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How To Write A Short Essay

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What is a Short Essay?

Just as the name suggests, a short essay that’s written in short. A short essay is defined by its depth of ideas and length. The limited number of words in a short essay means you can’t go deeper into your coverage. Typically, a short essay should cover between half-a-page and one page. In rare cases can a short essay reach two pages. A short essay should not be more than 400 – 500 words in length. This article will give you a full guide on how to write an A+ short essay.

The guidelines for writing short essays are the same as those for long essays. A short essay can be used by a tutor to find out whether the students have understood some concepts in their courses or to gauge their understanding of the entire course.

The length of an essay is important to consider before you attempt the essay. As a student, you need to understand the difference between a long essay and a short one. The need for this is to enable you to respond to the essay question correctly and not lose marks because of its length. You don’t need to risk losing marks; you can order essays online to save you the hustle. In this post, though, we look at how to write a short essay. Do you want to learn how to write a short essay? Read on.

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Features of Short Essay 

Limited Word Count

Short essays should have between 400 to 500 words, though some tutors allow up to 650 words. In terms of pages, a short essay should not exceed two pages. However, the number of pages will depend on the spacing between lines and the font size.

Be Clear From The Beginning

Since the essay is short, you need not waste words. The idea you are propagating should be clear to the reader right from the beginning and each word must contribute to this idea. 

Catchy Topic

Even if the essay is short, you still need to attract the reader to read it. You can only do this by having a catchy topic.

Must Answer the Question

An essay must answer a particular question. If a topic is given to you, you must first understand it, then write a precise answer to it. 

The Introduction Should be One Paragraph

The introduction of a short essay should equally be short. This way, it will leave you with enough words to answer the question adequately.

The Difference Between a Long Essay and a Short Essay 

The main difference between a short and long essay is the number of words and the number of pages. 

In long essays, you have the freedom to express yourself fully. That’s why you can use up to 3,000 words or more. It can cover more than three pages. On the other hand, short essays are limited in the number of words and depth of coverage. A short essay should be around 400 – 500 words (half a page to two pages) in length.  Check the differences below.

Number Of Words

The number of words is one of the most crucial aspects that determine the length of an essay. Typically, a short essay will be anything below 800 words in total. This means that a short essay may rank from a single paragraph of fewer than 20 words to a longer format of writing up to 800 words. 

A long essay, on the other hand, is any essay typically above 800 words in total. Long essays can go up to 5,000 words or more depending on the topic the writer is handling. For example, academic and research institutions will publish long version essays of 2,000 words or longer. 

Number Of Pages 

We can also use the number of pages to determine whether we have a long or short essay. A short essay will typically range between one and two pages. A long essay, on the other hand, will have three or more pages. 

However, the number of pages can vary depending on the type of font used and the line spacing between the sentences. Certain line spacing, such as double spacing, can elongate a simple 500-word essay into a three-page essay, especially if the font is large as well. 

Components of a Short Essay 

A standard short essay has a specific structure that includes the introduction, thesis, main body, and conclusion. Since you are writing a short essay all these components should be one paragraph each except the main body which should be three paragraphs. Let’s look at what each component comprises. 


It is in the introduction where the reader will get the first impression of what your essay is all about. It is the part that helps the reader to form an opinion about your essay. You should therefore make it as attractive as possible. It should hook the reader to your essay. Use about five sentences in this section. Make it catchy, informative, and concise. Use the first sentence to portray how urgent the problem is. Use it to persuade the reader to continue reading. 


Your last sentence in the introduction is what’s referred to as the thesis. It connects the introduction to the main body of the essay. This means it must focus on the problem to be discussed. Make your thesis to be a debatable statement so it can motivate the reader to continue reading and find out your position about the topic. By reading the thesis, the reader should be able to figure out what your central idea is. For this reason, you should make it as clear as possible.

Main Body

A well-structured short essay has a five-paragraph format. The main body must have three paragraphs. The other two are left for introduction and conclusion.

You should arrange your paragraphs such that your strongest point comes in the first paragraph. This will make the reader form a positive opinion about your essay. It is also important to have quotations to support your evidence to make them look more reliable. 

Don’t forget to cite your quotation according to the requirements of the format. Remember to use linking words and conjunctions to make your essay flow. Make sure your narration is logical, with ideas appearing gradually and changing harmoniously from one to the next. 


