How to write a good essay

The name of the literary form itself suggests what its magic and pitfalls are. An essay by the French essai, an attempt or test, is a body renowned in the late Renaissance and later Enlightenment. Exceptional philosophers and scientists formed essays as the highest form of intellectual exercise. At a time when the idea of individual spirit and reason spreading around the world was spreading, people like French politician and writer Michel de Montaigne (1533 – 1592), English philosopher and statesman Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626) or the Spanish Jesuit Baltasar Graci├ín (1601) – 1658) resorted to an essay to express their thoughts and subject them to a critical test of contradictory opinions.

This is the essence of the essence – the expression of one’s own opinion and his sincere testing in the competition of different or contradictory opinions. This is also to some extent one of the few basic things that combine different forms of essays that have evolved over the past five centuries in different countries and institutions. English essay, French essay, Japanese zuihitsu, American essay, professional essay… For the CEMACH competition, however, you will create a classic essay.


The basic structure of the essay consists of three parts – the introduction, the main part and the conclusion. Basically, it is possible to imagine the structure as two funnels connected in a narrower part by a tube. The introduction explains the theme of the work, ie from a general level it goes into a narrower one, which is further developed by the main part. It eventually results in a conclusion that summarizes the work and brings it back to the general level. For example, an essay arguing that the original Star Wars trilogy had a major impact on the development of filmmaking. In the introduction, the author explains why he was captivated by the Star Wars in the 1970s and 1980s, and in what he specifically influenced later work, in the main part of the thesis he puts forward arguments for his statement and argues with critical opinions and concludes with an emphasis on general effects of Star Wars on contemporary filmmaking.

The title and introduction have three main functions: to explain the choice of the topic, to present the basic argument of the essay and to engage. It is necessary not only to select an attractive theme, but also to attract readers with style and content, so that they have a reason to spend the next time reading the essay. From general to specific – why I chose the topic, what I will continue to do with what is my main argument. The thesis, or the main idea of a work, is often the last sentence of the introduction.

The main part is the essay’s own body. Here the author puts the arguments and evidence for his statement defined in the introductory thesis. These include examples, comparisons, and metaphors. At the same time, he argues with contradictory opinions and proves – if necessary – their inaccuracy. Logically, this is the most comprehensive part.

The conclusion, in our case probably one or two paragraphs, is the last and thus the key part of the essay. Here, the introductory theses are summarized as correct, and their validity is often generalized. It is possible to offer advice or a likely future outlook (“I therefore think that marine power plants are effective not only for Veneto but also for other seaside areas with similar conditions. The next decade is likely to witness their expansion worldwide.”)

And one more note. I highly recommend inventing a different name for these three parts of the essay than the introduction, the main part, and the conclusion. The name, of course, must indicate which part is which, but the original so-called intermediate title will definitely make the reader more happy.

Before you write

Don’t worry about essays. Do not be discouraged by the famous names that have tried to help him with the essence of things or their popularity in academic or literary circles. Although the essay has its own rules, it is very liberal in terms of styles, arguments and literary means.

Before you sit down at your desk or computer, grab a pen, a pen, a pencil, and a sheet of paper for classic aids. Write down what the topics are about. Take a little brainstorm, write anything you can think of. Choosing the right topic that will captivate you and has a chance to attract readers (there is nothing easier than the attraction of a topic to test on parents and friends) is the key to success. Why write about racing cars when I’m interested in nature? The magic of inflamed (and instructed) writing works well for the reader.

Now is the time for a library or search on the internet. Perhaps you will find tens of thousands of pages of text for each topic. But on the Internet, beware of resources, anyone can post your text, but with credibility it can be on a scorpion. Books or quality magazines (for example, National Geographic) are more reliable in this regard.

Think about what comes to your mind about the chosen topic. The purpose is to narrow the topic down as much as possible. It’s time for another brainstorming. To claim that flowers are beautiful is not an essay topic. To claim that orchids with their beautiful shapes of flowers and various intoxicating scents are the most beautiful, can already be. When you select a topic and formulate a thesis, try it on someone. He was intrigued by the argument, would he be controversial, would he like to know more? Then you have the right thesis!

