Simple Essay Writing Tips

Simple Essay Writing Tips
If I could give essay writing tips to any student, I would give advice about sentence structure and flow. These two things are important to writing because they greatly affect your reader's...
You are about to read some of the most valuable essay writing tips that I have learned during my college years. I have had many English teachers who mostly agree on these writing strategies because they are central to having good writing skills. Applying these strategies to your writing will greatly improve your clarity and eventually -- (hopefully) your grades. Furthermore, once you consciously get into the habit of using them regularly, you would find that your good writing skills will aid you in any career field that you choose after you graduate from college. Now, let's get started...

Transition between Sentences and Paragraphs

Writing is just like having an actual conversation except for the fact that your readers can not ask you a question if they don't understand something you just said. With that being said, having transitional phrases and sentences in between your ideas would greatly help your ideas flow. Transitions are also a great way to show similar or opposite ideas in your writing. For instance, phrases or words such as: in addition, furthermore, also, and additionally tell your reader that you are adding related ideas to your previous sentence. On the other hand, words phrases like: conversely, alternatively, then again, on the other hand, and in contrast tell your reader that you are discussing an idea that opposes your previous sentence's idea. While finding transition words between sentences can be accessed by the use of your thesaurus, transitioning between paragraphs gets a little tougher.

With paragraphs, you would need to have your previous paragraph flow into the next one by introducing the next paragraph's idea in the last sentence of your previous paragraph. After you have done that, the first sentence of your next paragraph will now talk about the new idea in it. Are you getting confused? Here is an example, if you look at the last sentence of the previous paragraph, you would see that I gave the reader a hint about transitioning between paragraphs. Then, on the first sentence of this paragraph, I talked about the topic sentence. Adapting this type of strategy in your own writing will give you the tool to guide your reader from one idea to the next which makes your essay more coherent.

Sentence Variety

Sentence variety refers to the length of your sentences. If you write short sentences one after another, your writing will seem choppy. On the other hand, if you write long sentences one after another, your reader might get lost in your ideas. In both instances, your readers will lose interest in whatever you're discussing because they can not follow your train of thought.

Sentence variety is one of the easiest essay writing tips to adapt because it allows you to make your essay exciting by merely varying the length of your sentences. Let's take the first paragraph of this section (sentence variety) as an example. You will notice that the first two sentences are short and direct while the last two sentences are longer and more elaborate. This strategy becomes easier to incorporate into your writing skills because even though you may not have sentence variety in your first draft, you can go back and make the necessary changes.

Passive vs. Active Voice

I've always had a difficult time getting this writing strategy right because I learned it towards the end of my college days. After years of being "wordy," (partly because I couldn't get enough ideas to make up 1200 words) I had to unlearn my bad habits and start writing in the active voice. According to my professor, who taught me this strategy, passive voice is THE sign of wordiness. So, she taught us how to recognize the passive voice in our sentences then turn it into active voice. From what I remember, the passive voice is usually in the form of "to be" (is, are, was, were, be, been) followed by the past participle (hint: looks like a past tense verb).

For example:

Passive voice: The neighborhood fire was started by a lightning strike.
Active voice: The lightning strike started the neigborhood fire.

Do you see the difference? The sentence in the active voice is much more direct and clear.

Stick to Your Thesis

This is one of the essay writing tips that should be obvious enough and yet many students still have a difficult time following. A thesis is created for a reason and that is to argue your point of view regarding a particular topic. Your whole essay should support your argument with many little arguments and evidences.

One of my very first teachers taught me this neat little trick to check if my whole essay is still talking about my thesis. She says that I should write my thesis in a small piece of paper. Then, I should place this piece of paper right next to each of my paragraphs. After that, she told me to read each paragraph and compare it to my thesis. This process allowed me to catch any paragraphs in my essay that are 'off topic' and I revised them accordingly.

Reliable References and Citations

This is probably one of the most common essay writing tips that you have heard of ever since you started writing in school. This writing strategy is important because your credibility is at stake if you fail to use reliable resources and cite those resources. In this day and age wherein everyone has access to the internet, many students are tempted to believe the things that they read on the World Wide Web. Even credible resources such as Wikipedia still get some writers or contributors that do not use good references.

To avoid using untrustworthy resources, students should always look into peer reviewed articles in research papers or articles that are published in a well-known newspaper. These publications make an extra effort to providing good, reliable information because they have a name to preserve. One caveat when using other people's ideas is to properly cite or credit other people's work to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is a big, punishable offense and you should avoid it at all costs. Citing references, either in text or at the end of your essay or both, becomes easy once you habitually use it in your writing. Most search engines in your school library are even equipped with a citation maker which creates the citation for you in the style you choose (e.g. APA vs. MLA). For more information on the different citation styles, please visit these web sites: and

Writer's Block

Ugh...I hate writer's block. Fortunately, one of my teachers have given me the power to get rid of it by giving me one of her essay writing tips -- power writing (or something to that effect). Power writing is a process wherein you write about your topic non-stop for about 5 minutes. For example, if I was asked to write about organic farming, I would write about everything I know and do not know about it, what my ideas are so far, and everything under the sun that might help me argue my thesis. However, there will be times during power writing when your head would be empty. In this case, you can write, "my head is empty." In other words, your writing does not need to be coherent. Use this tool to keep your ideas flowing and build your confidence regarding your topic to completely eliminate writer's block.

To take this writing strategy further, I enhanced it by reading the material that I have found during my research before I do my power writing. By doing this, I am filling my head with other people's ideas that hopefully will support my argument. In addition, this strategy also helps me generate my own ideas since my brain has already started the thinking process.


If there was one thing that students can do to improve their writing, it would be to give themselves enough time to write the paper. Many students tend to procrastinate about their writing assignments that they do not have time to edit or review their work before they turn it in. Besides having the chance to review and edit your essay, you can get the chance to take a break from it for a day or two so that you can look at it in a whole new light when you read it again. For instance, if you finished your essay on Sunday and it's not due until Wednesday, you can read it again on Tuesday and still find better arguments or improve your grammar.


Even professional writers have editors and this is why this is one of the best essay writing tips. Many teachers even require their students to write a draft of their paper even though the deadline is a few weeks away. This way of thinking occurs because many writers tend to be biased at their own work. For instance, if you wrote a 5-page essay and felt that you really did a good job, you probably would not edit it further. On the other hand, if your classmates or friends read it, they may be able to find spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or arguments that can be better supported. Thus, having your paper reviewed by somebody else gives you that one extra chance to get their opinion before your teacher gives you the final grade.

The Word 'it'

It is not good to use it at the beginning of any sentence.

Read that first sentence and see me if it makes sense to you. Does it? You may think that you know what I mean but you really don't know what I'm referring to unless I tell you what it is. Having said that, follow my advice on that first sentence. Instead of writing 'it,' write out the thing you are referring to. For example, in the son entitled, "It Must Have Been Love," write this instead: "Our Relationship Must Have Been Love" (or something to that effect). Just replacing the word it with the actual word, makes your writing much more clear to your reader and this avoids confusion.

All the advice I have given here so far is a result of years and years of advice from fellow students and teachers. However, all the essay writing tips in the world could not help you be a better writer unless you practice them regularly. I remember developing better and better writing skills as I progressed through my academic life because I listened to my teacher's and other people's critics and advice. I hope that the situation will be the same for you as you follow some of the simple advice here in this section.

This article originally appeared on

Simple Essay Writing Tips 7.7 of 10 on the basis of 1721 Review.