The conclusion is where you present the results of your analysis. In the conclusion, you wrap up your ideas in summary form. You can try to paraphrase the main ideas from the body of your essay. Remember, a conclusion isn’t just a summary of the main points, it’s actually a synthesis. In this part, you must respond to the question you raised in the introduction. The aim here is to provide your professor with your view on the topic. Use this part to justify your argument to make your readers satisfied with your point of view. 

Step-by-Steps Process on How to Write a Short Essay

By far, there is no major difference between the writing process for a long and short essay. As with a typical essay, you will follow these steps in writing a short essay. 


Writing an essay may also require that you include your personal opinion about the discussion topic. In this case, you’ll have to brainstorm to come up with your points to back your arguments. Your points must focus on the topic and help build up your argument. You can also brainstorm if you are required to come up with the topic. Brainstorming requires that you sit somewhere quiet and think critically. 


Research is important for any essay that you write.

Researching simply means looking for relevant and credible sources to get information for your essay. Fortunately, since you’ll be writing a short essay, you’ll not need many sources; two to three sources will suffice. The sources can be books, respectable journals, peer-reviewed publications/papers, or even credible websites like those of government/government agencies. 

Your sources must have current information. You can check the dates of publication, the summary, or the abstract to judge when they are resources worth relying on. Above all, make sure each resource contributes something to your essay. 

You will also need to organize the data to elaborate on the ideas you have in your essays. Compared to a long essay, however, a short essay will require less research.

Short essays do not go deep into a concept, and therefore extensive research is not necessary. Nevertheless, you will need to present factual information in your essay and back it up with citations and references to be free from plagiarism.

Determine Your Thesis Statement 

You will need to take some time to determine what topic you will write about before starting your short essay. As a writer, you will first need to understand what the essay question is and then formulate your thesis statement before moving to the next step. 


After brainstorming, it’s natural that you come up with an outline of your essay. An outline is important since it will help you logically arrange your ideas. The first step is to write your ideas down then figure out how to arrange them. You can also write down all your arguments and counterarguments briefly. As you do this, focus on your final goal and pick what information you feel should go into which paragraph. 

Writing Process 

Once you have your research organized, the next step is the actual writing. Short essays, due to their length, require less time writing. Since they are less demanding in terms of the writing process, this offers a chance to write an impressive essay. 

As you write, you must always remember you are writing a short essay. So you must ensure your points fit well within the recommended word count. So you must be concise and brief. Cover all points succinctly and quickly. 

A short essay will also follow the normal essay format of an introduction, body, and conclusion. The only difference will come in the length of these sections. Each section will be much shorter, and therefore the writer needs to present his or her point with clarity. 

Writing the introduction

The first section of your paper will be the introduction. It is the most relevant as it needs to help your reader understand the topic. Therefore, you should explain your subject and let the reader know what to expect at the end of reading your essay.

Your introductory paragraph will determine whether the reader will be prompted to read further. Therefore, make it provocative or arguable to make your discussion engaging. You can do this by stating an unpopular opinion, facts, or statistics.

Writing the thesis

The last two sentences of your introduction should state your thesis statement. Your thesis statement is your stand on the topic and is the main argument you will prove through your essay’s body section.

The introduction section should comprise one paragraph of not more than 75 words.

Writing the body

The body is the part of the essay that contains the main ideas plus the supporting facts or evidence. Paragraphs make it easier to read essays and articles. Each paragraph should deal with a particular point.

Writing the conclusion

This is the last section of your essay. It summarizes the main ideas you have discussed in your paper. You can discuss your research problem. What were your findings? Did they support your thesis statement or not? What further recommendations can you suggest for people willing to research on the same topic? Your conclusion should not introduce anything new and should be 75 words or less.

Ask someone else to go through your draft

When you are done writing your essay, it is time to go through it to see if your ideas flow cohesively. Since it is hard to notice your mistakes, ask someone else to go through and edit your draft. Once they bring it back, note the recommended suggestions and make changes.

Editing A Short Essay

Short essays welcome more scrutiny from examiners, especially for grammar and proofing mistakes. The assumption is that a shorter essay requires less effort, and therefore the writer should have enough time to polish it after writing. 

It is, therefore, important to take the time to read through your short essay once completed. Additionally, it helps if you can read the essay aloud as you proofread it. By doing this, your eyes can pick out any mistakes that your brain may miss. 

 As you edit, focus on; the tense, relevance of content, and your sources.

First, you should write your essay using active voice. Try to change any sentences that are in the passive to the active voice. Also, ensure you use short sentences of less than ten words for readability.

