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Essay Structure: Recommendations and Cornerstones

There is no definite essay structure suitable for every assignment students get. The peculiar features of the question determine what amendments are the most appropriate in each case; however, there are certain characteristics of the basic structure of an academic essay composed of five paragraphs. It is in high demand among the high school, college and undergraduate students. Moreover, this is the most popular structure of essays written by the speakers of other languages who take an exam of English as a foreign language, in particular TOEFL, CAE, IELTS, and others.

Writing an essay, students with little experience find it easy to follow a basic structure, as they can feel more comfortable having a solid basis for their ideas. Moreover, a five-paragraph structure of an essay provides writers with freedom to develop their ideas and organize them in a unique and creative way.

An essay written according to all academic standards is composed of three parts that serve as cornerstones of a well-written paper:

  • Introduction (presenting the ideas regarding what you are going to say);
  • Body (what you are telling the readers);
  • Conclusion (what you have already conveyed to the readers).


Laying out the introductory paragraph, it is essential to think about a good essay title and consider the following aspects of working on the academic papers:

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    Understanding of the Topic

    Firm grip of the question to work on is one of the most important aspects of effective writing. It determines whether your further work is going to be easy. The flow of ideas cannot be smooth if the question is misinterpreted.

    The very first line of the essay should engage the readers and arouse their interest. It is essential to be both selective and creative here, avoiding all kinds of excessively complicated phrases and sophisticated vocabulary.

      Essay Outline

    If the essay provides some information regarding the background of the topic, methods of presentation and proving the arguments, it gains more points. The most effective approach to outlining is deductive reasoning. It implies argument arrangement starting from the general statement that is broken down into smaller specific ones.

      Introduction Length

    The word count of the introduction depends on the whole essay length as it is estimated proportionally like a 1/5 or 1/10 of the total word count. For instance, a two-page essay requires a paragraph as an introduction; however, if the essay is supposed to be composed of approximately 5,000 words, two or even three paragraphs are required.


    A thesis is the sentence in the introduction part that is of crucial importance as it prepares the readers for perceiving the main arguments. It is a must to have it well-organized and clear.


    The traditional essay structure implies having three paragraphs in the main body, each of which serves as a presentation of a separate argument. The writer should ensure the connection between the paragraphs, however challenging it may seem. It happens that even the experienced writers find it difficult to make all the transitions between the paragraphs smooth.

    Special attention is paid to the availability of the topic sentence in the first line of every paragraph that connects it to the previous one. Having stated the argument, you can proceed to further explanation of the point with corresponding evidence to support the thesis. The sequence of presented points is optional for the writers. Some of them prefer the weakest argument come first, while others start with the strongest one. The last sentence of every paragraph is supposed to make a summary of the presented argument.


    The essay conclusion is aimed at recapping of all presented arguments without introducing any new ideas. Here the writer can remind the readers about the implied main idea explaining how the conclusion was drawn on the basis of argument analysis. An effective final sentence is always linked to the essay title.


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    The body paragraphs of a good essay are well developed and clear. If you adhere to the guidelines of essay writing, you will never be embarrassed either with the length of the paper or the complexity of the questions. Use the basis structure of a nice essay, amend it according to your needs, get more practice, and you will be proficient at laying out your brilliant ideas in any essay.