20 important questions to consider when writing an essay

Updated Nov 9, 2022

1. Who is your audience?

Every writer should consider their audience when writing. However, when writing for your own blog or website, it is important to understand who you are writing for.

Your audience may be an individual, a specific group, or a larger group. Your writing should be based on what they are looking for and what they are seeking out. For example, if you are writing a blog post about how to lose weight, you may be targeting people interested in losing weight.

However, you may also be targeting people who are interested in writing, as you may be writing on the topic of losing weight and writing at the same time.

Every writer should always consider their audience, as you want to provide them with the best material possible.

2. What is the purpose of your paper?

I’ve seen some pretty funny responses to this question, but you’ll get a better grade if you provide the instructor with a purpose statement that’s clear, concise, and logical. In other words, give your instructor an answer they can understand.

You could simply say that you’re writing a persuasive essay in order to convince readers to adopt your viewpoint. If you’re writing a research paper, you could say that you’re providing evidence to support a claim, or that you’re trying to answer a specific question. If you’re writing a memoir or a novel, you could say that you’re telling a story or creating characters that readers can relate to.

As long as your purpose statement is clear and logical, you’ll get points for providing the instructor with a response that they can understand and relate to.

3. What is the main argument or point you are trying to make?

The question of “What is the main argument or point you are trying to make?” is one of the most popular questions from an editor, reviewer, and reader. It’s also one of the most difficult to answer. When writing an essay, article, or book, we tell ourselves that we want to write about X. We believe that X is the problem, and we’re the hero who has discovered the solution. Then, we get stuck when we start writing and realize that the solution we’re presenting isn’t actually a solution at all. We have no idea how to fix X! Then, we panic, and we start to think that maybe X isn’t the problem after all. We think maybe we’ve misunderstood the problem or misdiagnosed it. This is why the question of “What is the main argument or point you are trying to make?” is so difficult to answer. Because we’re moving the goalposts as we write. We discover new problems and new solutions as we write, so the answer to the question changes over time.

For example, let’s say I write a book about how to manage your email. I tell myself that the main argument is that you can’t manage your email if you have to check it all the time. So, I need to show readers how to batch their email so that they can leave it for blocks of time. Then, I start writing, and I discover that many people have multiple email addresses, so they can check one address for personal and one for work. So, I need to teach people how to manage multiple accounts. Then, I discover that people use Gmail, Outlook, and other types of email, so I need to explain how to manage all of these different types. Then, I discover that some people don’t want to give up their email access because they rely on it for work. So, I need to explain how to set a boundary between work and personal email. The goalposts keep moving, and the main argument changes as I write.

The lesson is that you don’t need to know exactly what your main argument is before you start writing. Because you’re likely to discover things along the way. The important thing is to start writing and see where the story takes you. Use writing to clarify your thinking.

4. What evidence or examples will you use to support your argument?

When you’re writing an argumentative essay, you must use evidence to back up your argument. That evidence can take the form of statistics, examples, or expert opinion. The key is to make sure that your reader understands exactly why your argument is valid and true. Evidence is the key to making that connection with your reader, so be sure to use it!

For example, let’s say you’re writing an argumentative essay about why college athletes should be paid. You might use statistics to show how much money the university is making off of these athletes, and how little these athletes are getting for all of their hard work and effort. You could also use examples of other college athletes who were paid and how their performance improved as a result. Or, you could use expert opinion, with quotes from college athletic directors and coaches who support paying college athletes. All of these examples are forms of evidence, and they all help to make your argument stronger and more persuasive.

5. How well do you know the subject matter?

No matter what you’re writing about, whether it’s a book or a blog post, you should always do your research beforehand. When it comes to writing engaging content, it’s important to look beyond just Wikipedia and use other sources as well. Using multiple sources not only makes your writing more credible, but it also helps you find new information that you might not have known about otherwise.

