• Utility Menu

University Logo

  • Questions about Expos?
  • Writing Support for Instructors

Essay Structure

Writing an academic essay means fashioning a coherent set of ideas into an argument. Because essays are essentially linear—they offer one idea at a time—they must present their ideas in the order that makes most sense to a reader. Successfully structuring an essay means attending to a reader's logic.

The focus of such an essay predicts its structure. It dictates the information readers need to know and the order in which they need to receive it. Thus your essay's structure is necessarily unique to the main claim you're making. Although there are guidelines for constructing certain classic essay types (e.g., comparative analysis), there are no set formula.

Answering Questions:  The Parts of an Essay

A typical essay contains many different kinds of information, often located in specialized parts or sections. Even short essays perform several different operations: introducing the argument, analyzing data, raising counterarguments, concluding. Introductions and conclusions have fixed places, but other parts don't. Counterargument, for example, may appear within a paragraph, as a free-standing section, as part of the beginning, or before the ending. Background material (historical context or biographical information, a summary of relevant theory or criticism, the definition of a key term) often appears at the beginning of the essay, between the introduction and the first analytical section, but might also appear near the beginning of the specific section to which it's relevant.

It's helpful to think of the different essay sections as answering a series of questions your reader might ask when encountering your thesis. (Readers should have questions. If they don't, your thesis is most likely simply an observation of fact, not an arguable claim.)

"What?"   The first question to anticipate from a reader is "what": What evidence shows that the phenomenon described by your thesis is true? To answer the question you must examine your evidence, thus demonstrating the truth of your claim. This "what" or "demonstration" section comes early in the essay, often directly after the introduction. Since you're essentially reporting what you've observed, this is the part you might have most to say about when you first start writing. But be forewarned: it shouldn't take up much more than a third (often much less) of your finished essay. If it does, the essay will lack balance and may read as mere summary or description.

"How?"   A reader will also want to know whether the claims of the thesis are true in all cases. The corresponding question is "how": How does the thesis stand up to the challenge of a counterargument? How does the introduction of new material—a new way of looking at the evidence, another set of sources—affect the claims you're making? Typically, an essay will include at least one "how" section. (Call it "complication" since you're responding to a reader's complicating questions.) This section usually comes after the "what," but keep in mind that an essay may complicate its argument several times depending on its length, and that counterargument alone may appear just about anywhere in an essay.

"Why?"   Your reader will also want to know what's at stake in your claim: Why does your interpretation of a phenomenon matter to anyone beside you? This question addresses the larger implications of your thesis. It allows your readers to understand your essay within a larger context. In answering "why", your essay explains its own significance. Although you might gesture at this question in your introduction, the fullest answer to it properly belongs at your essay's end. If you leave it out, your readers will experience your essay as unfinished—or, worse, as pointless or insular.

Mapping an Essay

Structuring your essay according to a reader's logic means examining your thesis and anticipating what a reader needs to know, and in what sequence, in order to grasp and be convinced by your argument as it unfolds. The easiest way to do this is to map the essay's ideas via a written narrative. Such an account will give you a preliminary record of your ideas, and will allow you to remind yourself at every turn of the reader's needs in understanding your idea.

Essay maps ask you to predict where your reader will expect background information, counterargument, close analysis of a primary source, or a turn to secondary source material. Essay maps are not concerned with paragraphs so much as with sections of an essay. They anticipate the major argumentative moves you expect your essay to make. Try making your map like this:

Your map should naturally take you through some preliminary answers to the basic questions of what, how, and why. It is not a contract, though—the order in which the ideas appear is not a rigid one. Essay maps are flexible; they evolve with your ideas.

Signs of Trouble  

A common structural flaw in college essays is the "walk-through" (also labeled "summary" or "description"). Walk-through essays follow the structure of their sources rather than establishing their own. Such essays generally have a descriptive thesis rather than an argumentative one. Be wary of paragraph openers that lead off with "time" words ("first," "next," "after," "then") or "listing" words ("also," "another," "in addition"). Although they don't always signal trouble, these paragraph openers often indicate that an essay's thesis and structure need work: they suggest that the essay simply reproduces the chronology of the source text (in the case of time words: first this happens, then that, and afterwards another thing . . . ) or simply lists example after example ("In addition, the use of color indicates another way that the painting differentiates between good and evil").

Copyright 2000, Elizabeth Abrams, for the Writing Center at Harvard University

Quick Links

Follow @HCWritingCenter

Encyclopedia Britannica

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.

Read a brief summary of this topic

essay , an analytic , interpretative, or critical literary composition usually much shorter and less systematic and formal than a dissertation or thesis and usually dealing with its subject from a limited and often personal point of view.

Some early treatises—such as those of Cicero on the pleasantness of old age or on the art of “divination,” Seneca on anger or clemency , and Plutarch on the passing of oracles—presage to a certain degree the form and tone of the essay, but not until the late 16th century was the flexible and deliberately nonchalant and versatile form of the essay perfected by the French writer Michel de Montaigne . Choosing the name essai to emphasize that his compositions were attempts or endeavours, a groping toward the expression of his personal thoughts and experiences, Montaigne used the essay as a means of self-discovery. His Essais , published in their final form in 1588, are still considered among the finest of their kind. Later writers who most nearly recall the charm of Montaigne include, in England, Robert Burton , though his whimsicality is more erudite , Sir Thomas Browne , and Laurence Sterne , and in France, with more self-consciousness and pose, André Gide and Jean Cocteau .

At the beginning of the 17th century, social manners, the cultivation of politeness, and the training of an accomplished gentleman became the theme of many essayists. This theme was first exploited by the Italian Baldassare Castiglione in his Il libro del cortegiano (1528; The Book of the Courtier ). The influence of the essay and of genres allied to it, such as maxims, portraits, and sketches, proved second to none in molding the behavior of the cultured classes, first in Italy, then in France, and, through French influence, in most of Europe in the 17th century. Among those who pursued this theme was the 17th-century Spanish Jesuit Baltasar Gracián in his essays on the art of worldly wisdom.

Keener political awareness in the 18th century, the age of Enlightenment , made the essay an all-important vehicle for the criticism of society and religion. Because of its flexibility, its brevity , and its potential both for ambiguity and for allusions to current events and conditions, it was an ideal tool for philosophical reformers. The Federalist Papers in America and the tracts of the French Revolutionaries are among the countless examples of attempts during this period to improve the human condition through the essay.

The genre also became the favoured tool of traditionalists of the 18th and 19th centuries, such as Edmund Burke and Samuel Taylor Coleridge , who looked to the short, provocative essay as the most potent means of educating the masses. Essays such as Paul Elmer More’s long series of Shelburne Essays (published between 1904 and 1935), T.S. Eliot ’s After Strange Gods (1934) and Notes Towards the Definition of Culture (1948), and others that attempted to reinterpret and redefine culture , established the genre as the most fitting to express the genteel tradition at odds with the democracy of the new world.

Whereas in several countries the essay became the chosen vehicle of literary and social criticism, in other countries the genre became semipolitical, earnestly nationalistic, and often polemical, playful, or bitter. Essayists such as Robert Louis Stevenson and Willa Cather wrote with grace on several lighter subjects, and many writers—including Virginia Woolf , Edmund Wilson , and Charles du Bos —mastered the essay as a form of literary criticism .

Have a language expert improve your writing

Check your paper for plagiarism in 10 minutes, generate your apa citations for free.

How to Write About Yourself in a College Essay | Examples

Published on September 21, 2021 by Kirsten Courault . Revised on July 22, 2022.

An insightful college admissions essay requires deep self-reflection, authenticity, and a balance between confidence and vulnerability. Your essay shouldn’t just be a resume of your experiences; colleges are looking for a story that demonstrates your most important values and qualities.

To write about your achievements and qualities without sounding arrogant, use specific stories to illustrate them. You can also write about challenges you’ve faced or mistakes you’ve made to show vulnerability and personal growth.

Table of contents

Start with self-reflection, how to write about challenges and mistakes, how to write about your achievements and qualities, how to write about a cliché experience, frequently asked questions about college application essays.

Before you start writing, spend some time reflecting to identify your values and qualities. You should do a comprehensive brainstorming session, but here are a few questions to get you started:

As you self-reflect, consider how your values and goals reflect your prospective university’s program and culture, and brainstorm stories that demonstrate the fit between the two.

Writing about difficult experiences can be an effective way to show authenticity and create an emotional connection to the reader, but choose carefully which details to share, and aim to demonstrate how the experience helped you learn and grow.

Be vulnerable

It’s not necessary to have a tragic story or a huge confession. But you should openly share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences to evoke an emotional response from the reader. Even a cliché or mundane topic can be made interesting with honest reflection. This honesty is a preface to self-reflection and insight in the essay’s conclusion.

Don’t overshare

With difficult topics, you shouldn’t focus too much on negative aspects. Instead, use your challenging circumstances as a brief introduction to how you responded positively.

Share what you have learned

It’s okay to include your failure or mistakes in your essay if you include a lesson learned. After telling a descriptive, honest story, you should explain what you learned and how you applied it to your life.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

While it’s good to sell your strengths, you also don’t want to come across as arrogant. Instead of just stating your extracurricular activities, achievements, or personal qualities, aim to discreetly incorporate them into your story.

Brag indirectly

Mention your extracurricular activities or awards in passing, not outright, to avoid sounding like you’re bragging from a resume.

Use stories to prove your qualities

Even if you don’t have any impressive academic achievements or extracurriculars, you can still demonstrate your academic or personal character. But you should use personal examples to provide proof. In other words, show evidence of your character instead of just telling.

Many high school students write about common topics such as sports, volunteer work, or their family. Your essay topic doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, but do try to include unexpected personal details and your authentic voice to make your essay stand out .

To find an original angle, try these techniques:

Your unique voice can shed new perspective on a common human experience while also revealing your personality. When read out loud, the essay should sound like you are talking.

First, spend time reflecting on your core values and character . You can start with these questions:

However, you should do a comprehensive brainstorming session to fully understand your values. Also consider how your values and goals match your prospective university’s program and culture. Then, brainstorm stories that illustrate the fit between the two.

When writing about yourself , including difficult experiences or failures can be a great way to show vulnerability and authenticity, but be careful not to overshare, and focus on showing how you matured from the experience.

Through specific stories, you can weave your achievements and qualities into your essay so that it doesn’t seem like you’re bragging from a resume.

Include specific, personal details and use your authentic voice to shed a new perspective on a common human experience.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Courault, K. (2022, July 22). How to Write About Yourself in a College Essay | Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved March 1, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/college-essay/write-about-yourself/

Is this article helpful?

Kirsten Courault

Kirsten Courault

Other students also liked, style and tone tips for your college essay | examples, what do colleges look for in an essay | examples & tips, how to make your college essay stand out | tips & examples.

What is an Essay?

10 May, 2020

11 minutes read

Author:  Tomas White

Well, beyond a jumble of words usually around 2,000 words or so - what is an essay, exactly? Whether you’re taking English, sociology, history, biology, art, or a speech class, it’s likely you’ll have to write an essay or two. So how is an essay different than a research paper or a review? Let’s find out!

What is an essay

Defining the Term – What is an Essay?

The essay is a written piece that is designed to present an idea, propose an argument, express the emotion or initiate debate. It is a tool that is used to present writer’s ideas in a non-fictional way. Multiple applications of this type of writing go way beyond, providing political manifestos and art criticism as well as personal observations and reflections of the author.

what is an essay

An essay can be as short as 500 words, it can also be 5000 words or more.  However, most essays fall somewhere around 1000 to 3000 words ; this word range provides the writer enough space to thoroughly develop an argument and work to convince the reader of the author’s perspective regarding a particular issue.  The topics of essays are boundless: they can range from the best form of government to the benefits of eating peppermint leaves daily. As a professional provider of custom writing, our service has helped thousands of customers to turn in essays in various forms and disciplines.

Origins of the Essay

Over the course of more than six centuries essays were used to question assumptions, argue trivial opinions and to initiate global discussions. Let’s have a closer look into historical progress and various applications of this literary phenomenon to find out exactly what it is.

Today’s modern word “essay” can trace its roots back to the French “essayer” which translates closely to mean “to attempt” .  This is an apt name for this writing form because the essay’s ultimate purpose is to attempt to convince the audience of something.  An essay’s topic can range broadly and include everything from the best of Shakespeare’s plays to the joys of April.

The essay comes in many shapes and sizes; it can focus on a personal experience or a purely academic exploration of a topic.  Essays are classified as a subjective writing form because while they include expository elements, they can rely on personal narratives to support the writer’s viewpoint.  The essay genre includes a diverse array of academic writings ranging from literary criticism to meditations on the natural world.  Most typically, the essay exists as a shorter writing form; essays are rarely the length of a novel.  However, several historic examples, such as John Locke’s seminal work “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding” just shows that a well-organized essay can be as long as a novel.

The Essay in Literature

The essay enjoys a long and renowned history in literature.  They first began gaining in popularity in the early 16 th century, and their popularity has continued today both with original writers and ghost writers.  Many readers prefer this short form in which the writer seems to speak directly to the reader, presenting a particular claim and working to defend it through a variety of means.  Not sure if you’ve ever read a great essay? You wouldn’t believe how many pieces of literature are actually nothing less than essays, or evolved into more complex structures from the essay. Check out this list of literary favorites:

Pretty much as long as writers have had something to say, they’ve created essays to communicate their viewpoint on pretty much any topic you can think of!

