In the article below, we’ll take a deeper look into formal essays and how to write them.

A formal essay is a type of writing that includes not only essays, but letters, reports, and job applications written in a formal style with the usage of a strong vocabulary. In a formal essay, all rules of punctuation and grammar are observed. Essays of this style are specific, focused on facts, and include a standard, template language. 

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The Structure of a Formal Essay

The structure of a formal essay is standard and consists of the following parts: 

  • Title – the name of the essay, reflecting the theme of the narrative 
  • Introduction – 2-3 short sentences that cover the topic of the essay 
  • The main body – 4-5 paragraphs, describing the essence of the work. In them, you need to fully and competently open the topic, give arguments, and argue them 
  • Conclusion – 2-4 sentences summarising everything that has been said before. In this part, you make a general conclusion on the topic of the essay

Each of the paragraphs in the main part of the essay begins with an introductory sentence (topic sentence); this is the “introduction” to the paragraph. Subsequent sentences develop and confirm the thought expressed in the topic sentence. 

Steps for Writing an Essay: 

  • Choose a topic. Basically, there are two options here; you are assigned a topic by the teacher, or you choose a topic on your own. If you need to come up with your own topic, then find the one that will be the most interesting to you. Of course, it’s a formal essay, and probably, you will not be allowed to write an essay on all enjoyable themes, but nevertheless, you should like the subject you’re writing about. 
  • Write a thesis statement. It should be your opinion or claim that presents the main idea of your essay. It should answer the question that you state in your paper. Usually, a thesis statement is included in the first paragraph of your essay – the introduction. 
  • Write an introduction. How to write a formal essay introduction in the right manner? It should consist of brief information about what you are going to write in the body paragraphs. Don’t forget to include a thesis statement in the last sentence of the introduction. Make this part interesting to grab the reader’s attention and make them read further. 
  • Write body paragraphs. Each point or idea that you want to present in your essay should be disclosed in a new single paragraph. The first sentence of each body paragraph should be a topic sentence. The body paragraph should address the thesis statement that you have presented in the introduction. 
  • Write a conclusion. Don’t include any new information in this section. You should show that the thesis statement was proven fully. If you look at the introduction that you have composed, it will be easier for you to write a conclusion. 

Phrases that are desired to use: 

The peculiarity of writing a formal essay is that it is necessary to use certain common phrases. Here are a couple of more complex formal expressions, which are used mainly in formal essays and allow you to get a high grade. 

  • “It would seem that…” – expresses disagreement with a given topic or some statement 
  • “It could be argued that…” – contest the point of view or statement
  • “This supports the idea that…” – give an additional argument in favor of your opinion
  • “It must be acknowledged that…” – express partial agreement with this or that statement
  • “In view of all that has been mentioned so far, one may suppose that…” – summarise everything that you wrote about earlier

What to focus on when writing an Essay

Review and Editing: 

It is very important to reread an essay several times after finishing it, even if you do not have to correct much. If you feel that you can’t find all of your mistakes (since finding errors in your own text is more difficult), read the text to an outsider (unless you’re in an exam). Getting a friend’s help, especially if he or she is a linguist, allows you to identify a significant percentage of poorly constructed sentences, as well as many grammatical and logical errors. If you’re not sure how something is spelt, don’t be afraid to look in the dictionary. And one more useful trick: before you finish the work, put it off for a couple of hours, then return to it with a fresh look. This is another reason why you should start writing essays in advance, having enough time in reserve. 

Formal essay writing is never easy, but it will get easier for you if you use this guide as your helper. Take advantage of our tips and recommendations and you will be able to write a quality paper. 

You can also improve your writing skills by taking one of our courses on the links below: 

Basic Essay Writing

Basic Descriptive Writing + Advanced Descriptive Writing 

AQA English Language Paper 2