How to Structure an Essay Guide With Examples

posted by Laura Callisen 03 Jan 2023
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Students across all disciplines face the same problem: they need to know how to structure an essay they’re working on. Written academic assignments are the same everywhere, so if you learn the rules once, you’ll be able to use them in every case later. GrabMyEssay offers professional online essay writing services to students, but we also provide useful tips, and learning how to build your essay is among them! See how many parts it should have, find out what subsections you should divide them into, and start crafting your papers with perfect speed.

Three Key Parts of Proper Essay Structure

Another day, another paper — any process of writing an essay looks excruciating when you don’t know how to approach it. But after our tips, your confusion will disappear! What you have to remember is this: every standard paper should have three central body sections. Let’s review them.

1) Introduction. This is one of the opening parts of an essay. It shouldn’t exceed 10% of the word count. Your introduction should look concise, informative, and compelling your audience to read more. In turn, it consists of three parts.

a) Hook. It’s the first sentence of essay organization, and you should make it extra creative — but without going overboard. Come up with a claim that evokes strong emotions in people. Using a joke or a startling fact could also work.

Example: Few people know that 78% of Americans cheated at least once throughout their life — and these are only those who admitted to it.

After reading this sentence, most readers will feel intrigued. They’ll feel surprised or wonder if cheating refers to academic tricks or the betrayal of a partner.

b) Background. Discuss topic circumstances inside your essay framework. For example, if you’re writing about the latest American election, explain when it happened, who the candidates were, and which of them won. Limit yourself to a few sentences. You don’t need to write an entire history here. Just stick to crucial facts.

c) Thesis. Have you ever heard that one line can make or break a text? The thesis works exactly like this! It is the last sentence of the introduction, and it should reflect your paper’s essence. Your readers should take one look and figure out what journey you’re about to take them on. Don’t use auxiliary expressions; start with facts. Here are a couple of essay structure examples of thesis.

Example 1: Cido juice is the best because it has natural contents, an affordable price, and a beautiful package.

Example 2: Agreeing to the blackmail of nuclear countries is not sustainable because it will set a precedent for other governments, result in wars, and destroy world justice.

Both reveal the main goal of an essay. They outline three specific points a writer is going to explore, and they don’t rely on unnecessary phrases like “this paper is going to investigate.”

2) Body. This part has the meatiest content. Let’s imagine you’re writing a 1000 word essay for your professor: the introduction and conclusion wouldn’t exceed 100 words, while body would need to have 800. This is about 4-6 paragraphs. Start each body section with an opening sentence; use a quote or an indirect claim from a source to plant evidence, and then provide an explanation or elaboration. End a paragraph with a closing line that sums all important info up. This is basic essay structure for every case.

3) Conclusion. As the last section, it should be short but memorable, solidifying an impression you’ve made on your audience. It should feature restated thesis, summary of major points from your work, an explanation of their relevance, and tips for future researchers. This organization of an essay is ideal.

Sometimes you don’t need to follow this structure 100% — some deviations are possible. But know this: if you do everything exactly how we’ve outlined, there is no chance you’ll make a mistake. This is the ideal example of a structure that every college waits for its students.

Order in which Writing an Essay Structure Makes Most Sense

You already know about essay structure, but we decided to share insights about the order of information students need to follow during their writing process. Consider this an extra tip that will come in handy once you’re working on your paper. Start it by outlining the background of your topic. Imagine that you’re discussing a subject your audience doesn’t know much about. For instance, if you are talking about What We Do in the Shadows TV show, you cannot start your essay basic structure with a line like, “Nandor will likely find the love of his life in Guillermo in season 5.” A person you’re speaking with won’t have any idea about who Nandor or Guillermo are and what kind of show this event is.  You’ll need to describe some basics before moving toward an in-depth exploration, such as, “What We Do in the Shadows is a recent adaptation of a movie with the same name. Its plot centers on the life of vampires…”

A good essay structure should go from simple to more complex points, but if they have equal weight, their order doesn’t matter. Everything in your body sections should link back to your thesis in several ways at once. Put a reference in the opening sentence; explore it throughout the paragraph and end it with another reference. When you approach the very end, be sure to explain why your essay was relevant. You could also outline some gaps in your research.