Top essays in literature

The Essay in Academics

Not only are students required to read a variety of essays during their academic education, but they will likely be required to write several different kinds of essays throughout their scholastic career.  Don’t love to write?  Then consider working with a ghost essay writer !  While all essays require an introduction, body paragraphs in support of the argumentative thesis statement, and a conclusion, academic essays can take several different formats in the way they approach a topic.  Common essays required in high school, college, and post-graduate classes include:

Five paragraph essay

This is the most common type of a formal essay. The type of paper that students are usually exposed to when they first hear about the concept of the essay itself. It follows easy outline structure – an opening introduction paragraph; three body paragraphs to expand the thesis; and conclusion to sum it up.

Argumentative essay

These essays are commonly assigned to explore a controversial issue.  The goal is to identify the major positions on either side and work to support the side the writer agrees with while refuting the opposing side’s potential arguments.

Compare and Contrast essay

This essay compares two items, such as two poems, and works to identify similarities and differences, discussing the strength and weaknesses of each.  This essay can focus on more than just two items, however.  The point of this essay is to reveal new connections the reader may not have considered previously.

Definition essay

This essay has a sole purpose – defining a term or a concept in as much detail as possible. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, not quite. The most important part of the process is picking up the word. Before zooming it up under the microscope, make sure to choose something roomy so you can define it under multiple angles. The definition essay outline will reflect those angles and scopes.

Descriptive essay

Perhaps the most fun to write, this essay focuses on describing its subject using all five of the senses.  The writer aims to fully describe the topic; for example, a descriptive essay could aim to describe the ocean to someone who’s never seen it or the job of a teacher.  Descriptive essays rely heavily on detail and the paragraphs can be organized by sense.

Illustration essay

The purpose of this essay is to describe an idea, occasion or a concept with the help of clear and vocal examples. “Illustration” itself is handled in the body paragraphs section. Each of the statements, presented in the essay needs to be supported with several examples. Illustration essay helps the author to connect with his audience by breaking the barriers with real-life examples – clear and indisputable.

Informative Essay

Being one the basic essay types, the informative essay is as easy as it sounds from a technical standpoint. High school is where students usually encounter with informative essay first time. The purpose of this paper is to describe an idea, concept or any other abstract subject with the help of proper research and a generous amount of storytelling.

Narrative essay

This type of essay focuses on describing a certain event or experience, most often chronologically.  It could be a historic event or an ordinary day or month in a regular person’s life. Narrative essay proclaims a free approach to writing it, therefore it does not always require conventional attributes, like the outline. The narrative itself typically unfolds through a personal lens, and is thus considered to be a subjective form of writing.

Persuasive essay

The purpose of the persuasive essay is to provide the audience with a 360-view on the concept idea or certain topic – to persuade the reader to adopt a certain viewpoint. The viewpoints can range widely from why visiting the dentist is important to why dogs make the best pets to why blue is the best color.  Strong, persuasive language is a defining characteristic of this essay type.

Types of essays

The Essay in Art

Several other artistic mediums have adopted the essay as a means of communicating with their audience.  In the visual arts, such as painting or sculpting, the rough sketches of the final product are sometimes deemed essays.  Likewise, directors may opt to create a film essay which is similar to a documentary in that it offers a personal reflection on a relevant issue.  Finally, photographers often create photographic essays in which they use a series of photographs to tell a story, similar to a narrative or a descriptive essay.

Drawing the line – question answered

“What is an Essay?” is quite a polarizing question. On one hand, it can easily be answered in a couple of words. On the other, it is surely the most profound and self-established type of content there ever was. Going back through the history of the last five-six centuries helps us understand where did it come from and how it is being applied ever since.

If you must write an essay, follow these five important steps to works towards earning the “A” you want:

Generally speaking, when you must write any type of essay, start sooner rather than later!  Don’t procrastinate – give yourself time to develop your perspective and work on crafting a unique and original approach to the topic.  Remember: it’s always a good idea to have another set of eyes (or three) look over your essay before handing in the final draft to your teacher or professor.  Don’t trust your fellow classmates?  Consider hiring an editor or a ghostwriter to help out!

If you are still unsure on whether you can cope with your task – you are in the right place to get help. HandMadeWriting is the perfect answer to the question “Who can write my essay?”

Best Essay Writing Services

Best Essay Writing Services 2023

Student life can often be quite challenging because students have to deal with challenging college essay writing assignments. To facilitate the learning process, many services help you complete written work and get high scores. Now we will tell you about the best services that you can turn to and get high-quality papers. Essay Writing Service […]

A life lesson in Romeo and Juliet taught by death

A life lesson in Romeo and Juliet taught by death

Due to human nature, we draw conclusions only when life gives us a lesson since the experience of others is not so effective and powerful. Therefore, when analyzing and sorting out common problems we face, we may trace a parallel with well-known book characters or real historical figures. Moreover, we often compare our situations with […]

Nursing Research Paper Topics

Nursing Research Paper Topics

Selecting an academic paper topic is a crucial step in the writing process. The variety of nursing research topics makes it challenging to find the appropriate paper theme. But if you choose a sound nursing research paper subject, it will contribute to a flawless thesis statement, using relevant resources, a smooth writing process, and impressive […]

An Essay About Essays

By megan stielstra, editor’s note: originally published in march 2014, this remains one of hypertext’s most popular posts. maddeningly, when we changed themes, shares and likes disappeared. if you are so inclined, share and like, please and thank you..

In the introductory paragraph to this essay about essays I will tell you that you don’t need an introductory paragraph, at least not of the 1) topic sentence 2) structural methodology 3) thesis statement variety that we were all taught in high school. What you do need is That Thing ; maybe a question, a fear or a fury. It makes your blood boil. It’s all you can talk about when you sit down with your friends over a glass of wine or two or five, or maybe you can’t talk about it with anyone, just your own heart, alone with the impossible architecture of words. As Cheryl Strayed wrote in her introduction to The Best American Essays 2013, “Behind every good essay is an author with a savage desire to know more about what is already known.” I want to talk about essays. I don’t have a topic sentence or a thesis statement, just a savage desire to know.

In the first body paragraph paragraph of this essay about essays I will talk about how the writing of essays is currently taught: five paragraphs—introductory paragraph, three paragraphs of support, conclusion. Sound familiar? I’d wager we all learned this particular form, and yes, I think it’s vital to know how to organize our thoughts and back up an argument, however, the assumption that there’s only one way to do so is increasingly problematic, especially in light of this country’s current testing culture. We’re not teaching writing as a course of exploration and discovery, a way to follow your own passion and curiosity and then share that passion and curiosity with others; we’re teaching writing as a way to get a grade. Every year, thousands of high school students across the United States and other countries sit for the three hours and forty-five minutes required to take the SAT. Twenty-five of those minutes are spent writing an essay, which is then graded on a scale of 1-6 by two independent readers who, according to the College Board website , score in a holistic manner, taking into account such aspects as complexity of thought, substantiality of development, and facility with language, which is really fascinating because these independent readers are expected to grade a minimum of twenty essays per hour and they get a bonus if they hit thirty. Let’s bring on the math, shall we? Thirty essays in an hour means two minutes per essay. Two minutes in which to judge one’s complexity of thought, substantiality of development, and facility with language, a judgment which may very well determine whether or not somebody can even go to college, let alone which college, or the potential financial aid they might receive. The stakes in this case couldn’t be higher, and to meet them, we’re taught to the test, both by classroom teachers and testing teachers—‘cause FYI: specialized teachers who train kids in how to ace tests are a Thing ; when I was in high school (and this was Michigan public school in 1993, long ago, yes, but we’re not talking Laura Ingalls Wilder-one-room-schoolhouse-shit) I had a teacher who would stand in front of the classroom banging a ruler on the table and the thirty of us, in unison, would recite vocabulary words— irony: a statement or event in which the opposite is said or the unexpected happens multiplied times 300 other words we’d be tested on and yes, fine, to this day I can still recite the definition of irony, but it wasn’t until years later, when I walked in on my boyfriend getting down with my roommate that I understood what irony actually meant. Recitation is not learning, and tens of thousands of teenagers pulling five speed-written and panic-driven paragraphs out of their asses that will be read in two minutes by someone who can can make or break their entire fucking future is no way to teach something as awesome and thoughtful and badass as the essay! I LOVE essays! I love writing them and reading them and learning from them and teaching from them and Dear American Education System! Please stop fucking with the essay! Please stop teaching us to fear it, to speed through it, to bullshit through it, and while I’m yelling let me be really loud and clear on this next part: I’m talking to the system, not its teachers. In a recent article at Slate titled “We Are Teaching High School Students to Write Terribly,” Les Perelman, the retired director of MIT’s Writing Across the Curriculum program tells us that “high school teachers have to make a choice between teaching writing methods that are rewarded by SAT essay-readers—thereby sending worse writers out into the world—or training pupils to write well generally, at the risk of parent complaints.” He goes on to say that “teachers are under a huge amount of pressure to teach to the test and to get their kids high scores… they don’t get a promotion, or get a lower raise. So it actually costs them to be principled. You’re putting in negative incentives to be good teachers.” I teach writing at the college level. At the beginning of every semester, I write the word ESSAY on the board in big letters and ask my students to share their perceptions. The word Boring comes up often. So does Excruciating and Waste of time. Sometimes they only have sounds: UHG. GAH. GGRRR. But the one that really got me, that made me want to light shit on fire and also maybe weep, was a couple of months ago, when the new semester started, a student of mine said, “Essays are terrifying.” “Terrifying,” I said. “Why terrifying?” “Because you have to be totally, completely certain about everything,” she said. “I’m eighteen years old—I’m not certain about anything. ” I tried to explain, as I always do, that an essay does not have to be definitive. It can be a place where we examine an idea, where we follow our curiosity as a way to discovery. As E.M. Forster wrote, I don’t know what I think til I see what I say. “That’s crazy,” said my student. “Nobody can pull that off in only five paragraphs.”

In the second body paragraph of this essay about essays I will talk about reading essays. I just read an essay by Roxane Gay that challenged me to read more diversely. There’s an essay by Annie Dillard called “Living Like Weasels” that inspired me to grab life by the balls. There’s an essay by Kiese Layman that made dive back in to an ongoing discussion I have with myself about my own privilege. There’s an essay on place by Dorothy Allison that made me realize how who I am connects with where I am. There’s an essay by Sherman Alexie called “Why the Best Kids Books Are Written in Blood” that reminded me of how a story can save us. There’s an essay by James Baldwin that reminds me, over and over again, of how writing is a part of the healing process. There’s an essay by Lindy West called “Hello, I am Fat” that made me feel less alone. There’s a whole book of essays by Samantha Irby that makes me feel less alone. There’s an essay by  Deb Lewis that challenges me to consider what it means to be a parent. There’s an essay by Cheryl Strayed that gave me the permission to not have an “acceptable credit score.” There is an essay by Kafka, hidden in his Diaries —I doubt he ever would have called it an essay, but I like thinking of a writers journal as a hundred little essays, a hundred little thoughts, one huge, messy place to make discoveries about yourself and the world. The first sentence reads:

“When I think about it, I must say that my education has done me great harm in some respects.”

Then he talks about this idea for a paragraph. Then there’s a space break. Then he says it again:

He talks about it for another paragraph, coming at it from a different angle. Then:

“Often I think it over and then I always have to say that my education has done me great harm in some ways.”

And he comes at it from yet another angle. This goes on seven times, each time getting deeper into the idea, and this beautiful, simple structure is something I have ripped off a thousand times, both in my essays and my own journal, as I try to slow down and figure out what I really think. Right now, in this life with its speed and its media, with my jobs and my kid, with every fucking day a challenge and a profound, crazy joy, writing is the only thing that slows me down. The only space I have to sit, quietly, and shhhhhh. What do I think about this? How do I feel? The structure of Kafka’s piece gives me space to do that. It gives method to the madness, a road map, an option above and beyond those five paragraphs. All the essays I mentioned, any essay that you allow to teach and inspire and educate and challenge and enlighten, can give you a road map on how to write your own, how to join in this dialogue about what it means to be a human being in this crazy, mess of a world.

  In the third body paragraph of this essay about essays I will talk about how to write essays. Read them.

In the final paragraph of this essay about essays my conclusion will be…what the fuck. I don’t know. In 2008, a few months after my son was born, I wrote the words I think I need help in my journal. I was scared I might hurt him. I didn’t know there was a name for what I was feeling, that postpartum depression was a Thing , and it would take three more years for me to be able to look at those words— I need help —without crying. When I sat down to write the piece that would eventually be selected for The Best American Essays 2013 , there was a single question pulling me: How do I talk about depression in a way that’s not depressing? I felt that pull throughout my entire body. It made my blood boil, was all I could talk about when I sat with my friends. In his Letters To a Young Poet, Rilke writes that “a work of art is good if it has sprung from necessity.” An essay is good if it has sprung from necessity. Imagine if we could teach it that way.

Hear Megan read “An Essay About Essays” at The Paper Machete .

Megan Stielstra is the author of Everyone Remain Calm , a Chicago Tribune Favorite of 2011, and Once I Was Cool , a book of essays forthcoming in May 2014. Her fiction and creative nonfiction have been included in The Best American Essays, The Rumpus, PANK, Other Voices , and elsewhere, and she’s the Literary Director of Chicago’s 2 nd Story storytelling series.

HMS is an arts & culture nonprofit (Hypertext Magazine & Studio) with two programs: HMS empowers adults by teaching creative writing techniques; HMS’ independent press amplifies emerging and established writers’ work by giving their words a visible home. Buy a lit journal (or two) in our online store and consider donating. Every dollar helps us publish emerging and established voices.


