How to Organize an Essay–Basic Essay Format

Basic Essay Format


Topic – Your topic may be given by instructor, or you may be allowed to choose your own topic.  Narrow the topic so that it can be covered adequately depending on the length of your essay assignment.


Audience—Your audience is your reader or the person to whom you are addressing your essay argument.  The language used in the essay should be appropriate for the audience who will read it.  Don’t use language that is too complicated for a younger audience, and don’t use language that is too juvenile for an adult audience.


Purpose—Decide on your purpose for writing your essay—to inform, to entertain, to persuade.   The purpose will help determine your language, your tone, and your overall approach to the topic.


Introduction— There are several ways to hook your readers’ attention in the introduction:

  • Begin with a brief story or short anecdote.
  • Begin with an surprising fact or interesting statistic.
  • Begin with a question that will be answered or addressed in your essay.
  • Begin with background information that is relevant to your topic.
  • Begin with a definition of a term that is relevant to your topic and expand on this term in your essay.
  • Do not begin with statements such as “I am going to explain…” or  “I am going to tell you how…”.   These statements are weak and don’t hook your readers’ attention.
  • Thesis Statement—It is the last sentence of the introductory paragraph.  The thesis statement is the main idea of the entire essay.  It states exactly what you will prove in the essay and lists the major points that will be discussed in the body of the essay.


Transition Words—These words or phrases are used to introduce each body paragraph.  They help the reader transition from one major point to the next.  They also help the reader transition from one paragraph to the next.


Topic Sentence—The topic sentence is the main idea of each paragraph.  It states broadly what will be discussed in the body of the paragraph.  The topic sentence relates directly to the thesis statement.


Major Details—The major details are the main points that will be discussed in each paragraph.


Supporting Details—The supporting details further explain, support, or back up the main points in each paragraph in the form of examples, evidence, personal experiences, facts, figures, statistics, etc.


Closing Statement– The closing statement is a sentence at the end of each paragraph, which signals the end of the point being discussed in the paragraph.  The closing statement also transitions smoothly to the next paragraph.


Conclusion—Strategies for writing effective conclusions:

  • Restatement of the thesis, worded slightly differently
  • Summary of the main points brought out in the essay
  • Call to action, asking the reader to do something or to stop doing something
  • Do not bring up new points in the conclusion.  Address new points in the body of the essay.
  • Do not leave the reader with unanswered questions.




Writing can be a frustrating task for many students, particularly the older students, because they believe they have lost those writing skills they once knew.  For this reason, I have written several ebooks on writing to help students just like these.  I wrote these ebooks in the manner in which I teach the skills to my students.  I learn by following step-by-step instructions, and I find that method works well for most students, especially students whose grammar and writing skills are weak.

How to Write a Basic Essay in Seven Easy Steps: A Beginner’s Guide is designed to help students break down the various steps involved in writing an essay and tackle one task at a time.  My students tend to do well on essays where they write about topics they know a lot about, and when they are allowed to choose their own topics, I receive great essays.  They know themselves better than anyone else, so why wouldn’t they be able to write an essay that focused on themselves?

How to Write an Argumentative Essay is an extension of how to write a basic essay.  Because the argumentative format is somewhat specialized, meaning some elements must be included before it can be classified as an argumentative essay, students must understand some of the terminology related to the argumentative rhetorical mode.  These terms are defined and explained in the ebook along with directions on how to organize an argumentative essay.


How to Write a Short Story: A Beginner’s Guide is designed for the high school or college student as well as a beginning writer or author who wants to write essays of a creative nature, or in other words, short stories.  The basics of organizing a short story is outlined in this ebook in easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions.




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