “as has been demonstrated.” This phrase is best used for research papers or articles with heavy empirical or statistical evidence.

As has been demonstrated by the study presented above, human activities are negatively altering the climate system.

The Above Points Illustrate…

As another transitional phrase for formal or academic work, “the above points illustrate” indicates that you are reiterating your argument and that the conclusion will include an assessment of the evidence you’ve presented.

The above points illustrate that children prefer chocolate over broccoli.

In a Nutshell…

A simple and informal metaphor to begin a conclusion, “in a nutshell” prepares the reader for a summary of your paper. It can work in narratives and speeches but should be avoided in formal situations.

In a nutshell, the Beatles had an impact on musicians for generations to come.

Overall, It Can Be Said…

To recap an idea at the end of a critical or descriptive essay, you can use this phrase at the beginning of the concluding paragraph. “Overall” means “taking everything into account,” and it sums up your essay in a formal way. You can use “overall” on its own as a transition signal, or you can use it as part of a phrase.

Overall, it can be said that art has had a positive impact on humanity.

Proofreading and Editing

Transition signals are crucial to crafting a well-written and cohesive essay. For your next writing assignment, make sure you include plenty of transition signals, and check out this post for more tips on how to improve your writing. And before you turn in your paper, don’t forget to have someone proofread your work. Our expert editors will make sure your essay includes all the transition signals necessary for your writing to flow seamlessly. Send in a free 500-word sample today!

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The Day I Put $50,000 in a Shoe Box and Handed It to a Stranger

I never thought i was the kind of person to fall for a scam..

Portrait of Charlotte Cowles

On a Tuesday evening this past October, I put $50,000 in cash in a shoe box, taped it shut as instructed, and carried it to the sidewalk in front of my apartment, my phone clasped to my ear. “Don’t let anyone hurt me,” I told the man on the line, feeling pathetic.

“You won’t be hurt,” he answered. “Just keep doing exactly as I say.”

Three minutes later, a white Mercedes SUV pulled up to the curb. “The back window will open,” said the man on the phone. “Do not look at the driver or talk to him. Put the box through the window, say ‘thank you,’ and go back inside.”

The man on the phone knew my home address, my Social Security number, the names of my family members, and that my 2-year-old son was playing in our living room. He told me my home was being watched, my laptop had been hacked, and we were in imminent danger. “I can help you, but only if you cooperate,” he said. His first orders: I could not tell anyone about our conversation, not even my spouse, or talk to the police or a lawyer.

Now I know this was all a scam — a cruel and violating one but painfully obvious in retrospect. Here’s what I can’t figure out: Why didn’t I just hang up and call 911? Why didn’t I text my husband, or my brother (a lawyer), or my best friend (also a lawyer), or my parents, or one of the many other people who would have helped me? Why did I hand over all that money — the contents of my savings account, strictly for emergencies — without a bigger fight?

Spring Fashion Issue

We want moore.

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When I’ve told people this story, most of them say the same thing: You don’t seem like the type of person this would happen to. What they mean is that I’m not senile, or hysterical, or a rube. But these stereotypes are actually false. Younger adults — Gen Z, millennials, and Gen X — are 34 percent more likely to report losing money to fraud compared with those over 60, according to a recent report from the Federal Trade Commission. Another study found that well-educated people or those with good jobs were just as vulnerable to scams as everyone else.

Still, how could I have been such easy prey? Scam victims tend to be single, lonely, and economically insecure with low financial literacy. I am none of those things. I’m closer to the opposite. I’m a journalist who had a weekly column in the “Business” section of the New York Times. I’ve written a personal-finance column for this magazine for the past seven years. I interview money experts all the time and take their advice seriously. I’m married and talk to my friends, family, and colleagues every day.

And while this is harder to quantify — how do I even put it? — I’m not someone who loses her head. My mother-in-law has described me as even-keeled; my own mom has called me “maddeningly rational.” I am listed as an emergency contact for several friends — and their kids. I vote, floss, cook, and exercise. In other words, I’m not a person who panics under pressure and falls for a conspiracy involving drug smuggling, money laundering, and CIA officers at my door. Until, suddenly, I was.

That morning — it was October 31 — I dressed my toddler in a pizza costume for Halloween and kissed him good-bye before school. I wrote some work emails. At about 12:30 p.m., my phone buzzed. The caller ID said it was Amazon. I answered. A polite woman with a vague accent told me she was calling from Amazon customer service to check some unusual activity on my account. The call was being recorded for quality assurance. Had I recently spent $8,000 on MacBooks and iPads?

I had not. I checked my Amazon account. My order history showed diapers and groceries, no iPads. The woman, who said her name was Krista, told me the purchases had been made under my business account. “I don’t have a business account,” I said. “Hmm,” she said. “Our system shows that you have two.”

Krista and I concurred that I was the victim of identity theft, and she said she would flag the fraudulent accounts and freeze their activity. She provided me with a case-ID number for future reference and recommended that I check my credit cards. I did, and everything looked normal. I thanked her for her help.

Then Krista explained that Amazon had been having a lot of problems with identity theft and false accounts lately. It had become so pervasive that the company was working with a liaison at the Federal Trade Commission and was referring defrauded customers to him. Could she connect me?

“Um, sure?” I said.

Krista transferred the call to a man who identified himself as Calvin Mitchell. He said he was an investigator with the FTC, gave me his badge number, and had me write down his direct phone line in case I needed to contact him again. He also told me our call was being recorded. He asked me to verify the spelling of my name. Then he read me the last four digits of my Social Security number, my home address, and my date of birth to confirm that they were correct. The fact that he had my Social Security number threw me. I was getting nervous.

“I’m glad we’re speaking,” said Calvin. “Your personal information is linked to a case that we’ve been working on for a while now, and it’s quite serious.”

He told me that 22 bank accounts, nine vehicles, and four properties were registered to my name. The bank accounts had wired more than $3 million overseas, mostly to Jamaica and Iraq. Did I know anything about this? “No,” I said. Did I know someone named Stella Suk-Yee Kwong? “I don’t think so,” I said. He texted me a photo of her ID, which he claimed had been found in a car rented under my name that was abandoned on the southern border of Texas with blood and drugs in the trunk. A home in New Mexico affiliated with the car rental had subsequently been raided, he added, and authorities found more drugs, cash, and bank statements registered to my name and Social Security number. He texted me a drug-bust photo of bags of pills and money stacked on a table. He told me that there were warrants out for my arrest in Maryland and Texas and that I was being charged with cybercrimes, money laundering, and drug trafficking.

My head swam. I Googled my name along with “warrant” and “money laundering,” but nothing came up. Were arrest warrants public? I wasn’t sure. Google led me to truthfinder.com, which asked for my credit-card information — nope. “I’m in deep shit,” I texted my husband. “My identity was stolen and it seems really bad.”

Calvin wanted to know if I knew anyone who might be the culprit or if I had any connections to Iraq or Jamaica. “No,” I said. “This is the first I’m hearing about any of this, and it’s a lot to take in.” He asked if I had ever used public or unsecured Wi-Fi. “I don’t know. Maybe?” I said. “I used the airport Wi-Fi recently.”

“Ah,” he said. “That’s unfortunate. It’s how many of these breaches start.” I was embarrassed, like I’d left my fly unzipped. How could I have been so thoughtless? But also — didn’t everyone use the airport Wi-Fi?

Calvin told me to listen carefully. “The first thing you must do is not tell anyone what is going on. Everyone around you is a suspect.”

I almost laughed. I told him I was quite sure that my husband, who works for an affordable-housing nonprofit and makes meticulous spreadsheets for our child-care expenses, was not a secret drug smuggler. “I believe you, but even so, your communications are probably under surveillance,” Calvin said. “You cannot talk to him about this.” I quickly deleted the text messages I had sent my husband a few minutes earlier. “These are sophisticated criminals with a lot of money at stake,” he continued. “You should assume you are in danger and being watched. You cannot take any chances.”

