The classic structure

An essay always consists of three parts: introduction, main part, conclusion.

a) Introduction

From the introduction, it should first be clear which essay type it is. It should also provide information about the text that will be discussed below. This includes the information that you have collected during the preparation and a short summary of the text. This should always follow the same pattern and answer the so-called 5-W questions: WHO makes WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and WHY? The synopsis is usually written in the present form, even if the original text was written in the past tense.

It is important that the overall introduction is not too long. It should make up about 5-10% of the essay. Concentrate on the main events and do not lose yourself in unimportant details.

b) main part

The centerpiece of each essay is the main part. He is the most content-rich and therefore the most important part in every essay. Its importance should also be reflected in the length, which should make up about 80-90% of the total essay. The main part is about dealing with a text or a topic. This can be done in different ways, for example through the

  • Analysis and interpretation of content and form of a text
  • Characterization of figures
  • objective comparison of different arguments
  • Summary of text content
  • subjective examination of a text or topic

It may be helpful to consider breaking it down before writing the main part. The main part in an essay should follow a red thread. This means that the points raised or the arguments presented should have a comprehensible logic. You can, for example, choose a chronological structure. Then you go through all the important points in the order in which they appear in the present text. Alternatively, you can thematically build the main part of your essay. In this case, you also work on related aspects in the same sense section – regardless of where they appear in the original text. The best way to do that is to orient yourself on the mind map that you have prepared in preparation. From the point of view of the graphic presentation of all important points, it is often the case that a coherent structure of the main part arises. Whether you decide for the chronological or thematic structure is up to you.


Which requirements the main part has to meet in concrete terms depends on the type of article (see below).

c) conclusion

The final section is in a class of its own, because it combines the insights gained in dealing with the topic, text analysis, interpretation or characterization. Make sure that you present only findings or draw conclusions that have emerged from the main body or were discussed. Your own opinion is expressly allowed here. When an essay ends with a meaningful sentence, this leaves a good – and above all sustainable – impression on the reader. Similar to the introduction, however, the conclusion should be only a small part (also 5-10%) of the total essay.

The fine touch

If you’ve written your essay for the school, you should not submit the first version directly. Only a critical review and revision gives a text the necessary finishing touches. Read the text carefully after writing at least once (better several times with a little bit of time). Look for mistakes! This does not just apply to spelling and grammar, which can be checked with almost any word processing program and / or with the Duden. You should also improve ambiguous and bumpy phrases. Very long sentences are not recommended. They are often complicated, incomprehensible or cause the reader to lose interest. Also check the transitions between paragraphs and arguments. They should build on each other and not look like strung together.

Infobox: A helpful trick

Read the finished essay at least once aloud. When you read aloud you quickly recognize mistakes, especially grammatical errors, unsightly phrases, complicated sentences and much more. It is best to print the essay once and read from the paper version. Often there are errors that were overlooked when writing and reading on the screen.

In each essay or essay, pay attention to a varied writing style and never follow the same pattern. Incidentally, this does not only apply to the essay in the school, but basically to writing.

Here are some tips to help:

Avoid repetition of words, use synonyms, for example: Write instead of “say” sometimes “explain”, “whisper”, “assert”,”Tell”, etc.

Give up as often as possible on auxiliary verbs (“have”, “be”, “become”) and – if possible – on modal verbs like “may”, “should”, “may”, “must”, etc.

Let successive sentences always begin differently.

Avoid the juxtaposition of simplest sentences according to the pattern subject – predicate – object.

Avoid very long and nested sentences because they are hard to read and confuse. This bothers the reader, who can thereby lose interest in reading. In addition, sneaking with increasing sentence length like mistakes.

By the way: With a large vocabulary, it is easier to write varied. With a few simple tricks, you can expand your vocabulary, which will certainly benefit you in the next essay. The following exercises are ideal for expanding the vocabulary:

Read, read, read

Puns (for example Scrabble)

Form sentence variations (formulate the same sentence sometimes short, sometimes long)