How to Write Short Essays

Receiving an assignment to draft a short essay might sound easier, at least initially. However, writing a short 5 paragraph essay isn’t all as easier as it looks. You still need to follow all the instructions and abide by every principle to produce a high-quality short paper. Fortunately, mastering how to write this assignment is easy and possible.

This post discusses all the details of composing this essay type. Keep reading to perfect your writing skills.

What Is a Short Essay?

Let’s define a short essay before examining its related details. A short paper is a brief writing assignment that focuses on one idea or subject and requires brief coverage. You must focus on a single idea and provide further information supporting your arguments. A short essay can focus on any topic. For instance, you can describe an object, process, event, or person.

This essay usually ranges between 400 and 500 words. Your paper can be a minimum of half a page and a maximum of one page using single spacing.

A Short Essay Format

This paper’s format doesn’t significantly differ from its longer counterpart. An average brief essay can have between two and five paragraphs, depending on your teacher’s instructions. Understanding how to write a 5 paragraph essay can be particularly useful for structuring your short essay effectively. Also, the essay’s word count determines its exact number of paragraphs. While it’s short, you still must write it to convey your topic’s essence and meaning clearly.

Succeeding in this essay type requires you to sharpen your summarizing skills. You should be able to be brief without denying your readers clarity. Thus, hone your ability to explain issues clearly and briefly. Learning how to select data and facts to include into, or exclude from, your short assignment would be best.

Writing A Short Essay: How to Go About It

We stated that composing a short paper doesn’t overlook any general academic writing rules. You should follow the same process you do when drafting other long papers. Below are the steps to follow when writing a brief paper that fetches excellent grades.

  • Read the prompt

Start by reading the paper’s question to understand what you should do. This stage ensures you don’t miss any instructions that define and confine your assignment. Don’t fear consulting your tutor for clarification if you don’t capture anything.

  • Brainstorm

After being sure of what you must do, start brainstorming for a relevant topic unless your instructor provided one. This stage allows you to determine appropriate and exciting topics you can write about. Once you find the best topic to write on, move to the next stage and start researching.

  • Research

Researching is necessary for drafting a successful short assignment. Find out all the relevant sources and take notes. This essay type doesn’t require many sources, and two or three are enough to help you advance in the writing task. You can research it using articles from reputable journals or books.

While researching, please pay attention to the sources’ dates to ensure they’re as current as possible. The most recent academic references are always the best support for any topic. If you use academic journals, ensure that the articles are peer-reviewed.

  • Outline

Outlining is the next step you need in your writing process because you have all the details to include in your brief essay. You must outline your ideas to give them a logical flow and structure while writing. This step helps you focus your thoughts and know where to place the right ideas. Otherwise, you could lose some of your most powerful arguments and misplace others.

  • Write

After completing these steps, write your short essay. You can begin from anywhere you want. For instance, if you aren’t sure what to include in your intro, you may write it last. This approach is excellent because you will know what to include in the body sections and conclusion by then. Thus, telling the reader what to expect in the paper’s subsequent sections becomes easier.

  • Edit

Editing is just as important as writing. The first draft should be your thoughts’ space holder. That means your editing process can chop whole sentences or introduce new ones. You may also rewrite chapters or sentences to make them flow well. In short, you can remove or add whatever is necessary.

Your editing process must also remove all grammar imperfections. All awkward renderings, repetitions, poor styling, and sloppy punctuations should be ousted. Besides, edit your paper with correct referencing and formatting in mind to ensure it abides by your instructor’s styling requirements.

Don’t forget to double-check whether you wrote the paper according to your professor’s full list of instructions. Lastly, check out for spelling errors your word processor didn’t detect. The spell check should come last because you can make other spelling mistakes while editing the paper.

Parts of a Mini Essay

A standard short essay has three main components: the introductory paragraph, three main body paragraphs, and one concluding paragraph. Let’s get the details below.

The Introduction

This section helps you make your first lasting impression. It should attract and retain your reader’s attention by capturing your audience’s interest. So, spice it up with something that will achieve this initial goal. Your hook can be relevant humor, stats, a quote, or anything that welcomes your readers on board.

Your introduction should also provide your audience with your paper’s context and what to expect from it as the story unfolds.  However, keep it informative and brief to avoid telling your readers everything at once. Instead, let it only tell them what you want to say to them. We can summarize this section as follows:

  • Go straight to your points.
  • Introduce your thesis statement to give readers a strategic direction.
  • Include a sentence that summarizes the ideas you intend to discuss.
  • Shorten everything.
  • Be specific.
  • Provide minimal contextual details.

The Thesis Statement

This statement comes at your intro’s end. It should focus on the main thought you want to drive home. Your thesis should also be debatable because your entire essay will focus on proving it. It should also allow your opponents to debate your stand on a matter. So, make it as clear as possible so that anyone reading your short paper can easily detect it.

The Main Body

An average short paper has between two and five paragraphs. Using the five-paragraph format requires three paragraphs to prove your thesis. These sections must include the necessary evidence and facts to defend your thesis. Your first paragraph must contain your strongest argument, and your last one should have the weakest idea. This way, you are better placed to neutralize all opposition from the start.

The Conclusion

Your paper will also need a closing paragraph. This final section shows how your main body paragraphs defended your thesis statement. It should synthesize your work and answer the question you raised in the introduction. This closing part seeks to give your readers a fresh perspective on your discussion. It must make readers satisfied with what they read. For more insights, you can refer to tips on writing an essay conclusion.

Tips for Writing a Great Short Essay

Here are tips to help you write an A+ short assignment.

  • Analyze the question

Take enough time to analyze your assignment’s question because your essay should be a response to a specific question. Thus, ensure you fully understand what your tutor expects of you.

  • Define your argument

You also have to define your argument before writing. Consider what this argument will be. Thus, take an informed position on the question you received. This way, you will be better positioned to define and present a specific argument.

  • Plan

Planning is critical to your essay’s success. Take time to brainstorm and organize your ideas for easy writing. You should research your paper to get sufficient materials to write about. Also, outline your paper to enjoy smooth writing.

  • Make a strong thesis statement

All your essay’s arguments will be as weak or strong as your thesis statement. Thus, make it as strong as possible.

  • Utilize evidence and reasoning

It would help if you bolstered your assignment with reasoning and evidence. These two are necessary for convincing your readers to buy into your main argument.

  • Cite sources 

Sources make your essay look more resourceful. So, cite the most authoritative references to prove to your readers that you did your homework well. Your sources must be the most recent and authoritative. You should also pay attention to the referencing requirements your instructor gave.

If the instructions require using a specific citation style like APA, you should follow it to the dot. But irrespective of your style, follow the guidelines and stick to them.

  • Polishing

The final step is polishing your short essay through thorough and ruthless editing. The process must ensure your paper abides by all its styling requirements and guidelines, and you address all grammar issues to correct spelling or punctuation errors. If you fail here, you can rest assured that you will fetch low grades.


We hope you are up to date with all the details you need about writing a short essay. The ball is in your court to use them to advance your writing skills in this niche.

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