With this in mind it should be stressed that it is important to plan the essay in advance.
How to structure an essay
Even in timed conditions such as exams you must take the time to think about the structure of the essay. Think about what points you want to make beforehand, and then think about the best way of arranging this material in sequence. The order in which you make the points will go a long way to determining how clear the arguments you put forward will be. You do not have to say everything there is to be said about a given subject and you should try to develop a feel for the most important elements.
An essay should be the development of argument, interpretation and analysis through an extended and flowing sequence of points and illustrations.
This entails work at the level of the sentence, of course, but also, very importantly, you need to work at the level of the paragraph. The paragraph is a coherent passage of logically connected sentences usually concentrating on no more than one or two ideas relevant to your argument. Do not use very short and unconnected staccato sentences, and develop your use of linking words by which the various sentences of a paragraph are bound together.
It takes experience and practice to develop a sense of when a new paragraph is needed and when it has run its course. Examine the general guide to essay writing to get some sense of how the paragraphs, or 'idea units' as they have also been called, have been constructed, and how their 'natural' beginnings and ends appear. The first sentence of the paragraph should generally be a ' strong ' one, used to signal or indicate the idea to be discussed within the paragraph. Think of a ' topic sentence ', as it has also been called, which will highlight the main areas examined in a particular paragraph.
Connecting and signposting words and phrases should be learnt, used, and practised examples are ' furthermore ', ' moreover ', ' in addition ', ' to qualify the above ', ' however ', ' in order to ', ' in this connection ', ' having established that ' etc.
The argument should develop through the language you use and therefore in a short essay sub-headings are unnecessary. Your essay will be the representation of an argument on a given subject or subjects. It will include only points which are relevant to the subject, so be careful to get rid of material that is not directly relevant. Although students sometimes complain that the lengths demanded of essays are too long, most of the essays you will write are really relatively short. Part of the skill of writing is to write concisely and economically, without wasting material or 'padding' the work with irrelevant diversions and repetition.
Once the points have been chosen they should be presented logically and coherently, so do not leap about from point to point. Each point generally will have some connection to the preceding one and the one which follows. If you do leave one part of the essay to move onto another, but intend later to go back to the point you have left and show, for example, how the points may be connected or related, then it can be useful to say so by ' signposting ', e.
After each draft of the essay check that each point is presented in a logical and coherent order. Read each draft carefully and critically. Is there a significant idea you have not included in the essay? Do you need to expand some of the points you have chosen to write about? Are some of the points, after due consideration, not really relevant?
Have you been too long-winded or repetitive? Does your argument need to be clearer, and do the links between some of the main points need more emphasis? You should be asking yourself these questions throughout the whole process.
Strong sentences are essential in terms of the flow of your essay. When signalling the fact that they now want to begin a discussion about the imagery of the text in question, students often begin paragraphs with a sentence such as the following: 'I will now go on to discuss the imagery, which plays an important role in this story. What is wrong with this particular sentence? To start with there is no real need to introduce the subject so mechanically: as you are writing about literature it will come as no great surprise to the reader that imagery is to be discussed at some point.
Secondly, as the student has chosen to write about the imagery there is no need to state that it is important. If it was not important then the student should not have chosen to write about it. Please note that there would be no objection to a sentence such as 'I will now go on to discuss the imagery, which is fundamental to a full understanding of the story', although it would be even better if the type of imagery was identified. This says something different. Do not repeat these phrases mechanically in your essays - the imagery will not always be absolutely key to understanding the story.
Use your common sense. You can introduce the subject of imagery in a strong sentence, at the beginning of a paragraph, by simply starting to discuss it straightaway.
Definition Essay: How-To, Structure, Examples, Topics
If you have identified a number of images, metaphors, etc. As an example, here is a paragraph which starts to deal with the literary language in Graham Greene's ' The Destructors '. This paragraph would ideally come about a third or half way into the essay, as it comes after the introduction and signals the fact that some analysis has already been carried out. A discussion of the imagery can reinforce the general points made above; broadly speaking there are two main sets of images and metaphors, dealing firstly with the tensions between the individual and the community, to which I will turn later, and secondly focusing on Christian symbolism.
A number of the images have religious connotations. It is significant that Old Misery's house was designed by Christopher Wren, who was the seventeenth century architect of St.
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Paul's cathedral. By mentioning Wren Greene is attempting to show the presence of the past in the present and how irrelevant it seems to the boys: 'Who's Wren? Their experience of massive destruction has eroded references and deprived them of values.
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Instead of the integration and shared common values illustrated by, among others, the fact that Wren designed both a public place of worship and a private home, the post-war period leaves them with fragmentation and mutual distrust: the gang are aware of rival gangs, there is distrust between the generations - shown by the gang's suspicion of Old Misery's gift of sweets - and T. The role of introduction is to establish the topic and to state the thesis.
It serves to generate an interest in the suggested subject or raise a question. This paragraph can also show the structure and methodology of your essay. Make sure your thesis is an arguable claim rather than a fact or an observation. It is essential to come up with a strong thesis; this is the anchor of the whole essay. A thesis statement should hold an assertion.
It has to be something which can be argued. This paragraph is your chance to draw the reader in. It is also a great guideline for you when working later on through the rest of the essay. It should take approximately eight to ten percent from the whole; if your essay should be 1, words, then the introductory part would comprise to words.
They are also called the supporting paragraphs. Your best and strongest idea, argument or illustration will usually be presented in the first body paragraph. Second body paragraph will usually include your second strongest idea, argument or illustration. The third body paragraph will usually contain the weakest idea, argument or illustration.
All of the paragraphs must be anchored and hooked to the end of the preceding paragraph, thus flowing naturally and logically from one another. The cohesion between all of the paragraphs is necessary to maintain continuity.
Example of Formal Outline
Here are a few linking phrases and words which might help you with this task. Each group indicates a specific connection:. These are just some of the ways you can connect with the previous paragraph. Another good way is repeating the specific words you have used in the last sentence of the previous paragraph; use them again in the first sentence of the following paragraph, while preparing to develop your next point. Each body paragraph has to have a topic sentence; this acts as a mini-thesis and will usually come at or near the start.
Almost automatically, your mind formulates a rhetorical structure. There are effective and ineffective ways of asking of making such a request. The effective strategy will have a logic and an order. You will firstly claim that you deserve a raise.
And you will give evidence to support why you deserve that raise. For example: you are a hard worker, you are never late, you have the admiration and respect of your colleagues, you have been offered another position elsewhere and you want the pay matched.
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And so on. And you would probably wrap up your discussion with an overview of of why giving you more money is important. And that is fundamentally an essay. Every good essay has three basic parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. This simple guide will show you how to perfect your essay structure by clearly introducing and concluding your argument, and laying out your paragraphs coherently in between.
Your essay writing can be dramatically improved overnight simply by using the correct essay structure, as explained below. When you are writing an essay , every sentence and every paragraph is important. But there is something extra important about introductions. Just like going out on a date for the first time, you want the introduction to be just right, almost perfect. You want to put your best self forward and create a great first impression.
You should already know this, but most professors and instructors will start grading your work in their head as soon as they begin reading it. And most will have some notion of where your essay falls on that scale before they even finish the introduction.