How to Write a Short Essay – Format, Components, and Tips

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High school and college students usually get various writing tasks. Some of them involve writing essays on various topics. Teachers also assign short essays to students in which they have to make a strong argument within a short word limit. It can certainly seem challenging to those new to it. So, learning how to write a short essay is important to express one’s thoughts clearly and concisely. When you understand how to do it, you’ll also become a sharp communicator. In short essays, you only look at the most relevant information needed to drive your point. In this article, you’ll learn the process of creating this type of academic work.

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What Is a Short Essay?

Many students are unaware of this kind of essay. When teachers assign them this work, they usually wonder what is a short essay. It refers to an academic work where the writer formulates their opinions and thoughts as per the essay structure within 500 words.

At times, the essay can be so short that it needs only 200 words. A short essay can be of various types. It is just like a regular essay. So, it can be of different kinds, like argumentative, narrative, descriptive, etc. The underlying aim behind such an essay is to enable students to express their views in the shortest form.

In these essays, students should not repeat their views and be laconic. A good one only contains relevant facts and opinions backed by strong evidence. There is no scope for any vague information in it.


How Long Is a Short Essay?

Now you know what is a short essay. After that, the next question that may crop up in your mind is about its length. This essay can be half page. It should not go more than one whole page. If you work double-spaced, the length can go up to two pages. Usually, it is not recommended to exceed above 400 words. But if the topic is deep, you can increase the length to 500.

If you are wondering how long is a short essay in terms of paragraphs, the answer is three. Generally, the text of a short essay consists of three main parts, namely, the introduction, body, and conclusion. But you can increase paragraphs if you want to prove numerous points. Then the body can have several paragraphs. However, never make your short essay more than five paragraphs long. When you receive this kind of assignment from your teacher, you will also get a specific para number. So, you don’t have to decide how many sections your essay will contain.


Some guidelines for writing a short essay

If you do not adhere to specific rules of essay writing, you won’t know how to write a short essay. Here are some of the major points you must follow for composing it.

  • The essay is not more than 500 words. Also, it does not go beyond two pages. The page number relies on the space between lines.
  • Your work should directly answer the main question that your teacher has posed.
  • It is crucial to be very precise while writing a short essay. Thus, you must understand the subject nicely.
  • The main parts of this essay will be the introduction, body, and conclusion. All of them shouldn’t go over one paragraph. The body can consist of three sections.


What Is the Short Essay Format?

Formatting is an important part of learning how to write a short essay. In this kind of essay, you should limit the words of your viewpoint. These essays have a specific structure that every student writing them should follow. Out of the three to five sections, the first one comprises an introduction. About three sections consist of the body, and the last is the conclusion part.

What Is the Short Essay Format


1. Introduction

It is an integral part of this essay. It should not exceed a para. It forms the first impression of your essay. So, writing it in an engaging manner is important. The introduction should arouse the reader’s attention. It should also tell them clearly about the topic. You should aim to write the first sentence of it in a manner that claims the urgency of the topic. End it with a statement that focuses on the chief problem. Your statement can be debatable. So, it can lead the opponents to argue with your views.


2. Body

If your essay has five paragraphs, three of them should be body paras. In this part, you put forward your major ideas and back them with evidence. In the first part, put the strongest argument and support it with relevant information. Ensure that the evidence you put contains quotations.

To make the body paras clearer, use linking words. It brings a logical flow to the entire essay.


3. Conclusion

The conclusion should not be more than a para long. Here, you demonstrate your argument and back the introductory statement. The conclusion is not a summary, and it closes the question you raised in the introductory para. Here, you’ll give the reader a new viewpoint regarding the issue. So, it should be such that the reader gets satisfied after reading it.


How to Write a Short Essay

By now, you must have understood that a short essay is very different from a long one. In the case of the latter, you can freely express your views and use as many paragraphs as you want. But in the former, you don’t have much space to elaborate your views. So, you must be very precise. All good short essay examples share the same basic requirements. They are as follows:

How to Write a Short Essay


1. Research

Finding sources that allow you to back your claims is a crucial task. But you won’t need many sources for writing a short essay. Two or three are enough. These sources must be reliable ones. So, look for reputable journals or books. Apart from that, pay attention to the date of the source. You must use current sources that are peer-reviewed. To know if a source is useful for your work, read its summary. It must contribute to some part of your essay.


