Choosing An Essay Format: A Guide For Dummies

Have you been assigned an essay? Do you feel like you do not even know where to start? Do you know what format you will use? If you have absolutely no idea what to do and what format to use, you are not alone. Every day, professors assign essays and their students often give up before they even begin, simply because they do not know where to go for help. One of the most important things to know when starting an essay is the format for an essay. Every essay has relatively the same format, so once you know it you can start writing.


The first part of every essay is the introduction. This is where you give just enough information about the topic so your readers know what is coming. The introductory paragraph should include three distinct sections, but written as one whole paragraph of more than three sentences. The first section is the hook, where you get the reader’s attention. The second section is the bridge, which explains the hook and connects it to the thesis. The final section is the thesis, where you write what you will be proving in the rest of the essay. The thesis should be the last sentence.


The middle of the essays includes the paragraphs where you prove your thesis. This portion of the essay should include a few paragraphs - as many as you need to show support for your thesis. Many professors will require at least three paragraphs, if not more than that. Each paragraph should be structured the same way and should include a topic sentence. The rest of the sentences should support the topic sentence with examples and explanations of those examples. Your examples should be direct quotes or paraphrases along with the necessary documentation to support those examples. Your explanations should clearly show how those examples back up your topic sentence, which supports the thesis.


At the end of the essay, you need a conclusion. This part of the essay is at least one paragraph in length. Many writers neglect the conclusion, but if it written well, it can be a powerful force in the essay. The best format starts with a restatement of the thesis, a review of the strongest supporting points, and then a return to the hook. This brings the essay full-circle so your readers are exposed to your argument one last time.