Learn How to Write a Short Essay

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Have your teacher asked you to submit a short essay? Do you have no idea how to write a short essay? If yes, then this blog post is for you. Especially, for your better comprehension, here we have explained in detail what a short essay means and how to compose an essay within a word limit of 200 to 500 words. Continue reading to know the short essay writing tips and follow them to come up with an effective limited-word essay.

Before moving to the overview of the short essay preparation, first, let us have a look at how the shorter essay format differs from the long essay format.

Short Essay vs. Long Essay Writing

If you are a high school or college student, then essay writing would have been one of your most common writing assignments. You may think of essay writing as an easy task. But truly, it is not when you get to know about the nuances involved in writing an essay.

Essay writing is the art of expressing an individual’s thoughts on various topics or themes through powerful words. When writing an essay, you need to be clear with your ideas and present them gracefully to attract the audience.

Generally, essay writing is of different types and formats. It can be formal or informal too. As far as long essays are concerned, you will have the privilege to express your thoughts or arguments in a broader way, but that is not the case with shorter essays.

For writing brief content, you will be given only limited space to play with, and most importantly, you will be forced to limit the word count. Also, in comparison to the long essay format, essays of shorter length need more time for crafting.

Short Essay


What is a Short Essay?

As the name indicates, short essays are essays that are written in a shorter length. Typically, their length should be around a maximum of 400 words and should not be more than one page if a single spacing is used.

When it comes to writing brief essays, restricting the content between a minimum of half a page and a maximum of 1 page is advisable. The word length can go up to 500 words, depending on your topic, and you can move up to 2 pages if you use double spacing.

The challenge of writing shorter articles is to include maximum details within limited words. Remember, the points included should be clear and catchy without deviation from the topic. When writing a limited form of content, you can include your response to an argument and can also share your own opinions about the topic.

Learn How to Write a Short Essay

Except for the length, writing a short essay is more or less similar to writing long-form content. Since you are under compulsion to restrict the word count, you can take a different approach to draft the short essay by following the below-mentioned effective ways.

  • Understand the Topic
  • Conduct Research
  • Prepare an Outline
  • Create the first draft
  • Proofread the content

Understand the Topic

If you start writing without understanding the topic, you may end up writing content irrelevant to the topic. So, first, before initiating the writing, spend some time reading and understanding the topic carefully. Reading the essay prompts in the prior will help you to define what and how you are going to write.

Conduct Research

When you are clear with the topic, research it and gain ideas from trusted resources if you are allowed to do so. To find reliable information about the topic, you can refer to printed materials or online resources.

During the research process, it is common for a person to end up with vast information. But remember, as it is a limited-word essay, you can’t include the entire ideas in your article. Narrow down the topic and discuss only the important points. To maintain the word count, you can pick a topic that has a limited scope of discussion.

For example, if you are asked to write a short essay on pollution, you can’t discuss all the types of pollution and their causes and effects. Instead, you can opt to write on one type or address the topic on a general note using limited words.

Prepare an Outline

Now with the ideas you have in hand, sketch an outline. Preparing an outline of what you are going to write will help you to maintain the word count of the article. Most importantly, you will not deviate from your assigned topic if you have a well-structured outline.

While writing an outline, identify the important points along with the possible arguments and counter-arguments supporting those points. Also, finalize what information will go under each paragraph. To make the writing process easier and to reduce your search time, add hints about the references in the outline structure. Outline preparation is one of the logical steps in the essay writing process and hence don’t skip it.

Create the first draft

Writing the content would be easy if you have a clear outline. With the outline and the references you have, prepare a first draft. Use a proper tone and expressive words in an engaging way so as to connect with the audience. The essay should be succinct, covering all the major points.

Proofread the content

Once you prepare your content, proofread it and rectify the grammatical and spelling errors if they are any. Make sure whether or not you have conveyed all the important points in the essay. You can edit the content multiple times until you are satisfied. Remember, the final draft should be perfect without any errors and should be within the word limit.

Short Essay Format

To limit the words of the essay, it is advisable to stick to a standard format. So, you can follow the five-paragraph structure that includes an introduction paragraph with a strong thesis statement, a body with 3 paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph.