I felt suspended between two worlds — the one I knew and the one this man was describing. If I had nothing to do with any of these allegations, how much could they truly affect me? I thought of an old This American Life episode about a woman whose Social Security card was stolen. No matter how many times she closed her bank accounts and opened new ones, her identity thief kept draining them, destroying her credit and her sanity. (It turned out to be her boyfriend.) I remembered another story about a man who got stuck on a no-fly list after his personal information was used by a terrorist group. It dawned on me that being connected to major federal offenses, even falsely, could really fuck up my life.

Calvin wanted to know how much money I currently had in my bank accounts. I told him that I had two — checking and savings — with a combined balance of a little over $80,000. As a freelancer in a volatile industry, I keep a sizable emergency fund, and I also set aside cash to pay my taxes at the end of the year, since they aren’t withheld from my paychecks.

His voice took on a more urgent tone. “You must have worked very hard to save all that money,” he said. “Do not share your bank-account information with anyone. I am going to help you keep your money safe.” He said that he would transfer me to his colleague at the CIA who was the lead investigator on my case and gave me a nine-digit case number for my records. (I Googled the number. Nothing.) He said the CIA agent would tell me what to do next, and he wished me luck.

good words to write an essay on

If it was a scam , I couldn’t see the angle. It had occurred to me that the whole story might be made up or an elaborate mistake. But no one had asked me for money or told me to buy crypto; they’d only encouraged me not to share my banking information. They hadn’t asked for my personal details; they already knew them. I hadn’t been told to click on anything.

Still, I had not seen a shred of evidence. I checked my bank accounts, credit cards, and credit score; nothing looked out of the ordinary. I knew I should probably talk to a lawyer or maybe call the police, though I was doubtful that they would help. What was I going to say — “My identity was stolen, and I think I’m somehow in danger”? I had no proof. I was also annoyed that my workday had been hijacked. It was 2 p.m., and I had already pushed back one deadline and postponed two work calls. I had to get myself out of this.

The next man who got on the line had a deeper voice and a slight British accent flecked with something I couldn’t identify. He told me his name was Michael Sarano and that he worked for the CIA on cases involving the FTC. He gave me his badge number. “I’m going to need more than that,” I said. “I have no reason to believe that any of what you’re saying is real.”

“I completely understand,” he said calmly. He told me to go to the FTC home page and look up the main phone number. “Now hang up the phone, and I will call you from that number right now.” I did as he said. The FTC number flashed on my screen, and I picked up. “How do I know you’re not just spoofing this?” I asked.

“It’s a government number,” he said, almost indignant. “It cannot be spoofed.” I wasn’t sure if this was true and tried Googling it, but Michael was already onto his next point. He told me the call was being recorded, so I put him on speaker and began recording on my end, too. He wanted to know if I had told anyone what was going on.

I admitted that I had texted my husband. “You must reassure him that everything is fine,” Michael said. “In many cases like this, we have to investigate the spouse as well, and the less he knows, the less he is implicated. From now on, you have to follow protocol if you want us to help you.”

“I don’t think I should lie to my husband,” I said, feeling stupid.

“You are being investigated for major federal crimes,” he said. “By keeping your husband out of this, you are protecting him.” He then repeated the point Calvin had made about my phone and computer being hacked and monitored by the criminals who had stolen my identity.

By that point, my husband had sent me a series of concerned texts. “Don’t worry. It will be okay,” I wrote back. It felt gross to imagine a third party reading along.

Michael snowed me with the same stories Calvin had. They were consistent: the car on the Texas border, the property in New Mexico, the drugs, the bank accounts. He asked if I shared my residence with anyone besides my husband and son. Then he asked more questions about my family members, including my parents, my brother, and my sister-in-law. He knew their names and where they lived. I told him they had nothing to do with this. In fact, I was now sure I wanted to consult a lawyer.

“If you talk to an attorney, I cannot help you anymore,” Michael said sternly. “You will be considered noncooperative. Your home will be raided, and your assets will be seized. You may be arrested. It’s your choice.” This seemed ludicrous. I pictured officers tramping in, taking my laptop, going through our bookshelves, questioning our neighbors, scaring my son. It was a nonstarter.

“Can I just come to your office and sort this out in person?” I said. “It’s getting late, and I need to take my son trick-or-treating soon.”

“My office is in Langley,” he said. “We don’t have enough time. We need to act immediately. I’m going to talk you through the process. It’s going to sound crazy, but we must follow protocol if we’re going to catch the people behind this.”

He explained that the CIA would need to freeze all the assets in my name, including my actual bank accounts. In the eyes of the law, there was no difference between the “real” and the fraudulent ones, he said. They would also deactivate my compromised Social Security number and get me a new one. Then, by monitoring any activity under my old Social Security number and accounts, they would catch the criminals who were using my identity and I would get my life back. But until then, I would need to use only cash for my day-to-day expenses.

It was far-fetched. Ridiculous. But also not completely out of the realm of possibility. “Do I have any other options?” I asked.

“Unfortunately, no,” he said. “You must follow my directions very carefully. We do not have much time.”

He asked me how much cash I thought I would need to support myself for a year if necessary. My assets could be frozen for up to two years if the investigation dragged on, he added. There could be a trial; I might need to testify. These things take time. “I don’t know, $50,000?” I said. I wondered how I would receive paychecks without a bank account. Would I have to take time off from work? I did some mental calculations of how much my husband could float us and for how long.

“Okay,” he said. “You need to go to the bank and get that cash out now. You cannot tell them what it is for. In one of my last cases, the identity thief was someone who worked at the bank.”

Michael told me to keep the phone on speaker so we would remain in contact. “It’s important that I monitor where this money goes from now on. Remember, all of your assets are part of this investigation,” he said. Then he told me that one of his colleagues would meet me at my apartment at 5 p.m. to guide me through the next steps.

“You can’t send a complete stranger to my home,” I said, my voice rising. “My 2-year-old son will be here.”

“Let me worry about that,” he said. “It’s my job. But if you don’t cooperate, I cannot keep you safe. It is your choice.”

It’s impossible to explain why I accepted this logic. But I had been given marching orders and a deadline. My son would be home soon, and I had to fix this mess. I put on sneakers in case I needed to run. I brought a backpack for the cash. I felt both terrified and absurd.

It was jarring to see trick-or-treaters in my Brooklyn neighborhood, people going about their lives. The air was crisp, and dead leaves swirled on the ground. I was on high alert for anyone who might be following me. At one point, a man in sunglasses and a hoodie trailed me for a few blocks. At Michael’s suggestion, I ducked into a parking garage until he passed.

When I reached the bank, I told the guard I needed to make a large cash withdrawal and she sent me upstairs. Michael was on speakerphone in my pocket. I asked the teller for $50,000. The woman behind the thick glass window raised her eyebrows, disappeared into a back room, came back with a large metal box of $100 bills, and counted them out with a machine. Then she pushed the stacks of bills through the slot along with a sheet of paper warning me against scams. I thanked her and left.

Michael was bursting with praise. “You did a great job,” he said. “I have to go for a moment to see about the details of your case; I’m going to have you speak to my colleague if you have any questions.” He put a woman on the line. She was younger, with an accent I couldn’t identify. She told me to go home and await further instructions.

As I walked back to my apartment, something jolted me out of my trance, and I became furious. No government agency would establish this as “protocol.” It was preposterous. “I need to speak with Michael,” I told the woman on the phone. He got on right away. “I don’t even believe that you’re a CIA agent,” I said. “What you’re asking me to do is completely unreasonable.”

He sighed. “I’m sending you a photo of my badge right now,” he said. “I don’t know what else to tell you. You can trust me, and I will help you. Or you can hang up and put yourself and your family in danger. Do you really want to take that risk with a young child?”

My Two Cents

How to protect yourself against scams, what charlotte cowles wishes she’d known..

I waited for a stoplight at a busy intersection. I could see my apartment window from where I stood. My son was playing inside with a neighbor’s daughter and their nanny. A picture of Michael’s badge appeared on my phone. I had no way of verifying it; it could easily have been Photoshopped. “I don’t trust you at all,” I said to Michael. “But it doesn’t seem like I have any other choice.”

When I got home, Michael told me to get a box, put the cash in it, take a picture of it, then tape it shut. I found a floral-printed shoe box that had once contained a pair of slippers I’d bought for myself — a frivolous purchase that now seemed mortifying. Michael told me to label it with my name, my case number, my address, a locker number he read to me, and my signature. Then he directed me to take another picture of the labeled box and text it to him.