Own creation – it’s up!

Everyone has a different way of writing. Someone sits down to write and writes all the text to which he later returns and “teases” him to the ultimate perfect form. Another writes on the stages, because each argument needs to be well thought out, or to find additional information. For years of journalistic practice and writing hundreds of extensive texts, I highly recommend reading enough information sources first, or print them out and read them while reading and then throw myself into writing. Of course, with the option to go back to resources for more information at any time.

You have 2500 to 5000 characters for an essay, ie one and a half to less than three pages of text at a standard page of 1800 characters (including spaces). This is not much for the arguments packed and textually written. Therefore, when writing, lay out which parts you give as much space. In general, on such a scale, the introduction and conclusion should not be longer than two, at most three, paragraphs. The rest consumes the main part reliably.

Once you reach half, that is, about one and one and a half pages, start thinking about moving towards a conclusion. Believe that shortening the well-written own text, which, however, did not fit within the range, hurts as the limitation of one’s own limbs. This avoids careful monitoring of the length of the text. In short, once you’re halfway, it’s time to think about the end.

Styles or how to write it?

There is no one way to write an essay. The style can be serious-academic, playfully literary or entirely experimental. It’s up to you. Try to write engagingly, cleverly, sensibly. If you do, you will get the reader (and jury) to your side. Of course, the style itself, albeit perfect, will not save text without good content. Even that superbly chosen theme written by a lonely or boring style will be a success.

Write in 1st person Ich-form because the essay is very personal (“I have a strong relationship to the area of cartoon film because …”). It will give you a more intimate, sincere testimony. The third person in Er-form because he is more credible, more academic. (“As we know, dog lovers tend to…”). It will give you more serious arguments. Both are right, both have advantages.

The key is the flow of text. Link each paragraph well. English provides us with a rich range of tools to create fluent text. Divide the essay into individual paragraphs – a solid text on the whole page tired of the reader – but always follow the previous one. The essay is like a necklace composed of large beads of individual paragraphs strung on a single thread of the author’s narrative.

Don’t be afraid to experiment, it may happen that you finally reach a different conclusion than you expected. But that just proves that you were honest about the argument’s arguments. There is nothing easier than to modify the basic thesis in the introduction.

Indeed, although the introduction is usually written first (although not even a binding rule – although many authors at the beginning of the thesis, but the introduction but the last), but usually as the last adjusts.

When you finish (first time)

The key is to eliminate grammatical and punctuation errors, typos, and other flaws that will bother the reader and divert them from the topic (and you will get valuable points in this competition). Read your first “rough” text in the comfort of a chair or couch with a red pen in your hand. Check all (if possible) errors, mark bad passages, underline unconvincing arguments, check continuity and good text flow.

Sit at the table and fix the shortcomings. Now, according to the classic English university tradition, there is time for the other eyes. Don’t give up on this opportunity, you have signed up for the competition to win. And the second reader’s eyes will help you discover the mistakes you might have missed (Why are you saying this? Here’s a typo! Attention, there’s a mistake here. Are you serious ?!).

Go back to the table and correct the text again. It should be fine now. Still, read it again. Without mistakes? Then it’s perfect!

Strict rules

With increasing demands for quality student work and intellectual property protection, zero tolerance for plagiarism has come to Central Europe. It is totally unacceptable to copy (ie, steal the slightest part of another job)! It is not only against the rules of this competition, but also against all the rules of academic (and human) decency. Especially in an essay to show your ability to be independent and individual.

Proper assessment of resources is part of the evaluation. So, for example, if you use a fact or a set of facts (type of population, economic data, etc.), you need to be able to quote it correctly. There is a well-defined state standard for these purposes. I recommend that you do not use footnotes or links (they will unnecessarily interfere with the main text flow in such a short text), but place them on a separate worksheet added to the essay that does not count towards the total length of the text (and thus does not take you for limited space).

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