Characteristics of Good Essay

An essay is an informal prose writing to convey thoughts and views of the essay-writers. There are some characteristics and tips to write a good essay

What is Essay and Types of Essay:

What is Essay

The word “essay” comes from French “essais” which Montaigne attached to his first first publication. In that sense the French word means an attempt or a trial. In its original sense, the essay is an informal prose writing very much allied to poetry. Like a poem, there is attempt to convey thoughts of the writer through the medium of essay.

Types of Essay:

There are three types of essay according to their subject-matter.

(a)Descriptive Essay: consists of a description of some place, thing, animals, plants, natural aspects etc

(b)Narrative Essay: consists of mainly in the narration of some event, series of events, accidents, incidents, historical happenings, biographical sketches, experiences etc.

(c)Reflective Essay: consists of reflection on any abstract subject such as truthfulness, patriotism, discipline, cleanliness, Democracy, freedom etc.

What are the characteristics to write a good essay

There are some characteristics that we should follow to write good essay

Step 1:Analyse the topic:

Some essay topics are such that the content and structure of the essay can be easily outlined. However, some of the essay topics are all-inclusive or require you to think on a narrow band, and it becomes challenging to think of a structure and required content to fill in that structure.

  • 1. At first, look for the content words that determine what you will need to research or think-through. It will help you draw your thought to what you are expected to write about. Pay attention to words that lead you to indicate that the essay topic or statement is.
  • 2. Note the task or different words, that will dictate what approach you are expected to take in the essay. These are sometimes contained within essay statement to lead you to what is needed in the essay. Task words are important because they determine the depth of analysis or thinking required.
  • 3. Finally, note any limitations that will guide your reading through time, place and of course word limit. For example, the essay topic might ask you to restrict your answer to the ‘Indian context’, ‘violence on women’, or ‘events in particular time’.

Step 2:Research:

After you have analysed and understood the essay topic you might be able to formulate an initial plan by brainstorming,  that is jotting down your ideas so far. Concept mapping works well when brainstorming. However, it is more likely that you will need to research the question in more detail before you can go much further.

You will be required to read thoroughly. Some essay topics call for a mix of sources, such as – books, journals, newspapers and websites. Journals provide more recent information but it is often specific information  Don’t rewrite the text but try to make notes in your own words. You will need this information if you decide to use this research in your essay. 

Step 3:Planning:

You are now ready to plan your essay, or if you had an initial plan, return to it and add any new points or delete any that you have now discovered are irrelevant. Planning however, does not simply mean randomly gathering information to support your argument. Planning involves grouping or categorizing information into a series of points and determining a logical order to present your points. Your aim is to develop a logical, coherent and transparent structure. The following steps will help you do this:

  • Formulate your main statement – Did you start your research with a main statement or a general topic? Has it changed now means that you have researched to a differently aligned topic? Or have you developed the main statement now means that you have researched your topic? What is the main topic or group of related main statement or viewpoint? If you didn’t have a viewpoint before you started your research you should have one now to guide your response. Remember your main statement will help you structure your essay. 
  • Decide about the supporting point – Decide which points you wish to include in support of your viewpoint. 
  • Assess a logical grouping on ideas if possible – Check to see if there is a logical grouping of ideas or points. 
  • Decide on an order of presentation – Order could be determined by, for example, level of importance, time in place, the question, geography or personal preference, but it should follow the order indicated in the introduction. Note if there are any points that refute your viewpoint, you should address them. 
  • Delete Irrelevant Points – Delete any points that you now consider irrelevant. This is when you can start making use of headings. Give each point you are going to include a heading. Now list these in the order in which you will present them in your essay. Does your order make sense? If not, change it. 
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Step 4:Write:

• Refer to the section on essay structure.

 • Follow your plan. 

• Make use of headings if this helps you. Sometimes turning a heading into a question helps students keep to the point. However, don’t include headings if traditional essay format is what you want. 

• Take care if you change terms used in the main topic. For example, if the term used in your main topic is “success” and you substitute this with the term “achievement”, the meaning may be quite different. 

• Remember yo pay attention to your topic sentences. Make it clear what point you are making in each paragraph and why.• Relate the points you are making to the question/your thesis. 