“My colleague will be there soon. He is an undercover CIA agent, and he will secure the money for you,” he said. What exactly would that entail? I asked. “Tonight, we will close down your Social Security number, and you will lose access to your bank accounts,” he explained. “Tomorrow, you’ll need to go to the Social Security office and get a new Social Security number. We’ll secure this money for you in a government locker and hand-deliver a Treasury check for the same amount. You can cash the check and use it for your expenses until the investigation is over.”

“Why can’t I just use this cash?” I asked. “Why do you have to take it and give me a check?”

“Because all of your assets under your current identity are part of the investigation,” he said. “You are being charged with money laundering. If we secure this cash and then issue you a government check under your new Social Security number, that will be considered clean money.”

“I’ll need to see your colleague’s badge,” I said. “I’m not just going to give $50,000 of my money to someone I don’t know.”

“Undercover agents don’t carry badges,” he said, as if I’d asked the CIA to bring me a Happy Meal. “They’re undercover. Remember, you are probably being watched. The criminals cannot know that a CIA agent is there.”

In a twisted way, this made some amount of sense to me. Or maybe I had lost my grip on reality so completely that I was willing to resign myself to this new version of it. Most important, I didn’t know what else to do. Even if Michael wasn’t working for the CIA (which struck me as more and more likely), he was sending a man to our address. I felt a sickening dread that he might ask to come inside. If giving him this money would make him go away, I was ready to do it. I’d been on the phone for nearly five hours. I wanted to take my son trick-or-treating. I was exhausted.

Michael seemed to sense that I was flagging and asked if I’d had lunch. I hadn’t. He told me to eat something but keep him on the line; his agent was on the way to my address but running late. “You can meet him outside if that would make you more comfortable,” Michael said, and I felt relieved. While I gnawed on a granola bar at my desk, he got chatty and asked about my job. I told him I was going to Washington, D.C., later that week. “Oh, great. You could come to my office in Langley,” he said. “Where are you staying?”

A little after 6 p.m., Michael told me to go downstairs. His colleague was arriving. My husband had just come home from work and was reading to our son. “What’s going on? Is everything okay?” he asked as I put my coat on. I motioned to the phone and shushed him. Then I whispered, “I have to go downstairs and meet a guy who’s helping with the identity-theft case. I’ll explain more later.” He frowned and silently mouthed, “What?” I told him I had to go.

I met the SUV at the curb and put the money in the back seat. It was 6:06 p.m. Even if I’d tried to see who was driving, the windows were tinted and it was dusk. He maybe wore a baseball cap. When I turned around, I could see the backlit faces of my husband and son watching from our apartment nine stories above.

As I walked back inside, Michael texted me a photo of a Treasury check made out to me for $50,000 and told me a hard copy would be hand-delivered to me in the morning. He was working on setting up my appointment with the Social Security office. “You will receive a confirmation text shortly,” he said. “Stay on the line until you do.” I felt oddly comforted by this. An appointment would give me something legitimate, an actual connection to a government agency.

I took my son trick-or-treating, my phone on speaker in my pocket. I felt numb, almost in a fugue state, smiling and chatting with my neighbors and their kids. At one point, I checked to see if Michael was still there; his female colleague answered and said he’d be back soon. Then, when we got home and I checked again, the line was dead. I panicked and called back. The woman answered. “Michael is busy,” she said. “He’ll call you in the morning.”

I was confused. Did this mean I didn’t have a Social Security number at all anymore? I pictured myself floating, identity-less. “Do I have an appointment at the Social Security office?” I asked.

“Michael will call you tomorrow,” she repeated. “He hasn’t been able to secure your appointment yet. The Social Security office is closed now.”

I went into my bedroom and shut the door, feeling my face grow hot. I had a physical sensation of scales falling from my eyes; the room shimmered around me, spots raining from the ceiling. I saw the whole day peel away, like the layers of an onion — Michael, the FTC officer, the Amazon call — revealing my real life, raw and exposed, at the center. “Oh my God,” I said, my hands tingling. “You are lying to me. Michael was lying. You just took my money and I’m never getting it back.” That wasn’t true, the woman said. She understood that I was upset. She was sorry. Everything would be fine. “You’re a fucking liar,” I hissed, and hung up.

Through choking sobs, I told my husband what had happened. “Why didn’t you tell me?” he asked, incredulous. “I would have stopped you.” That I’d been trying to protect him suddenly seemed so idiotic I couldn’t even say it out loud. Our son looked on, confused. “Mama’s sad,” he announced, clinging to my leg. We put him to bed and then I called my parents and my brother. At their urging, I called 911. Around 10:30 p.m., three police officers came over and took my statement. I struggled to recount what I’d done; it seemed like a bad dream. I felt like a fool.

“No government agency will ever ask you for money,” one cop informed me, as if I’d never heard it before. I wanted to scream, “I know. ” Instead, I said, “It didn’t really feel like he was asking.”

The police told me not to worry; the scammers wouldn’t be back. “They got what they wanted,” another officer said, as though it would reassure me. I gave them the photos and recordings I had. They promised to check traffic cameras for the car that had taken the money.

When I woke up the next morning, a few seconds passed before I remembered the previous day. I was my old self, in my old bed, milky dawn light on the walls. Then it all came crashing back, a fresh humiliation, and I curled into the fetal position. I felt violated, unreliable; I couldn’t trust myself. Were my tendencies toward people-pleasing, rule following, and conflict aversion far worse than I’d ever thought, even pathological? I imagined other people’s reactions. She’s always been a little careless. She seems unhinged. I considered keeping the whole thing a secret. I worried it would harm my professional reputation. I still do.

In the days that followed, I kept revisiting the fake world of that afternoon, slipping through a portal into an alternate life. I would get paranoid that someone was reading my texts, watching me as I took my son to school, or using my Social Security number to wire money and rent cars. It was a relief that I wasn’t actually in trouble with the law, but then again — I’d lost $50,000 and I wasn’t getting it back. I checked my accounts and credit cards obsessively. I called my bank. They gave me instructions to freeze my credit, file reports with the FBI and FTC, and run anti-virus software on my laptop to check for malware, which I did. I cried a lot. My husband felt helpless; he still doesn’t like to talk about it. Instead, he researched new locks for our doors and looked into security cameras. One night I shook him awake, convinced that someone was trying to break in. “It’s only the wind,” he said. “We’re safe.”

Fifty thousand dollars is a lot of money. It took me years to save, stashing away a few thousand every time I got paid for a big project. Part of it was money I had received from my grandfather, an inheritance he took great pains to set up for his grandchildren before his death. Sometimes I imagine how I would have spent it if I had to get rid of it in a day. I could have paid for over a year’s worth of child care up front. I could have put it toward the master’s degree I’ve always wanted. I could have housed multiple families for months. Perhaps, inadvertently, I am; I occasionally wonder what the scammers did with it.

Because I had set it aside for emergencies and taxes, it was money I tried to pretend I didn’t have — it wasn’t for spending. Initially, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to afford my taxes this year, but then my accountant told me I could write off losses due to theft. So from a financial standpoint, I’ll survive, as long as I don’t have another emergency — a real one — anytime soon.

When I did tell friends what had happened, it seemed like everyone had a horror story. One friend’s dad, a criminal-defense attorney, had been scammed out of $1.2 million. Another person I know, a real-estate developer, was duped into wiring $450,000 to someone posing as one of his contractors. Someone else knew a Wall Street executive who had been conned into draining her 401(k) by some guy she met at a bar.

I felt a guilty sense of consolation whenever I heard about a scam involving someone I respected. If this could happen to them, maybe I wasn’t such a moron. As a journalist, it’s my instinct to research and talk to experts, so I dove into books and podcasts about scams, desperate to make sense of my own. I had known that fraud was on the rise but was shocked to learn the numbers — financial losses ballooned by more than 30 percent in 2022. I read that self-laceration is typical; half of victims blame themselves for being gullible, and most experience serious anxiety, depression, or other stress-related health problems afterward. I heard about victim support groups. I went to therapy.