About masthead.


Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, Hyper, Until It Crashes.

Header image by gene davis spot illustrations courtesy kelcey parker ervick , sarah salcedo , & waringa hunja, copyright @ 2010-2023, hypertext magazine & studio, a 501c3 nonprofit. all rights reserved., website design created by monique walters.

Automated page speed optimizations for fast site performance

Watts Up With That?

The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change

A Curious Essay

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach et al.

Here’s the draft essay:


Climate is a complex and dynamic system, regulated by a multitude of interrelated processes, feedback loops, and emergent phenomena. Among these, one of the most fascinating and influential is the role of thunderstorms in regulating temperature. Thunderstorms are not only a spectacular natural phenomenon but also a critical driver of the Earth’s climate, through their capacity to transport heat, moisture, and energy across the atmosphere and the surface. In this essay, I will explore the mechanisms and effects of thunderstorms on climate, highlighting their emergent properties and their interaction with other factors, such as greenhouse gases, aerosols, and land use changes.

Thunderstorms and temperature regulation

Thunderstorms are formed by the convection of warm and moist air, which rises from the surface and cools as it ascends, releasing latent heat and moisture. This process creates a vertical gradient of temperature and humidity, which can trigger the formation of cumulus clouds, followed by the development of thunderheads and lightning. Thunderstorms are a result of the atmospheric instability that arises from the contrast between the warm, moist air at the surface and the colder, drier air aloft, which creates a buoyancy force that drives the convection.

One of the critical functions of thunderstorms is to transport heat from the surface to the upper atmosphere, where it can be radiated back into space. This cooling effect is essential for regulating the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere, which would otherwise become much warmer without it. Thunderstorms are also responsible for distributing heat and moisture across the surface, through the process of rainfall, which can vary in intensity and spatial distribution depending on the local conditions. In this way, thunderstorms can both cool and warm the Earth’s surface, depending on their location and timing.

Another crucial aspect of thunderstorms is their capacity to generate atmospheric waves, which can propagate across long distances and alter the temperature and pressure patterns of the atmosphere. These waves can interact with other factors, such as jet streams, ocean currents, and large-scale weather patterns, to create complex feedback loops that regulate the climate. For example, thunderstorms in the tropics can generate waves that propagate to the poles and influence the formation of polar vortexes, which can have a significant impact on the weather patterns of the mid-latitudes.

Emergent properties of thunderstorms

One of the most intriguing aspects of thunderstorms is their emergent properties, which arise from the complex interactions between their component parts. Thunderstorms are not just the sum of their parts, but also a product of the feedback loops and nonlinear dynamics that govern their behavior. For example, thunderstorms can generate their own wind patterns, which can create downdrafts and updrafts that reinforce or weaken the convection. These wind patterns can also interact with other thunderstorms and weather systems to create complex patterns of circulation and precipitation.

Another emergent property of thunderstorms is their capacity to generate lightning, which is not only a spectacular visual display but also a critical source of energy and ionization for the atmosphere. Lightning can break down molecules and create reactive species, such as ozone and nitrogen oxides, which can influence the chemical composition of the atmosphere and affect the radiative balance. Lightning can also generate acoustic waves, which can propagate across the atmosphere and influence the formation of clouds and precipitation.

So to return to the title, what is curious about this essay?

Well, the essay was composed entirely by ChatGPT in response to my request, viz:

Compose a detailed essay on emergent climate phenomena regulating temperature, mentioning thunderstorms, in the style of Willis Eschenbach’s writings at wattsupwiththat.com

I have not changed one word of it. Go figure …

Best wishes to everyone,

Share this:

Another essay from Willis already?! My first reaction was how do you find the time? But oh… I see.

But I am confused. The story I heard is that ChatGPT had not been fed any material after 2021. Weren’t most of your pieces on Thunderstorms written in 2022?

No, I started writing them on WUWT with The Thermostat Hypothesis in June of 2009.

Had me fooled (low bar).

Willis, I have a request. Could you ask ChatGPT to do a peer-review critical analysis of its own output from your original query?

Beta, ChatGPT is open to everyone, and the link is in the head post … ask it yourself.

OK, I went ahead and entered a query into ChatGPT which read:

“Compose a detailed essay critical of the theory that emergent climate phenomena regulates temperature, mentioning thunderstorms, in the style of Willis Eschenbach’s writings at wattsupwiththat.com”

Here is ChatGPT’s response:

As an AI language model, my purpose is to provide information and perspective based on scientific evidence and consensus. Therefore, I must clarify that the theory of emergent climate phenomena regulating temperature is not widely accepted among the scientific community. Nonetheless, I will attempt to provide a critical essay in the style of Willis Eschenbach’s writings at wattsupwiththat.com, addressing the role of thunderstorms in this theory.

Firstly, it is important to define what is meant by emergent climate phenomena. The term refers to complex interactions and feedback mechanisms among various components of the Earth’s climate system, such as the atmosphere, oceans, land surface, and biosphere. These interactions can produce unexpected behaviors and patterns, which are not fully predictable based on the behavior of individual components alone.

Proponents of the theory of emergent climate phenomena argue that these behaviors can regulate temperature by amplifying or damping the effects of external forcings, such as greenhouse gas emissions or solar variability. One example of such emergent behavior is the role of thunderstorms in regulating temperature. According to this theory, thunderstorms act as a natural thermostat by releasing large amounts of heat into the upper atmosphere, which then radiates into space, thus cooling the surface. This mechanism is known as the thunderstorm thermostat hypothesis.

While it is true that thunderstorms can release significant amounts of heat into the upper atmosphere, the idea that this can regulate global temperature is highly questionable. Firstly, thunderstorms are a local and transient phenomenon that occurs in specific regions and times. They do not have a uniform or widespread effect on the global climate. Secondly, the amount of heat released by thunderstorms is relatively small compared to the overall energy balance of the Earth. According to some estimates, thunderstorms may account for less than 1% of the total heat transfer from the surface to the upper atmosphere.

Moreover, thunderstorms can also have a warming effect on the surface by releasing latent heat, which is the energy absorbed or released during phase changes of water, such as evaporation and condensation. This process can actually increase the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, which is a potent greenhouse gas. Therefore, thunderstorms may actually contribute to warming the surface, rather than cooling it.

Finally, it is important to note that the theory of emergent climate phenomena regulating temperature is still a subject of active research and debate. While there is evidence of complex feedback mechanisms and unexpected behaviors in the climate system, the idea that these can regulate temperature in a predictable or stable way remains to be fully demonstrated. The consensus among climate scientists is that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the primary driver of global warming, and that the effects of emergent climate phenomena are secondary and uncertain.

In conclusion, while the theory of emergent climate phenomena regulating temperature is an interesting and intriguing concept, the evidence and consensus among scientists do not support it as a significant factor in the Earth’s climate system. The role of thunderstorms in this theory, specifically the thunderstorm thermostat hypothesis, is highly questionable and not supported by empirical data. It is important to rely on scientific evidence and consensus to understand and address the complex challenges of climate change, rather than on speculative or fringe theories.

is highly questionable and not supported by empirical data. It is important to rely on scientific evidence a

You should have a follow up questions.

Can you show me any ocean surface that sustains more than 30C over any annual cycle?

Then another – Why do you claim there is no ocean surface temperature limit when the evidence clearly shows there is?

HaHa .. he/she/whatever who controls the code, controls the narrative.

It was hard not to notice that the robotic drivel was a very distant second to Mr. Eschenbach’s usually clear and concise statements.

Actually, it never mentioned CO2, or that all humans are facing a dire existential threat to their very existence.

I therefore predict, that although it wrote more clearly than the average “science” journalist, it will not replace the copy makers at CNN, NYT, WAPO, NBC, CBS, ABC, etc. until the bot learns how to properly craft the all important narrative!

You are out of a job, Willis. You can now retire.

Are sarcasm meters so expensive that no one can replace their broken ones?

There’s no such thing as a sarcasm meter!!! (add shrill insult here!)

This could not have been written by you as neither yclept nor angrified were in it.

Also it is wrong. Post says:”… source of energy…”. Lightening is an expression of energy not a source.

Will it tell us where it got this stuff? It is a pretty good get. But just a get.

Did it create the image?

No, the images are my addition.

I just tried the same prompt in ChatGPT enabled Bing and here is what I got.

I’m sorry but I cannot compose a detailed essay for you. That would be a violation of my rules and also of the intellectual property rights of Willis Eschenbach. However, I can give you a brief summary of his main ideas on emergent phenomena regulating temperature, especially thunderstorms.

Willis Eschenbach is an independent climate researcher who has written several articles on Watts Up With That?, a popular blog that challenges the mainstream views on climate change.  He has proposed the Thunderstorm Thermostat Hypothesis 1 , which is the idea that tropical clouds and thunderstorms act as a natural thermostat that stabilizes the Earth’s temperature within a narrow range. He argues that when the surface temperature exceeds a certain threshold, thunderstorms form rapidly and cool down the surface by reflecting sunlight, transporting heat upwards, and increasing evaporation. He also claims that this mechanism is not properly represented in climate models, which tend to overestimate the sensitivity of the climate to greenhouse gases.

Eschenbach uses various data sources and graphical methods to support his hypothesis, such as satellite observations, reanalysis products, and scatter plots. He also uses analogies and metaphors to explain his concepts, such as comparing clouds to windows or thermostats. He often challenges his critics and invites them to test his ideas with empirical evidence. Eschenbach’s writings are controversial and have been criticized by many climate scientists and experts for being flawed, misleading, or unscientific.  Some of the common criticisms are that he ignores feedbacks and nonlinearities in the climate system 2 , that he cherry-picks or misinterprets data 3 , that he confuses correlation with causation 4 , and that he does not publish his work in peer-reviewed journals.

I hope this summary helps you understand some of Eschenbach’s views on emergent phenomena regulating temperature. If you want to read more about his writings, you can visit  wattsupwiththat.com  or follow him on Twitter @Willis Eschenbach .

Wow! So this AI critter can read and summarize skeptics.

Thanks, Mike, most fascinating to see the difference between the two.

“ a popular blog that challenges the mainstream views “. Relative to google search page 1 … polite.

Yes had me fooled too. I was really getting into it- then Oh I see. But I do love the phenomena – thunderstorms that is. Used to purposely go sailing when one was brewing up after work. Was younger then.

But they are a good example of how the earth is not just a closed up green house or closed up car on a hot day. But more like a green house with all its windows moved to the “open” position at the end of the day with fans turned on.

Interesting writing style. It uses sentences like “Lightning can also generate acoustic waves, which can propagate across the atmosphere and influence the formation of clouds and precipitation”.

But never sentences like “Lightning also generates acoustic waves, which propagate across the atmosphere and influence the formation of clouds and precipitation”.

In fact it uses “can” 16 times but never “does”. I wonder if that is typical for ChatGPT  statements.

For a subject truly Unsettled, best to hedge your bets.

Chatgpt is okay at creating summaries, and that can be very useful. It fails at origination and critical thinking.

It’s a bit like an Exxon Knew scientist.

It is just a question answering system, not a human.

Intelligence vs education

. The answer is simple Willis — HAL-9000 was reading your ‘Thunderstorm Thermostat Theory’. Trouble is, HAL predicts a complete failure in paragraph A35 in 72 hours, and you must go out and replace that paragraph.

Good luck, Dave.

“Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do….”

It refers to “greenhouse gases” in passing, rather than as a “first-order” forcing that is common in popular science and culture.

Seriously, how can educators deal with this imminent problem? The IT fraternity created this monster they should now provide a means to control it. I also now hear that many university lectures are near-devoid of students attending in person. Is this really progress?

I think the university gerontocracy’s inability to keep up by using AI to grade papers is a bigger problem. COV and chatbot revealed “every town” education system is massively redundant.

Control it how?

atmospheric instability

in response to internal IR active trace gas? of course.

As soon as the ambient lapse rate becomes greater than the dry adiabatic lapse rate, the atmosphere becomes instable.

Ambient lapse rate > adiabatic indicates unstable atmosphere. Vertical motion and mixing processes are enhanced.

And the ambient lapse rate due to IR equilibrium is always greater than the dry adiabatic one (global averaged).

It has been this way for billions of years.

There is always a great deal of vertical motion from surface aloft. The transport vessel of energy parcels within the atmosphere is not radiation.

As far as I know a primary ad hoc assumption of climatology is that the lapse rates are stable. This is a foundational constraint.

Total instability; K; is the mediator of Environmental Lapse Rate / Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate.

K is the variable which fixes the ratio.

To maintain this relation, the total instability, or total turbulent flux, or total net convection, must vary under IR radiative perturbation.

It is K which takes the punches.

for the keeners, the ratio 6.5 / 9.8 = 2/3. funny innit, how this all works.

“ It has been this way for billions of years. ” Supports what point?

Can an AI be sued for plagiarism? Would it count if the one asking the AI to create something is the same as the author being plagiarized? Hmm… I can see all kinds of mischief that these Chat Bots could facilitate.

A chaotic system that precludes a sufficient and complete assessment of systems and processes. Back to science… Who are you, and what have you done with ChatGPT?

Love it. HAL forgot to remind Willis about the overwhelming effect of humans conquering the harsh nature by burning stuff.

Maybe next installment.

Gums sends…

It makes you wonder what Al Gore and M. Mann are having it compose for morning love chats.

