How to Write an Excellent Essay

The Free Cozy Grammar Newsletter with Marie Rackham and Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma

One of the topics Marie was most intent on helping her students understand was how to write an essay. As she explains in the introduction to The Basic Cozy Essay Course, if we don't know how to write an essay, it can be a fearsome assignment.

Perhaps you've known this frustrating experience, or perhaps you've seen it in trying to help your children learn to write an essay. What you may not know, however, is that Marie knew this experience too, from the inside. When she first went to university, no one had ever taught her how to write an essay and this led to . . . well, why don't I let her tell you the story herself?

You may find it as surprising as I did. 

As you can see, the secret to writing an essay is to learn and use a basic essay format. When you have an essay format at your command, not only do you know how to write an essay, you also have a powerful tool for success.

That's why Marie emblazoned her teaching motto on a piece of driftwood and hung it in her classroom:

"No one fails if they have the tools." Marie Rackham

She wanted students to know the simple and powerful secret to success: gain and apply the right tools.

Marie's Basic Essay Format

The format Marie teaches in The Basic Cozy Essay Course follows the following basic outline:


The first sentence states the theme of the essay—what the essay is about. In other words you put the title of the essay in sentence form. The next sentence, or sentences, lists the main points of the essay—what you will discuss in the essay. Remember, the opening paragraph is like a table of contents in paragraph form.


Each succeeding paragraph will expand upon the main points you stated in the opening paragraph. You will write a paragraph for each main point.


This is a summation of the essay. It is a “rounding out” of your ideas by bringing the essay back to the opening paragraph.

An Essay is Like a Journey—to London!

This basic format can be adapted to any kind of essay. That's what makes it so powerful. It allows us to take a reader on a journey through our ideas, logically, coherently, and cogently, no matter what those ideas might be.

In fact, that's why we decided to film all of my supplementary videos for The Basic Cozy Essay Course in London, England.

I wanted to show step by step, in a completely different setting, how to write two kinds of essays that are different from the ones that Marie shows us in her lesson, set on the beach in front of her cozy beach cottage and in her neighbors' beautiful garden.

The first of the essays that I show how to write is a persuasive or argumentative essay which answers a question you may be wondering yourself: Why go to London to talk about writing essays?

Take a peek at an excerpt from my introduction below!

As you may have already guessed, the three answers I just gave will form the basis of the essay we'll write together in Lesson 2.

And then, in Lesson 4, I show how to write an entirely different kind of essay—a personal narrative essay—about exploring the ways that J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series has inspired creativity of many different kinds, both in and around London, and around the world.

I hope you'll join us!

Special Early Access Pricing Through July 31st

We are just about done putting the finishing touches on our long-awaited second edition of The Basic Cozy Essay Course and wanted to offer you early access pricing to the course. This early access will assure your place in the new version of the course when it launches on July 31, 2019.

For the entire month of July, we're offering a special early access discount of 30% off. That means that the 1-year subscription, normally $19.95, is currently $13.97, and that the lifetime subscription, normally $39.95, is currently $27.97.

Not only that, as a subscriber to our newsletter, you can use the following coupon code for an additional 10% off this special early access price, bringing the prices for the courses down to $12.57 and $25.17, respectively.


Please note that our special early access price will only apply until the new version of the course is launched on July 31, 2019.

Printable PDFs for Basic Cozy Punctuation

We're also excited to announce that we've recently released a complete set of new PDFs for the revised online Study Notes and Exercises from The Basic Cozy Punctuation Course. These allow you to print any sections of the online workbook for which you wish to have hard copies. Simply visit your "My Courses" page to download the sections you want or the entire workbook as a whole.

As with all of our new PDFs, these include an answer key with comprehensive and detailed explanations for every question in the Exercises as well as Marie's complete punctuation glossary.

Thank You

Finally, we wanted to say a very special thank you to all our friends in the Pacific Northwest who visited our booth at the 2019 Washington Homeschool Organization Conference this year. It was delightful to meet you!

And if you weren't able to attend the conference—or live in one of the many other beautiful places in the world—we'll look forward to another chance to meet, hopefully sometime soon!

Cozy Grammar's Producer & Director, David Mielke

Thanks for joining us this month. We'll look forward to seeing you again soon!

Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma



Marie's Language Consultant
The Cozy Grammar Series of Courses