Writing the Essay

Think small; build the full essay gradually. 
Divide your essay into sections and develop each piece separately and incrementally.

The Introductory Paragraph

  • Introduce the topic; entice the reader (remember: audience)
  • Establish perspective and/or point of view!
  • Focus on three main points to develop

The opening paragraph sets the tone. It not only introduces the topic, but where you are going with it (the thesis). If you do a good job in the opening, you will draw your reader into your "experience." Put effort up front, and you will reap rewards.

  1. Write in the active voice. It is much more powerful. Do that for each sentence in the introductory essay. Unless you are writing a personal narrative, do not use the pronoun "I."
  2. Varying sentence structure. Review to avoid the same dull pattern of always starting with the subject of the sentence.
  3. Continually prove your point of view throughout the essay
    • Don't drift or leave the focus of the essay
    • Don't lapse into summary in developing paragraphs--wait until its time, at the conclusion
  4. *Avoid one and two sentence paragraphs*

Supporting Paragraphs

  • Write a transition to establish the sub-topic. Each paragraph has to flow, one to the next.
  • Write the topic sentence. The transition can be included in the topic sentence.
  • Supporting ideas, examples, details must be specific to the sub-topic. The tendency in supporting paragraphs is to put in just about anything. Avoid this: the work you have made above with details and examples will help you keep focused.
  • Vary sentence structure. Avoid repetitious pronouns and lists. Avoid beginning sentences the same way (subject + verb + direct object).

The Ending or Summary Paragraph

This is a difficult paragraph to write effectively. You cannot assume that the reader sees your point.

  • Restate the introductory thesis/paragraph with originality. Do not simply copy the first paragraph
  • Summarize your argument with some degree of authority this paragraph should leave your reader with no doubt as to your position or conclusion of logic
    • Refer back (once again) to the first paragraph(s) as well as the development
    • Do the last paragraphs briefly restate the main ideas?
    • Reflect the succession and importance of the arguments
    • Logically conclude their development.
  • Be powerful as this is the last thought that you are leaving with the reader.

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