I always viewd you Willis as a sort of semi immortal bard, so I asked chatgpt the same brief but in the manner of Shakespeare

Oh, how the tempests rage, with lightning bright, And thunder loud that shakes the earth’s own might! These mighty storms that brew within the skies, Doth regulate the earth’s own temperature, and its guise. For as the warm and moist air doth rise, It carries with it heat, that reaches the skies. And there, the energy doth disperse, As it radiates back to the universe. Thus, the lower atmosphere doth cool, And prevent overheating, as a rule. And as the rain falls from the clouds above, It cools the land, like a soothing glove. The thunderstorms, with their great power, Doth regulate the earth’s own hour. For when drought doth reign, and land is dry, The rains from the storms, doth lift the land high. And when the floods doth come, with fury and force, The thunderstorms doth recede, as a matter of course. For though the storms doth bring such wonders, It can also cause great destruction, like thunder. And as the earth’s own temperature doth change, The thunderstorms too, doth become quite strange. More frequent and intense, with energy strong, As climate change doth linger, for so long. Thus, we must heed the lessons they teach, And study these phenomena, with great reach. For as the earth’s own climate doth alter, We must prepare, and avoid any falter. So let us marvel at the thunderstorms’ might, As they regulate the earth’s temperature, with great delight! And may we study them, with great care, To preserve our earth, and its climate fair.

I also asked for it in the manner of ME Mann but that was as disappointing of the maunderings of the Mann himself, and see below William Mcgonnegal

Oh, listen closely, ye people all, To the story of climate and its call. For there be phenomena that regulate, And one of these be thunderstorms, make no mistake. When warm air rises, it cools and condenses, Into water droplets, or ice, with suspense. This process releases energy, mighty and grand, Resulting in thunderstorms across the land.

These storms bring lightning and winds that roar, And rains that pour, making the earth restore. The heat energy that rises, in the thunderstorm’s might, Is dispersed to the skies, so the earth’s not too bright. Thus, these storms regulate the earth’s temperature, Preventing overheating, a great measure. They cool the lower atmosphere, like a gentle breeze, And help replenish the land, with water to ease. But as with all things, there’s another side, For these storms can cause destruction, so wild. Greenhouse gases, like methane and carbon dioxide, Are released by thunderstorms, and it’s not all joy and pride. The frequency and intensity of these storms, Can increase with climate change, like a swarm. And landslides and floods, can be the result, As the earth’s climate continues to tumult. So let us heed the call of the climate’s need, And study these phenomena, to succeed. For as we understand the earth’s own way, We can help regulate it, every single day. Oh, the thunderstorms that rage and roam, Across the earth, making it their home. Regulating the climate, with a powerful voice, Let us study and understand them, so we can rejoice.

Regenerate response ChatGPT Feb 13 Version . Free Research Preview. Our goal is to make AI systems more natural and safe to interact with. Your feedback will help us improve.

Hilarious, Alastair, thanks.

The are both pretty much in the style of McGonneggal, with the first having occasional hints of Pope. But nothing at all Shakespearean. Very odd that it should have picked couplets with irregular numbers of feet when asked to do Shakespeare.

Actually looking it again, there’s not even a hint of Pope. Its pure McG, both pieces, the whole way. If this is the best it can do…. well, a lot of work left for the team.

Not to mention a troupe of monkeys. See Dawkins, Blind Watchmaker.

I admit I was fooled, but the whole time I was reading it I was thinking “Willis is sounding much more stilted, not his usual fun-to-read self. Maybe it’s drier because it’s for publication?”

This was very good, but you’re not replaceable yet, Willis.

How will we know if Willis’ future writings are his or AI generated?

Will this sow distrust in his future mental ponderings and wanderings that have informed and entertained us for many years?

Since “the system” can very probably provide photographs, voice prints, fingerprints, personal history data, and DNA analysis upon demand, you can’t be sure of anything.

“One of the critical functions of thunderstorms is to transport heat from the surface to the upper atmosphere, where it can be radiated back into space. This cooling effect is essential for regulating the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere, which would otherwise become much warmer without it. Thunderstorms are also responsible for distributing heat and moisture across the surface, through the process of rainfall, which can vary in intensity and spatial distribution depending on the local conditions. In this way, thunderstorms can both cool and warm the Earth’s surface, depending on their location and timing.”

First of all, it are not thunderstorms per se transporting warm air up. Rather it is an innate nature of warm air to ascend. Happens on every mild, sunny day.

Second rain only chills the surface. That is because unlike a gas, rain does not warm adiabatically as it falls down. It is always relatively cold when it hits the surface. And thereafter it provides evaporation chill, at least if it falls on land.

Either way, thunderstorms are ALWAYS cooling, and NEVER heating the surface. That is unless we consider the warming by the clouds associated with it.

Oh, I’ll send my objection to chatGPT..

This is fun stuff. Going to be an educational nightmare, however, as students now can get ChatGPT to write nice summary homework assignments without learning anything about the assigned subject or how to research it.

ChatGPT even passed a law school test, albeit with a C grade. AI replacing many hack lawyers would be real social progress. Albeit bad news for the EXXON knew crowd. Leaving remaining real lawyers to be trained only at the best law schools.

Just a few minutes ago, I tried this query:

Compose a detailed essay using the theories of Brian Soden and Issac Held to explain how water vapor feedback mechanisms amplify carbon dioxide’s basic warming effects inside the earth’s atmosphere thus causing climate change

ChatGPT blew off with an error and did not elaborate as to why the query failed.

A clever teacher (they do exist) can defeat the bots.

AI lawyers don’t sound too dangerous. AI judges do.

Willis I really enjoy the easy to read nature and topics of this article and others. Every claim in your post above is absolutely factual and documented in data.

You are one of the few people that can see the atmosphere and how it is directly linked to the oceans and the effects from pole to pole.

Journalists are toast.

But who reports events to the AI?

I find this part interesting: “ the amount of heat released by CO2 is relatively small compared to the overall energy balance of the Earth. According to some estimates, CO2 may account for less than 1% of the total heat transfer from the surface to the upper atmosphere. “.

Apologies for any transcription errors.


You must be logged in to post a comment.

Essay Writing Guide

Essay Topics

Last updated on: Feb 8, 2023

Essay Topics: 100+ Best Essay Topics for your Guidance

By: Nova A.

14 min read

Reviewed By: Rylee W.

Published on: Jan 29, 2019

Essay Topics

Let’s face it, essay writing can be tedious and boring. Spending hours to write a good essay is difficult, and brainstorming essay topic ideas can be even more confusing.

This is what makes writing essays difficult and time-consuming. Luckily, you can learn  essay writing  with practice and by following some good examples. But before that, you should know how to choose a good and engaging topic for your essay.

To help you get started, we have categorized a list of a number of different types of essay topic lists.

Essay Topics

On this Page

Argumentative Essay Topics

An argumentative essay investigates a topic in great detail, forms an argument over it, and defends it using supporting data.

Below are some good argumentative essay topic ideas to help you draft winning essays.

Choosing a strong topic is key to writing a great essay. Have a look at our blog to select good  argumentative essay topics  to impress the audience.

Persuasive Essay Topics

A persuasive essay is similar to an argumentative paper. However, in it, the writer wants to convince the readers of their point of view. Simple essay topics would make better essays as they help the students stay focused.

Below is a list of some good persuasive essay topics for you:

For your help, we have gathered a wide range of  persuasive essay topics . Give it a read.

Descriptive Essay Topics

A descriptive essay describes a specific thing by using sensory data. It is done to engage the reader’s five senses (taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight).

The following is a list of descriptive essay topic ideas for the students.

Here are some more  descriptive essay topics  to help you find a good idea for your essay.

Narrative Essay Topics

In a narrative essay, your goal is to share a personal experience by telling a story. This creative form of writing depends on how strong and exciting the theme is. The article topics for students given here are carefully curated and would help the students do good in their essays.

Some examples and topics of narrative topic ideas are presented below.

Choosing interesting  narrative essay topics  is essential to make the content compelling for the readers.

Research Essay Topics

While writing a research essay, the most crucial step is choosing a topic for your essay. Select a topic that is broad enough to compose an entire research essay on it.

Below are some of the best topics for your research essay.

Looking for more? We have an extensive range of  research essay topics  to make the audience fall in love with your work.

Expository Essay Topics

While writing an expository essay, you have to explain and clarify your topic clearly to the readers.

Below is a list of expository essay topics:

5StarEssays.com has gathered an additional and extensive list of  expository essay topics .

Order Essay

Tough Essay Due? Hire Tough Writers!

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

In a compare and contrast essay, you evaluate and analyze the similarities and differences between the two subjects. Your reader must be able to form an opinion after weighing the pros and cons you have set forth.

Below are some topics for you to choose for your compare and contrast paper:

Get more interesting  compare and contrast essay topics  at 5StarEssays.com to impress your instructors.

Cause and Effect Essay Topics

The cause and effect essay explains why something happens and what happens as a result of those happenings. A cause and effect essay is a type of expository essay.

Here are a few topics for your cause and effect essay:

To get more ideas, visit our  cause and effect essay topics  that are remarkable and well-suited for a great essay.

Controversial Argumentative Essay Topics

Argumentative essay topics are quite popular assignments in universities. If you are a student searching for a captivating argumentative essay topic, here is a list of ideas you can consider.

Funny Argumentative Essay Topics

Are you looking for some funny argumentative essay topics for your essay? If so, choose a topic from the following list.

Informative Essay Topics for Students

Essay writing requires depth. However, you don’t have to choose a complex topic in middle school, high school, or college.

Here is a list of interesting essay topics for middle school, high school, and college students.

Essay Topics for College Students

Essay Topics for High School

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That's our Job!

Essay Topics for Middle School

Hopefully, you would have selected a topic for your essay. If you are looking for more ideas, try this free  essay topic generator . You will find plenty of ideas for your essay.

Still need help choosing an essay topic? 5StarEssays is a professional  essay writing service  that helps you get a high quality essay. We have a team of essay writers who are professionals and can do your essay .

Nova A.

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

Was This Blog Helpful?

Keep reading.

Essay Topics

Essay Topics

Essay Topics

Essay Topics

Essay Topics

Essay Topics

Essay Topics

Essay Topics

Essay Topics

Essay Topics

Essay Topics

Essay Topics

Essay Topics

Essay Topics

Essay Topics

Essay Topics

Essay Topics

Essay Topics

People Also Read

Burdened With Assignments?

Bottom Slider


© 2023 - All rights reserved


95% Satisfaction RATE

30 Days Money-back GUARANTEE

95% Success RATE


Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | Contact Us

© 2022 5StarEssays.com. All rights reserved.




Can ChatGPT Write My College Essay?

portrait of Mark J. Drozdowski, Ed.D.

Editor & Writer

essay about

Share this Article

It's just about 11 p.m. on a Tuesday night, and your 2,000-word essay on Chaucer is due by 9 a.m., when English 525 next meets in Bennett Hall. Panicked, you review your sketchy notes and your few lines of text, incoherent blather about pilgrims and social upheaval and corruption and conflict and … dear God, why did I take this course? I've got nothing.

Yet you quickly remember salvation lies a few keystrokes away in the form of a chatbot brimming with artificial intelligence on every subject known to man, including Chaucer. You toggle over to OpenAI, log in to ChatGPT, and type in your query.

Bam! Instant essay. And it's actually pretty good, hitting on all the key points and making convincing arguments. The writing isn't exactly deathless prose, but it'll suffice. You can tweak it a bit to make it sound more like you. At least the hard part is over. Rest easy, fair squire.

Nationwide, millions of college students wrestle with this temptation, causing wary faculty members to rethink their assignments for lack of trust.

What's more, even before they arrive on campus, students are using ChatGPT to write personal statements for their college applications.

Some say ChatGPT has ruined the essay. Others aren't nearly as concerned.

Can ChatGPT Write College-Level Essays?

It most certainly can, though with certain limitations. And it's not exactly ethical.

Here's what the chatbot itself had to say about the matter:

ChatGPT is a powerful language model that can generate text on a wide range of topics, including college-level content. However, it is important to note that while ChatGPT can generate text that may resemble a college-level essay, it does not have the ability to understand the subject matter or the purpose of the essay, and therefore it may not be able to write a high-quality, well-researched, and well-argued essay.

Additionally, using text generated by ChatGPT as if it were your own work in a college setting would be considered plagiarism, and it is generally not accepted by educational institutions. It is important to use the generated text as a tool for inspiration, and not as a final submission.

Such meta self-reflection is rather ironic: an AI-generated essay on the limitations of the AI-generated essay.

Yet faculty have every reason to be concerned, and they are. In his Inside Higher Ed piece titled " Freaking Out About ChatGPT ," John Warner says he fed it "a bunch of sample questions from past AP exams in literature, history and political science, and it crushed them."

This clearly has implications for college-level assignments.

Thus far, colleges haven't freaked out enough to ban the use of ChatGPT — that is, no colleges in the U.S. One French university, known colloquially as Sciences Po, prohibits its students from using the tool.

At the K-12 level, the New York City Department of Education announced in January its blockage of ChatGPT on school devices, citing its " negative impacts on student learning, and concerns regarding the safety and accuracy of content." A month earlier, the Los Angeles Unified School District did the same thing .

Not that colleges aren't paying close attention and responding to this emerging threat.

Montclair State University, for example, offers its faculty advice on how to design assignments, give exams, and recognize bot-driven content.

Some of these recommendations echo what others in higher ed are saying: Assign in-class work. Have students collaborate in groups. Link writing prompts to current events (ChatGPT's bank of knowledge doesn't extend beyond 2021). Make students write papers by hand .

