Despite the fact that, as Shakespeare said, "the pen is mightier than the sword," the pen itself is not enough to make an effective writer. In fact, though we may all like to think of ourselves as the next Shakespeare, inspiration alone is not the key to effective essay writing. You see, the conventions of English essays are more formulaic than you might think — and, in many ways, it can be as simple as counting to five.
Though more advanced academic papers are a category all their own, the basic high school or college essay has the following standardized, five paragraph structure:. Body 1 Paragraph 3: Body 2 Paragraph 4: Body 3 Paragraph 5: Though it may seem formulaic — and, well, it is - the idea behind this structure is to make it easier for the reader to navigate the ideas put forth in an essay. You see, if your essay has the same structure as every other one, any reader should be able to quickly and easily find the information most relevant to them.
The principle purpose of the introduction is to present your position this is also known as the "thesis" or "argument" on the issue at hand but effective introductory paragraphs are so much more than that. Examples of effective hooks include relevant quotations "no man is an island" or surprising statistics "three out of four doctors report that…". Following the thesis, you should provide a mini-outline which previews the examples you will use to support your thesis in the rest of the essay.
Not only does this tell the reader what to expect in the paragraphs to come but it also gives them a clearer understanding of what the essay is about.
Finally, designing the last sentence in this way has the added benefit of seamlessly moving the reader to the first paragraph of the body of the paper. In this way we can see that the basic introduction does not need to be much more than three or four sentences in length. If yours is much longer you might want to consider editing it down a bit! Here, by way of example, is an introductory paragraph to an essay in response to the following question:.
Because this is the first paragraph of your essay it is your opportunity to give the reader the best first impression possible. The introductory paragraph not only gives the reader an idea of what you will talk about but also shows them how you will talk about it. At the same time, unless it is a personal narrative, avoid personal pronouns like I, My, or Me. Try instead to be more general and you will have your reader hooked.
The middle paragraphs of the essay are collectively known as the body paragraphs and, as alluded to above, the main purpose of a body paragraph is to spell out in detail the examples that support your thesis.
For the first body paragraph you should use your strongest argument or most significant example unless some other more obvious beginning point as in the case of chronological explanations is required. The first sentence of this paragraph should be the topic sentence of the paragraph that directly relates to the examples listed in the mini-outline of introductory paragraph.
A one sentence body paragraph that simply cites the example of "George Washington" or "LeBron James" is not enough, however. No, following this an effective essay will follow up on this topic sentence by explaining to the reader, in detail, who or what an example is and, more importantly, why that example is relevant. Even the most famous examples need context. It will make you sound credible. It is not easy to prepare a compelling and insightful essay.
The informative value of your text is based on the body of your essay. When you analyze your topic, you should inform the reader about its basic concepts and then you will need to analyze the problem in an appropriate way. If you research a specific case or issue, you should present your arguments and counterarguments logically. Start with the less important details and arguments and finish with the most notable and persuasive facts. The reader should take your side gradually. With every new paragraph and argument, you ought to convince him or her of your point of view.
Bear in mind that every new idea should be developed into a separate paragraph. It is easier to read a well-organized and logical text than a set of random ideas. When you use quotations from any authors, cite them in order to avoid plagiarism in your essay. Moreover, you demonstrate your respect for the intellectual work of researchers and writers. The conclusion or denouement is the last part of every essay. This section serves to summarize your point of view about the chosen topic.
It is vital to prepare a sound conclusion because this paragraph presents the argument of the entire essay in brief. Many people do not read the whole text and they focus on the conclusion to find out what the text is about.
Therefore, the denouement should be written according to a specific formula. Restate the main problem of your essay and emphasize its importance and value. Then, enumerate your arguments and counterarguments. Choose the most important ones if you have many positions. Finally, present your opinion to the reader or leave space for suggestion writing an open ending. Fill in these spaces with relative information that will help link smaller ideas together.
Now that you have developed your thesis and the overall body of your essay, you must write an introduction. Begin with an attention grabber. You can use shocking information, dialogue, a story, a quote, or a simple summary of your topic.
Whichever angle you choose, make sure that it ties in with your thesis statement, which will be included as the last sentence of your introduction. The conclusion brings closure of the topic and sums up your overall ideas while providing a final perspective on your topic.
Your conclusion should consist of three to five strong sentences. Simply review your main points and provide reinforcement of your thesis.
After writing your conclusion, you might think that you have completed your essay. Before you consider this a finished work, you must pay attention to all the small details. Check the order of your paragraphs. Your strongest points should be the first and last paragraphs within the body, with the others falling in the middle. Also, make sure that your paragraph order makes sense. If your essay is describing a process, such as how to make a great chocolate cake, make sure that your paragraphs fall in the correct order.
Review the instructions for your essay, if applicable. Many teachers and scholarship forms follow different formats, and you must double check instructions to ensure that your essay is in the desired format. Finally, review what you have written.
Reread your paper and check to see if it makes sense. Make sure that sentence flow is smooth and add phrases to help connect thoughts or ideas. Check your essay for grammar and spelling mistakes. Every semester, Fastweb helps thousands of students pay for school by matching them to scholarships, grants, and internships, for which they actually qualify. Join today to get matched to scholarships or internships for you!
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The links below provide concise advice on some fundamental elements of academic writing.
When writing an essay it is good practice to consider your reader. To guide the reader through your work you will need to inform them where you are starting from (in the introduction), where you are going (as the essay progresses), and where you have been (in the conclusion).
What is good writing? Free statement of participation on completion. More about this course. Course description Course content Course reviews 3 What is a good essay? A sharper focus. Answering the question. Drawing on course material. Showing a good grasp of ideas.