When I discovered that Katie Gatti Tassin, a personal-finance expert who writes the popular Money With Katie newsletter, lost $8,000 five years ago to a grandmotherly-sounding woman pretending to call from Tassin’s credit union, I called her to ask how she’d coped. “Everyone was so patronizing,” she told me. “The response was basically ‘It’s your fault that this happened.’”

If I had to pinpoint a moment that made me think my scammers were legitimate, it was probably when they read me my Social Security number. Now I know that all kinds of personal information — your email address, your kids’ names and birthdays, even your pets’ names — are commonly sold on the dark web. Of course, the scammers could also have learned about my son from a 30-second perusal of my Instagram feed.

It was my brother, the lawyer, who pointed out that what I had experienced sounded a lot like a coerced confession. “I read enough transcripts of bad interrogations in law school to understand that anyone can be convinced that they have a very narrow set of terrible options,” he said. When I posed this theory to Saul Kassin, a psychology professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice who studies coerced confessions, he agreed. “If someone is trying to get you to be compliant, they do it incrementally, in a series of small steps that take you farther and farther from what you know to be true,” he said. “It’s not about breaking the will. They were altering the sense of reality.” And when you haven’t done anything wrong, the risk of cooperating feels minimal, he added. An innocent person thinks everything will get sorted out. It also mattered that I was kept on the phone for so long. People start to break down cognitively after a few hours of interrogation. “At that point, they’re not thinking straight. They feel the need to put an end to the situation at all costs,” Kassin said.

I wondered how often scammers are caught and about the guy who’d driven the car to my apartment. But when I asked experts, they doubted he’d be a meaningful lead. One pointed out that he might have been a courier who was told to come pick up a box.

I still don’t believe that what happened to me could happen to anyone, but I’m starting to realize that I’m not uniquely fallible. Several friends felt strongly that if the scammers hadn’t mentioned my son, I would never have fallen for this. They’re right that I’d be willing to do — or pay — anything to protect him. Either way, I have to accept that someone waged psychological warfare on me, and I lost. For now, I just don’t answer my phone.

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How to use Copilot Pro to write, edit, and analyze your Word documents

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Microsoft's Copilot Pro AI offers a few benefits for $20 per month. But the most helpful one is the AI-powered integration with the different Microsoft 365 apps. For those of you who use Microsoft Word, for instance, Copilot Pro can help you write and revise your text, provide summaries of your documents, and answer questions about any document.

First, you'll need a subscription to either Microsoft 365 Personal or Family . Priced at $70 per year, the Personal edition is geared for one individual signed into as many as five devices. At $100 per year, the Family edition is aimed at up to six people on as many as five devices. The core apps in the suite include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote.

Also: Microsoft Copilot vs. Copilot Pro: Is the subscription fee worth it?

Second, you'll need the subscription to Copilot Pro if you don't already have one. To sign up, head to the Copilot Pro website . Click the Get Copilot Pro button. Confirm the subscription and the payment. The next time you use Copilot on the website, in Windows, or with the mobile apps, the Pro version will be in effect.

How to use Copilot Pro in Word

1. open word.

Launch Microsoft Word and open a blank document. Let's say you need help writing a particular type of document and want Copilot to create a draft. 

Also: Microsoft Copilot Pro vs. OpenAI's ChatGPT Plus: Which is worth your $20 a month?

A small "Draft with Copilot" window appears on the screen. If you don't see it, click the tiny "Draft with Copilot icon in the left margin."

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2. Submit your request

At the text field in the window, type a description of the text you need and click the "Generate" button.

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Submit your request.

3. Review the response and your options

Copilot generates and displays its response. After reading the response, you're presented with a few different options.

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Review the response and your options.

4. Keep, regenerate, or remove the draft

If you like the draft, click "Keep it." The draft is then inserted into your document where you can work with it. If you don't like the draft, click the "Regenerate" button, and a new draft is created. 

Also: What is Copilot (formerly Bing Chat)? Here's everything you need to know

If you'd prefer to throw out the entire draft and start from scratch, click the trash can icon.

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Keep, regenerate, or remove the draft.

5. Alter the draft

Alternatively, you can try to modify the draft by typing a specific request in the text field, such as "Make it more formal," "Make it shorter," or "Make it more casual."

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Alter the draft.

6. Review the different versions

If you opt to regenerate the draft, you can switch between the different versions by clicking the left or right arrow next to the number. You can then choose to keep the draft you prefer.

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7. Revise existing text

Copilot will also help you fine-tune existing text. Select the text you want to revise. Click the Copilot icon in the left margin and select "Rewrite with Copilot."

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Revise existing text.

8. Review the different versions

Copilot creates a few different versions of the text. Click the arrow keys to view each version.

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Review the different versions.

9. Replace or Insert

If you find one you like, click "Replace" to replace the text you selected. 

Also: ChatGPT vs. Microsoft Copilot vs. Gemini: Which is the best AI chatbot?

Click "Insert below" to insert the new draft below the existing words so you can compare the two.

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Replace or Insert.

10. Adjust the tone

Click "Regenerate" to ask Copilot to try again. Click the "Adjust Tone" button and select a different tone to generate another draft.

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Adjust the tone.

11. Turn text into a table

Sometimes you have text that would look and work better as a table. Copilot can help. Select the text you wish to turn into a table. Click the Copilot icon and select "Visualize as a Table."

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Turn text into a table.

12. Respond to the table

In response, click "Keep it" to retain the table. Click "Regenerate" to try again. Click the trash can icon to delete it. Otherwise, type a request in the text field, such as "remove the second row" or "make the last column wider."

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Respond to the table.

13. Summarize a document

Copilot Pro can provide a summary of a document with its key points. To try this, open the document you want to summarize and then click the Copilot icon on the Ribbon. 

Also: The best AI chatbots

The right sidebar displays several prompts you can use to start your question. Click the one for "Summarize this doc."

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Summarize a document.

14. Review the summary

View the generated summary in the sidebar. If you like it as is, click the "Copy" button to copy the summary and paste it elsewhere.

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Review the summary.

15. Revise the summary

Otherwise, choose one of the suggested questions or ask your own question to revise the summary. For example, you could tell Copilot to make the summary longer, shorter, more formal, or less formal. 

Also: The best AI image generators

You could also ask it to expand on one of the points in the summary or provide more details on a certain point. A specific response is then generated based on your request.

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Revise the summary.

16. Ask questions about a document

Next, you can ask specific questions about any of the content in a document. Again, click the Copilot icon to display the sidebar. In the prompt area, type and submit your question. Copilot displays the response in the sidebar. You can then ask follow-up questions as needed.

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Ask questions about a document.

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The Loss of Things I Took for Granted

Ten years into my college teaching career, students stopped being able to read effectively..

Recent years have seen successive waves of book bans in Republican-controlled states, aimed at pulling any text with “woke” themes from classrooms and library shelves. Though the results sometimes seem farcical, as with the banning of Art Spiegelman’s Maus due to its inclusion of “cuss words” and explicit rodent nudity, the book-banning agenda is no laughing matter. Motivated by bigotry, it has already done demonstrable harm and promises to do more. But at the same time, the appropriate response is, in principle, simple. Named individuals have advanced explicit policies with clear goals and outcomes, and we can replace those individuals with people who want to reverse those policies. That is already beginning to happen in many places, and I hope those successes will continue until every banned book is restored.

If and when that happens, however, we will not be able to declare victory quite yet. Defeating the open conspiracy to deprive students of physical access to books will do little to counteract the more diffuse confluence of forces that are depriving students of the skills needed to meaningfully engage with those books in the first place. As a college educator, I am confronted daily with the results of that conspiracy-without-conspirators. I have been teaching in small liberal arts colleges for over 15 years now, and in the past five years, it’s as though someone flipped a switch. For most of my career, I assigned around 30 pages of reading per class meeting as a baseline expectation—sometimes scaling up for purely expository readings or pulling back for more difficult texts. (No human being can read 30 pages of Hegel in one sitting, for example.) Now students are intimidated by anything over 10 pages and seem to walk away from readings of as little as 20 pages with no real understanding. Even smart and motivated students struggle to do more with written texts than extract decontextualized take-aways. Considerable class time is taken up simply establishing what happened in a story or the basic steps of an argument—skills I used to be able to take for granted.