For example, say you’re writing a blog post about “how to declutter your home.” If you just used Wikipedia as your only source, you would only know information related to the topic of decluttering. But if you used multiple sources and looked at related topics like “how to organize your home,” you would learn about different ways to organize your home and different tools that can help you do so.

6. What are the counterarguments or opposing view points?

To write an effective counter-argument, you must first understand the opposing viewpoint’s main points and how it differs from your argument. Next, you must address the main points of the opposing argument in a logical, factual manner, and support your counterargument with more evidence or facts. Finally, you must wrap up your counterargument in a way that segues into your original argument.

When writing a counterargument, it is important to remember that your writing should address the opposing argument directly, and not just be a list of arguments that you like better. Your counterargument should address the opposing argument’s main points, not just the points that are easy for you to refute.

7. How will you refute them?

This is a question that requires you to think about your opponent and what they’re saying. If you can refute their argument, you’ll be able to support your own and win the argument. Even if you don’t, knowing what the other person is saying can help you prepare for the conversation. If you know what they’re saying, you can prepare counter-arguments or ask more questions to help you understand their perspective more. So, try to think about what the other person is saying, and what you can say to refute that. Then, you can use that to help you in your own argument!

8. What is your thesis statement?

Always be open to suggestions and feedback. I have been a freelancer writer for over 15 years and have never once written an article that did not have to be revised at least once. I have learned over the years that when approaching the writing of a thesis statement that consensus is key. When you are writing a thesis statement, you are opening up your thoughts and ideas to be critiqued by your editors and by your readers.

When you begin your writing process, make sure that your editors know what your thesis statement is and what your thoughts are on the topic at hand. You may be surprised to see that your editors see things from a different perspective than you, and when they do, they are trying to bring the best version of your work out, and by including them in the writing process, you are opening yourself up to their feedback and ideas, which in turn, makes for a better thesis statement and overall piece of writing.

9. Is it clear and concise?

Read your content out loud. This will help you determine if your content is clear and concise. When you read your content, you want it to flow easily. Your writing should sound natural and not forced. If you can’t read it out loud without stumbling over your words, it’s not clear and concise. Make sure your content is easy to understand and doesn’t have a lot of unnecessary words or phrases. If you can’t read it out loud without stumbling over your words, it’s not clear and concise.

10. Does it accurately reflect the main points of your paper?

Readers want to know that your argument is logical and organized. Do you jump around too much, or not enough? Do you use subheadings and transitions effectively, or do you rely too much on paragraph breaks? Think about how you used your space to create a clear argument and then make sure that your paper actually accomplishes that.

The easiest way to check this is by comparing your word count to your actual paper. If you have 2,500 words but you feel like you said a lot more, you might need to add more subheadings or add more information to a few of your existing ones. If you have too many words and not enough headings, you may need to split some of your longer paragraphs or remove a few altogether.

11. Have you chosen the right words to convey your ideas?

Writing is a process, and you should never think that what you have written is perfect and complete because you will always find ways to improve it. You will learn new words, better ways to say things, and more effective ways to explain topics. Even if you already feel satisfied with your writing, keep working and improving because there is always something else to learn.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you don’t know what word to use, ask someone else. If you want feedback on your writing, ask someone else. If you are confused about something, ask someone else. There is no such thing as asking too many questions.

12. Are your sentences clear and free of errors?

The best way to make sure your writing is clear and free of errors is to read it out loud. When you read it out loud it helps you to focus on the rhythm and flow of your writing. Reading it out loud also helps you to catch spelling and grammatical errors because you’re more focused on what you’re reading.

Also, reading your writing out loud helps you to make sure that you’re using the right words to convey your message. Sometimes when you’re just reading your writing silently, it can be easy to miss mistakes or not be as clear with your message. By reading it out loud you have a better chance of making sure that your writing is clear and free of errors.

13. Is your paper well-organized?

A well-organized paper must have a clear beginning and end. A paper’s beginning should set the context of the paper. The middle should address the main argument and the end should tie up any loose ends and provide the paper with a final conclusion that supports the main argument. The paper is organized to help the reader follow the argument and understand the paper’s thesis.