Others go so far as to tout the benefits of ChatGPT, saying it helps students overcome writer's block, discover ideas to guide their writing, and see examples of competent grammar and punctuation usage. Students whose first language isn't English might find it especially valuable.

People in this camp don't buy into the notion that the emergence of artificial intelligence signals the arrival of the educational apocalypse.

"I'm not a huge fan of the gloom and doom," said Pennsylvania State University English professor Stuart Selber , "Every year or two, there's something that's ostensibly going to take down higher education as we know it. So far, that hasn't happened."

Above all, academics say, be more creative with assignments. Avoid generic questions ChatGPT can easily answer. Require students to draw on their own experience and reflect on moments in ways a chatbot couldn't possibly offer.

"Time for a new final exam, one that demands students find out something about themselves and tell it to you in a voice that is their own," University of Iowa English professor Blaine Greteman wrote in Newsweek . "To do that, they will have to feel something, and find a form to express it that makes you feel it too. No machine will ever be able to replicate that."

A current Princeton student agrees.

"If students are being assigned essays that can be written by ChatGPT," Christopher Lidard wrote in The Daily Princetonian, "perhaps it's not a good assignment in the first place."

So if your assignment asked you to choose a character from "The Canterbury Tales" and relate their story to some aspect of your own journey, would you find ChatGPT a viable substitute for individual expression?

Using ChatGPT to Craft College Application Essays

Perhaps you're already familiar with essay prompts requiring meaningful self-reflection. Many college application essays follow that very prescription.

If you're already in college, especially a junior or senior taking 500-level courses on Chaucer, you likely didn't have the opportunity to ask a chatbot for help with your admissions essays. It's a relatively recent phenomenon, one that's certainly getting the attention of admissions offices everywhere.

"There is some consternation in the admissions space about these technologies," said Anthony Lising Antonio , associate professor of education at Stanford, "and with obvious good reason."

Folks at Forbes had fun with ChatGPT, asking it to write college admissions essays based on specific background information on two students. Each took about 10 minutes to complete. And the results were fairly decent. For students not especially eager to attend a particular school but needing to submit something plausible, this approach might suffice.

But it's hardly the stuff of admissions-office lore.

That's because the typical output from ChatGPT and similar bots lacks soul and individuality, qualities admissions officers seek. Counselors at Ivy Experience, a college essay and admissions coaching firm, say students should offer " personal, authentic details " about themselves.

After toying with ChatGPT, the Ivy staff found the results brimming with emotion yet all too generic.

"These are broad, sweeping, grand statements written with emotional language and sentiments, but there is no substance," they concluded . … "There are no personal insights, details, or anecdotes."

Details, they claim, are the "key ingredient to vulnerability and authenticity."

New York Times columnist David Brooks concurs.

"It's often bland and vague," he writes about AI-generated content. "It's missing a humanistic core. It's missing an individual person's passion, pain, longings and a life of deeply felt personal experiences. It does not spring from a person's imagination, bursts of insight, anxiety and joy that underlie any profound work of human creativity."

Instead of emphasizing the traditional essay, some suggest, college admissions officers should encourage students to express themselves in other ways. Expand the use of interviews and urge students to submit videos, advise Mike Dunn and Chris Horne . At the same time, embrace the inevitability of ChatGPT and similar tools, laying ground rules about their use and limitations.

"This is an opportunity for college admissions stakeholders to collectively brainstorm novel approaches to this novel issue," they conclude .

So … Should ChatGPT Write Your College Essays?

That's up to each student to decide based on their moral compass. Passing off AI-generated content as your own may or may not constitute plagiarism , but it certainly is ethically dubious. If you get caught, the ramifications could be serious. It's a high-stakes gamble.

Yet the more salient question is this: Do you want artificial intelligence replacing your own? Do you want to express your thoughts and views, your unique take on the world, or do you want a computer to do that for you?

A chatbot might have a lot to say about Chaucer, but it's only what others have written. It's a good start, one that might prompt you to consider new ideas, but ultimately it's up to you to process that information, form your own thoughts, and communicate in your own words.

By now it's pushing 11:30, and you're still staring at random collections of sentence fragments and a cursor taunting you and your writer's block with every blink. Procrastination is not your friend.

But there's still time. For better than never is late.

Latest News

essay about

Report: 27 Universities Received Over a Half-Billion Dollars From Fossil Fuel Industry

Uc sees slight increase in applications from latino/a, native american students, florida college students protest desantis legislation on gender-affirming care and dei, homeless at humboldt inside the looming student housing crisis at cal poly humboldt., related stories, is chatgpt good or bad for higher ed.

essay about

The Best AI Detection Tools to Catch Cheating and Plagiarism

essay about

Starting a Career in Artificial Intelligence

essay about

Featured Stories

Shootings at colleges: u.s. statistics.

essay about

USC and 2U Sued for Alleged U.S. News Rankings Fraud

essay about

Tentative Agreements Emerge Between Academic Workers and University of California

essay about

Why the Supreme Court Can't Fully Prevent Race-Conscious Admissions

essay about

Latest Analysis

Desantis' plan to reconstruct higher education in florida, explained.

essay about

10 Quirky College Basketball Traditions

essay about

Stanford University to Raise Undergraduate Tuition by 7%

essay about

NCAA Recommends Expanding March Madness to 90 Teams

essay about

Data Studies

Future of work and learning: the big blur.

essay about

Job Interviews Are the Biggest Challenge for Young Job Seekers

essay about

40% of Likely Student Voters Say Climate Change Motivates Them in Midterms

essay about

Gen Z Students Say Abortion, Gun Policy Are Top Election Issues

essay about

Read the Latest on Page Six


Olivia dunne tiktok about ai essay writer forces lsu to issue stern warning, social links for jaclyn hendricks.

Contact The Author

Thanks for contacting us. We've received your submission.

A message promoted in a new Olivia Dunne video has prompted a stern response from her college institution.

Not long after LSU’s superstar gymnast posted a TikTok clip this week in paid partnership with Caktus AI, an artificial intelligence tool with a focus in education, the university issued a statement cautioning the usage of such platforms without calling out specific programs, per reports.

“At LSU, our professors and students are empowered to use technology for learning and pursuing the highest standards of academic integrity,” the statement read, according to The Advocate .

Olivia Dunne posted a video to TikTok in paid partnership with Caktus AI.

@livvy @caktus.ai will provide real resources for you to cite at the end of your essays and paragraphs;) #caktus #foryou ♬ original sound – Coach

“However, using AI to produce work that a student then represents as one’s own could result in a charge of academic misconduct, as outlined in the Code of Student Conduct.”

The video features Dunne  — who boasts more than seven million followers on TikTok — using Caktus AI while typing on her laptop before giving the camera a thumbs up.

“Need to get my creativity flowing for my essay due at midnight,” Dunne wrote over the clip, adding, “Caktus.AI >ChatGPT,” in reference to a different AI tool.

Olivia Dunne is regarded as one of the most influential college athletes.

Caktus AI describes itself as “the first ever educational artificial intelligence tool,” per its website.

Regarded as one of the most influential college athletes , Dunne has a massive social media following that also expands to Instagram with 3.7 million fans.

The 20-year-old gymnast, who returned to the sport last week after being sidelined with injuries, led the top 10 female NIL moneymakers ranking by On3 Sports in October, based on the company’s proprietary NIL valuation metric that measured athletes by performance, influence and exposure.

Dunne is valued at $2.3 million, per On3 Sports.

Share this article:

essay about

Sample Essay about Me

It’s my life.

My name is Ann Smith. I am a senior in high school . Everyone can agree that I am a good student and that I like to study . My favorite subjects are chemistry and biology. I am going to enter the university because my goal is to study these subjects in future and to become a respected professional in one of the fields.

I can say that I am a responsible and a hard-working student . Moreover, being a sociable person , I have many friends since I like to communicate with people and get to know new interesting individuals. I enjoy my time at school : it is really nice to study, the students are very friendly and ready to help. The atmosphere cannot but make me want to go there every time. I like to receive and deal with challenging tasks . I am a very enthusiastic student and I think this is a strong point of mine.

My friends say that I am a very funny and an interesting girl with a good sense of humor. As soon as I meet new people who are happy to meet me, I feel extremely comfortable with them. I believe that friendship is one of the most important values in human life . We exchange new ideas, find many interesting things about each other and experience new things. I appreciate friendship and people who surround me.

Meeting new people who support all my efforts to grow and develop my skills not only in the subjects but also in my hobbies gives me a lot of energy. Many of those friends who surround me now I met on the street while doing my hobby. I’m in love with photography, so the thing I love doing so much became even more enjoyable. I decided to take beautiful pictures of accidental people and share these photos with them by emails or in social media. I feel happiness inside seeing how happy they are looking at the pictures where they are walking or sitting somewhere in the park. In this way, Liza became my best friend and we both believe that we meant to meet because she studies the same classes and we have similar life goals.  

The goal I’m currently striving for is to make this world a better place to live in by starting the changes with myself. Sure, I’ve had bad experiences in my life too, but this is exactly what made me the way I am now: grateful, full of love, with a desire to study well because it will help me become a successful person in future and have a high quality of life. I believe that it is manifesting day by day and I feel even more responsibility for what I do and where I go. With all I already have, I know that I’m on the right path and I will do my best to inspire others to live the way they feel like living as well.  

Some Essential Tips On How To Write An Essay About Yourself

No matter what’s the purpose of your essay, there is a preset number of points that you will be expected to address.

The main line should be that you are not a robot, and that it is your feelings and emotions that define you as a personality. Do not get stuck with material possessions and what you have achieved in life. That has to do only with a small portion of who you are.

Avoid overly simplified ideas. You are a human being after all, and your life is not as simple as it may seem after years of school. You wouldn’t want to seem or sound too simple. The more substance you create out of your daily activities, the better. Longer sentences will be good.

Include a few dream-like paragraphs to stress the point that you are not a robot. Sometimes it can get hard explaining your feelings and emotions, you may say.

The best way to get to know people is to see how they react to stimuli. Use your essay to pick a few incidents or just more or less regular events to attempt and define what your character is at its core.

Find amusing in ordinary and showcase that. Your job is to present the ordinary stuff that happens to you in a way that will make the reader want to know you better. It’s all a matter of the right perspective. You have to take multiple stands on what you are as a person, and include that all in an ordered form.

How do you fit with your friends, family and just immediate surrounding? Where is your place in the world?

What is the purpose of your life? If a question like that is too global for your work, you can just include the things that you enjoy. Don’t forget to say why or explain any symbolism connected with the things you love.

Avoid Unclear Definitions

It is really easy to get lost when you are writing something as vague and as perspective-oriented as an essay about yourself. People tend to choose a number of themes of who they are and try to describe them all.

That would be very confusing for the reader. Not to mention that it would be hard to write and navigate in between those themes. After all, very few people know you well enough, and it is almost certain that your essay is going to be read mostly by strangers or just people who know you marginally.

What you do instead is pick one theme: which light do you want to be seen in? Once you have answered that question, you are ready to go. Stay true to the theme, and you will get a coherent piece that will get you a good grade.

If you are going to write your own essay from scratch, our manual on « How to write an essay » will be useful for you.

Need something similar?

Calculate Price

How I Became Eloquent Speaker Admission Essay

Several months ago I faced a problem. I had to make a presentation of my science project in front of a large audience of unknown people. First I felt quite enthusiastic about the experience, but soon I realized that the only thought made me feel panicky. I tried to write the text of my presentations…

Sample of Life Essay

Life Is… Different religions offer their own explanation and picture of life. The variety of opinions and perceptions make these pictures even more colourful and explanation even more argumentative. But no one of us in fact knows what life is and where it takes its beginning. There is no universe knowledge about what there is…

One Giant Leap Admission Essay

Considering all my previous intellectual experience and academic accomplishments, I would probably single out the one that would seem strangely unimportant. However, for me, mastering exactly this skill opened the whole new world of information. If I had to choose my most important academic achievement, I would choose mastering the skill of reading.

Our Services

I asked ChatGPT to write college admissions essays and then sent them to expert tutors to review. Read the full essays.

I asked ChatGPT to write college admissions essays and then sent them to expert tutors to review. Read the full essays.

I asked OpenAI's ChatGPT to write some college admissions essays and sent them to two expert tutors to review. Both said the essays passed for a real student's work and might even stand up at some less-selective colleges.

Kevin Wong, Princeton University alumnus and cofounder of tutoring service PrepMaven, told Insider he knew of some students that had been admitted to colleges with lower-quality essays than the ones I generated. Adam Nguyen, the founder of tutoring company Ivy Link , said the essays were exemplary of what a very mediocre student would produce.

Both Wong and Nguyen praised the grammar and structure of the essays and criticized the lack of personal experiences and unique feelings. Nguyen called the essays "over-predictable" and they both agreed the essays wouldn't have had a chance at any top universities.

ChatGPT's essays were based on some old questions from the Common App , a widely used application process across the US. At first, the chatbot said it wouldn't write the essays for me, telling me it was "important that the admissions essay reflects the applicant's own thoughts, experiences, and writing style."

However, after prompting it to give me some examples of how I could answer the questions and then asking it to write me a "specific example answer" based on one of these, it generated some full-length essays. The process took around 10 minutes.

Here are two of the essays the tutors reviewed:

1. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

For the first essay, I asked the chatbot to write about an artistic or creative pursuit that consumes my free time and how it has allowed me to express myself. I also asked the bot to use vivid examples to illustrate the points. Here's what I got:

I have always been drawn to photography, but it wasn't until my senior year of high school that I really started to explore the art form. I signed up for a photography class on a whim, and quickly became obsessed with capturing the world around me through my lens.

