By Peter J. Francis, HGPublishing Editor
OK, so you have to write an essay, and you don't know how to start. You've come to the right place. I have 40 years of writing and editing experience, and I wrote this free essay help to provide guidance for new writers. The Free Essay Writing Help is divided into four sections. Jump to the section that addresses your concern, or follow the steps.
Section 1, of which this is the first page, is focused on general essay writing practice for the very beginner. This page discusses the types of essays.
Essays are structured into an introduction, body and conclusion. We discuss what goes into each section, and how to write these to the best effect.
More about the structure of an essay
Section 2 focuses on the types of essays, including persuasive essays, research essays, response essays, reviews, and science lab reports.
Section 3 contains our answers to your questions about essay writing. Please visit this section if you need help getting started on writing an essay, or you are confused about some aspect of the essay that you are working on.
Section 4 is our blog with articles about essay writing. There are specifics about how to format using APA and MLA style, quick tips for MS Word tools, and a variety of ideas on how to write better essays.
First you need to know what kind of essay you are writing. Remember, in all writing, you must be aware of your purpose and your audience. Your audience shouldn't be just your professor or teacher, but you should be thinking about what person might read an essay like this. Is it an educated person, is it a literary person? You have to let the reader know what you are writing about. Don't start an essay by saying "in the novel we read, the hero goes on a quest." You have to mention the name of the novel and the author. Sometimes you do this in the first sentence: "In Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, boys stranded on a tropical island revert to savagery in an microcosm of humanity's dark possibilities." But you definitely have to do it somewhere in the introduction.
Research essays involve finding information about a topic and evaluating that information. This is often the essay assigned in a history class, or poptical science. You can't fake it here. You will need to read and cite from experts, using APA or MLA style to format your citations.
Check out our page on How to write an APA essay.
Persuasive Essays: Taking a stand and using logic to get others to agree. Essentially all essays are about persuading someone to believe your point of view, but the persuasive essay is often assigned in high school, to practice the art of persuasion about current events or controversial topics;
Demonstrative Essays: How to do something. This can be something as simple as how to change a lightbulb to complex instructions on replacing a car motor. Demonstrative essays are the basis for technical writing, and as anyone who has tried to write out the instructions for another person to complete a task, they are very challenging.
More About Demonstrative Essays
Response Essays: Your thoughtful reaction to a work of art. This is an essay where you get to say if you like or not, but it's important to say why. You need to have some kind of standards by which to make a judgment;
Reviews: Your critical analysis of a work of art. This is not so much about whether or not you like it, it's about what it means and how it might relate to other similar works;
Science Lab Reports: Your steps to evaluate a scientific principle or experiment.
More About Science Lab Reports
Admission Essays are special kind of personal narrative. You want to persuade the admissions officer that you are the right person for their campus.
For most kinds of essays, you always need to do a little reading before writing. You can't write an essay about something you haven't read or a topic you know nothing about. If you are writing a literary essay and you haven't read the work, or you simply want some extra insight, try visiting eNotes.com (see above) to download a plot summary and some notes. As you come to understand the material, you should be closer to defining a thesis for yourself. A thesis is simply one way of explaining what you have read, or explaining how the material relates to other material. But don't worry if you don't have a thesis at first, that's what brainstorming is for!
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