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How to Answer a Question in Essay Form

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How to Answer a Question in Essay Form

An essay is a piece of writing on a particular subject that briefly provides arguments of the author.

What is an academic essay?

Writing academic essays requires that the writer to develop ideas coherently into a sound argument. Since the essays are fundamentally linear, it should present one idea at its time. When you are giving essay ideas, restrict your writing to those that make the most sense to readers. Successful essay structuring occurs when the writer attends to the logic by the reader.

The focus of your essay predicts the structure. When writing, you should use the structure that dictates information you want to pass to the readers and the order in which you need to present it. Your essay structure should be unique to the central claim you want to make in your writing. That is why at times writing cannot follow a set formula.

Answering an Essay Question

It is essential that you think of different sections of an essay as points to answer series of questions that your reader could be asking after reading the thesis statements. A thesis statement reveals your ideas in one sentence or two. It should present a topic of your paper and comments on your position regarding the topic. It plays an important role in guiding your writing, focusing arguments to support your position and inform readers what your paper is about.

It is helpful that you think about how different section of an essay should answer the questions that your reader may ask at the beginning of the piece. The best writing is that which prompts readers to have questions. If your essay does not make a

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Questions That an Essay Answers


This is the first question you anticipate from a reader. Ask yourself if you have evidence showing that thesis describes a real phenomenon. You answer the question by examining evidence to define that which demonstrates the truth of your claims. The demonstration is "what" and it should be apparent early in the essay usually following the introduction without anything in between. This part describes your observation and it is the point where you have much to write about when beginning to write.

The first part of your writing showing the "what" should not exceed a third of the entire content. The best essay even takes less than a third. If you exceed a third, your essay lacks balance and turns to a description or a mere summary.


A reader may also want to know whether the claims of your thesis are true for all cases. The matching question is "how" whose purpose is to determine the way a thesis stands up to challenges of counterarguments. This section should appear after answering the "what." It responds to complicated questions from the reader. Keep it in mind that your essay can complicate the argument depending on the length and that a counterargument on its own can fit anywhere in the text.

An essay should have at least one section on "how." You should determine the best way of answering the how by determining in if something affects the claims you make by introducing:

  • Introducing new material
  • A new way to look at the evidence
  • Another set of sources


Why question when the reader wants to know what is at stake in the claim. This question should address the largest implications of the thesis and the reason why your interpretation of a fact should matter to others. It enables the reader to understand your work within a larger context. When you answer “why”, you explain the significance of your essay. The best part to answer the question is at the end although it does not bar gesturing of this question in the introduction. A failure to explain the why leaves the readers in suspense. They will see your essay as incomplete, narrow or pointless.

Essays perform different roles. They introduce an argument, analyze data and raising counterarguments. Introduction and conclusion have a fixed place, but other parts can fit anywhere. For example, your counterargument can appear as a free-standing section, a paragraph, as a part of your beginning or before the end.

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