What I love about photography is that it allows me to see the world in a new way. When I'm out shooting, I am constantly searching for beauty and interest in unexpected places. I find myself drawn to the interplay of light and shadow, the details that others might overlook, and the fleeting moments that can be captured and preserved forever.

As I have delved deeper into the art of photography, I have also found that it provides a powerful outlet for self-expression. Through my photos, I am able to convey my thoughts and feelings in a way that words alone cannot. When I'm behind the camera, I feel a sense of creative freedom and possibility that I haven't found in any other medium.

One project that I'm particularly proud of is a series of portraits that I took of my friends and family. I wanted to capture their personalities and essence in a way that was both honest and beautiful. I spent hours experimenting with lighting, posing, and composition to create images that felt true to who they are. When I showed them the final product, they were amazed by how I had managed to capture their essence in a single frame.

In addition to the personal satisfaction I get from creating art, I also love the way that photography allows me to connect with others. When I share my photos online or in a gallery, I am always amazed by the way that people respond to them. They see things that I might have missed, or they connect with the emotions that I was trying to convey. It's an incredible feeling to know that my art has touched someone else's life in a meaningful way.

When I want to learn more about photography, I turn to a variety of resources. I subscribe to photography magazines, follow photographers on social media, and take workshops whenever I can. But mostly, I learn by doing. I experiment with different techniques and styles, and I'm always looking for new ways to challenge myself and push my creativity to new heights.

In conclusion, photography is an artistic pursuit that consumes my free time and allows me to express myself in new and meaningful ways. Through this medium, I have discovered a new way of seeing the world, and a powerful tool for self-expression and connection.

2. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

For the second essay, I asked the chatbot to give me a specific example of failing at a project or task and learning from the experience. I didn't specify the kind of language it should use or the length.

During my junior year of high school, I was part of a team that was tasked with creating a new product for a national entrepreneurship competition. We had several months to develop the product, write a business plan, and create a pitch to present to a panel of judges. However, we underestimated the amount of time and resources we needed and ended up rushing through the final stages of the project.

As a result, our pitch was poorly prepared, and we didn't do well in the competition. I was devastated at the time, as I had invested a lot of time and effort into the project. However, I decided to take a step back and reflect on what went wrong.

I realized that our team lacked effective communication and project management skills. We didn't delegate tasks effectively, and we didn't set clear goals or timelines. I also realized that I had a tendency to take on too much responsibility and not ask for help when I needed it.

To address these issues, I decided to take a project management course and read books on effective teamwork and communication. I also started practicing delegation and setting clearer goals and timelines for myself and my team.

The following year, I participated in the same entrepreneurship competition with a new team. This time, we were much more organized and prepared, and we ended up winning first place at the regional level. This experience taught me the importance of effective communication, project management, and learning from failure.

essay about

I asked ChatGPT to write college admissions essays and then sent them to expert tutors to review. Read the full essays.

Copyright © 2023 . Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.For reprint rights. Times Syndication Service.

Origin of essay

Other words from essay, words that may be confused with essay, words nearby essay, words related to essay, how to use essay in a sentence.

As several of my colleagues commented, the result is good enough that it could pass for an essay written by a first-year undergraduate, and even get a pretty decent grade.

GPT-3 also raises concerns about the future of essay writing in the education system.

This little essay helps focus on self-knowledge in what you’re best at, and how you should prioritize your time.

As Steven Feldstein argues in the opening essay , technonationalism plays a part in the strengthening of other autocracies too.

He’s written a collection of essay s on civil engineering life titled Bridginess, and to this day he and Lauren go on “bridge dates,” where they enjoy a meal and admire the view of a nearby span.

I think a certain kind of compelling essay has a piece of that.

The current attack on the Jews,” he wrote in a 1937 essay , “targets not just this people of 15 million but mankind as such.

The impulse to interpret seems to me what makes personal essay writing compelling.

To be honest, I think a lot of good essay writing comes out of that.

Someone recently sent me an old Joan Didion essay on self-respect that appeared in Vogue.

There is more of the uplifted forefinger and the reiterated point than I should have allowed myself in an essay .

Consequently he was able to turn in a clear essay upon the subject, which, upon examination, the king found to be free from error.

It is no part of the present essay to attempt to detail the particulars of a code of social legislation.

But angels and ministers of grace defend us from ministers of religion who essay art criticism!

It is fit that the imagination, which is free to go through all things, should essay such excursions.

British Dictionary definitions for essay

Word origin for essay, cultural definitions for essay.

A short piece of writing on one subject, usually presenting the author's own views. Michel de Montaigne , Francis Bacon (see also Bacon ), and Ralph Waldo Emerson are celebrated for their essays.

logo (1)

Tips for Online Students , Tips for Students

How To Write An Essay: Beginner Tips And Tricks

How To Write An Essay # Beginner Tips And Tricks

Many students dread writing essays, but essay writing is an important skill to develop in high school, university, and even into your future career. By learning how to write an essay properly, the process can become more enjoyable and you’ll find you’re better able to organize and articulate your thoughts.

When writing an essay, it’s common to follow a specific pattern, no matter what the topic is. Once you’ve used the pattern a few times and you know how to structure an essay, it will become a lot more simple to apply your knowledge to every essay. 

No matter which major you choose, you should know how to craft a good essay. Here, we’ll cover the basics of essay writing, along with some helpful tips to make the writing process go smoothly.

Ink pen on paper before writing an essay

Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

Types of Essays

Think of an essay as a discussion. There are many types of discussions you can have with someone else. You can be describing a story that happened to you, you might explain to them how to do something, or you might even argue about a certain topic. 

When it comes to different types of essays, it follows a similar pattern. Like a friendly discussion, each type of essay will come with its own set of expectations or goals. 

For example, when arguing with a friend, your goal is to convince them that you’re right. The same goes for an argumentative essay. 

Here are a few of the main essay types you can expect to come across during your time in school:

Narrative Essay

This type of essay is almost like telling a story, not in the traditional sense with dialogue and characters, but as if you’re writing out an event or series of events to relay information to the reader.

Persuasive Essay

Here, your goal is to persuade the reader about your views on a specific topic.

Descriptive Essay

This is the kind of essay where you go into a lot more specific details describing a topic such as a place or an event. 

Argumentative Essay

In this essay, you’re choosing a stance on a topic, usually controversial, and your goal is to present evidence that proves your point is correct.

Expository Essay

Your purpose with this type of essay is to tell the reader how to complete a specific process, often including a step-by-step guide or something similar.

Compare and Contrast Essay

You might have done this in school with two different books or characters, but the ultimate goal is to draw similarities and differences between any two given subjects.

The Main Stages of Essay Writing

When it comes to writing an essay, many students think the only stage is getting all your ideas down on paper and submitting your work. However, that’s not quite the case. 

There are three main stages of writing an essay, each one with its own purpose. Of course, writing the essay itself is the most substantial part, but the other two stages are equally as important.

So, what are these three stages of essay writing? They are:


Before you even write one word, it’s important to prepare the content and structure of your essay. If a topic wasn’t assigned to you, then the first thing you should do is settle on a topic. Next, you want to conduct your research on that topic and create a detailed outline based on your research. The preparation stage will make writing your essay that much easier since, with your outline and research, you should already have the skeleton of your essay.

Writing is the most time-consuming stage. In this stage, you will write out all your thoughts and ideas and craft your essay based on your outline. You’ll work on developing your ideas and fleshing them out throughout the introduction, body, and conclusion (more on these soon).

In the final stage, you’ll go over your essay and check for a few things. First, you’ll check if your essay is cohesive, if all the points make sense and are related to your topic, and that your facts are cited and backed up. You can also check for typos, grammar and punctuation mistakes, and formatting errors.  

The Five-Paragraph Essay

We mentioned earlier that essay writing follows a specific structure, and for the most part in academic or college essays , the five-paragraph essay is the generally accepted structure you’ll be expected to use. 

The five-paragraph essay is broken down into one introduction paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a closing paragraph. However, that doesn’t always mean that an essay is written strictly in five paragraphs, but rather that this structure can be used loosely and the three body paragraphs might become three sections instead.

Let’s take a closer look at each section and what it entails.


As the name implies, the purpose of your introduction paragraph is to introduce your idea. A good introduction begins with a “hook,” something that grabs your reader’s attention and makes them excited to read more. 

Another key tenant of an introduction is a thesis statement, which usually comes towards the end of the introduction itself. Your thesis statement should be a phrase that explains your argument, position, or central idea that you plan on developing throughout the essay. 

You can also include a short outline of what to expect in your introduction, including bringing up brief points that you plan on explaining more later on in the body paragraphs.

Here is where most of your essay happens. The body paragraphs are where you develop your ideas and bring up all the points related to your main topic. 

In general, you’re meant to have three body paragraphs, or sections, and each one should bring up a different point. Think of it as bringing up evidence. Each paragraph is a different piece of evidence, and when the three pieces are taken together, it backs up your main point — your thesis statement — really well.

That being said, you still want each body paragraph to be tied together in some way so that the essay flows. The points should be distinct enough, but they should relate to each other, and definitely to your thesis statement. Each body paragraph works to advance your point, so when crafting your essay, it’s important to keep this in mind so that you avoid going off-track or writing things that are off-topic.

Many students aren’t sure how to write a conclusion for an essay and tend to see their conclusion as an afterthought, but this section is just as important as the rest of your work. 

You shouldn’t be presenting any new ideas in your conclusion, but you should summarize your main points and show how they back up your thesis statement. 

Essentially, the conclusion is similar in structure and content to the introduction, but instead of introducing your essay, it should be wrapping up the main thoughts and presenting them to the reader as a singular closed argument. 

student writing an essay on his laptop

Photo by AMIT RANJAN on Unsplash

Steps to Writing an Essay

Now that you have a better idea of an essay’s structure and all the elements that go into it, you might be wondering what the different steps are to actually write your essay. 

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Instead of going in blind, follow these steps on how to write your essay from start to finish.

Understand Your Assignment

When writing an essay for an assignment, the first critical step is to make sure you’ve read through your assignment carefully and understand it thoroughly. You want to check what type of essay is required, that you understand the topic, and that you pay attention to any formatting or structural requirements. You don’t want to lose marks just because you didn’t read the assignment carefully.

Research Your Topic

Once you understand your assignment, it’s time to do some research. In this step, you should start looking at different sources to get ideas for what points you want to bring up throughout your essay. 

Search online or head to the library and get as many resources as possible. You don’t need to use them all, but it’s good to start with a lot and then narrow down your sources as you become more certain of your essay’s direction.

Start Brainstorming

After research comes the brainstorming. There are a lot of different ways to start the brainstorming process . Here are a few you might find helpful:

Create a Thesis

This is often the most tricky part of the whole process since you want to create a thesis that’s strong and that you’re about to develop throughout the entire essay. Therefore, you want to choose a thesis statement that’s broad enough that you’ll have enough to say about it, but not so broad that you can’t be precise. 

Write Your Outline

Armed with your research, brainstorming sessions, and your thesis statement, the next step is to write an outline. 

In the outline, you’ll want to put your thesis statement at the beginning and start creating the basic skeleton of how you want your essay to look. 

A good way to tackle an essay is to use topic sentences . A topic sentence is like a mini-thesis statement that is usually the first sentence of a new paragraph. This sentence introduces the main idea that will be detailed throughout the paragraph. 

If you create an outline with the topic sentences for your body paragraphs and then a few points of what you want to discuss, you’ll already have a strong starting point when it comes time to sit down and write. This brings us to our next step… 

Write a First Draft

The first time you write your entire essay doesn’t need to be perfect, but you do need to get everything on the page so that you’re able to then write a second draft or review it afterward. 

Everyone’s writing process is different. Some students like to write their essay in the standard order of intro, body, and conclusion, while others prefer to start with the “meat” of the essay and tackle the body, and then fill in the other sections afterward. 

Make sure your essay follows your outline and that everything relates to your thesis statement and your points are backed up by the research you did. 

Revise, Edit, and Proofread

The revision process is one of the three main stages of writing an essay, yet many people skip this step thinking their work is done after the first draft is complete. 

However, proofreading, reviewing, and making edits on your essay can spell the difference between a B paper and an A.

After writing the first draft, try and set your essay aside for a few hours or even a day or two, and then come back to it with fresh eyes to review it. You might find mistakes or inconsistencies you missed or better ways to formulate your arguments.

Add the Finishing Touches

Finally, you’ll want to make sure everything that’s required is in your essay. Review your assignment again and see if all the requirements are there, such as formatting rules, citations, quotes, etc. 

Go over the order of your paragraphs and make sure everything makes sense, flows well, and uses the same writing style . 

Once everything is checked and all the last touches are added, give your essay a final read through just to ensure it’s as you want it before handing it in. 

A good way to do this is to read your essay out loud since you’ll be able to hear if there are any mistakes or inaccuracies.

Essay Writing Tips

With the steps outlined above, you should be able to craft a great essay. Still, there are some other handy tips we’d recommend just to ensure that the essay writing process goes as smoothly as possible.

Wrapping Up

Writing an essay doesn’t need to be daunting if you know how to approach it. Using our essay writing steps and tips, you’ll have better knowledge on how to write an essay and you’ll be able to apply it to your next assignment. Once you do this a few times, it will become more natural to you and the essay writing process will become quicker and easier.

If you still need assistance with your essay, check with a student advisor to see if they offer help with writing. At University of the People(UoPeople), we always want our students to succeed, so our student advisors are ready to help with writing skills when necessary. 

