How to Write an Essay

Essays are one of the most basic forms of writing serving to elaborate on a single idea. Types of essays are extensive including persuasive, personal, reflective, descriptive, narrative, and many more. You have probably read countless essays before and not even realized they were essays. Essays usually consist of at least four or five solid paragraphs:

  • Introduction to the topic
  • Body paragraphs
  • A conclusion

The first paragraph of an essay is the introduction. The introduction tells your readers clearly and precisely what it is you are going to be talking about. The very first sentence is often called a “hook” that is meant to grab reader’s attention. It can be a question to make them think, it could be a surprising fact, or something people can relate to that will engage them into further reading. Proceed with your elaborating on the topic in several sentences. The final sentence in your introduction is extremely important. This is your thesis, the main idea, the point you will prove in the following paragraphs.

The following is an example of an introductory paragraph:

Scientists have estimated that the world only contains enough natural resources to use oil for the next 53 years. If that is true, there are many people on earth who will live to see the depletion of the world’s oil resources. Yet, it is still debated if we should be shifting towards renewable energy. Arguments against renewable energy include economic hardships and job availability. In reality, what is not being said outright is that, politicians and oil companies have symbiotic business relationships that are extremely profitable. If these ties are not broken and money is not invested into renewable energy there will be catastrophic consequences in decades to come.  

Take a moment to identify the topic, the hook sentence, and the thesis of this essay.

Now we know what the author is going to elaborate on in the following paragraphs, the necessity of switching to renewable energy. The following paragraphs will be the arguments and evidence to support the thesis. The topics of each paragraph have also already been introduced in the introduction. Can you identify what the topics will be?

Topics:

Globally there is an ongoing political debate about climate change and renewable energy. The oil industry is huge and extremely profitable. One of the main arguments for continuing oil production is that it provides people with jobs. While this is true, renewable energy companies that are developing are creating jobs and as these companies expand there will be a need for an increasing number of renewable energy employees as time goes on.

It is understandable that if companies stopped oil production overnight it would be an economic disaster for many reasons but there is no reason why this shift can not happen over the next decades as we move towards renewable energy, the more consumers, the more jobs there will be. If an organized shift happens over time where oil companies shift into wind and solar companies many jobs could be saved and created.

 

This idea seems straight forward and reasonable but there are political complications. Corporations invest millions of dollars into political campaigns as an investment into their interests. Candidates that seek to protect the rights of corporations receive large sums of campaign donations that help them to secure positions in office.

These relationships are not public but can be traced. Politicians and corporations work together to maintain each other’s power while the interest of environmental protection is not prioritized. This is a huge barrier in progressing towards usage of renewable energy. While solar and wind companies are growing and more people are becoming aware of it’s necessity there must be a larger effort to prevent further damage of environmental destruction.

These paragraphs serve as supporting evidence to the author’s argument. What sentences specifically support the thesis?

Finally, the conclusion solidifies the ideas that have been previously stated.

It is hard to believe that using renewable energy is still a highly debated topic. To change this people need to become aware of the severe damages that are occurring and will become increasingly worse if we do not take responsibility. Politicians and corporations need to be held accountable to make changes. If we do not begin to shift towards the use of renewable energy the consequences will be catastrophic when there is no oil left to drill.  

The conclusion restates main ideas and enforces ideas to leave the reader thinking about.