Top Five Basic Rules of Writing an Essay

Knowing what to expect from the composition is helpful when writing an essay. If you’re stuck, worry not. Here are the basics that you should always keep in mind. Read on to learn the top five basic rules of writing an essay.

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What to Know When Writing an Essay

Essay writing are different than stories, letters, poems, or journal writing. An essay responds to a writing prompt or topic. As such, an author must develop a thesis statement in the introductory paragraph.

You should follow with at least two body paragraphs exploring the thesis statement and finish with a concluding section. 

Common Core Writing Standards divide essays into argumentative and informational/explanatory types. Argumentative essays are written to argue a point of view or position—detailed analysis/detailed in informative/descriptive essays. 

It Is Important to Remember That Essays Are Very Formal.

While they may express opinions, essays present evidence reasonably and rationally. Consider giving evidence or facts as an attorney would give in court. Several traditional rituals need to be followed.

Introductory remarks (introduction paragraph) by the attorney (writer) are in which a verdict (think thesis statement) is stated. Afterward, the writer presents the main points of the case and the evidence that supports them (body paragraphs). Finally, the attorney (writer) gives the final arguments (conclusion paragraph). 

Rules of Essay Writing

1. Watch Your Words

Be cautious if you use words like ‘this’ or ‘that’ or ‘their’ or any other ‘those’ or a ‘these’ or they. 

These words are often less closely related to what you think they do. Look at each one and see if you can rewrite it more clearly. You will need to think more about what you are referring to understand your reader when you carelessly use *these* words.

Doing that will break the flow and make it harder to understand what you are saying. The reader won’t know who you’re referring to. Simply stating what you are referring to explicitly makes your writing clear. We should be more repeatable than unclear. 

2. Avoid Poetic Devices

Write your essay in a direct and precise way. Poetic devices or idiomatic expressions are not used in essays. Don’t write, “The cat escaped the bag.”. Say, instead, “He shared a secret.”. 

3. Provide Factual Information.

It is powerful, appealing, easy to understand, and sticks with people’s memory. Facts, quotes, examples, and other concrete information are part of the factual information. If you keep your reader interested in new concrete information or ideas that develop your thesis for more than a few sentences, your reader will likely be energized. 

4. Do Not Abbreviate.

Abbreviations are informal and short-cuts, so they don’t belong in essays. United States, not the US; this is how an article should be written. 

5. Put Your Sentences Into Action.

Don’t be too long in your sentences. Break long sentences into smaller sentences when in doubt. Don’t use repetitive sentences that don’t provide new information.

Replace weak and empty sentences. Finally, the sentences must be clear. A straightforward reading is vital to check for clarity. Read them out loud or have someone else read them to you. 


While there are many essays, the essay is the most popular type of academic writing. This form typically requires the writer to analyze a topic and pull critical information related to that topic.

In psychology, an essay is classified as an argumentative piece that either a person defends or someone else critiques. As you prepare for your essay on a topic, familiarize yourself with the basic rules for writing an essay.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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