8 Steps to Writing an Essay

For example, to write an essay, you should generally:

      • decide what kind of essay to write,
      • brainstorm your topic,
      • research the topic,
      • choose a writing style,
      • develop a thesis,
      • outline your essay,
      • write your essay,
      • edit your writing,
      • and use Stylefit at all stages.

1. Choose the Type of Essay

The first step to writing an essay is to define what type of essay you are writing. There are four main categories into which essays can be grouped:

      • Narrative essay – Tell a story in a straightforward, orderly manner.
      • Persuasive essay – Convince the reader about some point of view.
      • Expository essay – Explain to the reader how to perform a process like baking a cake.
      • Descriptive essay – Focus on the details of what is going on.

Other types of essay

      • Argumentative essay – Take a position on an issue and present evidence in favor of your position.
      • Compare and contrast essay – Identify similarities and differences between two subjects that are, typically, under the same umbrella. For example: Compare kayaks to canoes then point out the differences (contrast).
      • Problem solution essay – Describe a problem, like water pollution. Choose a stream near you. Is it polluted or not? If it is polluted argue for cleaning it up? How would you clean it up? Then tell me why I should care about keeping the stream clean. If the stream in your example is not polluted explain what I need to so to keep it from getting polluted.
      • Informative essay – Educate the reader on a particular topic with facts. Choose a topic you feel passionate about.

2. Brainstorm Your Topic

      • Write down everything that comes to mind.
      • Use clustering or mind mapping to brainstorm and come up with an essay idea. This involves writing your topic or idea in the center of the paper and creating bubbles (clouds or clusters) of related ideas around it.
      • Brainstorming can be a great way to develop a topic more deeply and to recognize connections between various facets of your topic.
      • Once you have a list of possible topics, it’s time to choose the best one that will answer the question posed for your essay. You want to choose a topic that is neither too broad nor too narrow.

If you are given an assignment to write a one-page essay, choose a specific aspect of your topic.

For example: Are New Zealand rivers really pollution free?

Choose one river and write about that.

3. Research the Topic

Once you have done your brainstorming and chosen your topic, you may need to do some research to write a good essay. Talk to people who are in the field. Check out relevant websites. Go to the Library.

4. Choose a Writing Style

The writing style that you choose for your essay is dictated the topic. If its about

5. Develop a statement that captures your article

Your statement is the main point of your essay. It is essentially one sentence that says what the essay is about. For example, your statement might be “Government should provide school lunches” You can expand on this by looking at why government should supply lunches. Should they be for some students and not others? What should be in them? And so on.

6. Outline Your Essay

The next step is to outline what you are going to write about. This means you want to essentially draw the skeleton of your paper. Helps to ensure your essay is logical, well organized and flows properly. If you’ve been tasked with an argumentative essay, here’s the best formula for an argumentative essay outline.

      • Start by writing the thesis statement at the top, then write a topic sentence for each paragraph below that. This means you should know exactly what each of your paragraphs is going to be about before you write them.
      • Don’t jumble too many ideas in each paragraph or the reader may become confused.
      • Ensure you have transitions between paragraphs so the reader understands how the paper flows from one idea to the next.
      • Fill in supporting facts from your research under each paragraph. Make sure each paragraph ties back to your thesis and creates a cohesive, understandable essay.

7. Write the Essay

Once you have an outline, it’s time to start writing. Write based on the outline itself, fleshing out your basic skeleton to create a whole, cohesive and clear essay.

You’ll want to edit and re-read your essay, checking to make sure it sounds exactly the way you want it to. Here are some things to remember:

      • Revise for clarity, consistency and structure.
      • Support your thesis adequately with the information in your paragraphs. Each paragraph should have its own topic sentence. This is the most important sentence in the paragraph that tells readers what the rest of the paragraph will be about.
      • Make sure everything flows. As you move through the essay, transition words will be paramount. Transition words are the glue that connects every paragraph together and prevents the essay from sounding disjointed.
      • Reread your introduction and conclusion. Will the reader walk away knowing exactly what your paper was about?

In your introduction, it’s important to include a hook. This is the line or line that will lure a reader in and encourage them to want to learn more. For more on this, check out how to write a hook. And, to help you formulate a killer conclusion, scan through these conclusion examples.

8. Check Spelling and Grammar

Now the essay is written, but you’re not quite done. Reread what you’ve written, looking out for mistakes and typos.

      • Revise for technical errors.
      • Check for grammar, punctuation and spelling errors.
      • Another common area of concern is quotation marks


Planning Pays Off

A lot goes into writing a successful essay. Fortunately, these tips for writing essays can help you along the way and get you on the path to a well-written essay.