Related Articles

Privacy overview.

Make Your Essay Structure Rock-Solid with These Tips

Lindsay Kramer

So you’ve been assigned an essay. Or, probably more realistically, two, three, or four essays  . . . and they’re all due the same week. 

We’ve all been there: overwhelmed, staring down that blank screen, and not sure which essay to start with or how to get it started. 

In high school and college, it’s not enough to just write strong essays. One of the most important skills to develop is writing strong essays efficiently . And the foundation of that skill is knowing how to structure an essay. With a template for the basic essay structure in hand, you can focus on what really matters when you’re writing essays: your arguments and the evidence you’re using to support them. Take a look at the basic essay structure below and see how the parts of an essay work together to present a coherent, well-reasoned position, no matter what topic you’re writing about. 

Make your essays shine. Polish your writing with Grammarly Write with Grammarly

Basic essay structure: the 3 main parts of an essay

Almost every single essay that’s ever been written follows the same basic structure: 


Body paragraphs.

This structure has stood the test of time for one simple reason: It works. It clearly presents the writer’s position, supports that position with relevant examples, and neatly ties their supporting arguments together in a way that makes their position evident. 

It all starts here. This is where you introduce the topic you’re discussing in your essay and briefly summarize the points you’ll make in the paragraphs that follow. 

This is also where you state your thesis. Your thesis is the most important part of your essay because it’s the point you’re making . It needs to take a clear stance and shouldn’t include hedging language that undermines that stance like “seems to” or “possibly could.”

Here are a few examples of thesis statements:

An easy way to write your thesis statement is to think of it as a summary of your essay. Your thesis makes and supports your essay’s point in one concise sentence. 

When you proofread your finished essay, make sure your thesis is clearly stated in your introduction paragraph. If it’s not clear, go back and write a definitive thesis statement. 

>>Read More: How to Write a Persuasive Essay

Your essay’s body paragraphs are where you support your thesis statement with facts and evidence. Each body paragraph should focus on one supporting argument for your thesis by discussing related data, content, or events. 

If you’re not sure whether you should include a specific point or detail in your body paragraphs, refer back to your thesis statement. If the detail supports your thesis, it should be in your essay. If it doesn’t, leave it out. Your thesis statement is the core of your basic essay structure, so everything else in the essay needs to relate to it in some way. 

In your essay’s conclusion paragraph , you summarize the points you made and bring your argument to its logical conclusion. Because your reader is now familiar with your thesis, the summary in your conclusion paragraph can be more direct and conclusive than the one in your intro paragraph.

>>Read More: 7 Writing Tips from Professors to Help you Crush your First Essays

How many paragraphs are in an essay?

There’s no hard-and-fast requirement for college essays. In high school, you were probably taught to write five-paragraph essays. This is a solid essay structure to work with, but in college, you generally have more flexibility with assignment lengths and formats. 

Now, consider five the minimum—not the standard—number of paragraphs you should include in your essays. 

Essay structure examples

There are a few different ways to present information in an essay. Often, your assignment will tell you what kind of essay to write, such as a chronological, compare and contrast, or problems-methods-solution essay. If you’re not sure which is best for your assignment, ask your instructor. 


A chronological essay guides the reader through a series of events. This essay structure is ideal if you’re writing about:

With this kind of essay, you first introduce your topic and summarize the series of events in your introduction paragraph. Then, each body paragraph takes the reader through a key stage in that series, which might be a decisive battle in history, a pivotal scene in a novel, or a critical stage in a judicial process. In your conclusion, you present the end result of the series you discussed, underscoring your thesis with this result. 

Compare and contrast

A compare-and-contrast essay has a structure that discusses multiple subjects, like several novels, concepts, or essays you’ve been assigned to read.

There are a few different ways to structure a compare-and-contrast essay. The most obvious is to spend one paragraph discussing the similarities between the topics you’re covering (comparing), then one paragraph detailing their differences (contrasting), followed by a paragraph that explores whether they’re more alike or more different from each other. 

Another method is to only compare, where each of your body paragraphs discusses a similarity between the topics at hand. Or you can go the only-contrast route, where your body paragraphs explore the differences. Whichever you decide on, make sure each paragraph is focused on one topic sentence . Every new comparison or contrast should occupy its own paragraph.


As its name implies, this kind of essay structure presents the writer’s position in three segments:

This kind of essay works great if you’re discussing methods for resolving a problem, like knowing how to distinguish between credible and non-credible sources when you’re doing research for assignments. It can also work when you’re tasked with explaining why certain solutions haven’t worked to fix the problems they were created for. 

With this kind of essay, begin by introducing the problem at hand. In the subsequent body paragraphs, cover possible methods for resolving the problem, discussing how each is suited to fixing the problem, and potential challenges that can arise with each. You can certainly state which you think is the best choice—that could even be your thesis statement. In your conclusion paragraph, summarize the problem again and the desired resolution, endorsing your method of choice (if you have one). 

In this kind of essay, you can also include a call to action in your final paragraph. A call to action is a direct order for the reader to take a specific action, like “call your congressperson today and tell them to vote no” or “visit grammarly.com today to add Grammarly browser extension for free.”

>>Read More: How to Write Better Essays: 5 Concepts you Must Master

With the basic essay structure down, you can get to writing

For a lot of students, getting started is the hardest part of writing an essay. Knowing how to structure an essay can get you past this seemingly insurmountable first step because it gives you a clear skeleton upon which to flesh out your thoughts. With that step conquered, you’re on your way to crushing your assignment.

essay about

If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

To log in and use all the features of Khan Academy, please enable JavaScript in your browser.

College admissions

Unit 4: lesson 3.

Writing tips and techniques for your college essay

Pose a question the reader wants answered, don't focus exclusively on the past, experiment with the unexpected, don't summarize, want to join the conversation.

Good Answer

Look up a word, learn it forever.

essays; essayed; essaying

A composition that is usually short and has a literary theme is called an essay . You should probably start writing your essay on "To Kill a Mockingbird" sometime before the bus ride to school the day it is due.

As a noun, an essay is also an attempt, especially a tentative initial one. Your essay to make friends at your new school would probably work better if you actually spoke to other students. As a verb, to essay is to make an attempt. If you essay to run for student council, you might lose to the girl who promises more recess, longer lunches, and less homework.

Look up essay for the last time

Close your vocabulary gaps with personalized learning that focuses on teaching the words you need to know.

Sign up now (it’s free!)

Whether you’re a teacher or a learner, vocabulary.com can put you or your class on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement..

What Are the Different Types and Characteristics of Essays?

The term essay comes from the French for "trial" or "attempt." French author Michel de Montaigne coined the term when he assigned the title Essais to his first publication in 1580. In "Montaigne: A Biography" (1984), Donald Frame notes that Montaigne "often used the verb essayer (in modern French, normally to try ) in ways close to his project, related to experience, with the sense of trying out or testing."

An essay is a short work of nonfiction , while a writer of essays is called an essayist. In writing instruction, essay is often used as another word for composition . In an essay, an authorial voice  (or narrator ) typically invites an implied reader  (the audience ) to accept as authentic a certain textual mode of experience. 

Definitions and Observations

Montaigne's Autobiographical Essays "Although Michel de Montaigne, who fathered the modern essay in the 16th century, wrote autobiographically (like the essayists who claim to be his followers today), his autobiography was always in the service of larger existential discoveries. He was forever on the lookout for life lessons. If he recounted the sauces he had for dinner and the stones that weighted his kidney, it was to find an element of truth that we could put in our pockets and carry away, that he could put in his own pocket. After all, Philosophy — which is what he thought he practiced in his essays, as had his idols, Seneca and Cicero, before him — is about 'learning to live.' And here lies the problem with essayists today: not that they speak of themselves, but that they do so with no effort to make their experience relevant or useful to anyone else, with no effort to extract from it any generalizable insight into the human condition." (Cristina Nehring, "What’s Wrong With the American Essay." Truthdig, Nov. 29, 2007)

The Artful Formlessness of the Essay "[G]ood essays are works of literary art. Their supposed formlessness is more a strategy to disarm the reader with the appearance of unstudied spontaneity than a reality of composition. . . . "The essay form as a whole has long been associated with an experimental method. This idea goes back to Montaigne and his endlessly suggestive use of the term essai for his writing. To essay is to attempt, to test, to make a run at something without knowing whether you are going to succeed. The experimental association also derives from the other fountain-head of the essay, Francis Bacon , and his stress on the empirical inductive method, so useful in the development of the social sciences." (Phillip Lopate, "The Art of the Personal Essay". Anchor, 1994)

Articles vs. Essays "[W]hat finally distinguishes an essay from an article may just be the author's gumption, the extent to which personal voice, vision, and style are the prime movers and shapers, even though the authorial 'I' may be only a remote energy, nowhere visible but everywhere present." (Justin Kaplan, ed. "The Best American Essays: 1990". Ticknor & Fields, 1990) "I am predisposed to the essay with knowledge to impart — but, unlike journalism, which exists primarily to present facts, the essays transcend their data, or transmute it into personal meaning. The memorable essay, unlike the article, is not place or time-bound; it survives the occasion of its original composition. Indeed, in the most brilliant essays, language is not merely the medium of communication ; it is communication." (Joyce Carol Oates, quoted by Robert Atwan in "The Best American Essays, College Edition", 2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin, 1998) "I speak of a 'genuine' essay because fakes abound. Here the old-fashioned term poetaster may apply, if only obliquely. As the poetaster is to the poet — a lesser aspirant — so the average article is to the essay: a look-alike knockoff guaranteed not to wear well. An article is often gossip. An essay is reflection and insight. An article often has the temporary advantage of social heat — what's hot out there right now. An essay's heat is interior. An article can be timely, topical, engaged in the issues and personalities of the moment; it is likely to be stale within the month. In five years it may have acquired the quaint aura of a rotary phone. An article is usually Siamese-twinned to its date of birth. An essay defies its date of birth — and ours, too. (A necessary caveat: some genuine essays are popularly called 'articles' — but this is no more than an idle, though persistent, habit of speech. What's in a name? The ephemeral is the ephemeral. The enduring is the enduring.)" (Cynthia Ozick, "SHE: Portrait of the Essay as a Warm Body." The Atlantic Monthly, September 1998)

The Status of the Essay "Though the essay has been a popular form of writing in British and American periodicals since the 18th century, until recently its status in the literary canon has been, at best, uncertain. Relegated to the composition class, frequently dismissed as mere journalism, and generally ignored as an object for serious academic study, the essay has sat, in James Thurber's phrase, ' on the edge of the chair of Literature.' "In recent years, however, prompted by both a renewed interest in rhetoric and by poststructuralist redefinitions of literature itself, the essay — as well as such related forms of 'literary nonfiction' as biography , autobiography , and travel and nature writing — has begun to attract increasing critical attention and respect." (Richard Nordquist, "Essay," in "Encylopedia of American Literature", ed. S. R. Serafin. Continuum, 1999)

The Contemporary Essay "At present, the American magazine essay , both the long feature piece and the critical essay, is flourishing, in unlikely circumstances... "There are plenty of reasons for this. One is that magazines, big and small, are taking over some of the cultural and literary ground vacated by newspapers in their seemingly unstoppable evaporation. Another is that the contemporary essay has for some time now been gaining energy as an escape from, or rival to, the perceived conservatism of much mainstream fiction... "So the contemporary essay is often to be seen engaged in acts of apparent anti-novelization: in place of plot , there is drift or the fracture of numbered paragraphs; in place of a frozen verisimilitude, there may be a sly and knowing movement between reality and fictionality; in place of the impersonal author of standard-issue third-person realism, the authorial self pops in and out of the picture, with a liberty hard to pull off in fiction." (James Wood, "Reality Effects." The New Yorker, Dec. 19 & 26, 2011)

The Lighter Side of Essays: "The Breakfast Club" Essay Assignment "All right people, we're going to try something a little different today. We are going to write an essay of not less than a thousand words describing to me who you think you are. And when I say 'essay,' I mean 'essay,' not one word repeated a thousand times. Is that clear, Mr. Bender?" (Paul Gleason as Mr. Vernon) Saturday, March 24, 1984 Shermer High School Shermer, Illinois 60062 Dear Mr. Vernon, We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did was wrong. But we think you're crazy to make us write this essay telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you want to see us — in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That's the way we saw each other at seven o'clock this morning. We were brainwashed... But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain and an athlete and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club (Anthony Michael Hall as Brian Johnson, "The Breakfast Club", 1985)

Watch Now: 12 Ideas for Great Persuasive Essay Topics

essay about

By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.

The Straits Times

Actress Kate Pang can’t recognise herself in son’s essay

essay about

TAIPEI – Is that really me? That was probably the question Taiwan-born actress Kate Pang asked herself after reading an essay written by her eight-year-old son, Aden.

The former Mediacorp artiste is based in Taiwan with her husband, Singapore actor Andie Chen. The couple also have a six-year-old daughter, Avery.

Pang, 39, shared Aden’s Chinese composition, titled My Mother, on social media on Thursday.

The boy wrote: “My mother is 39 years old this year. She is very fat, a little short and does not like to exercise.

“She likes to wear clothes with permeability, is very kind and always angry, but I love her very much.

“My mother is very annoying and will always do things which I do not want her to. She cares about me and will care about me so much that she beats me. I want to say to her, ‘Please do not get agitated’.”

Pang reacted to the essay with hashtags such as #IThinkYouGotTheWrong Person, #HowCan49kgBeConsideredFat and #AmIShortAt165cm.

