We explain what an essay is and what its general characteristics are. Also, how to do a test, and the most frequent mistakes to avoid.

What is an Essay?

Essay: Definition, Structure, Characteristics, How to Do It

An essay is a relatively short piece of writing in which ideas are developed based on arguments (by way of analysis, interpretation or evaluation) about a topic. It is a subjective approach, although rigorous in terms of the quality or veracity of the information.

It is written in prose form, that is, without a particular division or structure unlike other genres.

An essay should present your ideas in the order in which they make the most sense for the correct decoding of the reader. Although there are certain guidelines for writing an essay, this genre offers a lot of freedom.

Trial characteristics

The main characteristics of the trial are:

  • It is short or not too long like a monograph .
  • It is subjective and personal, although it is based on the rigor of the veracity of the information.
  • It allows to expose a wide variety of topics (political, ethical, social, etc).
  • It is aimed at a general and broad audience.
  • It presents a free structure (although in general it maintains an introduction at the beginning and a conclusion at the end).

How to prepare an essay?

How to prepare an essay?

There is no single stipulated structure that must be rigorously followed to develop an essay . The essays can have various structures.

The introduction and conclusion usually respect their order of appearance , but other parts such as context, counterarguments, biographical information, among others, can be included in a paragraph or be part of a separate section.

To define the best structure of an essay it is useful to think of the different sections as possible answers to a series of questions that the reader could ask, such as:

  • What?: It consists of the first question to be answered by the essay, ideally after the introduction. What evidence shows the veracity of the subject?
  • How?: It consists of asserting if the thesis proposed resists the possible counterarguments or objections that the reader could question.
  • Why?: It consists of justifying the author's interpretation in a broader context than that extended throughout the essay.

Based on the answers, the author will be able to organize the contents and elaborate the introduction, the development (which can be divided into short chapters or sections, as the topic deserves) and the conclusion. In this way, you will ensure that the reader can decode the thesis quickly and in an orderly manner .

Common mistakes when putting an essay together

Common mistakes when putting an essay together

During the assembly of an essay, especially academic, it may happen that the author ends up making a descriptive thesis instead of an argumentative one . This can happen in an attempt to cite bibliographic or scientific information to support your theory.

It is important to have a reliable endorsement, but it is the author who must elaborate his own arguments , in addition to using different discursive resources such as the quotation, the definition, the anecdote or the memory, among others.

An essay should not be confused with a monograph or a degree thesis. Although the possible topics to be addressed with an essay are innumerable, its less formal, freer structure and its limited length differentiate it from other genres or specialized content.


Anas is an editor of a prestigious publishing company in the United States. She studied Mathematics in Arizona. Anas is also a teacher and one of her long-term goals is to build an institution that offers free education to everyone who are financially not stable. .

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