Essay Structure: Learn How to Start, Write, and End Your Essay

Mar 24, 2017
Learn the rules of structuring your essay. Check if your essay contains the main components: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Check our essay examples.

Essay Structure

Essay structure allows you to align your thoughts and ideas logically, making them readable and easy to understand. Basic essay logic starts out with the introduction of the essay’s main idea and then explains it further in the body paragraphs and ends by summing everything up in the last paragraph - the conclusion.

To better understand why essay format is so important, try to imagine an essay that starts out with body paragraphs, followed by a thesis and a conclusion. Such essay would be impossible to read because of its faulty logic. Let’s take a closer look at each of the components and learn how to structure an essay. 

How to Write an Essay Introduction

The introduction is the main component within the structure of an essay. This part contains the main thought of the essay and states the purpose of your writing. The introductory paragraph typically consists of a thesis statement (also called "a topic sentence") and a few more sentences that explain or expand the main statement. The topic sentence together with these few sentences is referred to as the "introduction".

Body Paragraphs

The two or three paragraphs that follow the introduction are called "the body" of the essay. They are called so because they make up the body or the main bulk of the paper. This part of the essay usually contains research data and information that supports your thesis. 

Each paragraph should contain one main idea and should provide supporting details for your topic and thesis. The topic (introductory) sentence of each paragraph should support the main idea.

Even though there are no strict rules regarding the body paragraph length, a general rule of thumb prescribes that a paragraph should be neither too long (over 8 sentences) nor too short (under 2 sentences). Body paragraph size varies depending on the essay style: for example, the average paragraph length in business writing is generally 4-5 sentences, while the average paragraph length in academic writing is around 8-10 sentences. Academic writing tends to be longer because the author has to state a point, back it up with research data, and come to a conclusion. Such kind of writing usually requires a greater amount of writing.


To connect your thoughts and make them logical you'll need to use some connecting words and phrases:

List of Connecting Words and Phrases


The final part of the basic essay structure is a conclusion. It ends the essay and summarizes all ideas and thoughts written. Going further, read how to end an essay correctly.

Conclusion: How to End an Essay

The final part of the basic essay structure is the conclusion. It summarizes the points made in the introduction and the body paragraphs of your paper. The core function of the conclusion is not only to summarize ideas stated in the introduction and the body but to show how they relate to the thesis. A good technique is to use the conclusion starters: "as we can see", "therefore", "naturally", "summing up" etc. Such connecting phrases help you to tie the points made previously with the actual text of the conclusion that you are writing. Once again, a conclusion should review your thesis and give a summary of your main ideas. Depending on your instructor’s requirements, your conclusion can range from one paragraph to a page in length.

Reviewing your writing or the post-writing phase takes place when you are done writing your paper. It’s always a good idea to put your essay aside for a couple of hours and then come back to it later. It is important to read through each paragraph to make sure your ideas make sense and convey your points clearly. Also, be sure that you have not strayed away from the main point. Each paragraph should be relevant to your thesis. If you have found that any of your body paragraphs strays from your thesis, a rewrite or omission may be necessary.

Note that there different types of essay and essay formatting styles, e.g. essay format MLA which require proper logic and structure. Some students find the writing assignments to be a daunting task and start looking for a writing help. In case you need help with the structuring or writing your essay, feel free to contact our essay writers or place an order.

Besides, we have a lot of essay examples written by the professional writers: Expository Essay Example | Definition Essay Examples and many others. Reading the essay examples facilitates the writing and essay structuring process.