Begin the essay with an engaging introduction. Your first two sentences in the introductory paragraph should hold the attention of the audience and should not force them to quit.

Make a note to provide a concise introduction with a relevant example to prove your points. Try to limit the entire introduction to one paragraph. To stay within the essay length, you can write the introductory paragraph using a maximum of 75 words.

The introduction of the essay should be informative, unique, interactive, and catchy. Clearly, give a hint of what your essay is all about by adding a thesis statement in one or two sentences at the end of the introduction paragraph. The statement of the thesis should be to the point, debatable, and ignite the opponents to argue or discuss. Don’t pick a complex statement as it may have a negative effect on your content length.


It is the place where you need to include the key ideas of the topic with appropriate examples or proof. To explain the major points, you can use up to 3 paragraphs covering the thesis statement. The first paragraph always highlights the strongest argument. Adding citations and quotes supporting the point of discussion will increase the value of your essay. For better coherence, you can use linking words and conjunction. The text should be narrated logically with a smooth flow.

When writing the body, follow the outline you have prepared so that you can stay within the word limit. The content should be sharp and specific. To fit the entire information into the essay, present the principal ideas using 2 or 3 sentences. The body of the essay should be presented in a valid format without deviating from the main theme or topic.


It is the final paragraph of your essay where you need to add the results of your analysis. Here you should provide a valid solution for the problem addressed in the introduction paragraph.

Your conclusion statement should give a new perspective to your audience about the overall subject discussed in the body of the essay. The text should be convincing and written in a single paragraph containing a maximum of 75 words. In the final sentence of the conclusion, you can add a call to action or share an advice note or insight regarding the thesis statement.

Short Essay Writing Tips

Getting ideas is easy, but selecting an important topic and organizing those ideas into a brief essay is one of the most tedious tasks. When writing a short essay, apart from following the standard essay format, you need to keep the following tips in mind to create engaging and convincing content within the word count.


Know your target audience

Every time you write an essay, before starting, get to know your target audience. You should have a clear idea of whom you are addressing your content. The writing style of an essay usually varies depending on the target audience and the topic.

For example, if your target audience is kids, then your essay should be simple and focus on the basics, but that is not the case with adults or experts. You can discuss the topic on a higher level without touching the basics depending on your target audience.

Rely only on the trusted sources

We have plenty of offline and online resources for reference. When you write an essay, never refer to blogs and unreliable websites because they will not have credible and unbiased content. For writing an authentic essay, you can check research papers, survey reports, or any reliable websites of an organization, educational institution, or news channels.

Use expressive and appropriate words

Your thoughts will be expressed properly only if you use the correct words. Your readers will sign out if your essay is blunt. So, be expressive and put forth your ideas using appropriate vocabulary. Avoid using incorrect proverbs, words, or sentences. Always stay careful while expressing your thoughts through words.

Never use filler content. To make the content authentic, you can include statistics or data relevant to the topic. For the natural flow of narration, you can use transition words and linking words.

Avoid using passive voice

When writing a succinct essay, never use passive voice as it will increase your content length. Always draft your essay in an active voice because it will help you to convey the information in a clear-cut manner.

Never use Verbiage

The usage of sentences with repetitive meanings, exaggerated words, and long sentences will usually spoil the essence of a short essay. So, to maintain the word limit, never include the superlative words, adjectives, and phrases that give hype to the content.

Avoid using an elaborative approach

The argumentative essay should be brief and to the point. You need not discuss all the aspects of the topic in an elaborate way. Narrow down the topic and highlight only the important points needed for the discussion.

Stick to relevant evidence and arguments

For a single argument, there might be multiple pieces of evidence. If you support your discussion with multiple examples or proofs, the content limit will exceed. So, choose only the relevant arguments and convincing examples while drafting a short essay.


We hope you are now clear about how to write a short essay in an impressive way. Particularly, when writing a limited-word essay try to create an impact in the minds of your readers. Also, strictly keep the content under the word count and make sure to present all the major points with valid examples. Most importantly, proofread the content before submission because faulty content will affect your overall grades.

Basically, it is not easy to write essays in a shorter format. So, keep on practicing to develop your writing skills and become a master of writing short essays.

Jacob Smith Essay Topics Reading Time: 10 minutes

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