Writing a Short Essay: Length Tips

Writing an essay can be daunting, especially if you are unsure of the required length and structure. One common type of essay that students are often asked to write is a short essay. In this article, we will define a short essay, discuss its purpose, and provide tips on how to write an effective one.

Importance of Knowing How to Write a Short Essay

Knowing how to write a short essay is essential for students because it helps to develop their writing skills and ability to communicate ideas effectively. Short essays can also be used to assess a student’s understanding of a particular topic. Additionally, learning how to write a short essay can be useful in real-life situations, such as writing a cover letter or an email.

Writing a short essay
Short Essay

Defining a Short Essay

A short essay is a type of essay that is typically brief and concise, with a word count ranging from 250 to 500 words. The length of a short essay can vary depending on the instructor’s requirements or the essay’s purpose. Generally, a short essay is shorter than a standard essay but longer than a paragraph.

Word Count Range for a Short Essay

As mentioned earlier, the word count range for a short essay is typically between 250 and 500 words. However, some instructors may specify a different word count range, so it is essential to check the requirements carefully.

Difference Between a Short Essay and Other Types of Essays

Short essays are different from other types of essays in terms of their length and focus. A short essay is typically more concise and focused than a standard one, which may cover a broader range of topics. Short essays are often assigned to test students’ ability to express their ideas clearly and concisely, whereas longer essays may be assigned to explore a topic in more depth.

Crafting the Body Paragraphs of a Short Essay

Once you have a strong introduction, it’s time to dive into the body paragraphs of your short essay. The body paragraphs should provide detailed information and evidence to support your thesis statement.

Importance of well-structured body paragraphs

Well-structured body paragraphs are crucial for a short essay. Each paragraph should have a clear topic sentence related to your thesis statement and provide evidence or examples to support your argument. The paragraphs should flow logically and smoothly, and transitions should be used to connect ideas and create a cohesive essay.

How to organize ideas in the body paragraphs

One effective way to organize your ideas in the body paragraphs is to use the PEE (Point, Evidence, Explanation) method. This method involves making a point or claim, providing evidence to support it, and then explaining how the evidence supports the point.

For example, if you write a short essay about the benefits of exercise, you could make a point about the importance of physical activity, provide evidence in the form of research studies, and then explain how the research supports your point.

Example of a well-structured body paragraph

Here is an example of a well-structured body paragraph using the PEE method:

Point: Regular exercise has been shown to improve physical health.

Evidence: According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, people who engage in regular physical activity are less likely to develop chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Explanation: This evidence supports the point that regular exercise is essential for physical health, showing that exercise can help prevent serious health problems.

Creating a Conclusion for a Short Essay

The conclusion is the final section of your short essay and should provide closure to your argument. It should summarize the main points you have made in the essay and restate your thesis statement in a new and creative way.

Purpose of a conclusion

The purpose of a conclusion is to tie everything together and leave a lasting impression on the reader. It should provide a sense of closure and leave the reader with a final thought or idea to consider.

Tips for writing a memorable conclusion

To write a memorable conclusion, you should:

  • Summarize the main points of your essay
  • Restate your thesis statement in a new and creative way
  • Provide a final thought or idea for the reader to consider

Example of a conclusion

Here is an example of a conclusion for a short essay about the benefits of exercise:

In conclusion, regular exercise is essential for maintaining physical health and preventing chronic diseases. Individuals can improve their overall health and well-being by engaging in physical activity regularly. It’s essential for everyone to make exercise a priority in their daily lives and to reap the many benefits it has to offer.

Editing and Revising a Short Essay

After you have finished writing your short essay, it’s essential to take the time to edit and revise your work. This process will help you identify and correct any mistakes or errors in your writing and improve your essay’s clarity and organization.

Importance of editing and revising

Editing and revising are essential because they can improve the overall quality of your essay. By carefully reviewing your work and making necessary changes, you can ensure that your essay is clear, concise, and well-organized.

Strategies for editing and revising

Some strategies for editing and revising your short essay include:

  • Reading your essay out loud to identify awkward sentences or phrases
  • Using spell check and grammar check tools to identify mistakes
  • Having someone else read your essay and provide feedback
  • Taking a break from your essay and coming back to it with fresh eyes

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Short Essay

Even though a short essay may seem easier to write than a longer one, students still make some common mistakes. Here are a few mistakes to avoid when writing a short essay:

  1. Failing to follow the guidelines: Make sure to read the guidelines for the essay carefully and stick to them. If the essay needs to be 500 words, don’t write 700 words.
  2. Lack of focus: Staying off-topic when writing a short essay is easy. Stay focused on the main point and avoid adding unnecessary information.
  3. Poor organization: A short essay still needs to be organized. Make sure the essay has a clear introduction, body, and conclusion.
  4. Weak thesis statement: The thesis statement is the backbone of the essay. Make sure it’s strong and clearly states the main point.

How to Avoid Making These Mistakes

To avoid making these common mistakes, it’s important to take the time to plan and organize the essay. Create an outline and stick to it, follow the guidelines, and stay focused on the main point.


In conclusion, writing a short essay may seem easy, but it requires just as much planning and organization as a longer essay. To write a great short essay, follow the guidelines, stay focused on the main point, and avoid common mistakes. By mastering the art of writing a short essay, you’ll be able to effectively communicate your ideas concisely and compellingly.

Video Guide

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between a short essay and a long essay?

A short essay is typically between 250 and 500 words, while a long essay can be up to several thousand words.

Can I use personal pronouns in a short essay?

Yes, you can use personal pronouns in a short essay. Using personal pronouns can make the essay more engaging and personal.

Is it okay to use contractions in a short essay?

Yes, it’s okay to use contractions in a short essay. However, it’s important to use them appropriately and use them sparingly.

Can I use quotes in a short essay?

Yes, you can use quotes in a short essay. Just make sure to cite the source properly.

How do I know if my short essay is good enough?

A good short essay should have a clear thesis statement, well-organized body paragraphs, and a strong conclusion. It should also stay focused on the main point and avoid unnecessary information.

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