Since this development very directly affects my ability to do my job as I understand it, I talk about it a lot. And when I talk about it with nonacademics, certain predictable responses inevitably arise, all questioning the reality of the trend I describe. Hasn’t every generation felt that the younger cohort is going to hell in a handbasket? Haven’t professors always complained that educators at earlier levels are not adequately equipping their students? And haven’t students from time immemorial skipped the readings?

The response of my fellow academics, however, reassures me that I’m not simply indulging in intergenerational grousing. Anecdotally, I have literally never met a professor who did not share my experience. Professors are also discussing the issue in academic trade publications , from a variety of perspectives. What we almost all seem to agree on is that we are facing new obstacles in structuring and delivering our courses, requiring us to ratchet down expectations in the face of a ratcheting down of preparation. Yes, there were always students who skipped the readings, but we are in new territory when even highly motivated honors students struggle to grasp the basic argument of a 20-page article. Yes, professors never feel satisfied that high school teachers have done enough, but not every generation of professors has had to deal with the fallout of No Child Left Behind and Common Core. Finally, yes, every generation thinks the younger generation is failing to make the grade— except for the current cohort of professors, who are by and large more invested in their students’ success and mental health and more responsive to student needs than any group of educators in human history. We are not complaining about our students. We are complaining about what has been taken from them.

If we ask what has caused this change, there are some obvious culprits. The first is the same thing that has taken away almost everyone’s ability to focus—the ubiquitous smartphone. Even as a career academic who studies the Quran in Arabic for fun, I have noticed my reading endurance flagging. I once found myself boasting at a faculty meeting that I had read through my entire hourlong train ride without looking at my phone. My colleagues agreed this was a major feat, one they had not achieved recently. Even if I rarely attain that high level of focus, though, I am able to “turn it on” when demanded, for instance to plow through a big novel during a holiday break. That’s because I was able to develop and practice those skills of extended concentration and attentive reading before the intervention of the smartphone. For children who were raised with smartphones, by contrast, that foundation is missing. It is probably no coincidence that the iPhone itself, originally released in 2007, is approaching college age, meaning that professors are increasingly dealing with students who would have become addicted to the dopamine hit of the omnipresent screen long before they were introduced to the more subtle pleasures of the page.

The second go-to explanation is the massive disruption of school closures during COVID-19. There is still some debate about the necessity of those measures, but what is not up for debate any longer is the very real learning loss that students suffered at every level. The impact will inevitably continue to be felt for the next decade or more, until the last cohort affected by the mass “pivot to online” finally graduates. I doubt that the pandemic closures were the decisive factor in themselves, however. Not only did the marked decline in reading resilience start before the pandemic, but the students I am seeing would have already been in high school during the school closures. Hence they would be better equipped to get something out of the online format and, more importantly, their basic reading competence would have already been established.

Less discussed than these broader cultural trends over which educators have little control are the major changes in reading pedagogy that have occurred in recent decades—some motivated by the ever-increasing demand to “teach to the test” and some by fads coming out of schools of education. In the latter category is the widely discussed decline in phonics education in favor of the “balanced literacy” approach advocated by education expert Lucy Calkins (who has more recently come to accept the need for more phonics instruction). I started to see the results of this ill-advised change several years ago, when students abruptly stopped attempting to sound out unfamiliar words and instead paused until they recognized the whole word as a unit. (In a recent class session, a smart, capable student was caught short by the word circumstances when reading a text out loud.) The result of this vibes-based literacy is that students never attain genuine fluency in reading. Even aside from the impact of smartphones, their experience of reading is constantly interrupted by their intentionally cultivated inability to process unfamiliar words.

For all the flaws of the balanced literacy method, it was presumably implemented by people who thought it would help. It is hard to see a similar motivation in the growing trend toward assigning students only the kind of short passages that can be included in a standardized test. Due in part to changes driven by the infamous Common Core standards , teachers now have to fight to assign their students longer readings, much less entire books, because those activities won’t feed directly into students getting higher test scores, which leads to schools getting more funding. The emphasis on standardized tests was always a distraction at best, but we have reached the point where it is actively cannibalizing students’ educational experience—an outcome no one intended or planned, and for which there is no possible justification.

We can’t go back in time and do the pandemic differently at this point, nor is there any realistic path to putting the smartphone genie back in the bottle. (Though I will note that we as a society do at least attempt to keep other addictive products out of the hands of children.) But I have to think that we can, at the very least, stop actively preventing young people from developing the ability to follow extended narratives and arguments in the classroom. Regardless of their profession or ultimate educational level, they will need those skills. The world is a complicated place. People—their histories and identities, their institutions and work processes, their fears and desires—are simply too complex to be captured in a worksheet with a paragraph and some reading comprehension questions. Large-scale prose writing is the best medium we have for capturing that complexity, and the education system should not be in the business of keeping students from learning how to engage effectively with it.

This is a matter not of snobbery, but of basic justice. I recognize that not everyone centers their lives on books as much as a humanities professor does. I think they’re missing out, but they’re adults and they can choose how to spend their time. What’s happening with the current generation is not that they are simply choosing TikTok over Jane Austen. They are being deprived of the ability to choose—for no real reason or benefit. We can and must stop perpetrating this crime on our young people.

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17 Tips to Take Your ChatGPT Prompts to the Next Level

5 blue balls riding on 5 randomly arranged curved black tubes against a bright green backdrop

ChatGPT, Google Gemini, and other tools like them are making artificial intelligence available to the masses. We can now get all sorts of responses back on almost any topic imaginable. These chatbots can compose sonnets, write code, get philosophical, and automate tasks.

However, while you can just type anything you like into ChatGPT and get it to understand you. There are ways of getting more interesting and useful results out of the bot. This "prompt engineering" is becoming a specialized skill of its own.

Sometimes all it takes is the addition of a few more words or an extra line of instruction and you can get ChatGPT responses that are a level above what everyone else is seeing—and we've included several examples below.

While there's lots you can do with the free version of ChatGPT, a few of these prompts require a paid ChatGPT Plus subscription —where that's the case, we've noted it in the tip.

ChatGPT can give you responses in the form of a table if you ask. This is particularly helpful for getting information or creative ideas. For example, you could tabulate meal ideas and ingredients, or game ideas and equipment, or the days of the week and how they're said in a few different languages.

Using follow-up prompts and natural language, you can have ChatGPT make changes to the tables it has drawn and even produce the tables in a standard format that can be understood by another program (such as Microsoft Excel).

If you provide ChatGPT with a typed list of information, it can respond in a variety of ways. Maybe you want it to create anagrams from a list of names, or sort a list of products into alphabetical order, or turn all the items in a list into upper case. If needed, you can then click the copy icon (the small clipboard) at the end of an answer to have the processed text sent to the system clipboard.

Screenshot of ChatGPT

Get ChatGPT to respond as your favorite author.

With some careful prompting, you can get ChatGPT out of its rather dull, matter-of-fact, default tone and into something much more interesting—such as the style of your favorite author, perhaps.

You could go for the searing simplicity of an Ernest Hemingway or Raymond Carver story, the lyrical rhythm of a Shakespearean play, or the density of a Dickens novel. The resulting prose won't come close to the genius of the actual authors themselves, but it's another way of getting more creative with the output you generate.

ChatGPT can really impress when it's given restrictions to work within, so don't be shy when it comes to telling the bot to limit its responses to a certain number of words or a certain number of paragraphs.

It could be everything from condensing the information in four paragraphs down into one, or even asking for answers with words of seven characters or fewer (just to keep it simple). If ChatGPT doesn't follow your responses properly, you can correct it, and it'll try again.

Another way of tweaking the way ChatGPT responds is to tell it who the intended audience is for its output. You might have seen WIRED's videos in which complex subjects are explained to people with different levels of understanding. This works in a similar way.

For example, you can tell ChatGPT that you are speaking to a bunch of 10-year-olds or to an audience of business entrepreneurs and it will respond accordingly. It works well for generating multiple outputs along the same theme.

