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How to Structure an Essay

by tutlance
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Do you know how to structure your essays? Many students do not, and this can cause them to struggle with their writing assignments. The basic structure of an essay is quite simple: it consists of an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. However, there are a few other things that you need to keep in mind if you want to write a good essay.

What is an essay structure?

The structure of an essay is the way in which it is organised. The traditional essay structure consists of three parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. However, there are many different ways to organise an essay, and the structure will vary depending on the type of essay and the purpose for writing it.

For example, a five-paragraph essay structure (introduction, three body paragraphs, conclusion) is typically used to argue a point or to persuade the reader, while a narrative essay might be organised chronologically or around a central theme. The important thing is to select the right structure for the task at hand. A well-structured essay will be easier to read and understand, and it will be more likely to achieve its purpose.

In this article, we explore how to structure an essay. We will look at the different elements that need to be included in an essay and how to organize them.

Basic essay structure: the 3 main parts of an essay

The first thing you need to do is to understand the basic structure of an essay. As we mentioned above, an essay consists of 3 main parts:

  1. Introduction.
  2. Body.
  3. Conclusion.


The introduction of an essay is the first opportunity to make an impression on the reader. It sets the stage for the rest of the paper and should give the reader a clear sense of your argument and purpose.

An effective introduction will grab the reader’s attention, provide context for the main body of the essay, and give a preview of what is to come.

There are a few key elements that should be included in any good introduction:

  • Hook: A hook in an essay grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want to continue reading. It can be a quote, an interesting statistic, or a rhetorical question.
  • Background Information: You should start by giving some background information on the topic.
  • Thesis Statement: You should finish your introduction with a clear thesis statement that outlines the main argument of your essay. An essay thesis statement is the main point that you are trying to make in your essay.

By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that your introduction makes a strong first impression and set yourself up for success.


The body of an essay is where you develop your ideas and provide evidence to support your argument.

Each paragraph should focus on a single idea or claim, and should be supported with relevant evidence. When developing your ideas, it is important to structure your paragraphs in a way that is easy for the reader to follow.

Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph. Follow this with supporting sentences that provide further details and explanation.

Finally, conclude the paragraph with a sentence that summarises the key points and leaves the reader with something to think about.

By following this basic essay body paragraph structure, you can ensure that your body paragraphs are clear, concise, and effective.


The conclusion of an essay is just as important as the introduction. The conclusion should tie all of the ideas in the essay together and provide a final perspective on the topic. Many students make the mistake of simply restating the thesis in the conclusion, but this does not provide any new information for the reader.

A good essay conclusion will leave the reader with a strong impression of what the essay was about and why it was important.

It should also make it clear how the ideas in the essay are related to each other.

When writing a conclusion, be sure to avoid introducing any new information or ideas. This will only confuse the reader and make it difficult to follow your argument. Instead, focus on providing a clear and concise summary of what has already been said.

Now that you understand the basic structure of an essay, let’s look at some examples of essay structures.

Essay structure examples

There are 3 main examples of structuring an essay based on the order of information: chronological structure, compare-and-contrast structure, and problems-methods-solutions structure.

Chronological structure

When writing an essay, it is important to consider the order in which the information will be presented. One option is to use a chronological structure, in which the essay proceeds in a linear fashion, covering events in the order in which they occurred. This approach can be particularly effective for narratives or for essays that describe a process. In a chronological essay, each section builds on the one that came before, creating a clear sense of progression. When used effectively, this type of structure can help to engage readers and keep them focused on the argument at hand. However, it is important to avoid simply presenting a series of facts; instead, the goal should be to use these facts to support a larger point. Ultimately, a well-crafted chronological essay can provide readers with a clear and concise overview of a complex topic.

Compare-and-contrast structure

The compare-and-contrast structure of an essay is used to compare two or more ideas. This type of structure is often used when writing literary analysis essays, as it allows you to explore the relationships between different characters or themes.

High school and college students often find themselves tasked with writing compare and contrast essays. These essays require the writer to analyze two or more subjects and highlight the similarities and differences between them.

While the majority of compare-and-contrast essays are assigned in English and other language arts classes, this type of essay can be helpful in any subject where you need to able to identify both similarities and differences.

There are two common structures for compare and contrast essays: the point-by-point structure and the block structure.

In a point-by-point essay, each paragraph focuses on one specific similarity or difference between the two subjects. For example, in a compare-and-contrast essay about cats and dogs, you might discuss the similarities and differences between their appearance, behavior, and care.

The point-by-point structure can be helpful when you are writing about subjects that are similar in many ways but have at least one significant difference.

The block structure, on the other hand, discusses all of the similarities in the first half of the essay and all of the differences in the second half.

This type of structure can be helpful when you are writing about subjects that are very different from one another.

Problems-methods-solutions structure

One of the most common essay structures is the problems-methods-solutions (or PMS) structure. In this type of essay structure, you first identify a problem, then discuss possible methods for solving it, and finally presenting your proposed solution as the best option. PMS structure can be used for both informative and persuasive essays. The main advantage of the PMS structure is that it provides a clear and logical flow for your argument. Additionally, this structure can be used to effectively address counterarguments, as you can directly address any objections to your proposed solution in the final section. Overall, the PMS structure is a versatile and effective tool for crafting well-reasoned arguments.

Essay Structuring Tips

Now that you understand the different types of essay structures, let’s look at some tips for how to structure your own essay.

Here are five easy tips to help you structure an academic essay:

Tip # 1. Start with an outline

This will help you organize your thoughts and determine what points you want to make in your essay. An essay outline will help you determine what information needs to be included in each section of your paper. It will also make the writing process much easier for you.

Tip #2. Include a catchy introduction

The first impression is always important, and this is especially true when it comes to writing essays. Your introduction should grab the reader’s attention and give them an idea of what your essay is about. You can do this by including a strong thesis statement or by using a story or example in your introduction.

Tip #3. Write clear and concise body paragraphs

Your body paragraphs should be clear and concise. Each paragraph should have one main idea that supports your thesis statement. Remember to include evidence and examples to support your argument.

Tip #4. Use a strong conclusion

Your conclusion should summarize your argument and restate your thesis statement. You can also include a call to action or make a suggestion for further research.

Tip #5. Edit and proofread your essay

Before you submit your essay, be sure to edit and proofread it. This will help to ensure that your essay is free of errors and is well-written.

Tip #6. Get feedback

One final tip is to get feedback from others before you submit your essay. Ask a friend or family member to read over your essay and give you their thoughts. This can help you catch any mistakes that you may have missed.

Tip #7. Essay Length: How long an essay should be?

While there is no hard and fast rule for how long an essay should be, most essays structured or organized into three sections: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion.

The length of each section will vary depending on the overall length of the essay, but keep in mind that an essay should generally be about three to five paragraphs long.

The introduction should grab attention and provide background information on the main points of the essay; the body should develop these points in more detail; and finally, the conclusion should restate the main points of the essay and leave readers with something to think about.

With this general structure in mind, you’ll be well on your way to writing a clear and concise essay.

In conclusion, following these tips should help you structure an essay that is well-reasoned and effective. However, remember that there is no one right way to structure an essay. Experiment with different structures and find what works best for you. And always be sure to edit and proofread your work before submitting it. Good luck!

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