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Writing an essay

Why essays?

❶Introduction Background information on topic Statement of your position on the topic thesis Overview of arguments to be presented structure Body paragraphs paragraph 1 Topic sentence outlining first argument Sentences giving explanations and providing evidence to support topic sentence Concluding sentence — link to next paragraph paragraph 2 Topic sentence outlining second argument Sentences giving explanations and providing evidence to back topic sentence Concluding sentence — link to next paragraph Following body paragraphs These follow the same structure for as many arguments as you wish to put forward in support of the topic.

What is an essay?

Essay Structure
Why do we write essays?

It can be a way of making a lot of progress quite quickly. It can be stressful and very difficult trying to work out solely in your mind how to tackle an essay title; asking yourself questions such as: What structure should I use? What are my main points? What reading do I need to do?

Have I got enough evidence? It can be much less stressful to throw all your thoughts down on paper, before you start trying to find answers to these questions.

In these early stages of your thinking you may not be sure which of your ideas you want to follow up and which you will be discarding. Instead, you can catch all of your ideas, in no particular order, on a sheet or two of A4.

Once they are down there it will be easier for you to start to review them critically and to see where you need to focus your reading and note taking. Essentially, this is what you are doing within the essay process: Throughout this process, the essay title is the single immovable feature.

You begin there; you end there; and everything in between needs to be placed in relation to that title. All three of the processes described above will inform your decisions about what you need to read for a particular essay.

If left unplanned, the reading stage can swallow up huge amounts of time. Fortunately, there is scope for developing efficiency in several ways:. While a certain level of efficiency is desirable, it is also important to remain flexible enough to identify relevant and interesting ideas that you had not anticipated. You can use the writing process to help you think through, clarify and develop your early ideas about how you might respond to the title that has been set:.

As with teaching, it is often not until you try to communicate an argument and its evidence that you find where the gaps are in your knowledge or argument. Writing is an active and constructive process; it is not merely a neutral recording of your thoughts. It is therefore useful to go into the writing process expecting to make revisions. The first words you write do not have to be part of the final version.

Editing your writing as you develop your ideas is a positive not a negative process: All essays need structure. The structure may be strong and clear, or it may be unobtrusive and minimal but, in a good essay, it will be there. Again this may be strong and obvious, or it may be almost invisible, but it needs to be there. However, even in those essays that appear to be highly creative, unscientific, or personal, an argument of some kind is being made. It is the argument, and how you decide to present and back up your argument, that will influence your decision on how to structure your essay.

The essay structure is not an end in itself, but a means to an end: By creating a relevant structure, you make it much easier for yourself to present an effective argument. There are several generic structures that can help you start to think about your essay structure e. These can be useful starting points, but you will probably decide to work with a more complicated structure e. In addition to these macro-structures you will probably need to establish a micro-structure relating to the particular elements you need to focus on e.

You may feel that, for your particular essay, structures like these feel too rigid. You may wish to create a more flexible or fluid structure. An analogy could be that of symphony writing. This set out a pattern for the numbers of movements within the symphony, and for the general structure of writing within each movement. The continued popularity of their work today shows that they clearly managed to achieve plenty of interest and variety within that basic structure.

Later composers moved away from strict symphonic form. Some retained a loose link to it while others abandoned it completely, in favour of more fluid patterns. It would be rare, however, to find a symphony that was without structure or pattern of any kind; it would probably not be satisfactory either to play or to listen to.

Similarly, a structure of some kind is probably essential for every essay, however revolutionary. The process of essay planning and writing does not need to be a linear process, where each stage is done only once. It is often an iterative process i. A possible iterative process is:. This section heading is in quotes as it is also the heading of chapter 8, pages , in Barass Barass p80 makes the simple but valid statement, that:.

The tutors reading and marking your essays deserve your consideration. They will be reading and marking many, many student essays. If you make your argument hard to follow, so that they need to re-read a paragraph or more to try to make sense of what you have written, you will cause irritation, and make their job slower.

Realistically, it is possible that they may even decide not to make that effort. Your tutors will not necessarily be looking for the perfect, revolutionary, unique, special essay; they would be very happy to read a reasonably well-planned, well-argued and well-written essay. They will not want to pull your essay to pieces. They would much rather enjoy reading it, and be satisfied by the thread of your argument.

