The Anatomy of an Essay: Why Every Element Counts

The Anatomy of an Essay: Why Every Element Counts

If you are studying in a high school, college, or university, you must be quite familiar with such a type of assignment as an essay. Depending on the topic and discipline, the contents expected of you in it may vary, but it's always supposed to be compelling and deliver a particular message in a persuasive manner. However, it's not any kind of magic that makes your essay persuasive. All you need to do is put all the necessary elements of it in the right places. So, we will try to explore why every component of the essay is essential and what role it plays in your paper overall.

1. Introduce your topic

The first paragraph of your essay must be dedicated to the introduction of your topic. Obviously, the professor who assigned you your task is quite familiar with it. However, you need to present your vision of the topic and explain what you are going to talk about in the essay. If it concerns a controversial issue or a certain idea, it's important to give context for it, explaining why it's important and what the different positions on it may be. You don't have to cite any sources in the introduction, but you have to make sure it ends with a strong thesis statement.

Introduce your topic in the first paragraph. Pixabay

2. Make a compelling thesis statement

The thesis statement is an essential part of any essay. The success of your overall essay virtually depends on it. A common mistake that students make is that they write a descriptive thesis statement instead of an argumentative one. A descriptive statement just acknowledges the topic you are writing about, which is essentially the same information that went into its title. A strong argumentative thesis statement contains your own positions on the issue, an awareness of the opposing views, and the reasons that make you believe that you are right in your personal opinion on it. Thus, the reader must understand the main message of your essay from the thesis statement.

3. Develop your argument in the body of your essay

After you make a strong thesis statement, you need to write at least three body paragraphs in which you elaborate on it. Every paragraph of the body has its own particular structure. It must open with a topic sentence, the main argument that supports your thesis statement, and signifies what you will talk about in this portion of the text. After the topic sentence, you need to elaborate in detail on how it works and why it's true. Namely, you need to present evidence. This is the place to put quotes from or references to reputable sources to support your reasoning. The selection of sources also matters, so make sure you have picked trustworthy ones. Do not place a citation at the very end of a body paragraph — it must end with your idea about its content. To make a compelling argument, you have to write at least three body paragraphs supporting your thesis statement.

Write at least three body paragraphs elaborating your Thesis statement. Pixabay

4. Present a counterargument

Another feature of a persuasive essay is the counterargument paragraph, which is especially important if you are writing about a controversial issue. The topic sentence of this paragraph must state why your thesis statement is wrong or why there are opinions opposing the ones you have. Then, just as with body paragraphs, you need to present the evidence that the opposite opinion is also valid. However, you need to end this paragraph with a refutation of the counterargument and explain that it doesn't outweigh all the arguments you presented before. The writing experts in RapidEssay say that this paragraph should demonstrate that you are aware of all the facets of the issue and that your position is well-reasoned.

5. Conclude everything

The last paragraph of your essay must conclude everything you said before. In fact, it's a short summary of the whole argument, as you need to restate your thesis and write a few sentences about all the supporting evidence that you have brought. Don't forget to mention the opposing argument and explain why it's not sufficient to disprove your point.


As you can see, writing a compelling essay is not rocket science. Unless it's an engineering essay about rockets. Nonetheless, if you take some time to study the issue and determine your position on it, all you need to do is follow the simple structure above.

[Disclaimer: The article published above promotes links of commercial interests.]

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