What is an essay?

What is an essay? post thumbnail image

In general terms an essay is a text in which the author develops his ideas, therefore has a free theme (such as ideas), a simple style, is personal and expresses moods, uses quotes, personal memories, can ramble and not having a pre-established order, its extension is free, it is addressed to a broad audience and is written with an artistic conscience.

There are different types of essays, developing one for the Spanish class is not that complicated if you follow these general recommendations.

Prepare an essay

Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) was the first author to use the word essay to describe what characterized his writing. For him the essay was a writing that allowed him to explore unknown subjects and give free rein to his ideas without having to be an expert in the subject he was dealing with.

Before Montaigne, texts with the characteristics of the essay had been written, although that name was not yet used to define it.

Test characteristics

* Its essential feature is the logical display of thought.

* It is an argumentative text that demonstrates, justifies, analyzes, debates and persuades the reader.

* They usually deal with topics already treated in the real world, but with the unique perspective of the author.

* Presents a thesis and its justification based on reasoning or evidence.

* Usually written in prose.

Test function

* Persuade the reader to accept the thesis and the arguments presented

Types of assay

Exhibition essay: used to explain or describe something to the reader.

Argumentative essay: it raises the writer’s position on a subject that is defended by means of reasoning and evidence.

Analytical test: evaluates and deduces the elements of an object or event and presents them to the audience.

Poetic or literary essay: you see the world, the landscape and men through the sensitivity of the author.

How to make a step-by-step essay

Clearly establish the theme of your essay and build the thesis that you will defend with your text. Preferably choose a topic that you are passionate about.

Plan your essay by brainstorming the arguments you will use to defend your thesis.

Create a diagram with the order of the subtopics that will integrate your essay.

Look for information on the subject and subtopics. This information will serve to support and prove your thesis.

Make notes about the most important information you find. You have to use reliable sources.

Write the first draft of your essay following the elaborated outline and the structure of the essay: introduction, development and conclusion.

Review and correct the essay. To review it, answer the following questions: Is there a definite thesis? Is each argument presented in a paragraph? Is the order of the paragraphs adequate? Are the punctuation marks adequate? Are all words correctly spelled?

Parts of an essay


In the expository and argumentative essays the subject is presented in a general way and the thesis in the introduction. In the analytical essay, the introduction is also used to indicate the theoretical perspective from which the thesis will be analyzed.

* In the first paragraph you can write about the subject you will be discussing in the essay. In the second paragraph you can propose your thesis.


The thesis is a statement in which the central idea of the essay is expressed.

There are different types of theses:

Expository: points out the aspects that will be addressed in the essay.

Argumentative: exposes the author’s position regarding the subject of the essay.

Analytical: separates the elements that make up the theme of the essay, evaluates them and expresses the relationship between them.


In an expository essay the part of the development explains and describes the ideas involved in the thesis. In the argumentative essay the development proves the thesis through arguments and evidence. In the analytical essay, each part is analyzed and evaluated and the relationship between them is established.

* Use a paragraph by argument or by idea. There is no paragraph limit for the development of the essay.


In the three types of essay, the conclusion is the space where the ideas, arguments or parts presented in the development are synthesized, the presented thesis is retaken and its implications are expressed.

* One paragraph is sufficient for the conclusion.

Bibliographic references

To finish the essay you must give a complete list of all the material consulted to elaborate your text.

Tips to write your essay

Each paragraph should express an idea or argument that supports your thesis

Include enough evidence in favor of your thesis

Use connectors to link the statements. Some connectors are: because, because of, given that, by which, however, however, on the contrary, so that, in order to, with the aim of, previously, at the same time, later.

Use a formal language

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