How to Build Your Essay Chronologically: Detailed Outline Example

What is the structure of an essay, and what should it look like in practice? While students can come up with their own preferred variants, there are some set models. Three common forms of structure include chronological, compare-and-contrast, plus problem-method-solution. If you’re already dreading them, wait up! It’s not that scary. GrabMyEssay will explain each in detail, and not just by using theory. We’ll share a direct example with you. If you’ve been wondering how to write an essay outline for your essay, you’ll find an answer here, too. Outlines should include the most important info. The goal is to prepare the ground for writing and guide you step by step in your work. Chronological structure means exploring your topic gradually, following the order in which the events happened. Check one such example of essay structure below: it shows a potential chronological outline for an essay on the topic “The Gradual Darkness of Harry Potter Books.”


1. Hook: “Every child born around 2000 has heard about Harry Potter.”

2. Background: “This is a series of 7 books written by JK Rowling revolving around the journey of a boy whose family was murdered by a dark wizard.” Several more sentences about the plot.

3. Thesis: “The first Harry Potter books are light-hearted because they focus on a start of magical journey, but they gradually move toward the topics of unfair imprisonment and lead up to the murder of central characters.”


Paragraph 1

Opening sentence: “In the two books of Harry Potter, the protagonists' triumph, and no positive character dies.”

Reference to source material: “Upon arriving at Hogwarts, Harry Potter finds friends, a place where he is accepted, and guidance of other powerful characters.”

Elaboration: Brief info about Harry’s friends, the headmaster of Hogwarts, and Hogwarts itself.

Reference to source material: “Harry triumphs over evil in the face of Professor Quirrell and Tom Riddle, while everyone he cares about stays alive.”

Elaboration: Explaining why Quirrell and Riddle were evil and how Harry won in a fight.

Closing sentence: “This way, the first two books emanate positivity and show the victory of good over evil.”

Paragraph 2

Opening sentence: “The third book deals with unjustified imprisonment of Harry Potter’s godfather Sirius Black.”

Reference to source material: “Sirius Black is a prisoner of Azkaban, a magical prison, who is believed to have killed multiple people while being innocent in reality.”

Elaboration: Detailed explanation about who Sirius is and why he is innocent.

Closing sentence: “The third book gains a darker tone by dealing with uncomfortable topics like justice mistakes.”

Paragraph 3

Opening sentence: “With every subsequent book, more casual and main characters die, which marks a complete shift to a dark tone.”

Reference to source material: “Harry loses friends, relatives, and his mentor.”

Elaboration: Explaining who died and under which circumstances.

Closing sentence: “The last books of Harry Potter are adult-like and sorrowful because of all the deaths they include.”


1. Restating thesis: “Only the first two Harry Potter books are child-like; the rest become subsequently darker, showing imprisonment and death of good characters.”

2. Restating main points: Briefly mention the key events again.

3. Establishing relevance: Explaining that these books are relevant because every child used to read them.

Compare-Contrast Structure Example

How is an essay structured when you’re working on compare and contrast paper? There are two methods, point-by-point, and subject-by-subject ones. The former means that you take two subjects and compare them in terms of point 1, point 2, point 3, etc. The subject-by-subject model entails more separate discussions: you’re talking about subject 1 in relation to different points, then about subject 2. The first model is more common and more convenient, so we prepared a point-by-point essay writing structure example. Our topic is “Who Is a Better Friend: Cats and Dogs Comparison.”


1. Hook: “Debates between cat and dog lovers never end.”

2. Background: Several sentences explaining that cats and dogs are most common pets.

3. Thesis: “Cats are quieter, but both cats and dogs are loving in their way.”


Paragraph 1

Opening sentence: “Cats are quiet while dogs are loud.”

Reference to research: “Research shows that cats tend to be passive; dogs are extremely active.”

Elaboration: Explain how these features are displayed.

Closing sentence: “Cats could spend an entire day sleeping while dogs might stay playful throughout.”

Paragraph 2

Opening sentence: “Despite their differences, cats and dogs are both loyal.”

Reference to research: “They both recognize their owners and want to spend time with them (Sawyer, 2017).”

