Writing a good essay takes time and practice. Students may feel overwhelmed and confused by the complexity of essay assignments and types. However, there are some universal characteristics of good essays that may help complete these writing tasks effectively. The WriteEssayForMe writers share their experiences to help you create excellent essays on any topic. In this article, you’ll learn about the features of an effective essay, such as the thesis focus, organization, unity and coherence, and correctness.
A high-quality essay should always contain a concise, well-developed thesis statement. A thesis is a sentence summarizing the main idea of the paper. After reading a good thesis statement, readers should have no doubts as to the subject matter of the paper. The following features of a well-written thesis sentence should be considered:
- Establishes a writer’s position regarding the topic
- Justifies discussion and identifies the presence of a problem worth the analysis
- Expresses one main idea
- Is specific enough
If you cannot reduce the main idea of the essay to one thesis statement, you selected a topic that is too broad. Try to narrow it down to one issue and determine your position regarding this issue. Then, compose several versions of the thesis. Play with the words and rearrange the ideas to merge your versions into one short statement. Try to replace vague words and phrases with more specific ones. For example, instead of writing “there are many factors causing climate change,” you can write, “greenhouse gas emissions are the main cause of the alarming temperature increase that should be addressed as soon as possible.” Remember, your thesis statement should be manageable, that is, be narrow enough for you to prove within the assigned page limit.
A good essay has a clear structure and contains the three main sections:
- Introduction with a thesis statement
- Body paragraphs
A well-organized paper follows the academic conventions and is divided into paragraphs, sections, and sub-sections. It uses titles and subtitles to structure the ideas and help readers find the information faster.
Unity and Coherence
Many students think that these aspects of an essay seem vague, but they are critically important for presenting a convincing, scholarly argument. Unity means that every paragraph and section in an essay is directly related to the main idea (thesis). Each paragraph in an essay should be dedicated to its own point, which supports the general thesis. Coherence, in turn, means that the essay is organized logically, flows smoothly, and is perceived as one meaningful piece of writing. To put it differently, everything in the paper should make sense and serve one specific purpose.
If you are still confused, follow these tips on how to make the essay coherent:
- Use transition words and phrases. They will create the “flow” and help structure ideas logically, showing the connection between them. For example, you can use “furthermore,” “in addition,” “on the one hand… on the other hand,” “in contrast/similarly,” and many others.
- Use topic sentences that summarize the main idea of a paragraph
- Add transitional sentences at the end of each paragraph
- Check for repetitions before submitting the paper
A good essay always follows grammatical conventions. It is written in standard English and uses complete sentences. Although some teachers allow the presence of minor errors unless they do not impede the readers’ understanding of the text, it is generally undesirable to submit papers that have grammar issues.
As for the style, the paper should be written with the audience and context in mind. A good essay is written using appropriate words and precise vocabulary that correspond to the target audience’s knowledge and educational level. For example, using informal words and phrases in an academic essay to be presented at a conference is inappropriate. Conversely, using complex scientific jargon is not a good strategy if you want to present your essay in front of peers that may lack the knowledge to understand its meaning.
Signs of Trouble
There are some problems that students need to pay attention to when proofreading and editing their essays. Here’s a list of some of the most common ones:
- The paragraphs are too long or too short. A solid paragraph should include about five to seven sentences.
- Too many direct quotes. Try to rephrase quotes in your own words and use direct quotations only if absolutely necessary.
- Paragraphs look disconnected. In such cases, adding transitional words and sentences may help.
- The paper looks like a compilation of someone else’s ideas. To address this problem, complement the ideas taken from sources with your interpretations and analysis.
- Formatting seems inconsistent. Check the formatting requirements and look through the paper to check whether fonts, spacing, margins, etc., are correct.
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