A well-organized paper should have a clear and logical structure. A paper’s introduction should do more than just state the topic of the paper. It should provide context, set the tone, and make a clear argument for the paper’s thesis. The body should address the main argument, include relevant evidence, and support the argument with a logical progression. Finally, the conclusion should restate the main argument, restate the paper’s thesis, and provide a sense of closure for the reader.

14. Does it flow smoothly from one point to the next?

Flow is important to a good essay, but not at the expense of a unique voice. If you’re trying to go back and add transitions, you may be tempted to add transitions that are too similar to your original writing. This can sound unna##tural and draw the reader out of your essay. Instead, focus on what makes your voice unique and how you can better use it to guide your reader through your arguments.

Remember that your essay is a reflection of your thoughts and ideas, not just a reflection of your ability to follow a format or write in a certain style. If you’re having trouble making your essay flow, take a step back and make sure that you haven’t lost your voice in the process.

15. Are your transitions effective?

This is a tough question. One way to answer it is to show the piece in progress to a few people and get their feedback. You can loop them in over a few rounds of edits, with the last round being the one you show to the questioner. Most people I know are happy to give feedback on something they’re reading if they know it’s a work in progress.

But you can also consider the question on your own. What are some things you do to move smoothly from one idea to the next? That’s a good start. Ask yourself, as you read your own piece, if you’re confused by the transitions. If so, what might you do to make them clearer?

16. Have you included an introduction and conclusion?

Since these sections usually carry the most weight in a writing assignment, it’s important that writers are able to make these sections meaningful and engaging. The introduction should set up the topic and the conclusion should summarize the topic with a call to action. For example, if the topic was about how to travel in style, the introduction would be about the importance of traveling and what it means to travel in style. The conclusion would be about the tips of traveling in style and how one can do so.

Including an introduction and conclusion is crucial because these sections help the reader understand and remember the topic. If the introduction and conclusion are not well written, then the entire body of work could fall apart.

17. Do they accurately preview and summarize the main points of your paper?

The reviewer should be able to get a good grasp of your paper’s important points, so this is a good place to start. Your introduction and conclusion are likely the most important parts of your paper and should be written with that in mind, so this is a great place to start the preview and summary process. The reviewer should be able to understand the purpose of your paper, why it is important, and where it fits in the current literature. Start there and work your way through your paper in a way that gives the reviewer a comprehensive overview of your work.

18. Have you proofread your paper for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors?

Grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors do not have to be a cause for concern, especially if you have a solid understanding of the English language. If you have any experience as a writer, it is likely that you have proofread your own work. This is because you understand the language and grammar rules. You know what mistakes to look for and how to correct them. When asked this question, it is important to point out your experience as a writer and your understanding of the English language. This will help your employer to see that you are the perfect candidate for the job.

19. Have you cited all of your sources?

If you’re writing a college research paper, you’ll be required to cite your sources. As a writer, you should be aware of the different citation styles and choose the one that’s best suited to your needs. Do your research on which style is most commonly used in your field. By doing this you’ll be able to save time and effort by following a format that’s already been used effectively by others in your niche.

There are several different citation styles to choose from, including the Chicago Manual of Style, the American Psychological Association (APA), the Modern Language Association (MLA), and the American Medical Association (AMA). The best way to learn which style is most appropriate for your writing is to ask your professor or do some research online.

20. Have you checked for plagiarism?

This is a difficult question for every writer who wants to get their work published in reputable journals and magazines. There is little doubt that these days it is much easier to search for an article’s text somewhere on the internet, rather than write it from scratch.

This is why it is important to convince the editor that your work is unique and that you have not copied it from anywhere else. It is essential to provide evidence that you have carried out a thorough, independent research, conducted interviews with experts and participants, and used your own analytical skills. In addition, it is advisable to write about your personal experience of researching the topic or producing this kind of work in the past, in order to convince the editor that you are an experienced writer.

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