General Tips for Essay Writing:
A) We use the acronym CODER while introducing Essay Writing.

C – Collect ideas
O – Organise them
D – Develop them
E – Express them
R – Review

C – Collect Ideas
Content – the topic itself – What are the key words? What is it about? What information does one have? How does one gather further information? What ideas or views does one have (or what views does one develop) on the basis of this information?

Some approaches include the Key Word approach, Viewpoint of Affected Parties approach, SPELT (Social, Political, Economic, Legal, Technological) approach, Cause-effect analysis, Problem-Solution approach and PREP (Point, Reason, Example, Point) approach. These could be used when you are preparing an essay, to generate ideas on the basis of information that you have. Remember to make quick, concise notes (just words and phrases) as you brainstorm, to ensure that you recall your important ideas.

O – Organise them
Organisation of ideas – Put random thoughts and ideas into coherent groups. What would be the purpose or theme of the essay? What would be the appropriate ideas to start with (or to use for introductory statements)? What are the further ideas that one could continue with, and what would these ideas lead to? What ideas would be the right ones to end with?

Effective notes and careful thought on these aspects would help you put together properly organised content.

D – Develop them
Explanation and elaboration – What sort of readership is the essay intended for (education, age, gender, knowledge of the topic, attitude to the topic)? What sort of information would hold their attention best? What sort of examples would they relate to? What pieces of information, what sort of explanation, and/or what examples, would support the ideas, the theme and the purpose? How long should the essay be?

In an essay intended to be informative only – you should be careful about the selection of content to ensure that it is significant and relevant to the topic. Facts and examples used should be of interest, but should not seem out of place.

In an essay intended to explain – you should have explanations that are clear and concise.

In an essay intended to express an opinion – you should sequence the ideas and viewpoints, with supporting information and examples, in a manner that leads to the overall opinion that the essay seeks to provide.

In an essay intended to analyse – you should present ideas and information with respect to different aspects of the topic, so as to point to the relative strengths (or weaknesses) of these aspects. The essay should be one that brings out questions on the topic and finds, or seeks to find, answers.

E – Express them
Structure of an essay – A typical essay would start with an introduction, using statements and information of general nature that provide some background to the topic and point to the nature of the specific ideas that follow. The body of the essay would contain the specific ideas, presented in a clear and coherent manner. Each broad idea or idea set would form a paragraph. The flow, or sequence of paragraphs would lead to the conclusion which would sum up the purpose of the presentation.

Effective expression – requires logical coherence and flow (as already discussed). It also requires effective use of language. You must adhere to sentence structure, vocabulary and idiom that you are familiar with. Individual sentences should not include more than one idea. This way, you have better control over grammatical construction, punctuation, etc. This works even for a complex idea set, where continuity and flow can be established through the use of simple and appropriate connectives and sentence starters (also called Discourse Markers – a few of which are provided further on in this note).

R – Review
You must devote the last few minutes to reading through the essay to satisfy yourself that there is logical flow and coherence, and that the language is error free. Correction, replacement or repositioning, if any, should be carried out in a manner that ensures that the flow remains or is improved.

We would suggest that, of the steps outlined above, you devote about 30% of the allotted time to steps C O and D, about 60% to the actual writing, i.e. E, and about 10% to R.

B) Some important points while writing an essay.

1) You may want to stick to the following standardized, five paragraph essay format which is followed in school and college.
Paragraph 1: Introduction
Paragraph 2: Body 1
Paragraph 3: Body 2
Paragraph 4: Body 3
Paragraph 5: Conclusion

2) Have a clear understanding of the essay topic.

3) Craft the Introduction well. Make your essay stand out. If you do not start well or if the start is flat, the reader will go through your essay with that impression.

4) Do not write with ANY preconceived mindset.

5) Do not put blinkers to your thought process, show a mature analysis.

6) You can make use of personal examples and opinions.

7) Don't make the essay into a debate initially. Do not agree or disagree with the author (No complete yes, no complete no).

8) You should sound convincing in your writing.

9) Do not worry about being morally correct.

10) Command over Language counts; flex the language metaphorically, give a new twist to words. There should be variety in diction (No repetition). This shows that you are well read.

Otherwise the essay sounds stereotypical or hackneyed. {Refer Discourse Markers given below}.

11) Use the word ‘I’ once in a while (Otherwise you might end up sounding egoistical).

12) You may also employ the similar or parallel reasoning technique to see if there can be similar situations or scenarios or alternatives to the examples/ points mentioned in the topic.

13) No purple passages or essays (no grandiose essays) i.e. Do not use hi-fi or bombastic words. Keep the essay simple with short sentences. Statements like “There have been cases of terminological in-exactitude” (Referring to “Lie or untruth”) or “Probability of precipitation” (Referring to “It is likely to rain”) may irritate the reader.

14) Do not include fresh points in the conclusion.

C) Some Discourse Markers or Logical Connectives:

As mentioned above, one must have a command over diction. The following discourse markers will help you avoid repetition and will make your essay impressive.

Introduction of a viewpoint – It is my opinion that...., My own view is......, As I see it........, I believe......, and so on.

Structuring or classifying – To begin with......., First of all............, For one thing.........., and so on.

Sequencing – First, second, third, so forth, next, then, following this, at this time, now, at this point, after, afterward, subsequently, finally, consequently, previosuly, before this, simultaneously, concurrently, thus, hence, next.....

Adding – And, Again, and then, Further......, furthermore, also, next, too, Moreover..........., Likewise........., In addition......., Besides,......, Equally....., Lastly......, what's more..., Another point to be......., Apart from this........., and so on.

Proving – Because, obviously, evidently, furthermore, moreover, besides, indeed, in fact, in addition, in any case, that is, for, since, for the same reason.

Exception – Yet, still, however, nevertheless, in spite of, despite, of course, once in a while, sometimes etc.

Concession – Although, at any rate, at least, still, though, even though, granted that, while it may be true, in spite of, of course.

Comparing – Likewise, also, while, in the same way, like, as, similarly,

Contrasting – Still, although, on the other hand, however, yet, otherwise, even though, whereas, but, nevertheless, on the contrary, in contrast, conversely

Suggesting – For this purpose, to this end, with this in mind, with this purpose in mind, therefore,

Giving examples – For example,......, For instance,......, A good example of this........., An appropriate illustration of this.......a case in point…..illustrated by,……. In another case, in this case, on this occasion, in this situation, take the case, to demonstrate, as an illustration, the point is borne out by, and so on.

Generalising – On the whole......, In general........., Broadly speaking........., In most cases.........., To a large extent........, and so on

Giving details, Making things clear – In fact....., This is clear from......., This can be seen from......, Considering this in greater detail........, specifically, especially, in particular, to list, to explain, to enumerate, in detail, namely, including and so on.

To repeat – In brief, as has been said, as has been noted.

Analysing a point – What this means is........, In other words.........., Translated into real terms,......., and so on.

Emphasizing – Definitely, extremely, obviously, in fact, indeed, absolutely, positively, naturally, surprisingly, never, emphatically, unquestionably, without a doubt, certainly, undeniably, without any reservation....

Summarizing or Concluding – In brief, to conclude, as is shown, on the whole, In conclusion........., To sum up............, In short........, as proven, hence, therefore, thus, as a result, consequently, accordingly, and so on.