400 Word Essay, How to Guide, Example

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How to write a 400-word essay? Understand the professor’s instructions thoroughly and research widely on the topic. Then, spend some time planning and writing an outline. The first draft can be 600 to 700 words but prune unnecessary words and sentences to have a reliable, brief, and comprehensive 400-word essay. Understand how many pages your essay is to avoid exceeding the required number using our free word to pages converter.

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In our previous tutorials, we’ve covered how to write the best essays in a different number of words, like 500 words and 300 words. The length of an article does not affect its quality; instead, it harnesses its clarity. If you are writing an extended essay, you will provide numerous details and illustrations to support your points. But, when the article is less than a thousand words, you need to discuss every aspect in its paragraph.

A 400-word essay allows you to express yourself in the fewest, most concise words possible. Thus, you need to stick to the points and follow the recommended outline effectively. This allows your audience to understand your argument in a quick, simple way.

Professionals, especially those practicing law, journalism, and communication, are often required to write 400-word essays. Students in high schools, elementary, and college levels are also needed to hand in their answers or views in 400 words. The complexity of such an essay depends on whether you are doing it at advanced levels or school. Apart from a good mastery of written language, it would help if you also were concise and informative.

Tips for Writing the Perfect 400-Word Essay

1. Research on your topic

It’s tempting to write stuff from scratch and put down ideas directly from your mind. However, the reader will need to learn something new. The audience is not interested in fluffy content. Readers want to have unique skills and possible behavioral changes after reading your essay. So, it would help if you focused on convincing them that your idea is the best. Remember, the most effective essay is that which is credible. So, carry out intensive research about the topic and provide enough data to support your arguments.

2. Prepare the outline

Do not just jump into writing the essay without a plan. When your work is organized, you will find it easy to stick to the subject. An outline is the best way to plan for the essay. Remember, you need to know how many words will be featured in support of each point. This will be easy if you have the right structure. Apart from helping you to be brief, the outline will make your work neat. If you are in an exam room and you are needed to write a 400-word essay, be sure to spend about five minutes planning.

3. Edit your work

Scoring a grade A in your essay depends on how well you can write flawlessly. It is not possible to be perfect- of course, we’re all human. However, if you want to be an excellent writer, you must try to have zero mistakes. So, after you are done scripting your essay, have time for reading it.

Go through the article about three times after you have written it. The first read will help you realize the grammar errors you may have made. The second will give you the insight on which sentences are useful and which aren’t. The third will be about polishing the article from an audience’s perspective.

4. Include the references

Writing a reflection essay means that you will need to carry out enough research. You will also need to acknowledge the sources for the information you have used in your article. Thus, you should have space where you can list down the references for the content used. This not only prevents plagiarism but also gives your article a sense of credibility. Remember, the more credible your essay is, the more the audience will believe in it- and definitely, the more marks you will score.

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Elements of a 400-Words Essay

1. Title

Every essay that you ever write needs to be well titled. An essay that doesn’t have a heading lacks identity. Look for a short statement that covers what the article is about. In our context, the title is “How to Stay Motivated and Focused.” Our essay cannot discuss anything else apart from what the title has suggested. The title should be short and able to communicate the message or meaning of the essay efficiently. Remember to capitalize the main words of the title using the title format. Get a catchy title for your essay using our innovative essay title generator.

2. Introduction Paragraph

This is the part where you state your thesis. It’s an essential part of the article as it provides the reader with the urge to read. A good introduction paragraph will grab the audience’s attention and make them want to read the whole essay. On the other hand, an awful introduction will just put your audience away. So, it would help if you made it captivating. Short, mind-provoking, and sweet sentences are the best for this paragraph. In a 400 word essay, the introduction part has about 50 words.

Start with the hook

This is a general statement in your introduction that summarizes the essay. It captures the reader’s attention from a broad perspective. The hook is different from the thesis; while the former is a general statement, the latter focuses on the essay alone. In short, the hook is the meta-theme of the 400 word essay.

Example: ‘Self-motivation is the surest way to stay focused.’

The thesis is the root of the introduction. You need to use such a sentence to sum up, the article. The thesis is the sentence that carries the meaning of the essay. It is short and summative. For instance, in our essay, the thesis could be:

‘People who are motivated towards achieving their goals are focused on success.’

Transition statement

Before you start writing the actual article, you need to signal the audience that you are proceeding to your work’s ‘meat.’ A transition statement will do this for you. For instance, you can use a sentence such as:

‘The following ideas will help you stay focused and motivated in your work or studies.’

