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How to write a good English essay: effective prompts

As a student, writing essays are a common assignment used to assess the knowledge gained by the student. Essays are written in a variety of styles while covering a vast amount of topics. Students are given an idea of the topic, or even a direct prompt, then are required to write an essay in a specified style. These essays have a set of guidelines that need to be covered including a required amount of words, usually 500-750 words. We will cover effective writing prompts for good English essays in this article.

What makes an effective English Prompt?

  • Clarity
  • Guidelines
  • Topic
  • Interest

These are four key points to an effective English Prompt. The clarity of the given prompt is incredibly important. Determine if it is asking you to analyze, define, describe, or explain the topic. Though this seems of little importance, this is a style guideline explaining what the student is required to write.

Guidelines for essays cover word count, style, direction, and even help cover acceptable topics. Students depend on guidelines to help them understand what is expected of them. Without a set list of guidelines, sometimes called a grading rubric, students can write too far in depth on the topic, or they can be too vague.

The topic of a writing prompt is not always direct, an indirect writing prompt gives the student flexibility to choose something they are truly interested in. Direct prompts give a strict topic with little flexibility other than thoughts and views on the subject. These types of prompts are not always interesting to every student, making the assignment difficult for some.

Indirect writing prompts are usually more interesting, a flexible prompt allows students to choose a topic that personally interests them. An interesting topic leads to an interesting essay. Flexible prompts allow the creativity students have to unfold. When a student can hold a personal and meaningful position on a topic, their essays tend to be more interesting.

Writing a good English essay can be an interesting and fun assignment. Effective prompts are interesting, clear, have a direct or indirect topics that are interesting to the students. An essay prompt that appeals to each student on a personal level gives them the opportunity to use their personal creativity to prove their point of view.  Students who can add their own personality to their topic will write a better essay.

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