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Tell ChatGPT the audience it's writing for.

ChatGPT is a very capable prompt engineer itself. If you ask it to come up with creative and effective inputs for artificial intelligence engines such as Dall-E and Midjourney , you'll get text you can then input into other AI tools you're playing around with. You're even able to ask for tips with prompts for ChatGPT itself.

When it comes to generating prompts, the more detailed and specific you are about what you're looking for the better: You can get the chatbot to extend and add more detail to your sentences, you can get it to role-play as a prompt generator for a specific AI tool, and you can tell it to refine its answers as you add more and more information.

While ChatGPT is based around text, you can get it to produce pictures of a sort by asking for ASCII art. That's the art made up of characters and symbols rather than colors. The results won't win you any prizes, but it's pretty fun to play around with.

The usual ChatGPT rules apply, in that the more specific you are in your prompt the better, and you can get the bot to add new elements and take elements away as you go. Remember the limitations of the ASCII art format though—this isn't a full-blown image editor.

Screenshot of ChatGPT

A ChatGPT Plus subscription comes with image generation.

If you use ChatGPT Plus , it's got the DALL-E image generator right inside it, so you can ask for any kind of photo, drawing, or illustration you like. As with text, try to be as explicit as possible about what it is you want to see, and how it's shown; do you want something that looks like a watercolor painting, or like it was taken by a DSLR camera? You can have some real fun with this: Put Columbo in a cyberpunk setting, or see how Jurassic Park would look in the Victorian era. The possibilities are almost endless.

You don't have to do all the typing yourself when it comes to ChatGPT. Copy and paste is your friend, and there's no problem with pasting in text from other sources. While the input limit tops out at around 4,000 words, you can easily split the text you're sending the bot into several sections and get it to remember what you've previously sent.

Perhaps one of the best ways of using this approach is to get ChatGPT to simplify text that you don't understand—the explanation of a difficult scientific concept, for instance. You can also get it to translate text into different languages, write it in a more engaging or fluid style, and so on.

If you want to go exploring, ask ChatGPT to create a text-based choose-your-own adventure game. You can specify the theme and the setting of the adventure, as well as any other ground rules to put in place. When we tried this out, we found ourselves wandering through a spooky castle, with something sinister apparently hiding in the shadows.

Screenshot of ChatGPT

ChatGPT is able to create text-based games for you to play.

Another way to improve the responses you get from ChatGPT is to give it some data to work with before you ask your question. For instance, you could give it a list of book summaries together with their genre, then ask it to apply the correct genre label to a new summary. Another option would be to tell ChatGPT about activities you enjoy and then get a new suggestion.

There's no magic combination of words you have to use here. Just use natural language as always, and ChatGPT will understand what you're getting at. Specify that you're providing examples at the start of your prompt, then tell the bot that you want a response with those examples in mind.

You can ask ChatGPT for feedback on any of your own writing, from the emails you're sending to friends, to the short story you're submitting to a competition, to the prompts you're typing into the AI bot. Ask for pointers on spelling, grammar, tone, readability, or anything else you want to scrutinize.

ChatGPT cleared the above paragraph as being clear and effective, but said it could use a call to action at the end. Try this prompt today!

Screenshot of ChatGPT

Get ChatGPT to give you feedback on your own writing.

In the same way that ChatGPT can mimic the style of certain authors that it knows about, it can also play a role: a frustrated salesman, an excitable teenager (you'll most likely get a lot of emoji and abbreviations back), or the iconic western film star John Wayne.

There are countless roles you can play around with. These prompts might not score highly in terms of practical applications, but they're definitely a useful insight into the potential of these AI chatbots.

You can type queries into ChatGPT that you might otherwise type into Google, looking for answers: Think "how much should I budget for a day of sightseeing in London?" or "what are the best ways to prepare for a job interview?" for example. Almost anything will get a response of some sort—though as always, don't take AI responses as being 100 percent accurate 100 percent of the time.

If you're using the paid ChatGPT Plus tool, it will actually search the web (with Bing) and provide link references for the answers it gives. If you're using the free version of ChatGPT, it'll mine the data its been trained on for answers, so they might be a little out of date or less reliable.

Your answers can be seriously improved if you give ChatGPT some ingredients to work with before asking for a response. They could be literal ingredients—suggest a dish from what's left in the fridge—or they could be anything else.

So don't just ask for a murder mystery scenario. Also list out the characters who are going to appear. Don't just ask for ideas of where to go in a city; specify the city you're going to, the types of places you want to see, and the people you'll have with you.

Your prompts don't always have to get ChatGPT to generate something from scratch: You can start it off with something, and then let the AI finish it off. The model will take clues from what you've already written and build on it.

This can come in handy for everything from coding a website to composing a poem—and you can then get ChatGPT to go back and refine its answer as well.

You've no doubt noticed how online arguments have tended toward the binary in recent years, so get ChatGPT to help add some gray between the black and the white. It's able to argue both sides of an argument if you ask it to, including both pros and cons.

From politics and philosophy to sports and the arts, ChatGPT is able to sit on the fence quite impressively—not in a vague way, but in a way that can help you understand tricky issues from multiple perspectives.

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Similarly to EssayPro and PaperHelp, ExtraEssay has a cost estimator for your convenience. The prices are on par with BBQPapers, with basic essays starting at $13.00  per page. Choose the type of paper you want, and select your academic level, deadline, and preferred word count to receive the total cost of your order. If you need to reach them, their team is available 24/7.

One of the unique features of ExtraEssay is that it’s the only website that offers a 1-hour delivery. However, this urgency level only applies to short essays of up to three pages.

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When it comes to cheap essay writing services online, you have to be extra cautious. Writing is a complex activity, so the lower the price, the higher the chance that you will get a carelessly written, maybe even plagiarized, paper that you won’t be able to submit to your instructor.

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FAQs: College Essay Writing Service Explained

You’re probably desperate to write your paper if you found yourself typing ‘write my college essay’ into Google search.

This can indeed be a challenging task. For this reason, we answered some of the most common questions that students seek answers to when choosing an essay writing service.

What if I am not satisfied with my paper?

This is a common concern when ordering essays online, and it is entirely justified. Thankfully, all the paper writing services presented in this article offer a free revision service. If you are not satisfied, you can send detailed comments to the writer, and they will make the necessary adjustments to your paper.

The least flexible college essay service on this aspect is PaperHelp, which only allows three revisions. All the other services will offer unlimited revisions, at least for some time after product delivery.

If revisions don’t help, you can ask for a full refund. However, in most cases, you must explain why you did not find the work satisfactory.

How far in advance do I need to order?

It is important to try your best to request an assignment as early as possible. Most of the essay writing websites featured in this article have a very short deadline of three hours, except for WritePaperForMe, which has a minimum deadline of six.

However, even the best and fastest writers cannot produce a well-researched 30-page assignment in under three hours. But the best essay writing services will undoubtedly deliver if you need a short assignment done at the last minute.

Will a native English speaker write my essay?

Most websites allow you to choose between a native English speaker or an ESL online essay writer. An ESL writer is usually cheaper and sometimes better if you’re not a native speaker of English yourself.

If you choose PaperHelp, for instance, you must select a writer from the TOP category to guarantee a native English speaker from the U.S., Canada or the U.K. However, a writer from the TOP category will cost up to 50% more.

Is buying essays online confidential and safe?

When using a paper writing service, confidentiality is a must. EssayPro and PaperHelp provide complete anonymity, even when using their services and speaking to their writers and representatives.

Other than that, these websites take the highest precautions to protect your financial information by offering secure payment options. Lastly, none of the featured companies will ever share your personal information with third parties unless you provide them with written permission.

Are essay writing services legit?

Yes, legitimate essay writing services exist, but it may take some time to find a trustworthy service if you’re ordering for the first time. If you read Reddit threads dedicated to college paper writing services, you will see hundreds of positive reviews about companies that write essays for you.

Besides, some reputable websites are dedicated to helping students find reliable essay writing help online by collecting customer reviews on assignment writing services.

Where do essay writing companies find their professional essay writers?