Elaboration: More information about these aspects.

Closing sentence: “Dogs and cats show devotion to their owners uniquely.”


1. Restating thesis: “Cats may be more independent — however, along with dogs, they are capable of devotion.”

2. Restating central points: Outline key points.

3. Establishing relevance: Explain why this comparison matters.

Problems-Methods-Solutions Structure Example

Problem-method-solution academic essay structure is another common model. It flows just like it sounds, from point to point. You outline your problem, offer a method to address it, and specify results such a solution might have. You’ll need at least three body paragraphs here, so follow 5 paragraph essay structure we’re about to illustrate. Check our example. It’s an outline on a topic: “How Future Wars Can Be Stopped on the Example of Ukraine.”


1. Hook: “Wars devastate countries and leave millions of broken people behind.”

2. Background: Mention of the biggest wars and mention of Ukraine.

3. Thesis: “Wars are destructive, but if all countries unite against the aggressor, multiple lives will be saved.”


Paragraph 1

Opening sentence: “The war in Ukraine has already killed, displaced, and devastated millions of Ukrainians.”

Reference to research: Mention official sources with specific numbers.

Elaboration: Discussing war consequences in Ukraine and in general in detail.

Closing sentence: “Wars should never happen because of their destructive consequences.”

Paragraph 2

Opening sentence: “If all nations without exception unite, an aggressor will not stand any chances.”

Reference to research: Info on how powerful the world’s army would be compared to Russia’s army.

Elaboration: Illustration of how quickly the world would have been able to boot Russia out of Ukraine if they quickly interfered.

Closing sentence: “Joint efforts could bring a victim country a swift victory.”

Paragraph 3

Opening sentence: “Countries’ unification could save lives, protect economy, and serve as a warning against future wars.”

Reference to research: Numbers showing statistics of peaceful times vs. war periods.

Elaboration: Details on how a solution of countries uniting against one enemy could help protect world’s peace.

Closing sentence: “This solution could be the salvation for billions since no one would have to fear war again.”


1. Restating thesis: “Wars can be stopped if all governments join effort into stopping the aggressor.”

2. Restating key points: Repeating key points about a chosen method.

3. Addressing limitations: Mentioning possible drawbacks of this solution, like aggressor’s nuclear potential.

Overview & Transitions inside Your Essay

Now you know the perfect structure of essay writing. But we need to cover a final couple of points. Longer projects like dissertations require an overview. You should describe what topics you’re going to tackle. It could sound like this: “This project starts with explaining how Tolkien created his work. It proceeds to show how wholesome his characters are and explores his writing techniques. Finally, it proves that his work remains relevant even now.”

Transitions apply across all essay structures types. These are linking sentences that create a bridge between points or sections. Look at this example: we based it on the last sample of outline about the war. “Since people continue to die, a powerful intervention is necessary.” It unites the topics of war’s impacts and leads up to the necessity of intervention.


  • What are the 5 parts of an essay?

Each paper should have a brief introduction, a strong thesis, a detailed body, an informative conclusion, and a list of references.

  • Why is structure important in an essay?

If you know how to write an essay structure, your essay will be readable, clear, and logical. It’ll follow a specific order, which is essential for getting a good grade.

Laura Callisen

Blog writer for GrabMyEssay


Hello there! I am Laura Callisen, and I fancy myself to be a modern “Renaissance person.” I suppose my 30-something self began my incredible journey after having been born in Stavanger, Norway and then immigrating to the U.S. (Utah, actually) at the age of 5. I am certain that this change was more of a cultural “shock” for my parents than for me, because I quickly mastered the language and was clever enough to “play the game” of public education in America. After graduating from Skyline High School, where I spent two years as the school newspaper editor, obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in English and journalism from the University of Utah was a natural culmination of my love for writing.

My inclination to be socially conscious led me to lots of community outreach and volunteering during my college years, especially in the areas of educational and housing improvement for the poor and a number of environmental crusades. My passion for philosophy and travel have now taken over, and I am enthralled with the widely varied value systems of all cultures in which I can immerse myself, if only temporarily. My life as a freelance writer allows a freedom I never want to sacrifice for a stuffy office!

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