Essay writing skills



Generally, you are asked to write an essay in response to a question that asks you to state, explain, and support your opinion on an issue. You will be having 10 to 30 minutes to write the essay. Your essay will be scored on the following:

  • the thoroughness and effectiveness of your response,
  • the overall organization,
  • how well you support your opinion with specific reasons and examples,
  • the appropriateness of the vocabulary, and
  • the quality and correctness of the sentences.

→ Parts of an Essay


What is an introduction paragraph?

The introduction paragraph is the first paragraph of your essay.

What does it do?

It introduces the main idea of your essay. A good opening paragraph captures the interest of your reader and tells why your topic is important.

How do I write one?

  1. Write the thesis statement. The main idea of the essay is stated in a single sentence called the thesis statement. You must limit your entire essay to the topic you have introduced in your thesis statement.
  2. Provide some background information about your topic. You can use interesting facts, quotations, or definitions of important terms you will use later in the essay.

Hockey has been a part of life in Canada for over 120 years. It has evolved into an extremely popular sport watched and played by millions of Canadians. The game has gone through several changes since hockey was first played in Canada.


What are supporting paragraphs?

Supporting paragraphs make up the main body of your essay.

What do they do?

They develop the main idea of your essay.

How do I write them?

  1. List the points that develop the main idea of your essay.
  2. Place each supporting point in its own paragraph.
  3. Develop each supporting point with facts, details, and examples.

To connect your supporting paragraphs, you should use special transition words. Transition words link your paragraphs together and make your essay easier to read.  Use them at the beginning and end of your paragraphs.

Examples of TRANSITION WORDS which link the paragraphs together:

For listing different points

  • First
  • Second
  • Third

For counterexamples

  • However
  • Even though
  • On the other hand
  • Nevertheless

For additional ideas

  • Another
  • In addition to
  • Related to
  • Furthermore
  • Also
  • To show cause and effect
  • Therefore
  • Thus
  • As a result of
  • Consequently

Like all good paragraphs, each supporting paragraph should have a topic sentence, supporting sentences, and a summary sentence.


What is a summary paragraph?

The summary paragraph comes at the end of your essay after you have finished developing your ideas. The summary paragraph is often called a “conclusion.”

 What does it do?

It summarizes or restates the main idea of the essay. You want to leave the reader with a sense that your essay is complete.

 How do write one?

  1. Restate the strongest points of your essay that support your main idea.
  2. Conclude your essay by restating the main idea in different words.
  3. Give your personal opinion or suggest a plan for action.

Overall, the changes that occurred in hockey have helped to improve the game. Hockey is faster and more exciting as a result of changes in the past 120 years. For these reasons, modern hockey is a better game than hockey in the 1890s.

How to Write an Essay


What is the prewriting stage?

The prewriting stage is when you prepare your ideas for your essay before you begin writing. You will find it easier to write your essay if you build an outline first, especially when you are writing longer assignments.

Six Prewriting Steps:

  1. Think carefully about what you are going to write.

Ask yourself:

  • What question am I going to answer in this paragraph or essay?
  • How can I best answer this question?
  • What is the most important part of my answer?
  • How can I make an introductory sentence (or thesis statement) from the most important part of my answer?
  • What facts or ideas can I use to support my introductory sentence?
  • How can I make this paragraph or essay interesting?
  • Do I need more facts on this topic?
  • Where can I find more facts on this topic?
  1. Open your notebook. Write out your answers to the above questions. You do not need to spend some time doing this; just write enough to help you remember why and how you are going to write your paragraph or essay.
  2. Collect facts related to your paragraph or essay topic.

Look for and write down facts that will help you to answer your question. Timesaving hint: make sure the facts you are writing are related to the exact question you are going to answer in your paragraph or essay.

  1. Write down your own ideas.

Ask yourself:

  • What else do I want to say about this topic?
  • Why should people be interested in this topic?
  • Why is this topic important?
  1. Find the main idea of your paragraph or essay. Choose the most important point you are going to present. If you cannot decide which point is the most important, just choose one point and stick to it throughout your paragraph or essay.
  2. Organize your facts and ideas in a way that develops your main idea. Once you have chosen the most important point of your paragraph or essay, you must find the best way to tell your reader about it. Look at the facts you have written. Look at your own ideas on the topic. Decide which facts and ideas will best support the main idea of your essay. Once you have chosen the facts and ideas you plan to use, ask yourself which order to put them in the essay. Write down your own note set that you can use to guide yourself as you write your essay.

What is the writing stage?

The writing stage is when you turn your ideas into sentences.

 Five Writing Steps:

  1. For the introduction, write the thesis statement and give some background information.
  2. Develop each supporting paragraph and make sure to follow the correct paragraph format.
  3. Write clear and simple sentences to express your meaning.
  4. Focus on the main idea of your essay.
  5. Write the summary paragraphs

What is the editing stage?

The editing stage is when you check your essay for mistakes and correct them.

 Editing Steps:

Grammar and Spelling

  1. Check your spelling.
  2. Check your grammar.
  3. Read your essay again.
  4. Make sure each sentence has a subject.
  5. Make sure your subjects and verbs agree with each other.
  6. Check the verb tenses of each sentence.
  7. Make sure that each sentence makes sense.

