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What is an Essay? Essay

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Updated: Oct 28th, 2020

An essay is regarded to be a brief piece of writing, usually written in an academic style. It is generally recognized that most essays include a thesis and some arguments made by the author on the basis of thorough research of the discussed subject. Still, it is crucial to point out the main aspects of an academic essay to fully understand what an essay is.

There are different types of essays, such as comparative, critical, descriptive, literature, and argumentative ones. A good essay is a result of deep research of the subject using scholarly articles and other works published by researchers. The author is expected to explain the motives of writing an essay and the importance of researching the suggested subject in an introduction. The idea of a paper is presented in the distinct form of a thesis. For example, for an argumentative essay, a thesis would include a statement supported by the author, an explanation of the author’s position, and some counter-arguments. A comparative essay, in turn, would present a thesis pointing out the main similarities and differences between two phenomena or works.

The body of an essay is divided into the distinct sections in which the author explains one’s arguments and explores the subject to convince a reader that the ideas presented in the thesis are true. For an extended piece of work, it is recommended to use sub-headings to help a reader easily navigate through the paper. The author is expected to support one’s statements with such evidence as to facts or details from scholarly studies.

The works of other researchers are quoted or summarized to explain and prove the main idea of the writer. All of these studies should be relevant to the discussed topic. Usually, each paragraph of an essay has a distinct structure beginning with an introductory sentence that presents some statement and is followed by evidence from scholarly works and a brief conclusion with the comments and thoughts of the author.

It is also helpful to use background information dealing with the explored topic to help the reader who is not familiar with the discussed subject. Some interesting facts would make a paper more interesting to read as well. It is a general opinion that utilizing transition sentences and keywords to connect paragraphs might help to make a paper more readable.

An academic essay should be written in a formal way without using colloquial speech, personal pronouns, or shortenings. It should lead straight to the point and convince the reader of the credibility of the arguments presented in it. To achieve this goal, the author should analyze and present the information using only facts and data mentioned in the credible scholarly sources. Case studies made by researchers might also be useful for supporting the statements of the author. A well-written essay will include some counter-arguments supported by scholarly sources to study all the aspects of the problem. The author might try to discuss the validity of counter-arguments and use this discussion to prove one’s point of view.

In conclusion, the author briefly describes the statements proved in the body of the paper and the counter-arguments if they are present. Usually, the thesis is repeated to summarize the ideas presented in the paper. It is advisable for the author to include one’s general thoughts on the subject and main statements supported in the essay with references to scholarly works.

The academic essay is one of the most popular pieces of writing used in the institutions of higher education. Understanding the notion and main aspects of an academic essay helps students to master an academic style of writing and learn to present their ideas and thoughts distinctly. The skill of writing good essays might help to complete one’s education successfully.

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"What is an Essay?" IvyPanda, 28 Oct. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/what-is-an-essay/.

1. IvyPanda. "What is an Essay?" October 28, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/what-is-an-essay/.


IvyPanda. "What is an Essay?" October 28, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/what-is-an-essay/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "What is an Essay?" October 28, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/what-is-an-essay/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'What is an Essay'. 28 October.

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