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. The reader needs to know this and it is your job as the writer to paint the appropriate picture for them.
To do this, it is a good idea to provide the reader with five or six relevant facts about the life in general or event in particular you believe most clearly illustrates your point. Having done that, you then need to explain exactly why this example proves your thesis. The importance of this step cannot be understated although it clearly can be underlined ; this is, after all, the whole reason you are providing the example in the first place. Seal the deal by directly stating why this example is relevant.
The first sentence — the topic sentence - of your body paragraphs needs to have a lot individual pieces to be truly effective. Not only should it open with a transition that signals the change from one idea to the next but also it should ideally also have a common thread which ties all of the body paragraphs together.
For example, if you used "first" in the first body paragraph then you should used "secondly" in the second or "on the one hand" and "on the other hand" accordingly.
Examples should be relevant to the thesis and so should the explanatory details you provide for them. It can be hard to summarize the full richness of a given example in just a few lines so make them count.
If you are trying to explain why George Washington is a great example of a strong leader, for instance, his childhood adventure with the cherry tree though interesting in another essay should probably be skipped over. You may have noticed that, though the above paragraph aligns pretty closely with the provided outline, there is one large exception: These words are example of a transitional phrase — others include "furthermore," "moreover," but also "by contrast" and "on the other hand" — and are the hallmark of good writing.
Transitional phrases are useful for showing the reader where one section ends and another begins. It may be helpful to see them as the written equivalent of the kinds of spoken cues used in formal speeches that signal the end of one set of ideas and the beginning of another. In essence, they lead the reader from one section of the paragraph of another. Hopefully this example not only provides another example of an effective body paragraph but also illustrates how transitional phrases can be used to distinguish between them.
Although the conclusion paragraph comes at the end of your essay it should not be seen as an afterthought. As the final paragraph is represents your last chance to make your case and, as such, should follow an extremely rigid format.
One way to think of the conclusion is, paradoxically, as a second introduction because it does in fact contain many of the same features. While it does not need to be too long — four well-crafted sentence should be enough — it can make or break and essay. If the essay takes more of a narrative form then the author has to expose each aspect of the economic puzzle in a way that makes it clear and understandable for the reader.
A reflective essay is an analytical piece of writing in which the writer describes a real or imaginary scene, event, interaction, passing thought, memory, or form — adding a personal reflection on the meaning of the topic in the author's life. Thus, the focus is not merely descriptive. The logical progression and organizational structure of an essay can take many forms.
Understanding how the movement of thought is managed through an essay has a profound impact on its overall cogency and ability to impress. A number of alternative logical structures for essays have been visualized as diagrams, making them easy to implement or adapt in the construction of an argument. In countries like the United States and the United Kingdom , essays have become a major part of a formal education in the form of free response questions.
Secondary students in these countries are taught structured essay formats to improve their writing skills, and essays are often used by universities in these countries in selecting applicants see admissions essay.
In both secondary and tertiary education, essays are used to judge the mastery and comprehension of the material. Students are asked to explain, comment on, or assess a topic of study in the form of an essay.
In some courses, university students must complete one or more essays over several weeks or months. In addition, in fields such as the humanities and social sciences, [ citation needed ] mid-term and end of term examinations often require students to write a short essay in two or three hours.
In these countries, so-called academic essays also called papers , are usually more formal than literary ones. Longer academic essays often with a word limit of between 2, and 5, words [ citation needed ] are often more discursive. They sometimes begin with a short summary analysis of what has previously been written on a topic, which is often called a literature review. Longer essays may also contain an introductory page that defines words and phrases of the essay's topic.
Most academic institutions require that all substantial facts, quotations, and other supporting material in an essay be referenced in a bibliography or works cited page at the end of the text. This scholarly convention helps others whether teachers or fellow scholars to understand the basis of facts and quotations the author uses to support the essay's argument and helps readers evaluate to what extent the argument is supported by evidence, and to evaluate the quality of that evidence.
