Writing a 400-word essay is common in college assessments and sometimes a compulsory requirement when applying for a scholarship. A lot of students struggle to put together their ideas in such a short essay due to inadequate guidance and proper planning. We have previously discussed how to write a 300-word essay, which basically differs from a 400-word essay by an extra paragraph. Therefore, the idea is very similar. The goal of this particular writing is to condense all the ideas into about one and a half pages while still following the basic structure of essay writing. We have prepared a detailed guideline to help you through this essay writing challenge.
When prompted to write a 400-word essay, consider following these steps to achieve desirable results.
Two scenarios will be presented to you before writing the essay. The first is that you will be working with a predetermined topic, and the second is that the essay will be open for you to choose a topic. If the topic is predetermined, you may not need this step. However, if you are required to identify the topic on your own, then this step becomes critical.
Make sure you explore as much as possible before settling down on a topic. Choose a topic you can relate well with. Brainstorming a range of topics with the ideas you have for each is important at this stage as it will give you a clue about which topic you have more content for. Feel free to use all available resources including the library and the internet to research the topic ideas before choosing the one that fits you best.
The thesis statement should always appear in your introductory paragraph. A good thesis provides information on how you will interpret the subject and helps to respond to questions directly asked to you if you are presenting. In most cases, a thesis statement is usually a single sentence but can at times be more than one. Remember, the aim is to make a claim that other people can dispute or agree with.
Writing an outline is a perfect way to organize your thoughts. It helps you not to leave out anything important and at the same time gives you a chance to eliminate unnecessary ideas. In fact, instructors may at times ask you to submit your outline separately; therefore, make sure you always have an outline.
Once you have the topic, thesis statement, and outline figured out, you are in the right position to begin writing the introduction of your essay. Make sure the introduction is catchy and easy to understand. The introduction lets the reader know more about the topic and also motivates the reader to keep going and get hooked on the essay. Insert your thesis at the end of the introduction paragraph.
In your body paragraphs, having topic sentences and smooth transitions helps in making your 400-word essay fleshy and interesting. The topic sentence should come first in every paragraph and should serve to engage the reader. For instance, you can use a statistic, quote, or paraphrased idea to catch the attention of the reader. The topic sentences should relate back to the thesis statement. On reading your topic sentence, the readers should be interested to go through the whole paragraph and find out more about it.
It is important to use transitions within the body paragraphs to ensure your essay flows smoothly. Your essay should appear to be a collection of well-connected ideas and not just a bunch of sentences thrown anyhow to form paragraphs.
A good essay needs a summary. Therefore, sum up your ideas in one paragraph. Appeal to your readers’ emotions and ensure you include a closing statement or sentence.
For the purpose of elaborating this guide, I have chosen to write a 400-word essay on the topic “Businesses should not hire employees for their entire lives”
Every essay needs an introduction to provide a heads-up of what your topic is about. In this section, you need to familiarize your readers with the whereabouts of the topic and get them hooked on the essay. That said, a powerful introduction will make your readers develop an interest in reading through to the end of your essay. On the contrary, a poor introduction will make readers uninterested in the entire essay. To make the introduction more appealing, consider including a sensible fact, quote, or opinion in the beginning sentence.
Based on the selected topic, here is an example of a sensible fact to begin the introduction:
Employees are the backbone of any business and ultimately determine its success or failure.
This is a factual statement that anyone who reads can approve to be true. It also relates to the topic closely. So, the reader will be interested in getting to know if indeed employees are so important to a business, then why should they not be hired for life?
You may then proceed to broadly relate it with the topic in the next two or three sentences and end your introduction with a thesis statement. You should have about 60-80 words in the entire introduction section.
Check out the example below:
A 400-word essay is short and will typically require two body paragraphs to be complete. Body paragraphs are the most important sections because they serve to elaborate your ideas in a manner that will validate your arguments. To balance the paragraphs and their ideas, you will need to have anywhere between 100-150 words for each. It is important to arrange your body paragraphs using a three-sequence structure as detailed below:
- Topic Sentence-Always start your body paragraph with a strong hook sentence that provides clear detail of what the paragraph will be about. Note that everything else that follows should be linked to the topic sentence in one way or another.