Second, go through your essay evaluating the relevance of the content. Each word in your sentence should make sense. Therefore, remove any filler words or fluff. Avoid adding extra words to meet the word count because it could lead to scoring low grades.

Lastly, ensure the sources you have used when writing your sources are credible and relevant to your topic. Therefore, go through your sources, and ask yourself if they are directly related to your topic. If not, do away with them. If you are exhausted from writing you can have an essay editing service to help you proofread

Tips to Follow While Writing a Short Essay

Writing essays isn’t easy, even if it’s a short one. This is because the rules guiding the writing of long essays are the same rules guiding the writing of short essays. The following tips highlight how to write a short essay that can earn you good marks. 

Identify Your Topic Carefully

If your professor gives you the freedom to choose a topic, do so carefully. The secret is to choose a topic you can enjoy writing about. It should be thoughtful and interesting so the readers will also enjoy reading it. If you have a question that has been disturbing your mind, you can make it your topic so you can learn more about it. 

You’ll definitely achieve success because you’ll enjoy not only researching the topic but also writing the essay. When you choose a topic that interests you, the reader will detect how passionate you are writing about it and he/she will get hooked and move along with you. Don’t choose a topic just because it’s popular. If you aren’t passionate about it, you’ll get stuck on the way. 

Narrow Down Your Argument

Since you are writing a short essay, you need to focus more on the topic and narrow down your arguments. Since you’ll only have a limited number of words, you have to ensure your arguments are concise. You’ll not have the freedom to go very deep with your arguments, so you have to pick what you believe matters most in advancing your argument. 

Always Use Reliable Sources

There are many sources of information, both print and online. Not all these sources are reliable. Some are not well researched while others are based on heresy. A reliable source of information must be current, relevant, accurate, and authoritative. Some of the best sources of information are books authored by qualified professionals, peer-reviewed publications, government websites/publications, etc. 

Be Careful with Vocabulary

The words you use when writing your essay matters a lot. First of all, the words need to be simple and easy to understand. Don’t use jargon or colloquialisms that make your essay difficult to understand. When you have to use a technical term, make sure you provide a definition or an explanation of the word. Above all, make sure your spelling is correct to avoid confusion.

Remove Fluff from Your Essay

Filler words don’t add any value to your essay. When writing a short essay, you must be very economical with your words. Try to use as few words as possible to present your argument. Learn how to use single words to replace many words in a sentence. 

Use Active Voice

Using an active voice can do a lot to your essay. Active voice will make you use fewer words to express yourself. It also helps to create a faster-moving narrative, making writing easier and reading more engaging. Active voice will clean up your sentences and help you prevent grammatical mistakes. It will also help create a stronger connection between the reader and the essay. Active voice will also make your essay sound more authoritative. 

Use Relevant Arguments Only

Just like picking relevant sources of information, your argument should also be relevant. Don’t stray away from the topic. Doing so will make you waste a lot of words. Remember, short essays should be concise and direct to the point. 

Final Thoughts 

Short essays present challenges to students especially in terms of organizing ideas. To ensure that you write a short essay that scores highly, make an effort to be straightforward when explaining your points. Avoid using too many words to explain something that requires just a few words.

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An Example Of How To Write A Short Essay

How To Write A Short Essay

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How to write a short essay of 250 words

Here are simple steps you need to follow to write an essay of 250words
1. Ensure to include important points only, which should be clear and specific.
2. Avoid too much argumentation and answer the main question only
3. Ensure you write your outline before beginning your essay.
4. Ensure you proofread your work severally to have minimal or no errors.

How to write a short essay about yourself

We advise you to use the following tips to write a short essay about yourself
1. Avoid too much vocabulary, and write your essay in simple words.
2. Ensure to follow the prompt offered if there exists one.
3. The setting and the plot of your story should be qualitative.

Which is the best way to write a short essay?

The best way to write a short essay is to start by picking a catchy topic. The topic should also be interesting to you. You can then conduct your research using reliable sources. Next is to brainstorm to get the topics you’ll include in your essay. Once you have everything in place, you can come up with an outline of your essay then start writing. After writing, proofread and edit your essay to eliminate errors. 

What should you avoid when writing a short essay?

When writing a short essay, avoid writing long and irrelevant sentences. Other things you should avoid include a poor choice of vocabulary, using wrong quotations, using complicated sentences, not being consistent in your argument, writing without a structure, and forgetting to edit and proofread your final essay, among others.

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