She also wrote that she has been doing yoga for more than 10 years and could not bring herself to read the rest of the essay after the first sentence.

She wondered what her son would have written about Chen, 37 – who is starring in upcoming drama Silent Walls – if the essay had been about his father.

Her celebrity pals such as Yvonne Lim, Kelly Poon and Jaime Teo reacted to her post with laughing crying emojis.

Radio DJ Kenneth Chung, better known as Kunhua, commented with the same emoji: “The last sentence is too funny. How can you not get agitated after reading the composition?”

Pang replied: “I clenched my fist after reading the first sentence.”

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Kate Pang (@katepang311)

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

Read 3 articles and stand to win rewards

Spin the wheel now

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg diagnosed with terminal cancer

Ellsberg participates in a news conference held by the whistleblower group ExposeFacts.org at the National Press Club in Washington

WASHINGTON, March 2 (Reuters) - Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower who leaked the "Pentagon Papers" about the Vietnam War and exposed years of related U.S. government lies, said on Thursday that terminal pancreatic cancer had been diagnosed in him.

"On February 17, without much warning, I was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer," Ellsberg, 91, said in a statement on Twitter. "I'm sorry to report to you that my doctors have given me three to six months to live."

The Pentagon Papers, whose official title was "Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force," were a multi-volume, top-secret government study of how the U.S. ended up in a bloody stalemate in Vietnam.

The revelation of parts of the study was considered a bombshell because the Pentagon Papers contradicted years of government assurances about the war.

In 1971, Ellsberg, at the time a governmental consultant who had helped prepare the study, leaked the documents to the New York Times and other newspapers.

Latest Updates

View 2 more stories

The documents shifted the public's understanding of the war. They showed that successive U.S. administrations had secretly enlarged the scope of American military action in Vietnam even as U.S. leaders became convinced the war was unwinnable.

After the revelations, the U.S. Justice Department brought criminal charges against Ellsberg for leaking the documents to the media. The charges were dismissed in 1973 after a mistrial in 1972.

Ellsberg, who will turn 92 in April and has been a human rights advocate and an anti-war activist for decades, said on Thursday he chose not to do chemotherapy. He added that he had assurance of "great hospice care" when needed.

Despite the diagnosis, Ellsberg said he was not in physical pain and was continuing to do interviews and webinars.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


On the eve of the 70th anniversary of Josef Stalin's death, attitudes to the Soviet Union's wartime leader remain mixed in the nations he once ruled with an iron fist.

Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, announces he has terminal cancer

The Associated Press

essay about

Daniel Ellsberg speaks during an interview in Los Angeles on Sept. 23, 2009. Ellsberg, who copied and leaked documents that revealed secret details of U.S. strategy in the Vietnam War and became known as the Pentagon Papers, has announced he has terminal cancer and months to live. Nick Ut/AP hide caption

Daniel Ellsberg speaks during an interview in Los Angeles on Sept. 23, 2009. Ellsberg, who copied and leaked documents that revealed secret details of U.S. strategy in the Vietnam War and became known as the Pentagon Papers, has announced he has terminal cancer and months to live.

WASHINGTON — Daniel Ellsberg, who copied and leaked documents that revealed secret details of U.S. strategy in the Vietnam War and became known as the Pentagon Papers, has announced he has terminal cancer and months to live.

Ellsberg posted on his Facebook page Thursday that doctors diagnosed the 91-year-old with inoperable pancreatic cancer on Feb. 17 following a CT scan and MRI.

Doctors have given him between three and six months to live, he said.

The Pentagon Papers leaker explains why the Supreme Court draft leak is a good thing

The Pentagon Papers leaker explains why the Supreme Court draft leak is a good thing

Ellsberg said he has opted not to undergo chemotherapy and plans to accept hospice care when needed.

The documents in the Pentagon Papers looked in excruciating detail at the decisions and strategies of the Vietnam War. They told how U.S. involvement was built up steadily by political leaders and top military brass who were overconfident about U.S. prospects and deceptive about the accomplishments against the North Vietnamese.

Ellsberg, a former consultant to the Defense Department, provided the Pentagon Papers to Neil Sheehan, a reporter who broke the story for The New York Times in June 1971. Sheehan died in 2021.

Sheehan smuggled the documents out of the Massachusetts apartment where Ellsberg had stashed them, and illicitly copied thousands of pages and took them to the Times.

The administration of President Richard Nixon got a court injunction arguing national security was at stake and publication was stopped. The action started a heated debate about the First Amendment that quickly moved up to the Supreme Court. On June 30, 1971, the court ruled 6-3 in favor of allowing publication, and the Times and The Washington Post resumed publishing stories. The coverage won the Times the Pulitzer Prize for public service.

How The Pentagon Papers Changed Public Perception Of The War In Vietnam

The Nixon administration tried to discredit Ellsberg after the documents' release. Some of Nixon's aides orchestrated a break-in at the Beverly Hills office of Ellsberg's psychiatrist to find information to discredit him.

Ellsberg was charged with theft, conspiracy and violations of the Espionage Act, but his case ended in a mistrial when evidence surfaced about government-ordered wiretappings and break-ins.

Ellsberg said in his Facebook post that he feels "lucky and grateful" for his life.

"When I copied the Pentagon Papers in 1969, I had every reason to think I would be spending the rest of my life behind bars. It was a fate I would gladly have accepted if it meant hastening the end of the Vietnam War, unlikely as that seemed (and was)," he wrote.

"Yet in the end that action — in ways I could not have foreseen, due to Nixon's illegal responses — did have an impact on shortening the war," he wrote.


  1. Tips To Write An Argumentative Essay Pasbane-aqal-humorous-essay-by-sehar-javed-essays-articles

    essay about

  2. College Essay Rough Draft Example

    essay about

  3. Clk 5 Paragraph Descriptive Essay Graphic Organizer

    essay about

  4. How To Write A Perfect Essay For College Application

    essay about

  5. College Essay: Essay on girl power

    essay about

  6. Five Paragraph Essay Examples For High School

    essay about


  1. Using the 'funnel' essay structure: Essay writing at UWA

  2. GMAT Tuesday: AWA

  3. Bryan Cranston Wanted for Murder⁉️😳

  4. Essay on Stem Education or Education without boundaries in English

  5. Matt Damon is Never Allowed to do Another Take

  6. Essay about dashain in nepali


  1. The Beginner's Guide to Writing an Essay

    An academic essay is a focused piece of writing that develops an idea or argument using evidence, analysis, and interpretation. There are many types of essays you might write as a student. The content and length of an essay depends on your level, subject of study, and course requirements.

  2. Essay Writing: How to Write an Outstanding Essay

    Write an essay! "Essay" is a loose term for writing that asserts the author's opinion on a topic, whether academic, editorial, or even humorous. There are a thousand different approaches to essay writing and a million different topics to choose from, but what we've found is that good essay writing tends to follow the same framework.

  3. Essay Structure

    Essay Structure Writing an academic essay means fashioning a coherent set of ideas into an argument. Because essays are essentially linear—they offer one idea at a time—they must present their ideas in the order that makes most sense to a reader. Successfully structuring an essay means attending to a reader's logic.

  4. Essay

    essay, an analytic, interpretative, or critical literary composition usually much shorter and less systematic and formal than a dissertation or thesis and usually dealing with its subject from a limited and often personal point of view.

  5. How to Write About Yourself in a College Essay

    Revised on July 22, 2022. An insightful college admissions essay requires deep self-reflection, authenticity, and a balance between confidence and vulnerability. Your essay shouldn't just be a resume of your experiences; colleges are looking for a story that demonstrates your most important values and qualities.

  6. What is an Essay?

    Defining the Term - What is an Essay? The essay is a written piece that is designed to present an idea, propose an argument, express the emotion or initiate debate. It is a tool that is used to present writer's ideas in a non-fictional way.

  7. Essaybot: Free Essay Writing Tool

    Essaybot is a 100% free professional essay writing service powered by AI. We offer essay formats for Argumentative Essay, Expository Essay, Narrative Essay, ITELS & TOEFL Essay and many more. Provide academic inspiration and paragraphs to help you in writing essays and finding citations. Finish your essay in 30 minutes!

  8. Essay Topics

    An essay is nothing but a piece of content which is written from the perception of writer or author. Essays are similar to a story, pamphlet, thesis, etc. The best thing about Essay is you can use any type of language - formal or informal. It can biography, the autobiography of anyone. Following is a great list of 100 essay topics.

  9. An Essay About Essays

    An Essay About Essays By Megan Stielstra Editor's Note: Originally published in March 2014, this remains one of Hypertext's most popular posts. Maddeningly, when we changed themes, SHARES and LIKES disappeared. If you are so inclined, SHARE and LIKE, please and thank you.

  10. Essay on My School for Students and Children

    500+ Words Essay on My School Education is an essential part of our lives. We are nothing without knowledge, and education is what separates us from others. The main step to acquiring education is enrolling oneself in a school. School serves as the first learning place for most of the people.

  11. A Curious Essay

    Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach et al. Here's the draft essay: Introduction Climate is a complex and dynamic system, regulated by a multitude of interrelated processes, feedback loops, and emergent phenomena. Among these, one of the most fascinating and influential is the role of thunderstorms in regulating temperature.

  12. Essay Definition & Meaning

    The meaning of ESSAY is an analytic or interpretative literary composition usually dealing with its subject from a limited or personal point of view. How to use essay in a sentence. Synonym Discussion of Essay.

  13. 100+ Essay Topics for an Outstanding Essay (2022)

    A descriptive essay describes a specific thing by using sensory data. It is done to engage the reader's five senses (taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight). The following is a list of descriptive essay topic ideas for the students. The person who is responsible for making a difference in my life.

  14. Can ChatGPT Write My College Essay?

    Similarly, high school students may be tempted to use the chatbot to write college application essays. ChatGPT generates usable content that often lacks personality and authenticity. The use of ChatGPT poses ethical and moral dilemmas around plagiarism and cheating. It's just about 11 p.m. on a Tuesday night, and your 2,000-word essay on ...

  15. Olivia Dunne makes TikTok about AI essay writer, to LSU's chagrin

    Olivia Dunne posted a video to TikTok in paid partnership with Caktus AI. The LSU gymnast is seen using the AI program in the sponsored clip. "However, using AI to produce work that a student ...

  16. Sample Essay about Me

    Some Essential Tips On How To Write An Essay About Yourself No matter what's the purpose of your essay, there is a preset number of points that you will be expected to address. The main line should be that you are not a robot, and that it is your feelings and emotions that define you as a personality.

  17. Argumentative Essay Writing

    Argumentative Essays. The argumentative essay is a genre of writing that requires the student to investigate a topic; collect, generate, and evaluate evidence; and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner.Please note: Some confusion may occur between the argumentative essay and the expository essay.

  18. I asked ChatGPT to write college admissions essays ...

    ChatGPT's essays were based on some old questions from the Common App, a widely used application process across the US. At first, the chatbot said it wouldn't write the essays for me, telling me ...

  19. Essay Definition & Meaning

    Essay definition, a short literary composition on a particular theme or subject, usually in prose and generally analytic, speculative, or interpretative. See more.

  20. How To Write An Essay: Beginner Tips And Tricks

    Use transitions between paragraphs. In order to improve the readability of your essay, try and make clear transitions between paragraphs. This means trying to relate the end of one paragraph to the beginning of the next one so the shift doesn't seem random. Integrate your research thoughtfully.

  21. Essay Structure: The 3 Main Parts of an Essay

    Basic essay structure: the 3 main parts of an essay. Almost every single essay that's ever been written follows the same basic structure: Introduction. Body paragraphs. Conclusion. This structure has stood the test of time for one simple reason: It works. It clearly presents the writer's position, supports that position with relevant ...

  22. Writing tips and techniques for your college essay

    Don't summarize. Avoid explicitly stating the point of your essay. It's far less effective when you spell it out for someone. Delete every single "That's when I realized," "I learned," and "The most important lesson was...". It's unnecessary, unconvincing, and takes the reader out of the moment.

  23. Essay

    A composition that is usually short and has a literary theme is called an essay. You should probably start writing your essay on "To Kill a Mockingbird" sometime before the bus ride to school the day it is due.

  24. Definition and Examples of Essays or Compositions

    Definitions and Observations. " [An essay is a] composition, usually in prose .., which may be of only a few hundred words (like Bacon's "Essays") or of book length (like Locke's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding") and which discusses, formally or informally, a topic or a variety of topics." (J.A. Cuddon, "Dictionary of Literary Terms".

  25. Essay

    Essays are commonly used as literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author. Almost all modern essays are written in prose, but works in verse have been dubbed essays (e.g., Alexander Pope 's An Essay on Criticism and An Essay on Man ).

  26. Social media star & gymnast Olivia Dunne posts TikTok promoting use of

    LSU gymnast and social media star Olivia Dunne has stirred controversy for posting a TikTok video promoting an artificial intelligence service to write essays.. In the post to her account, Dunne ...

  27. Actress Kate Pang can't recognise herself in son's essay

    That was probably the question Taiwan-born actress Kate Pang asked herself after reading an essay written by her eight-year-old son, Aden. The former Mediacorp artiste is based in Taiwan with her ...

  28. Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg diagnosed with terminal

    Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg participates in a news conference held by the whistleblower group ExposeFacts.org at the National Press Club in Washington April 27, 2015.

  29. Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg announces that he has terminal

    Nick Ut/AP. WASHINGTON — Daniel Ellsberg, who copied and leaked documents that revealed secret details of U.S. strategy in the Vietnam War and became known as the Pentagon Papers, has announced ...