P Structure and format of a short essay | Pieces of advice for short essay writing

What is a Short Essay Format?

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short essay format

Short essay assignments are among the most common tasks that your college or university professor can give you. If you are not entirely certain how to write them, it can cause great stress. To complete them successfully, it is important to be familiar with requirements of a short essay.

What is the Format for a Short Essay?

A typical short essay assignment is between 1 to 5 pages long double spaced. It is structured the same way as a lengthy term paper, but in the condensed form. A short essay begins with the introduction that includes the thesis statement, the body that supports the thesis with point-by-point arguments, and the conclusion that summarizes everything. Using short, concise sentences as opposed to making long cluttered statements results in an essay that is easier to understand.

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Useful Advice for Writing a Short Essay

  • When generating ideas for a short essay assignment, remember that the topic alone contributes half of your success. It is essential to choose a topic that focuses on a very specific issue. In other words, a topic like “Major League Baseball” is far too broad to write as a short essay. It would take hundreds of pages to discuss the main points. Instead, a topic such as “The New York Yankee Dynasty of the late 90s” is far more appropriate because the information makes a better fit for an essay with short page length requirements.
  • Decide what information is most pertinent to get your main arguments across and what can be left out. The paper should remain focused on information that is interesting and necessary and keep background information to a minimum. If you come across research that is informative but is not related to your topic, it is best not to include it.
  • Before you actually begin writing, construct an outline. It should be structured like “fill in the blank”sentences. It is essential that the outline contain information found in books and journals as opposed to being subjective statements of the personal opinion. The outline should start with your thesis, the general argument, the supporting evidence, and the conclusion.
  • As a friend or family member to read over your first draft. A fresh set of eyes is important because what makes sense to you conceptually might not mean a thing to anybody else. Their feedback will be very useful.
  • Your second draft is not necessarily going to be the finished product. If you used the first draft as a means of explaining the information that you have gathered from your research, the second draft should provide structure and flow. The introduction should seamlessly lead to the subsequent paragraphs. The body should lay out the points in a detailed, purposeful manner. Obviously you will want to avoid drifting off topic. Everything you write should ultimately point back to the thesis.
  • If you feel that some additional elaboration about certain comments is necessary, you should feel free to add footnotes and endnotes. This is one way to digress slightly without interrupting the flow of your paper overall.
  • The conclusion paragraph should not merely repeat what was previously stated. Instead, you should provide an analysis of the information and discuss the implications in the broader scheme of things. Naturally, the conclusion should also remain focused on the thesis statement and the arguments that were made in the body of the paper.
  • If you are uncertain whether some of the information you have gathered is relevant to the topic, it is probably best not to include it in your paper. The key to a good short essay is that it remains coherent. Given your page limitations, you do not have the luxury of selecting a lot of sources, so you want to make sure you are choosing them wisely.
  • In short essays, you do not want to infuse your personal experiences. The paper needs to appear academic and professionally written.


When examining a short essay sample, you will notice that the body of the essay contains arguments that support the thesis. A good paper does not settle for weak arguments that are backed up using questionable blogs. In addition to good sourcing, transition is also necessary. Using terms like “furthermore” and “finally” to introduce new paragraphs is the best way to maintain the right flow. Connecting the paragraphs makes it easy to read. Finally, do not underestimate the importance of the conclusion. A thought-provoking ending makes for a memorable essay.

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