The Body of a 400 word essay

As aforementioned, this is the meat of the essay. It is the part where you support your thesis using illustrations and research findings. In most cases, the body has 2-4 sentences whose length is between 75 and 100 words. Each idea should be in its paragraph. Again, it is crucial to keep your sentences short and concise. This means you should have 6-8 sentences per paragraph. In the outline, be sure to start with your most vital point and end with the weakest.

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3. Body paragraph

Structure of a body paragraph

  • Point

This is a sentence that introduces the paragraph. It should support the thesis

  • Illustration

Use research findings to make your point clear. This may take more than one sentence.

  • Explanation

Justify your idea of using logic and scientific skills. Explain what you mean.

How the point relates to the thesis:

Then, prove that the point makes sense regarding supporting the thesis.

4. Conclusion paragraph

This is the last part of the essay. It summarizes the essay in about 50 words. You should therefore have 3-5 sentences here. Do not introduce any new ideas here. Instead, use conclusive statements that support your thesis.

The structure of a conclusive paragraph

  • Restate your thesis
  • Give a summary of the essay
  • Write a conclusive statement

Essay Outline

Any good essay starts with an outline. Outlines play a vital role in the success of any piece of writing, more so essay papers. They help the writer stick to the essay structure, which is one of the things that professors test in the writing. Not having a good structure can cost you. More so, without an outline, it is easy for the writer to wander away from the subject and lose the reader.

Getting stuck when writing an essay is a problem that all students have encountered at some point. This can be detrimental to your essay as often, students end up adding irrelevant content just to reach the required word or page count. Getting stuck also drains away enthusiasm, which is something that should never be traced in your essay. Having a good outline will prevent this from happening.

Not only will it save time, which is otherwise spent pondering over what to add, but it helps you write an interesting paper from the word go. How do you write an outline? Well, here is an example of an essay outline to guide you in your paper.

Title: ‘How to Stay Motivated and Focused.’

  1. Introduction paragraph
  2. Hook– Self-motivation is the surest way to stay focused.
  3. Thesis: Facing challenges and achieving success requires focus, which means we need to be responsible for our motivation.

Transition: The following ideas will help you stay focused and motivated in your work or studies.

  • Body Paragraph 1:
  • Point: Know thyself
  • Illustration: Socrates in the Temple of Apollos
  • Logic: Knowing strengths and weaknesses
  • Thesis relation
  • Body Paragraph 2:
  • Point: Desire for success
  • Illustration: Set realistic goals, celebrate achievement
  • Explanation: Find motivating factors
  • Thesis relation
  • Body Paragraph 3:
  • Point: Death and finite time
  • Illustrations: Steve Jobs, Henry Rolling, infinite ability and limited time
  • Explanation: Avoid regrets, lead a successful life
  • Thesis relation
  • Conclusion paragraph
  • Restatement of thesis
  • Summary of the essay
  • Signing out

400-Word Essay Example

Self-motivation is the surest way to stay focused. Nearly all the most significant tasks in life are tests for our motivation. Facing challenges and achieving success requires focus; this means we need to be responsible for our motivation. People who are motivated towards achieving their goals are focused on success. The following ideas will help you stay focused and motivated in your work and studies.

First, you should study yourself. It would help if you found out what you like, hate, or freaks you out. According to Socrates, knowing thyself is a basic understanding of nature. If you know your strengths and weaknesses, it’s easy to find your motivations. Once you’ve understood yourself, you can now find out what inspires you and the best way to face challenges. This will help you fight negative energy and use it to undertake essential tasks. Thus, understanding what you are good at would lead you into living a motivated and focused life.

Second, you should have a desire to feel the pride of success. Cultivate a strong aspiration for achieving your goals. This is possible if you set achievable goals and celebrate every time you hit them. You could thank yourself for running daily goals by eating something you like. You can also place on a trip or weekend getaway as a way of rewarding yourself for achieving a year’s goals. This will give you the drive to work harder and become more diligent with what you do.

The desire to get the reward will help you stay focused and motivated in your endeavors.

Third, you can use death as a reason to stay focused. As Henry Rollins said, humans have infinite potential that is hindered by a finite time. Steve Jobs says that he never had as much productive time as after being diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer. In the realization that death is as sure as dawn, you will utilize your time well.

Time well spent in working towards the achievement of goals is the primary catalyst for success. Have a schedule to avoid wasting yours on unnecessary activities. Appreciating that life is short will keep you focused and motivated.

No doubt, the best way to stay focused on your work is to motivate yourself. Death, pride, and knowing thyself are some of the surest ways to keep you in the game. If you follow this advice, you will lead a successful life.


A 400 word essay is short, and you need to be very particular when writing it. Like in other essays, you should have a clear and good outline to guide you through the paper. Also, your structure should be on point. Grammatical errors and plagiarism will also weigh down your grade: proofread and run your essay through a plagiarism checker before submitting it.

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