In the words of a tutor:. A powerful introduction is invaluable. It can engage your readers, and can give them confidence that you have thought carefully about the title, and about how you are going to address it.

A useful generic structure is to:. It may be possible to use only one paragraph for your introduction, but it may fall more easily into two or more.

You will need to adapt and extend this basic structure to fit with your own discipline and the precise task set. Here is an example of an introduction for an essay entitled:. Although the introduction appears at the beginning of your essay, you may prefer to write it towards the end of the drafting process:. Questions to ask of your introduction and conclusion may be useful.

The middle part of the essay must fulfil the promises made in your introduction , and must support your final conclusions. Failure to meet either or both of these requirements will irritate your reader, and will demonstrate a lack of self-critique and of editing. The central part of your essay is where the structure needs to do its work, however explicit or implicit your chosen structure may be.

Always start the essay off by introducing the text or else the reader doesn't know what you're talking about. You can also add in the question shown in the next step and add in which thing that thing came from.

Form your response to your essay, in the form of an answer to a question, at first. When you have an essay, it should usually come in with a question or you have to make up your own.

The first sentence of the introduction should be rephrasing the question. So, for example, if the question was: How does Puck dominate the mood of the play; for your first sentence, write: Puck is a main-protagonist in the play who dominates the mood of the play by etc. Introduce the step as shown in step 1. It is significant that you introduce the text, author, the date, and what the text is about etc.

It is also important that you spell everything correctly including the dates it was written in etc. Talk about the text roughly. Always tell everything that needs to be told. Always start with a topic sentence in the body paragraph. It indicates to the reader which argument you will be using in that paragraph to develop your thesis statement.

You write what you are talking about and link back to the question. The two sentences before were referring to the question: See how you write the question again and the topic sentence? Try not to pass over three sentences. Discuss or explain the topic in more detail. You tell the readers in depth depending on time limit why did this or that happen.

You give evidence as to why you said it by explaining the situations. That gives a recap on what you just said in the topic sentence.

It is usually good to only write two paragraphs relating to the topic sentence depending on the time limit. So, for example, you write about the wonderful memories the Give gave him and color. You discuss and analyze what you have just said. This can be proved by simply using a quote or a scene from the text. It is best to provide two quotes or scene in each paragraph, three or four if you have a high level.

You might even have to memorize them. Conclude your paragraph - you write a sentence which links back to what you have argued about in the original question.

Just like what you did in the introduction and the topic sentence. This is where you write the t opic sentence, the s upporting sentence, another s upporting sentence with evidence and then another s upporting sentence.

Finish it off linking back to the question. Start off with the topic sentence which I ntroduces concepts and other necessary information. Then you provide m ore specific information. Finnish it off by making an a rgument based on the info you have presented to the reader. You begin with a t opic sentence which is the statement of the main idea of the paragraph.


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Because essays are essentially linear—they offer one idea at a time—they must present their ideas in the order that makes most sense to a reader. Successfully structuring an essay means attending to a reader's logic. The focus of such an essay predicts its structure.

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The most basic skill that is needed in academic life is that of writing a good essay and a fundamental part of that is essay structure. Yet, despite the importance of writing an essay that is clear, well-argued and strongly structured, very little time is spent on assisting students to structure an essay.

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Oct 17,  · The final part of the basic essay structure is a conclusion. It ends the essay and summarizes all ideas and thoughts written. Going further, read how to end an essay correctly. Conclusion: How to End an Essay. The final part of the basic essay structure is the mihtorg.gaon: N Cave Creek Rd, Phoenix, Examples of this type of essay include compare, compare and contrast or differentiate questions. In this structure the similarities and/or differences between two or more items, for example, theories or models, are discussed paragraph by paragraph.

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How is an essay structured? In order for your essay to be convincing and make sense, it needs to be presented inside a well structured piece of writing. How do you do this within the framework of an essay's general structure of Introduction, Body, Conclusion? One of the ways in which you will be evaluated on your Writing tasks is how well your essays are organized. For this exclusive look inside the TOEFL ® test, we’re going to talk about specific tips to help structure and organize your written responses.. First, let’s look at the three basic parts of an essay: the introduction, body and conclusion.