Elements of Structure

The structure of an essay refers to its form or organization. There is no one structure that is expected in an academic essay; however, the following are some structural elements common to almost all essays:




Topic sentences within paragraphs

Transition sentences between paragraphs

Thesis statement


Quotations & Citations

A writer must consider his or her purpose, subject matter, and anticipated audience in order to form an appropriate structure from these elements. However, knowing the structure that you would like to achieve is not sufficient to tell you the process by which to get there.


For suggestions regarding the writing process, see the Writing Strategies module.