Every essay writing company is different, therefore the approach to hiring writers can differ from one company to another. Most companies hire freelancers all across the globe to be able to provide essay writing services round the clock and in any timezone.

Successful candidates usually hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a field that they apply to and successfully pass a few grammar tests to be able to get access to students’ orders.

Some other companies also have in-house teams of writers. These professionals typically proofread and copy-edit all the academic writing assignments done by freelancers and improve the content if it lacks depth, research, or has any stylistic flaws.

Will my paper be plagiarism-free?

If you turn to a reliable essay writing service for help, you can rest assured that the content you will receive is original. A professional essay writer will craft a paper tailored to your requirements. Besides, you will remain its sole owner because reputable companies never resell the academic papers they write.

Some academic writing companies like BBQPapers and EssayPro provide originality reports free of charge to give you peace of mind that your essay is unique and free from plagiarism.

Are essay writing services legal?

One aspect that many students ponder over is whether it is legal to use a professional essay writing service. Plenty of misinformation is spreading, leading some students to think that purchasing a paper from an essay writing website could be illegal.

Let’s make one thing absolutely clear. It can never be illegal to purchase a written piece of work. The student simply requests a paper, and an expert essay writer provides a written piece of content that matches the requirements.

This is a transaction between a company and an individual, and nothing could imply a breach of legality. You can be sure it is safe and legal to use online essay writing services. No laws exist against using such services, regardless of what you may have been told.

Moreover, any trustworthy essay writing site has a clear disclaimer and a terms/conditions page that outlines the terms of use. It shows that these services are acting within the law and are not breaking any regulations.

A custom essay writing service is a third party that provides assignments, reports, and essays for personal private use. Therefore, the website is not liable for what happens with its content.

Reliable Essay Writing Services: Summing Up

Hopefully, this article gave you a better understanding of the topic and helped you find an essay writer service that could perfectly match you. Getting qualified college paper help  is easy if you know what to look for.

Each college paper service is unique, with its advantages and disadvantages, and it is up to you to pick the one that will help you achieve the best result possible. Life gets busy, and sometimes, we just do not have the time to dedicate hours and hours to writing essays. These services can be true lifesavers and free up some time for you to focus your energy on other important goals.

We will leave you with this final tip: if you ever request a writing service, provide detailed instructions. This information will help writers produce high-quality papers that match your expectations.

Article paid for by: Ocasio Media The news and editorial staffs of the Bay Area News Group had no role in this post’s preparation.

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EU AI Act: first regulation on artificial intelligence

The use of artificial intelligence in the EU will be regulated by the AI Act, the world’s first comprehensive AI law. Find out how it will protect you.

A man faces a computer generated figure with programming language in the background

As part of its digital strategy , the EU wants to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) to ensure better conditions for the development and use of this innovative technology. AI can create many benefits , such as better healthcare; safer and cleaner transport; more efficient manufacturing; and cheaper and more sustainable energy.

In April 2021, the European Commission proposed the first EU regulatory framework for AI. It says that AI systems that can be used in different applications are analysed and classified according to the risk they pose to users. The different risk levels will mean more or less regulation. Once approved, these will be the world’s first rules on AI.

Learn more about what artificial intelligence is and how it is used

What Parliament wants in AI legislation

Parliament’s priority is to make sure that AI systems used in the EU are safe, transparent, traceable, non-discriminatory and environmentally friendly. AI systems should be overseen by people, rather than by automation, to prevent harmful outcomes.

Parliament also wants to establish a technology-neutral, uniform definition for AI that could be applied to future AI systems.

Learn more about Parliament’s work on AI and its vision for AI’s future

AI Act: different rules for different risk levels

The new rules establish obligations for providers and users depending on the level of risk from artificial intelligence. While many AI systems pose minimal risk, they need to be assessed.

Unacceptable risk

Unacceptable risk AI systems are systems considered a threat to people and will be banned. They include:

  • Cognitive behavioural manipulation of people or specific vulnerable groups: for example voice-activated toys that encourage dangerous behaviour in children
  • Social scoring: classifying people based on behaviour, socio-economic status or personal characteristics
  • Biometric identification and categorisation of people
  • Real-time and remote biometric identification systems, such as facial recognition

Some exceptions may be allowed for law enforcement purposes. “Real-time” remote biometric identification systems will be allowed in a limited number of serious cases, while “post” remote biometric identification systems, where identification occurs after a significant delay, will be allowed to prosecute serious crimes and only after court approval.

AI systems that negatively affect safety or fundamental rights will be considered high risk and will be divided into two categories:

1) AI systems that are used in products falling under the EU’s product safety legislation . This includes toys, aviation, cars, medical devices and lifts.

2) AI systems falling into specific areas that will have to be registered in an EU database:

  • Management and operation of critical infrastructure
  • Education and vocational training
  • Employment, worker management and access to self-employment
  • Access to and enjoyment of essential private services and public services and benefits
  • Law enforcement
  • Migration, asylum and border control management
  • Assistance in legal interpretation and application of the law.

All high-risk AI systems will be assessed before being put on the market and also throughout their lifecycle.

General purpose and generative AI

Generative AI, like ChatGPT, would have to comply with transparency requirements:

  • Disclosing that the content was generated by AI
  • Designing the model to prevent it from generating illegal content
  • Publishing summaries of copyrighted data used for training

High-impact general-purpose AI models that might pose systemic risk, such as the more advanced AI model GPT-4, would have to undergo thorough evaluations and any serious incidents would have to be reported to the European Commission.

Limited risk

Limited risk AI systems should comply with minimal transparency requirements that would allow users to make informed decisions. After interacting with the applications, the user can then decide whether they want to continue using it. Users should be made aware when they are interacting with AI. This includes AI systems that generate or manipulate image, audio or video content, for example deepfakes.

On December 9 2023, Parliament reached a provisional agreement with the Council on the AI act . The agreed text will now have to be formally adopted by both Parliament and Council to become EU law. Before all MEPs have their say on the agreement, Parliament’s internal market and civil liberties committees will vote on it.

More on the EU’s digital measures

  • Cryptocurrency dangers and the benefits of EU legislation
  • Fighting cybercrime: new EU cybersecurity laws explained
  • Boosting data sharing in the EU: what are the benefits?
  • EU Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act
  • Five ways the European Parliament wants to protect online gamers
  • Artificial Intelligence Act

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  • How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

Published on January 11, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on August 15, 2023 by Eoghan Ryan.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . It usually comes near the end of your introduction .

Your thesis will look a bit different depending on the type of essay you’re writing. But the thesis statement should always clearly state the main idea you want to get across. Everything else in your essay should relate back to this idea.

You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps:

  • Start with a question
  • Write your initial answer
  • Develop your answer
  • Refine your thesis statement

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Table of contents

What is a thesis statement, placement of the thesis statement, step 1: start with a question, step 2: write your initial answer, step 3: develop your answer, step 4: refine your thesis statement, types of thesis statements, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about thesis statements.

A thesis statement summarizes the central points of your essay. It is a signpost telling the reader what the essay will argue and why.

The best thesis statements are:

  • Concise: A good thesis statement is short and sweet—don’t use more words than necessary. State your point clearly and directly in one or two sentences.
  • Contentious: Your thesis shouldn’t be a simple statement of fact that everyone already knows. A good thesis statement is a claim that requires further evidence or analysis to back it up.
  • Coherent: Everything mentioned in your thesis statement must be supported and explained in the rest of your paper.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

The thesis statement generally appears at the end of your essay introduction or research paper introduction .

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts and among young people more generally is hotly debated. For many who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education: the internet facilitates easier access to information, exposure to different perspectives, and a flexible learning environment for both students and teachers.

You should come up with an initial thesis, sometimes called a working thesis , early in the writing process . As soon as you’ve decided on your essay topic , you need to work out what you want to say about it—a clear thesis will give your essay direction and structure.

You might already have a question in your assignment, but if not, try to come up with your own. What would you like to find out or decide about your topic?

For example, you might ask:

After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process .

Now you need to consider why this is your answer and how you will convince your reader to agree with you. As you read more about your topic and begin writing, your answer should get more detailed.

In your essay about the internet and education, the thesis states your position and sketches out the key arguments you’ll use to support it.

