What Are the Main Parts of an Essay?

The creation of an essay is much like the creation of a good ice cream sundae, it takes specific ingredients to be perfect. Learn the 5 parts of an essay and how to use them to craft the perfect essay for any assignment.

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What Are the 5 Parts of an Essay?

When it comes to writing an essay, you’ll follow a designated format. Knowing that format and using it to your advantage can take your essay from ‘good’ to ‘great’. Every great essay has 5 essential parts including an introduction, 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. While the structure might sound simple, including all the different elements for each part is important. Since everyone wants to get an “A” on their essay, let’s explore all the different parts in depth.

The Introduction Parts of an Essay

The introduction of your essay is the reader's first glimpse into your writing. Not only will it introduce your topic, but it provides the reader with the structure of your essay. So, it needs to grab their attention and clearly outline your arguments. It does this through using an opening hook and thesis statement. For example:

  • Opening hook: If magical realism includes fantastical elements, why isn’t it considered fantasy?
  • Thesis statement: Magical realism creates a believable blend of mundane and fantastical through real-world settings, fantastical elements, and flexible time boundaries.

Depending on the type of essay, it might also include other elements like overviewing the plot, but an opening hook and thesis statement are the two most important parts.

3 Body Paragraphs of an Essay

Body paragraphs take up most of the essay. Why? Because you use these to present and defend your arguments or thoughts. However, just like an introduction, they have a specific format to follow to ensure your essay doesn’t go all willy nilly!

Start Strong

In a traditional essay, you should have at least 3 body paragraphs. The first body paragraph is your strongest point. Then the second paragraph includes your next strongest point or argument. Follow this structure to your last body paragraph, which should present the weakest point you want to make. Using magical realism as an example, the strongest argument would be real-world settings, then fantastical elements, and finish with flexible time boundaries. Just like with a race, you want to start strong, but it is important to keep your pace throughout the entire essay.

Use Credible Research

For most essays, you’ll need to back up your theories and arguments with credible research and examples. You can have the strongest essay in the world, but if it is created entirely on fallacies without credible sources, then your beautiful words will get lost in that big fat “D” on the paper. Therefore, you’ll need to know the difference between primary and secondary sources, and how to use those resources to build your best argument.


Topic Sentences

Essays should flow like a babbling brook over rocks. To make them flow, use topic sentences. These outline what you will be discussing in the paragraph. Then, use transition words to flow from one argument to the next.

Remember, don’t be a beaver when it comes to writing. Not using transition words and topic sentences can cut off the flow of your essay just like a beaver dam.

Final Part of an Essay: The Conclusion

Since you’ve “wowed” your audience with the rest of your essay, you don’t want to give up on the conclusion. The conclusion should restate your thesis. However, it’s important not to be too obvious when restating your thesis. Still keep it creative like you did with the introduction and body paragraphs. For a conclusion example, you might end with a concluding hook that still keeps the reader thinking like, “Do you think magical realism is fantasy?” Think about your conclusion as wrapping up your essay with a beautiful bow, since it’s a present for your audience.

main parts of an essay

The Parts of an Essay

You couldn’t have an ice cream sundae with just ice cream, and you can’t have an essay with just an introduction. It takes all the parts (introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion) to make a perfect essay combination. With the parts of an essay set firmly in your grasp, you might try your hand at creating an argumentative essay or informative essay.