- Analysis/Commentary-In the next 3-6 sentences, provide information in form of evidence, statistics, or data, that will back up your topic sentence. Here, you are highly encouraged to use direct quotes or paraphrase ideas from credible sources and remember to properly cite them. You can also add examples if necessary to support your ideas. Use words such as in addition to, furthermore, or in spite of to bridge the gap in thoughts. (see a list of transitional words here)
- Summary-Provide an overall recap of the entire paragraph and a transition to the next. This can be merged in one sentence or split to two depending on how well it will articulate the ideas. The whole point is to make the reader understand that you are closing one concept and moving to another.
It is the section where you sum-up what you have been talking about in the essay without adding new facts. For a good conclusion, restate the thesis and then pick what you feel is important in the essay and put it together in a brief re-write. Just like the introduction, the conclusion should also be about 60-80 words long.
Here is an example:
Full 400 Word Essay Example
Businesses should not hire employees for their entire lives
Employees are the backbone of any business and ultimately determine its success or failure. Therefore, companies always strive to hire the best available candidates to remain relevant in the market. The debate as to whether employees should be hired for life or not needs to be approached from a growth and productivity angle. Although hiring employees for life can be a possibility, the practice can adversely affect the general performance of employees and the career options of different professionals.
Hiring people for life implies that they will have job security, which will then keep them stuck in the comfort zone because of the surety of retaining their job regardless of their output at work. In general, employees who know that their contract is permanent tend to lack motivation for work (Cole 627). Such employees do not have the drive to work and as it would not make a difference knowing well that the job is permanent. The result is that productivity at the workplace will significantly reduce with the practice of permanent hiring. For instance, in many government jobs where workers are permanently hired, simple tasks that are supposed to take only a short time typically take longer since employees are sluggish at work knowing that there are no job-threatening consequences for such actions.
Competition and growth in the job market will be severely hurt if people are employed for life. With the knowledge that their jobs are permanent, many employees will not see the reason to work on improving themselves once they land a job (Cole 628). For instance, a web developer working in a company for life will not see a reason to work so hard to solve a bug when no reward of a better job awaits them. Therefore, competition for jobs in the corporate world will diminish because employees will never bother to sharpen their skills for purposes of retaining or otherwise getting new and better jobs. It follows that both personal and company growth will be affected due to the relaxation and lack of motivation of employees.
In summary, hiring employees for life is not a good idea because it denotes a lack of creativity and flexibility in the workplace. Permanent employees usually develop low motivation for work leading to reduced competition and growth in the workplace. In other words, having people spend their entire lives working for a business is a sure way of encouraging laziness and low productivity.
Cole, Robert E. “Permanent employment in Japan: Facts and fantasies.” ILR Review 26.1 (1972): 615-630.
- Conduct Proper Research: Before, writing the essay, ensure you research well. Choose a manageable topic so that you do not lack ideas later in the body paragraphs.
- Write a draft first: Drafting is an ideal way to organize your ideas. Look at it as a skeleton that needs to be added flesh. It is easier to add flesh to an already developed skeleton than doing it blindly from scratch.
- Back up your ideas with strong references: References are necessary for academic work to prove that you have credible information. It also shows that you have understood the message.
- Proofread the work: Proofreading helps avoid repletion, grammatical errors. During proofreading, you will see if the work is flowing and whether the transitions have been used effectively.
- Avoid plagiarism: This is the greatest academic offense you can ever commit. To avoid plagiarism, always understand the information before writing. Again, use peer-reviewed journals as your references.
Writing a 400-word essay needs precision in order to capture every important detail of the short paper. Make sure your paper is structured with a catchy introduction, well-ordered body paragraphs, and a firm conclusion. Organizing your work as detailed in this guide is a sure way of making your essay high quality and worth reading. You will certainly not go wrong with this guide when writing your paper. Remember to avoid plagiarism and grammatical mistakes!
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