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Formal Essay Writing Tips that Actually Work!

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

For some lucky people, essay writing comes naturally. But for many of us that are “unlucky”, knowing how to answer an essay question in the right way so it will score high marks, can be quite tricky and it might need a lot of skills, learning, and practice.

Once you learn how to write a great and decent essay, you can apply the same techniques to almost any piece of academic writing, whether it can be a standard essay, a reflective one, a dissertation or thesis, coursework, course assignment, or anything else.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into some tips on writing a formal essay.

These are the steps you should follow to write an essay:

  • Read the question carefully. Try to exactly know and understand what is being asked of you and consider dissecting the question into parts.

  • Plan. Organize your ideas by brainstorming and it will make your life much easier while you try to write an essay. Arrange and categorize your ideas and supporting details.

  • Cite and use sources. Always do your research before starting to write. Use quotes, citations, and paraphrase from the sources but avoid plagiarizing at all costs.

  • Create a strong thesis. The most important thing you are going to write is the main argument or the thesis so try your best to make it a strong point and decent.

  • Write a draft. Drafts are always considered a good place to get any of your “crappy” ideas out of the way. As Ernest Hemingway once said, “The first draft of everything is always crap.”.

  • Respond to the prompt. Once you ditch out any ideas that would ruin the essay on the draft, you can start writing the final one and respond strictly to the question.

  • Proofread. Read what you wrote very carefully and make sure you didn't miss anything or if anything is excessive. Adapt if necessary.

Essay writing tips

More advanced academic papers are a category of their own, but standard basic high school or college essays have the following five paragraph structure:

Introduction paragraph - the attention-grabbing “hook” and thesis statement.

First body paragraph - opens with a transition and states the first subtopic.

Second body paragraph - states the second subtopic and also opens with a transition.

Third body paragraph - supporting details or examples.

Concluding paragraph - restatement of the thesis and a reverse “hook”, rephrase the main topic, and makes a global statement.

The definition of a formal essay

Formal essays are all the letters, job applications, essays, and reports are written formally, where the rules of punctuation and grammar are strictly followed. They have a standard language and also are focused on what is a fact, keeping it nice and specific.

Informal essays on the other hand are written for pleasure and use a lot of abbreviations and expressions, while not totally following the grammar rules.

Definition of a formal essay
  • When writing a formal essay, you need to keep in mind the following when it comes to its structure:

  • The essay should have a title expressing the theme of what is about to be written

  • The introductory part gives a short coverage of the matter of the essay in 2 to 4 sentences.

  • The body, where 2 or 3 paragraphs are used to argue on the issue that is being discussed in the essay, leaving no blank spots for doubts

  • The conclusion where 2 to 4 sentences sum up what is said in the previous parts of the structure

When writing a formal essay, some steps need to be followed:

  1. Choosing the right topic: When you are allowed to choose your own topic, be sure to maintain seriousness on the matter that you choose, since after all, it is going to be a formal essay.

  2. Thesis: When writing the introductory part, the last sentence of it, should give the whole idea of the essay, expressing your stance towards the topic. That sentence is the thesis statement

  3. Introduction: Giving short but clear information on what is going to be treated in the body paragraphs is the key to writing a perfect introduction while finishing it with a thesis that should be satisfying enough for the reader to continue his journey.

  4. Body paragraphs: Each paragraph should be a separate, yet coherent thought of what you are discussing in the essay. Staying honest to the thesis, each body paragraph should start with a sentence that gives the topic of that paragraph

  5. Conclusion: This paragraph should be a paraphrasing of what is said in the body and introduction paragraphs while making sure that all the points in the thesis that you choose, are completely covered.

Some differences between formal and informal essays:

Difference between formal and informal essay
  1. Vocabulary. Informal essays tend to be shorter than formal ones. Formal style essays often involve the use of longer words.

  2. Slang expressions. The use of slang is unacceptable in a formal essay. The same goes for idiomatic expressions. It should be used a formal vocabulary and the language of specifics.

  3. Passive voice. Informal essays are more personalized and the use of active voice prevails over the use of passive, while formal essays speak about facts.

  4. Appeals and stereotypes. The main characteristic of informal essays is the first-person appeal, with the use of “I”. The formal one on the other hand is more structured and uses the pronoun “we”.

  5. Abbreviations. The informal style of writing an essay as we stated before allows slang and idiomatic, the same thing goes for abbreviations where it can be written “I’m”, or “we’ve”, etc. Differently happens with formal essays where you have to write the complete thing: “I am”, “we have” and so on.

As we can see, formal essays are radically different from informal ones. However, when you start writing a formal essay, do your research beforehand to state and remember the differences in the formatting and follow the vocabulary, grammar, and other language tools that the essay you are writing maintains the formal style and format.

Do’s and don’ts

Do's and don'ts while writing formal essay

Do: Use transitions to start new paragraphs.

Don’t: Start a new thought without a transition.

Do: Use quotes and paraphrase.

Don’t: Plagiarize.

Do: Use structured and organized paragraphs.

Don’t: Write in big paragraphs without any sort of organization.

Do: Use meaning verbs, active voice, and action words.

Don’t: Use passive voice and “I” or “me” unless the essay is written in a narrative form

Do: Use vivid and descriptive words.

Don’t: Use words that you don’t know the meaning of.

In a nutshell

Writing essays will never be easy even if you really practice and learn every step to make it perfect. The key is to really understand the question and to know how to respond. You might sometimes need some help from professionals. If you are looking to strengthen your writing skills or even if you need help on any other subject, we can guide you to the best in this field.

Here at Katrexa, our team is very professional and will provide you with solutions and answers for every request you might have. After you submit your problem and contact our team to unfold what kind of tutoring you need, what the subject is, they will process your request and offer you a suitable quote and provide you with materials and sources regarding the submitted problem. The next step is to check the quote and proceed with the payment through a very secure and safe PayPal world remit or e-transfer. Fun fact: We also accept cryptocurrency. After the payment is completed, one of our best tutors suited to the subject you submitted the problem for, will give you 1:1 tutoring lessons. They will walk you through answers, sources, solutions and provide you with useful materials.

Katrexa Tutoring

Our number one priority is your satisfaction. We make sure to do everything right so the tutoring session can be useful, efficient, and receive everything you need to master that subject.

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