The academic essay tests the student's ability to present their thoughts in an organized way and is designed to test their intellectual capabilities. One of the challenges facing universities is that in some cases, students may submit essays purchased from an essay mill or "paper mill" as their own work.
An "essay mill" is a ghostwriting service that sells pre-written essays to university and college students. Since plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty or academic fraud , universities and colleges may investigate papers they suspect are from an essay mill by using plagiarism detection software, which compares essays against a database of known mill essays and by orally testing students on the contents of their papers.
Essays often appear in magazines, especially magazines with an intellectual bent, such as The Atlantic and Harpers. Magazine and newspaper essays use many of the essay types described in the section on forms and styles e.
Some newspapers also print essays in the op-ed section. Employment essays detailing experience in a certain occupational field are required when applying for some jobs, especially government jobs in the United States. Essays known as Knowledge Skills and Executive Core Qualifications are required when applying to certain US federal government positions.
A KSA, or "Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities," is a series of narrative statements that are required when applying to Federal government job openings in the United States. KSAs are used along with resumes to determine who the best applicants are when several candidates qualify for a job.
The knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for the successful performance of a position are contained on each job vacancy announcement. KSAs are brief and focused essays about one's career and educational background that presumably qualify one to perform the duties of the position being applied for.
Like the KSAs, ECQs are used along with resumes to determine who the best applicants are when several candidates qualify for a job. The Office of Personnel Management has established five executive core qualifications that all applicants seeking to enter the Senior Executive Service must demonstrate. A film essay or "cinematic essay" consists of the evolution of a theme or an idea rather than a plot per se, or the film literally being a cinematic accompaniment to a narrator reading an essay.
The cinematic essay often blends documentary , fiction , and experimental film making using tones and editing styles. Jean-Luc Godard describes his recent work as "film-essays". Brecht was a playwright who experimented with film and incorporated film projections into some of his plays.
These are often published online on video hosting services. David Winks Gray's article "The essay film in action" states that the "essay film became an identifiable form of filmmaking in the s and '60s". He states that since that time, essay films have tended to be "on the margins" of the filmmaking the world. Essay films have a "peculiar searching, questioning tone Gray notes that just like written essays, essay films "tend to marry the personal voice of a guiding narrator often the director with a wide swath of other voices".
In the realm of music , composer Samuel Barber wrote a set of "Essays for Orchestra," relying on the form and content of the music to guide the listener's ear, rather than any extra-musical plot or story. A photographic essay strives to cover a topic with a linked series of photographs.
Photo essays range from purely photographic works to photographs with captions or small notes to full-text essays with a few or many accompanying photographs. Photo essays can be sequential in nature, intended to be viewed in a particular order — or they may consist of non-ordered photographs viewed all at once or in an order that the viewer chooses.
All photo essays are collections of photographs, but not all collections of photographs are photo essays. Photo essays often address a certain issue or attempt to capture the character of places and events. In the visual arts , an essay is a preliminary drawing or sketch that forms a basis for a final painting or sculpture, made as a test of the work's composition this meaning of the term, like several of those following, comes from the word essayJA's meaning of "attempt" or "trial".
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Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. October Learn how and when to remove this template message. For other uses, see Essay disambiguation. For a description of essays as used by Wikipedia editors, see Wikipedia: For other uses, see Essai disambiguation.
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January Learn how and when to remove this template message. A Handbook to Literature 9 ed. Retrieved March 23, Archived from the original on Retrieved March 22, Cause and Effect in Glenn, Cheryl.
A Real-World Rhetorical Reader. Classification and Division in Glenn, Cheryl. Comparison and Contrast in Glenn, Cheryl. Description in Glenn, Cheryl. Exemplification in Glenn, Cheryl. At Large and At Small: Archived from the original on 27 April The New York Times. Retrieved July 31, San Francisco Film Society. Archived from the original on March 15, The Art of the Essay Film".
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