Avoiding Common Mistakes in Essay Structure

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Essay structure is pretty straightforward for most essay types, yet it is a common mistake that results in poor performance in writing essays. The biggest mistake is in assuming that every essay requires the same structure. By assuming this, you might find yourself trying to force a particular essay into a format that does not fit it.

Common essay structure mistakes

To avoid essay structure mistakes, there are several things to keep in mind:

  • The introduction of any essay is not a summary of the essay that follows.
  • The conclusion should never introduce new information.
  • There is no one-size-fits-all essay structure.
  • The paragraphs should divide into logical order.

Essay structure and the introduction

The introduction of any essay is not, under any circumstances, a summary of the entire written piece. An introduction is meant to introduce a topic—to draw your readers in by grabbing their interest. While the introduction should at least allude to what is to follow, it should not precede information with the information itself. This creates poor structure and a boring construction.

Essay structure and the conclusion

The essay structure is also often disrupted by the wrong information finding its way into the conclusion. While the conclusion revisits the thesis statement or purpose of a paper—it reframes it to include the context for what is contained within the body paragraphs. The dynamic summary that goes within a conclusion should draw solid conclusions about your essay. It also aims to make your readers think about the essay as a whole. Essay structure does not warrant including new information in the conclusion. In fact, this is more likely to simply confuse your readers since there is no clear end to your essay.

Essay structure and poorly divided paragraphs

The third common essay structure mistake is in how paragraphs are divided and presented. Paragraphs should each have one clear focus. If you have competing ideas in the paragraphs, the information is difficult to read and often confusing. The confusion largely stems from paragraphs that are too long in length or too unfocused to make much sense.

Fixing essay structure mistakes

Part of the problem that plays into making essay structure mistakes is that if you are like most writers, you are likely to believe that your readers automatically understand your words, which is not often the case.

To avoid common structure mistakes, keep the following structure in mind:

  • Explain what you intend to discuss
  • Explain your main idea and logic backing it up
  • Remind your readers about what you just wrote

While keeping this structure as part of your mental process makes it less likely that you make structural mistakes, you should not strictly follow this format for all essay types. Instead, by writing with a loosely defined structure in mind, you keep the focus where it needs to be by following those three steps. This, in turn, keeps your readers with you throughout the entire essay.

Essay structure is just part of the equation, though. It is the appearance of your paper. Other factors that determine the quality of your writing include common style mistakes, common content mistakes, common punctuation mistakes and common grammar mistakes. Taking a comprehensive approach by making changes to how you write and when you incorporate specific information is the easiest ways to remember.