• Don’t use first person, such as ‘I think…’, ‘I believe…. ‘, ‘In my opinion…. ‘ unless you are sure to communicate that way. 

• Don’t use any colloquial phrases, informal language or cliches. 

• Use full sentences to communicate your ideas. 

Step 5:Editing:

This is the final step in the essay writing process and an important one. Having to failed to edit your work will make an impact on your essay writing despite all your hard work. Remember professionally presented, clear, easy to read text are the key. Give yourself time to complete this step.

McLaren refers to two editing steps: micro and macro aspects of editing. Micro aspects of editing involves checking that your spelling, grammar and punctuation is correct. Macro aspects of editing refer to examining the essay as a whole. Check for coherence and logic.

So, you have to see that your essay is making sense, is it coming out as reader friendly. 

How to Maintain Structure of Essay:

1. Introduction:

The introduction of your essay is an important part. It is the first thing that may catch the interest of the readers. An introduction is usually one or two paragraphs, though this us not always the case, particularly with long essays. Some key terms are introduced in the introduction part. It is important to note that the main statement generally drive your essay.

More information on essay statements follows: an essay statement is your line of argument, your viewpoint. You might agree, disagree or perhaps qualify your argument in some way so that it agrees with part of the question. For example, you may be writing on a statement: The GDP is a reliable predictor of development of a nation. Some may argue that it is. Some may argue that it is not. Others may argue that it is a useful but not reliable predictor. 

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In other words, there may be a number of essay statements or viewpoints that relate to a topic. What is important is that you support your viewpoint with evidence based on your research. Your essay is an expression of your learning on the topic that you are communicating. The introduction part of your essay provide the framework of your essay statement. 

2. Body:

The body of an essay is where you develop your essay. This occurs in a series of paragraphs with each paragraph logically following to the next. Thus, in the body of an essay  a good use of topic sentences and correct paragraph structure are important. 

The first sentence of each paragraph, often referred to as a topic sentence, introduces the paragraph by stating and summarising the main point being made in the paragraph. Topic sentences often contain transition signals, which aid in the smooth transition from one paragraph to the next. The first sentence should inform the readers of the point you are making and how this paragraph relates to the essay statement. 

Three important qualities in an effective body part if essay:

Unity: where they focus on the main idea. 

Development: which occurs when the idea is elaborated on in the paragraph. This elaboration usually consists of the evidence you have gathered from your research to support the point you are making. 

Coherence: where everything in the paragraph relates to and expands on the point you are making. 


The conclusion is an important paragraph in your essay. It is usually one or two paragraphs in the length and should reflect what you said you were going to do in your introduction. The conclusion summarises what you have said in your essay and reaffirms your essay. Do not introduce new material in the conclusion part. In the conclusion part you put the final message which may summarise the whole essay. 

Frequently Asked Questions on Characteristics of Good Essay:

1. What should be avoided in a good essay?

Ans: A good should have a dignified and literary style. Your essay should not bored. Some make their essays boring due to lack of research and planning of the presentation of thought. A good essay should not have slang, colloquial language and should avoid first person narrative. 

2. Is it wrong to have headings in the essay? 

Ans: Traditionally, it was taught that an essay should not include headings. As such it will appear as a series of paragraphs, with each paragraph having a place and purpose which the writer needs to make clear in topic sentences at the beginning of each paragraph. Since, now the essay writing has now become flexible and essay-writers are allowed to use headings in their essays. This has sometimes been referred to as a ‘report style essay’

3. What is the importance of reference in the essay? 

Ans: You may be required to use some reference within your essay. The references to present some thoughts that help you communicate better. It is a good habit that you make reference every time using the work of someone else. 

4. How should I  present my essay?

Ans: Some may think that presentation if an essay refers to fancy headings, clever shading and elaborate fonts. But it is totally wrong idea. You essay should be professionally presented, clear, easy to read using simple but exact words. 

5. What are the keys points that a good essay should contain?

Ans: A good essay should cover many key points like – the information that you included really justify the depth of your discussion in the essay, knowledge of the essay topic has been explored properly, your critical thinking on the topic has been shown in the essay and your ability to produce a reasoned and organised written argument. 

6. What are the types of essay?

Ans: There are three types according to the subject-matter, such as – Descriptive Essay, Narrative Essay and Reflective Essay. 

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