Style and Organization

  1. Make sure your essay has an introduction, supporting paragraphs, and a summary paragraph.
  2. Check that you have a thesis statement that identifies the main idea of the essay.
    Check that all your paragraphs follow the proper paragraph format.
  3. See if your essay is interesting.

Types of Essays


When you are writing a definition essay, you take a term or an idea and write about what it is. Often, definitions are combined with classification or other forms of organization in the essay. You need to give a careful definition of the key term before going on to discuss different types or examples.

Example question: Write an essay defining energy resources and discuss the different types.

Introduction: Define the key term energy resources.

Supporting paragraphs:

  • Define one type of energy resources: renewable resources.
  • Define another type of energy resources: non-renewable resources.

Summary paragraph: Summarize energy resources.


In a classification essay, you separate things or ideas into specific categories and discuss each of them. You organize the essay by defining each classification and by giving examples of each type.

Example question: Write an essay discussing the three types of government in Canada.

Introduction: Give background information about government in Canada.

Supporting paragraphs:

  • Define and describe federal government.
  • Define and describe provincial governments.
  • Define and describe municipal governments.

Summary paragraph: Summarize government in Canada.


In a description essay, you write about what a person, place, or thing is like. You organize the essay by describing different parts or aspects of the main subject.

Example question: Write an essay describing the polar bear.

Introduction: Introduce what a polar bear is.

Supporting paragraphs:

  • Describe where the polar bear lives.
  • Describe the body of the polar bear.
  • Describe what the polar eats.

Summary paragraph: Summarize what a polar bear is.


In a compare and contrast essay, you write about the similarities and differences between two or more people, places, or things. You can organize the essay by writing about one subject first and then comparing it with the second subject. A more effective way is to organize the essay by comparing each subject by category.

Example: Write an essay comparing the weather in Kashmir and Rajasthan.

Introduction: Introduce weather in the cities of Kashmir and Rajasthan.

Supporting paragraphs:

  • Compare weather in spring and summer for both cities. State how they are similar or different.
  • Compare weather in fall and winter for both cities. State how they are similar or different.

Summary paragraph: Summarize the similarities and differences.


In a sequence essay, you are writing to describe a series of events or a process in some sort of order. Usually, this order is based on time. You organize the essay by writing about each step of the process in the order it occurred.

Example question: Write an essay outlining the stages of the salmon life cycle.

Introduction: Describe what a salmon is like.

Supporting paragraphs:

  • Describe young salmon.
  • Describe adult salmon.
  • Describe what salmon do before they die.

Summary paragraph: Summarize the main steps of the salmon life cycle.


In a choice essay, you need to choose which object, idea, or action that you prefer. You organize the essay by describing each option and then giving your opinion.

Example question: Write an essay choosing between hockey in the 1890s and hockey today.
Introduction: Introduce the game of hockey.

Supporting paragraphs:

  • Describe hockey in the 1890s.
  • Describe hockey today.
  • State which form of hockey you prefer and why.

Summary paragraph: Summarize the game of hockey.


In an explanation essay, you explain how or why something happens or has happened.
You need to explain different causes and effects. You should organize the essay by explaining each individual cause or effect.

Example question: Write an essay explaining why so many Indian moved to USA during the mid of 1990s.

Introduction: Give background information on USA immigration and IT boom during this time.

Supporting paragraphs:

  • Explain first reason: budding IT prospects in India.
  • Explain second reason: better-earning opportunities in the USA.

Summary paragraph: Summarize main reasons.


In an evaluation essay, you make judgments about people, ideas, and possible actions.
You make your evaluation based on certain criteria that you develop. Organize the essay by discussing the criteria you used to make your judgment.

Example question: Write an essay evaluating the importance of soft skills

Introduction: Give your judgment on whether the SoftSkills are important.

Supporting paragraphs:

  • Explain first criteria: Facilitates personal growth
  • Explain second criteria: Facilitates career growth
  • Explain third criteria: Facilitates organizational growth

Summary paragraph: Summarize main reasons.

Transitional Words


For Additional Ideas

Another, In addition to, Related to

Furthermore, Also,


For continuing a common line of reasoning:

Consequently, clearly, then
furthermore, additionally, and
in addition, moreover
because, besides that
in the same way, following this further
also, pursuing this further


To change the line of reasoning (contrast):

However, on the other hand,  but,   yet, nevertheless,  on the contrary


For Opening A Paragraph Initially 

Admittedly, assuredly, certainly,  granted
no doubt, nobody denies, obviously
of course, to be sure
true, undoubtedly, unquestionably
generally speaking, in general
at this level,  in this situation

Transitional chains, To use in separating sections

of a paragraph

first… second… third…
generally… furthermore… finally
in the first place… also… lastly
in the first place… pursuing this further… finally
to be sure… additionally… lastly
in the first place… just in the same way… finally
basically… similarly… as well


To signal conclusion:

Therefore, this, hence
in final analysis, in conclusion
in final consideration, indeed


Time Transition Words

Shortly after that, Meanwhile

Soon, Along the way, Before long

Earlier, After all of that, Later on

Eventually  An hour later, Without delay

Immediately, At that very moment

At last, Next

Later that same day

During all of this, As soon as


Apoorva institutions
P. Venu
Chairmen of Apoorva Institutions


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