Top 20+ Essay Terms Explained

Some students, especially those who are naturally good at writing, underestimate the significance of terminology. This often results in their misinterpreting the topics and delivering pieces of writing that are poorly structured, incoherent, or irrelevant. 


To avoid these problems, it’s crucial to remember that an essay is a form of academic writing – therefore, it has to answer specific criteria and adhere to academic standards. To understand these standards, one has to know the main principles of essay writing as well as the leading essay terms. 


Even if you are one of those students who consider writing to be their weakest point, learning terminology can help you improve your grades. Alternatively, you can use a write my essay for me by request to achieve a guaranteed result. But it’s always good to know you can also do the task without help!   


So, Should I Learn the Terms By Heart?

No, you are not obliged to learn every essay term by heart if you don’t want to. Instead, you might prefer to bookmark this article and consult it every time you feel uncertain about the meaning of some words or phrases. 


Yet again, you can choose to delegate your writing tasks for whatever reason – for example, if you are too busy at work or overwhelmed with the amount of homework. If you go for this option, be sure to read essay writing services reviews to avoid scammers and pick a reliable service that will not put your academic reputation at hazard. 


In any case, it’s still necessary to have a general idea of what the main essay terms mean. This will have you covered when there’s no safety blanket available – for example when you’re sitting an exam. 

General Essay Terms 

Understanding the topic is an essential part of the essay writing process. However, it’s not always easy to get the meaning straight because essay questions typically contain specific terms. 


To ensure you understand the task, you need to know the exact meaning of each term. The following list explains the most common ones. 



Break down the issue and discuss each part separately, providing supporting arguments and evidence. Indicate how these parts relate to one another. 



Weigh upon the value or importance of something. Provide your argument and support it with evidence. Discuss the strong and weak points and conclude by stating to what extent you agree with the original statement. 



Make something more straightforward, simplify it without altering the meaning. For example, explain a complex concept in different words to make it more understandable. 



Point out and discuss the similarities between given subjects. Decide whether some of these similarities are more important than others and draw conclusions.



Identify the differences between given subjects and point out the most significant ones. Draw your own conclusions. 


Note that “compare,” and “contrast” commonly appear together in essay questions. 



Give a precise meaning of something in a clear, concise manner. Provide different interpretations or underscore the limitations of your definition in a given situation. 



Give a detailed narrative on how or why something happens. I.e., describe the stages of the process or give the main features/characteristics of something.  


(Critically) Evaluate 

State your opinion regarding the truthfulness or merits of a statement/argument. Provide your analysis of the information mentioning both sides of the debate. Back up your stance with a lot of evidence and arrive at a conclusion.  



Give a detailed account of how or why something happens or what something means in a particular context. When explaining something, be clear and concise. 



Provide concrete examples (quotations, statistics, etc.).  



Give your clear explanation to demonstrate how you understand what something means or how it works. 



Use evidence and reasoning to support your point of view. To make your arguments more sound, consider presenting opinions that run contrary to yours before making a conclusion. 



Define the main points without going into too much detail. 



Provide facts and views on the subject, looking deeply into the matter. Analyze important parts and give your overall critical assessment.  



Give a brief account picking the main points and leaving out the details. Provide references and general examples to back up your claims. 

Terms Related to Essay Structure 

Another critical part of essay planning is outlining the structure. That process requires a thorough understanding of many specific terms, too. If you want to write your essays quickly and effectively, continue reading to learn these terms and their definitions. 



The introduction is the opening part of an academic paper. Its purpose is to engage the readers, introduce the topic and state your opinion (stance). 


An introduction must contain the following parts:

  • Hook
  • Background information
  • Thesis statement



A hook is a catchy sentence related to the topic and grabs the reader’s attention. 


Thesis Statement 

It’s a concise statement summarizing the whole paper’s main idea/point/message. 


Main Body 

The central part of the essay. Typically contains several body paragraphs which, in turn, include the following elements: 


  • Topic sentence
  • Argument
  • Evidence 
  • Summary 



An argument is a statement related to the initial stance. It is used to persuade the readers to support your view and should be backed up with evidence. 



The body of information – typically, facts from reliable sources – is used to support or contradict an argument. 



A summary provides a brief account of the main points of the whole paragraph. 



The final part of an academic paper – summarizes the main ideas and relates the initial topic to a broader agenda. 


A typical conclusion consists of the following parts:

  • Restatement of the thesis statement 
  • Summary of the key point of the paper
  • Concluding thoughts


Wrapping Up 

These were the most common terms used in essay writing. You can choose to memorize them or bookmark the list and consult it whenever necessary!


In any case, understanding the exact meaning of each term will help you become significantly better at essay writing – and drastically improve your grades. 

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