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how to write an essay?

How to write an essay – the beginner’s guide

Writing an essay is already a challenge by itself especially for students. They need to grasp and understand the topic before they can write an essay. It’s even more challenging to write an essay in English if English is not your mother tongue or your first language. Even native speakers of English encounter challenges when writing an essay in English.

The lack of reading and writing skills in English could be easily overlooked for students in high school, that’s why it’s not easy to identify the students’ weaknesses unless they take exams and submit papers. When teachers ask their students to submit a paper on a certain topic or ask them to explain ideas or expound on certain topics during an exam, that’s when teachers realize that many of their students have difficulties in writing. This kind of problem exists both in countries where English is the primary language and in countries that speak English as a foreign language. The lack in English reading and writing skills are only usually noticed in students in college.

How to use grammar properly?

Grammar is one of the problems encountered when writing an English essay. Even native speakers commit grammatical errors when writing essays in English. For non-native speakers of English, it’s quite hard to express themselves in another language. They may have ideas on what to write but the problem lies in expressing their thoughts in a foreign language. As for native speakers, they may speak English well, but their grammar is not perfect, and this is evident in their writing. Students are not expected to be perfect in English but when they commit too many errors, it is difficult for the teachers to evaluate the content. To solve this problem, students should be conscious of the common grammatical errors such as the proper use of punctuation marks, spelling, and the subject-verb agreement. There are some applications online that students can use to check their grammar when writing an essay. Students can also seek help from online tutors or writing coaches who can help them edit their own writing.

How to start an essay?

One of the first problems encountered by students when writing an essay is the difficulty in starting an essay. Students are normally given a topic to write on, but they don’t know how to start writing about that topic especially if they don’t fully understand the topic. The best solution to this problem is by planning and preparing before writing an essay. The student should gather information. The student needs to do some brainstorming on what to write about and do some research. The direction of the essay should be clear right from the very start.

The thesis

Another common problem in writing an English essay is coming up with a thesis statement. The thesis statement should be clear. To solve this problem, students need to come up with the thesis statement before writing the essay and they can show the thesis statement to their teachers or to other students who in turn can give suggestions.

Writing an essay could be easy
Writing an essay could be easy

The essay’s “voice”

Aside from the basic problems of grammar and thesis, many students also struggle in the voice and audience of the essay. Writing an essay is a way of expressing oneself but essays are usually formal unlike journals and blogs. Students tend to use slang, colloquialisms, and everyday speech patterns which should be avoided in essay writing. Students should choose the best way where the audience can understand what they have written. They should also avoid too much jargons. Generally, the students should write in a way that both the teachers and the students would understand what they have written. They shouldn’t write just to impress the teacher or just to get a grade for that. Their goal should be for many people to understand what they have written.

How to avoid plagiarism?

Plagiarism is one big problem when writing an essay not only for students but even for professionals. It is quite difficult to inject researched text into one’s own writing without totally copying the exact phrases and sentences from the source. They cannot also directly quote a source all the time. The solution to this problem is to use paraphrasing which is a skill that should be practiced by everyone. Students can also use dictionaries to find synonyms or alternative words. They can also rearrange phrases in a sentence and shorten long sentences.

Good writing requires practice and adequate feedback. Students should practice writing on their own even if it is not part of a homework or an exam and they should ask their teacher, or use the help of an online tutor, or someone skilled in writing to provide feedback on what they have written. Teachers should normally critique their students’ essays so that they know where they are good at and what they need to improve on when it comes to essay writing.

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