How To Write A Short Essay

April 26, 2023 Alex Dicson
Write A Perfect Short Essay

How To Write A Short Essay

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Essay writing does not require any introduction and definition for students in schools and colleges. It is a piece of writing that is heavily based on research and highlights the writer’s point of view on the main topic. There are different types of essays, including but not limited to, narrative essays, descriptive essays, expository, and argumentative essays. However, a brief essay format is something else entirely.

Many students get elated the moment they hear the word short in the assignment. It is only when they get to complete the task that they realize that it is much harder than its grander counterpart. So, who would they turn to?

In this blog, we will take a look at what short essays are, the elements of short essay writing, and how to write one.

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Writing Short Essays In Schools & Colleges

In the simplest terms, a short essay is just like a conventional essay but is constrained by a tight word count limit. As mentioned in the previous section, many students believe that writing a shorter one is much easier and less time-consuming compared to its bigger brother. This is only a fallacy that many come to realize when they go through multiple sources and materials and still come out short.

The higher word count allows writers to have wiggle room, but the short format does not offer such liberty. A short essay is around 200 to 500 words so writers need to cover all the main ideas within that limit. While keeping that in mind, we can assume that writing narrative and descriptive essays can be somehow easier, compared to their argumentative and expository counterparts.

Elements of A Short Essay

It is easy to define and explain a thing by individually understanding and learning about its parts, like understanding the building blocks to understand a structure of essay. In this section, we will take a look at the most basic elements that make a short essay. These are the same as the conventional counterparts, yet they are not expansive in terms of word count.


Whether you are writing a narrative essay or a descriptive one, it has to have an opening. The opening paragraph has a hook to grab readers’ attention, then the background information on the topic, before putting down the thesis.


A thesis or a thesis statement is the encapsulation of the main idea or theme of the essay. If it is an argumentative or an expository essay, the thesis should let the readers know what side he is on.

Main Body

The main body paragraph of an essay covers the most word count. Depending on the type of essay, this section has the main ideas or points, along with the evidence and counterpoints. 


There is no point in writing a whole essay if you are not going to close it logically. The closing paragraph or conclusion of an essay ties up all the loose ends convincingly and memorably for the readers.

How To Write A Short Essay

There are many online guides available for essay writing. They cover all the bases for novice writers and students, but finding one on writing a short essay is a rarity. That’s where this guide comes to the fore with a solution. Our focus is on the short paper format so that writers have something workable to build their essays on.

Choosing The Right Topic

This is the step that is common in both short and conventional essay writing. However, it is best to refine and make the topic or title as focused as possible in the short essay. This will help writers in distilling the whole discourse into a single question and the essay will be about answering it.

Finding Relevant Information

After picking the perfect essay topic, it is time to dig deeper through different sources and come up with the most relevant information. Again, the more focused and uni-dimensional your topic is, the easier it will be to find and consolidate relevant information.

Organizing Your Thoughts

Essays have rigid structures, and short essays are not the exception to this rule. In the earlier stages, it pays to have organized thoughts and ideas so that it becomes easier to come up with a thesis that can bind the narrative together. You can also create a map of the whole essay at this point to further predict the next steps.

Coming Up With A Thesis

A thesis is one of the most important elements of a short essay. If a piece of writing does not have a thesis, it is not an essay at all. It encapsulates the main theme or idea of the essay while providing bold and brief insight into the writer’s stance. It comes in the closing lines of the introduction, connecting with the main body.

Process of Short Essay Writing

Once you have gone through choosing the right topic and then collecting data to formulate a thesis and create an online for the whole essay, it is time to start writing the essay as soon as possible. Many students make the mistake of waiting too long for the first draft resulting in lost time and motivation.

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Writing The Introduction

As to begin with the beginning, the first part of writing a short essay is to introduce the topic to your readers. There is not much word count to this section, yet it is best to start with the right foot, possibly a hook. Then, writers must provide background information about the topic to ease readers into the main topic. The closing lines can have the thesis bridge the two sections together for greater impact and coherence.

Developing Main Body Paragraphs

Since the whole rationale behind opening and closing paragraphs is to bracket the main body, it needs to shine through in both the quality and quantity of the essay. The bulk of the main body paragraphs can be divided into three different elements, which are the main points of the writers, supporting evidence and proofs, and anticipation of dissent with counterarguments. Writers need to make every word count as many believe that they can get away with poor-quality content in the section.

Concluding The Essay

This is the part that readers will read in the end and may remember the most. It has its structure and experts advise that it can be self-sufficient to stand on its own without the introduction and the main body. The starting of the section is mostly the rephrasing and revisiting of the thesis. Then, writers can summarize all the main points as refreshers, before putting down departing thoughts in an authoritative and convincing tone.

Revising & Reviewing Short Essays

Writing is easy when it comes to short essays, as many are not more than 400 to 500 words. Yet, many first drafts are written quickly and are rife with errors and mistakes. Turning an essay in without due editing and proofreading could lead to a poor impression on the evaluator. That’s why setting aside time and energy to go through the whole essay yields many rewards.

Proofreading The Essay – From Start To Finish

Proofreading is the process of reading and reading the writing and looking for errors and inconsistencies. The nature of these could be grammatical, spelling, or even contextual. Dividing different types and then identifying and resolving the issues accordingly leads to better writing quality and less frustration. Writers can also employ online tools such as Grammarly and Hemingway Editor to further speed up the task.

Ensuring Consistency of Tone & Voice

Every author has his voice and tone. Even when students are learning the craft, they tend to show unique characters and elements that are exclusive to their writing. While editing the short essay, it is best to get the tone and voice consistent in the text for better impact. Otherwise, it would prove to be a lost opportunity and subpar content for the writers.

Editing For Adherence to Guidelines

Almost all the assignments for short essays come with guidelines and prescriptions from the instructors. Writers need to follow them at all costs if they expect to get scores in the essay. In this stage, it is necessary to check for the last time that all the essentials are there. Once you are sure about that, it is time to turn the short paper in and be confident about better scores.

Key Takeaways

A short essay is a type of essay with a more constrained word count. Even though the elements and short essay structure remain the same, novice writers and students often find it hard to conceive and write one. In this blog, we have provided all the necessary information to the readers to ensure that they have the tools and training to write compelling short essays. There is no denying that they will need some practice and a keen eye to nail all the details, but it will be worth their while.

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Alex Dicson

Alex Dicson

My name is Alex Dickson, and I am privileged to live in New York City. With a Ph.D. in Political Economy, I've committed my academic career to understanding the complex interplay of politics, economics, and society. I have obtained priceless insights into the global environment and the enormous influence that policies may have on different elements of our life as a result of my lengthy study. Read More

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