Jennifer Betts
Certified Teacher


Possible Essay topics


    • Should there be commercials in children’s programs
    • Does homework help kids learn?
    • Should school go all year without a break?
    • How can school be fairer for kids from different backgrounds?
    • Do schools treat boys and girls the same way?
    • Should parents limit screen time?
    • Should school start before eight o’clock in the morning?
    • Is it better to read fiction or nonfiction?
    • Should kids have the same teacher every year or switch teachers each year?
    • Should video games be a sport?
    • Are schools doing enough to stop bullying?
    • Should kids have homework on weekends?
Outline for an Argumentative Essay


1. Introductory Paragraph

This is where you’ll introduce your topic. The intro has three main elements.

      • Hook: Your opening lines are known as your hook. Knowing how to write a hook is what will draw your reader to the end.
      • Body: You can expand this type of generalized “setup” with another sentence or two.
      • Thesis Statement: The end of your introductory paragraph contains one very important element: your thesis statement. This will close the first paragraph on a strong point and set up the body of the essay. Every point you make within the body of your essay must relate back to your thesis statement.

2. Body

In the body of your essay, you’ll present a series of supporting details to defend your argument. This can include any or all of the following:

      • evidence
      • facts
      • statistics
      • brief narratives
      • quotations

The best way to visualise the body of your argumentative essay is to commit to three claims and back them up.

You can share someone’s testimony or even your own.


3. Opposition

Argumentative essays are heftier than other essays. In an informative essay or a persuasive essay, you may choose to stick to one side of the discussion.

In an argumentative essay, you must address the opposing side’s opinions on the matter. Believe it or not, this will make your own argument stronger. It demonstrates you’re not blind to the issue and are prepared to stand strong. Here, you’ll state an opposing view (or more) and then refute it.

You might use pathos, ethos, and logos to do this.

4. Conclusion

Summarise the main idea of your argument. In a way, it’s a mirror of your opening statement. Of course, you don’t want to repeat your opening statement word-for-word, but it can be similar. Summarize your claims as concisely as possible and then close the essay. You can end with a rhetorical question or thought-provoking statement.

These are three figures of speech which an Argumentative essay might use.

Pathos: tragic, sad.
Logos: logic
Ethos: customary, practices and customs


Example: Essay Plan 


Topic: The Internet is a greater force for good than bad


For: source of research information; a way to connect with friends; online shopping, educational games and exercises.
Against: scams; unsuitable sites for kids; kids should be outside; People can get bomb making recipes; terrorists can buy guns; unsuitable reading; encourages too much screen time.


Opening paragraph

The Internet is an amazing platform that brings excellent information direct to everyone’s desk top. We can research any topic and get detailed information thanks to Google and other search engines. Before the Internet we were limited to libraries and encyclopaedias now all of those are online and available at a click of a key. The only down side is that there are sometimes scammers and nasty people selling things that are illegal or socially corrupt.


The Internet is a greater force for good than bad because of all the information anyone can find there.

My friend writing an essay about the Silk Road.

Her source of information before the Internet was….

However, one day her research led to a dark place….

So wisdom needed when using the Internet.


Like all things in this world everything has an up side and a down side. The Internet also can be used for good but it can also lead people into its dark side. Be very careful about this.

Length 400 words




Title: The Internet is a force for good

Just thirty years ago the Internet was in its infancy and people talked about the possibility of it becoming ubiquitous, but no-one could really imagine what that would mean.

Today, we take the Internet for granted. It is as if it has always been a part of our lives. It is the first place we go when we want to find out something. For example if we wanted to find out how the Internet came into being we would go to a search engine like Google type it in and get the result back almost instantly. We can look up simple things like what kinds of animals would you find in New Zealand’s bush, or we can look up really complicated things like how to code using Python. It is all there.

We can set up accounts that enable us to create amazing designs, go to writing sites to learn how to write essays. We can also build communities of interest as well as make contact with friends from around the world.

Then there is the shopping. These possibilities are almost endless from grocery shopping to clothing. Anything you could possibly want is now for sale on the Internet.

However, there is a dark side to the Internet and people, especially students and parents should be aware of that. The dark side harbours cyber criminals and can be used to bully people. This awful side of the Internet can lead to people committing suicide because of threats to expose private information.

Private information can be stolen and used by criminals. Sometimes, the crime involves buying goods online using stolen credit card details. More frightening it the possibility of losing key information so that a criminal can create a new identity. If this happens to someone, they can be mistakenly arrested for something they did not do, lose their job and even be left stateless until they prove they are the victim of stolen identity.

One of the more appalling activities on the Internet is the trafficking of drugs and pornographic images. These two things can ruin a young person’s life and they can find themselves caught up in a web that is morally and psychologically damaging.

So beware, there are two sides to the Internet – the dark side and the good. The good side which everyone enjoys. It is convenient and easy to access.


This is a good position for this essay because it has landed in an area where you would find argument critical thinking and philosophical argument