2. Brainstorm

Before writing a short essay, brainstorm ideas related to it. Focus on what you want to explore. Remember that in this essay, every sentence must be short and topic-based. So, you must have a good idea of what you will be writing.


3. Outline

The next step after brainstorming is outlining. After coming up with different ideas, you must jot them down. It, in turn, will prevent you from feeling confused once you begin writing. It is more crucial to have an outline if you have to write a short essay on a broad topic. In such cases, students generally get carried away by many thoughts. So, before writing, write your views and probable counter views. Then assess your end goal and decide the data you will be covering in every section.


4. Write

After following the above steps, you won’t have to question how to write a short essay. You’ll not face many difficulties in composing it. When you have the outline and evidence, the writing part will become quite easy. But throughout the writing, keep in mind that it needs to be brief and precise. Do not keep writing about a specific point. Cover all your views quickly and concisely.


5. Edit and proofread

Never forget to edit and proofread the essay. Many students forget to proofread their work. But it is an essential part of short essay writing. So, read your text again and ensure that nothing seems rushed or ambiguous. Ask yourself if you have expressed your ideas well. Then look for any grammatical or spelling errors. You can also utilize online grammar checkers to go over your work.


Different Parts of a Short Essay

There are several components of a short essay. They include the following.

  • Length – When you are writing a short essay, you need to pay attention to its length. Since it’s a short essay, you cannot go above 200 to 500 words. If you write longer than that, it will turn into a long essay. That’s why creating an outline is important before writing. It will help you find the major points on which you can write.
  • Thesis statement – A thesis statement guides the essay. The placement of this statement depends on the length of the work. You can put it after the introduction if your essay is short. Sometimes, it’s also possible to use the thesis statement as an introductory statement. It contains words that are argumentative and describe your viewpoint to the readers.
  • Sections – A short essay has three sections, the introduction, body, and conclusion. You can devote one para each for introduction and conclusion. Usually, in short essay writing, the body part comprises 2 to 3 paras.


Why Read Short Essay Examples?

If you want to start writing short essays on your own, it’s best to go through some examples. Today, you can find various short essay examples on different topics on the internet. You can download them and go through their structure. So, it will help you to compose your own better.

You will find insights on how you should frame your argument and structure the essay. You can also see the various stylistic devices that the author uses. They will also serve as a source of inspiration for you regarding topics. But never copy-paste what you read in examples and submit it as your own. That will come under plagiarism. Use them to create your own work.


How to Write a Short Essay – Essential Tips to Use

Writing short essays is quite time-consuming. You also need good writing skills and adequate subject knowledge. Here are some of the most valuable short essay writing tips to help you compose an excellent one.


1. Always choose an exciting topic

Often, your teacher might not give you a specific topic. So, you must do enough research and find a topic that encourages you to create a good paper. You can read the latest news related to a subject and find possible ideas that you can elaborate on.


2. Know who will read your paper

You must be aware of your target audience. It is crucial to identify your readers before you begin writing. When you can identify your readers, it will be easy for you to think about counterarguments and their knowledge on the subject. So, you will write about your idea effectively.


3. Go through academic writing

You must read as many short essays as you can. Go through various academic writing samples. It will help you to get various ideas for your own work.


4. Narrow your argument

Remember that you simply cannot discuss every idea in a short essay. It would be best if you stuck to a single topic. But maintain your focus on a narrow topic rather than a vast one. Otherwise, you won’t be able to research well and deliver concise views. Narrow topics will enable you to write the essay easily.


5. Use credible sources

Your essay will naturally acquire a high quality if you use data from reliable sources. So, browse through websites that have .gov or .edu at their end. You’ll find unbiased information on these platforms. But if you are preparing your work on a journalism theme, head over to news websites like BBC.


6. Remove lengthy phrases

Never lose sight of the word limit. Using verbiage or long speech in a short essay doesn’t make sense. Take away lengthy verb phrases. Steer away from using numerous adjectives. Just keep your sentences short and crisp so you can explain a point perfectly.


Final words

After reading this article, you won’t wonder how to write a short essay. Keep the format and the major components of this type of essay in your mind. Don’t forget to make an outline before writing. If you need more help with it, take professional writing my essay help. The experts will provide you with a well-written essay that will fetch you a good score.