- By Jason Bacot
- Published 11/2/2010
If you go to college you won’t have to be there very long before you are required to write an essay. An essay is sometimes called a position paper in that although you’re quoting from other sources to help build your argument, the essay is essentially giving the point of view of the author on a particular subject. An essay will usually have a thesis statement which is essentially your argument in a nutshell and the remainder of the essay is either explanatory or argumentative. The main aim of an essay is to persuade others to your point of view. An essay is usually a short piece of writing, often between five hundred and five thousand words. Most undergraduate essays are usually between five and fifteen hundred words long, the length being dependent on the subject matter and the experience of the essay writer. If you’re given an essay title by your professor, it will probably say something like “What do you think about, Why do you think, What is your opinion, on a particular book, subject, phrase or social phenomena.”
When you write an essay be sure that you understand what you are being asked and then decide what your opinion on the subject might be. In order to make your position clear, so that people can see what stance you’re taking right at the beginning, you need to form a thesis statement. If the question is why do you think more tha
n fifty percent of Americans are obese, your thesis statement might read: More than fifty percent of Americans are obese because they consume too much saturated fat. You might even say that more than fifty percent of Americans are obese because they have a sedentary lifestyle or whatever you think is the issue. Once you have a thesis statement you then need to discuss the question and try to persuade the reader to accept your evidence and assume the same point of view to yourself. If you have a strong thesis statement with a central idea, it’s easier to promote your point of view within the discussion part of the essay. Your essay should provide figures and evidence for the fact that a large number of Americans are obese and then evidence for the claim that they eat too much saturated fat. Not everyone may agree with your conclusions, but if your thesis statement is strong and your evidence is convincing, atleast you’ve got them thinking about the subject. An essay might explain something to a reader; argue a case for something etc. If you find that, as you are writing, you’re wandering away from your original thesis statement, you’ll either have to amend your thesis or amend what you have written.
Generally speaking, a thesis statement will come somewhere in the first paragraph or introduction section of the essay. The main part of the essay is the evidence you’re supplying to support your thesis, followed by a conclusion.