The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education because it facilitates easier access to information.

In your essay about braille, the thesis statement summarizes the key historical development that you’ll explain.

The invention of braille in the 19th century transformed the lives of blind people, allowing them to participate more actively in public life.

A strong thesis statement should tell the reader:

  • Why you hold this position
  • What they’ll learn from your essay
  • The key points of your argument or narrative

The final thesis statement doesn’t just state your position, but summarizes your overall argument or the entire topic you’re going to explain. To strengthen a weak thesis statement, it can help to consider the broader context of your topic.

These examples are more specific and show that you’ll explore your topic in depth.

Your thesis statement should match the goals of your essay, which vary depending on the type of essay you’re writing:

  • In an argumentative essay , your thesis statement should take a strong position. Your aim in the essay is to convince your reader of this thesis based on evidence and logical reasoning.
  • In an expository essay , you’ll aim to explain the facts of a topic or process. Your thesis statement doesn’t have to include a strong opinion in this case, but it should clearly state the central point you want to make, and mention the key elements you’ll explain.

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

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A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

Follow these four steps to come up with a thesis statement :

  • Ask a question about your topic .
  • Write your initial answer.
  • Develop your answer by including reasons.
  • Refine your answer, adding more detail and nuance.

The thesis statement should be placed at the end of your essay introduction .

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    As X states Example: To use the words of Hillary Clinton, "You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health." Near the end of the introduction, you should state the thesis to explain the central point of your paper. If you're not sure how to introduce your thesis, try using some of these phrases: In this essay, I will…

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    44 Comments Sharing is caring! How to Write a Great Essay in English! This lesson provides 100+ useful words, transition words and expressions used in writing an essay. Let's take a look! The secret to a successful essay doesn't just lie in the clever things you talk about and the way you structure your points. Contents

  5. 17 academic words and phrases to use in your essay

    1. Firstly, secondly, thirdly Even though it sounds obvious, your argument will be clearer if you deliver the ideas in the right order. These words can help you to offer clarity and structure to the way you expose your ideas. This is an extremely effective method of presenting the facts clearly.

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    Knowledge Base Essay How to structure an essay: Templates and tips How to Structure an Essay | Tips & Templates Published on September 18, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023. The basic structure of an essay always consists of an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

  7. How to Write an Essay Introduction

    Step 1: Hook your reader Your first sentence sets the tone for the whole essay, so spend some time on writing an effective hook. Avoid long, dense sentences—start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader's curiosity.

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    Knowledge Base Essay The Beginner's Guide to Writing an Essay | Steps & Examples An academic essay is a focused piece of writing that develops an idea or argument using evidence, analysis, and interpretation. There are many types of essays you might write as a student.

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    The basic steps for how to write an essay are: Generate ideas and pick a type of essay to write. Outline your essay paragraph by paragraph. Write a rough first draft without worrying about details like word choice or grammar. Edit your rough draft, and revise and fix the details. Review your essay for typos, mistakes, and any other problems.

  10. Example of a Great Essay

    Table of contents Other interesting articles Frequently asked questions about writing an essay Example of a well-structured essay An Appeal to the Senses: The Development of the Braille System in Nineteenth-Century France The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.

  11. Word Choice

    Word Choice What this handout is about This handout can help you revise your papers for word-level clarity, eliminate wordiness and avoid clichés, find the words that best express your ideas, and choose words that suit an academic audience. Introduction Writing is a series of choices.

  12. How To Write The Perfect Essay

    Table of Contents 1. Plan This may sound time-consuming, but if you make a really good plan you will actually save yourself time when it comes to writing the essay, as you'll know where your answer is headed and won't write yourself into a corner.

  13. How to Start an Essay: 7 Tips for a Knockout Essay Introduction

    Share a shocking or amusing fact One way to start your essay is with a shocking, unexpected, or amusing fact about the topic you're covering. This grabs the reader's attention and makes them want to read further, expecting explanation, context, and/or elaboration on the fact you presented.

  14. What Are Good Sentence Starters for Essays?

    We explain a bit about when and how to use them, and then give specific examples of sentence starters you can use in your writing, divided into categories for quick reference like "topic sentence starters for essays" or "good sentence starters for emphasis." Here's a tip: Want to make sure your writing shines?

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    We've compiled some of the best essay writing tips so that you don't have to search far and wide to learn how to write a good essay. Take a look at these top 100 essay writing tips! 100 Essay Writing Tips #1 Analyse the question #2 Define your argument #3 Use reputable sources of evidence to support your claims (i.e. not Wikipedia)

  16. 177 College Essay Examples for 11 Schools + Expert Analysis

    Technique #1: humor. Notice Renner's gentle and relaxed humor that lightly mocks their younger self's grand ambitions (this is different from the more sarcastic kind of humor used by Stephen in the first essay—you could never mistake one writer for the other). My first dream job was to be a pickle truck driver.

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    Learning how to use the right essay words is just one of the many writing skills students and those writing in academia must develop. Others include a good knowledge of grammar and an ability to write an essay that's readable and accurate. It just takes practice. Check out our guide packed full of transition words for essays. FAQs

  18. 40 Big Words That Make an Impact In Speech and Writing

    Vocabulary Glossaries 40 Big Words That Make an Impact In Speech and Writing By Alvin Park , Staff Writer Updated January 9, 2023 Image Credits Whether you're giving a rollicking good speech or writing the next great American novel, being effective comes down to using the right words.

  19. Ending the Essay: Conclusions

    But readers can see, by the tell-tale compression of the pages, when an essay is about to end. You'll irritate your audience if you belabor the obvious. Resist the urge to apologize. If you've immersed yourself in your subject, you now know a good deal more about it than you can possibly include in a five- or ten- or 20-page essay.

  20. 5 Examples of Concluding Words for Essays

    To recap an idea at the end of a critical or descriptive essay, you can use this phrase at the beginning of the concluding paragraph. "Overall" means "taking everything into account," and it sums up your essay in a formal way. You can use "overall" on its own as a transition signal, or you can use it as part of a phrase.

  21. How I Fell for an Amazon Scam Call and Handed Over $50,000

    Krista transferred the call to a man who identified himself as Calvin Mitchell. He said he was an investigator with the FTC, gave me his badge number, and had me write down his direct phone line in case I needed to contact him again. He also told me our call was being recorded. He asked me to verify the spelling of my name.

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    For those of you who use Microsoft Word, for instance, Copilot Pro can help you write and revise your text, provide summaries of your documents, and answer questions about any document.

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    The second go-to explanation is the massive disruption of school closures during COVID-19. There is still some debate about the necessity of those measures, but what is not up for debate any ...

  24. How to Write an Essay Outline

    An essay outline is a way of planning the structure of your essay before you start writing. It involves writing quick summary sentences or phrases for every point you will cover in each paragraph, giving you a picture of how your argument will unfold. You'll sometimes be asked to submit an essay outline as a separate assignment before you ...

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    You can ask ChatGPT for feedback on any of your own writing, from the emails you're sending to friends, to the short story you're submitting to a competition, to the prompts you're typing into the ...

  26. 92 Essay Transition Words to Know, With Examples

    Grammarly helps you avoid plagiarism Write with Grammarly What are essay transition words? In general, transition words and phrases bridge the gap between two topics whose connection isn't obvious. Transition words and phrases like however, although, likewise, and on the contrary cue the reader that a change is coming so they know to expect it.

  27. 5 Best Essay Writing Services in 2024: Review of Legit College Paper

    High-quality, plagiarism-free papers. Stress-free money-back guarantee. Possibility to track your order. Free plagiarism report and 10% first-time discount with the code LWS10.

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    As part of its digital strategy, the EU wants to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) to ensure better conditions for the development and use of this innovative technology. AI can create many benefits, such as better healthcare; safer and cleaner transport; more efficient manufacturing; and cheaper and more sustainable energy.. In April 2021, the European Commission proposed the first EU ...

  29. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Placement of the thesis statement. Step 1: Start with a question. Step 2: Write your initial answer. Step 3: Develop your answer. Step 4: Refine your thesis statement. Types of thesis statements. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about thesis statements.