How to write a short essay

Have you been given an assignment to write a short essay? Writing short essays has always been a challenge to students. You might be wondering how short an essay can be, how many paragraphs it should have. You might also wonder what percentage of your essay the introduction or conclusion should be.

This article has described the process of writing a short essay. It has given the requirements of your essay and every guideline you need to be perfect when writing short essays.

What is a short essay?

This is an essay that briefly tells of the authors opinion on a specific topic. Brief essays can be divided into formal or informal. They are employed when an author wants to express certain thoughts and opinions about some topics and themes.

Essays can be argumentative, persuasive, critic or favor, based on current life events, or explanatory. Short essays describe events that need serious consideration, organizational functions, issues with dignity etc.

Informal short essays express humor, personal lifestyle or self-revelation. They use a less formal tone and can include jokes. Informal essay topics will help to write excellent essays.

Properties of a short essay

When composing short essays, you should be brief with your points. Do not beet around the bush. Be clear as possible by presenting your point in a direct manner. Ensure usage of less words that have detailed explanations.

Instructions for writing short essays are similar to that of normal essays. The difference between these two types is their length.

A brief essay is characterized by few words and detailed meaning. You can feel the depth of the meaning presented in a short essay just by reading it. The limited number of words makes it necessary to use words that will express your idea in the best way possible.

Short essays have interesting topics. They either answer a question or discuss an argument. An author might discuss or express their own ideas. These ideas will be discussed in a shallow due to the few words required.

How long is a short essay?

This is the main question ringing in every student’s mind. You might ask how short an essay can be. A short essay may maximumly cover a whole page. In normal situations when single spaced, it covers half of a page. This is a maximum of 400 words. In some situations, it can extend to 600 words.

In every essay writing process, use catchy and interesting introductions. These helps to attract the attention of your audience. It helps them to read more of your essay.

Use short paragraphs when writing short essays. Long paragraphs are boring and might bring confusion to your readers. A short paragraph should consist of three to four sentences. These are recommended as they make you relevant and direct to your point.

Your sentences should be short. A short sentence should have a maximum of fifteen words. If your sentence must be long, use commas and transitional words. They help your reader make sense of what you are telling them.

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Short essay Format

Short essays have a unique structure that must be used. The structure consists of five paragraphs. It is divided into:

  • One paragraph introduction
  • Three body paragraphs
  • Conclusion of one paragraph

The introduction should be clear to your audience. It should not contain unnecessary words. It must explain the purpose of your essay.

Ensure your introduction captures the attention of your supervisor. It determines if your supervisor will read the rest of your essay.

The body should contain three paragraphs. Every paragraph begins with a topic sentence. A topic sentence contains the main point that will be explained in that paragraph.

You should have at least three points to discuss in your short essay. This makes it meaningful to your audience.

A conclusion should contain your main idea. It should briefly rephrase your main points. Do not include definitions in your conclusion.


This article has described how to write a short essay. It has also expounded on the short essay format, how long a short essay can be and what should be contained in a short essay.