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General Essay Writing Tips

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Read the essay question carefully

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Introduction:
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Brainstorm ideas in response to the question Jot down any relevant points. Make note of any relevant evidence or quotes that come to mind. Use a mind map to help stimulate lateral thinking.

Avoid a thesis that's too simplistic — show thought has been put into some of the complexities behind the question. The thesis is the backbone of the essay — it will be stated in the introduction.

It also needs to be referred to several times in the essay before restating it and demonstrating how it has been proven in the conclusion. Write a plan for the response Order ideas in a logical sequence. Make sure every point in the plan is relevant to the question. After the plan has been written it should be clear where the essay is going. Write the introduction Open up the discussion. Indicate how the questions will be answered.

Name any texts to be discussed, if appropriate. Write the main body of the essay Ensure each point is given a new paragraph. Start each paragraph with a topic sentence that clearly links the paragraph to the rest of the essay, eg "A striking example of Gary Crew's use of light and darkness imagery to suggest notions of knowledge and ignorance occurs in the scene on the jetty".

Provide supporting evidence for each point that you make. Revisit the thesis, and express it in different ways if possible, to emphasise how the question is being addressed. Write the essay conclusion Summarise the main ideas. Demonstrate how you have proven your thesis.

Finish with an interesting or thought-provoking, but relevant, comment. 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. Effective conclusions open with a concluding transition "in conclusion," "in the end," etc.

After that you should immediately provide a restatement of your thesis statement. This should be the fourth or fifth time you have repeated your thesis so while you should use a variety of word choice in the body paragraphs it is a acceptable idea to use some but not all of the original language you used in the introduction.

This echoing effect not only reinforces your argument but also ties it nicely to the second key element of the conclusion: Having done all of that, the final element — and final sentence in your essay — should be a "global statement" or "call to action" that gives the reader signals that the discussion has come to an end. The conclusion paragraph can be a difficult paragraph to write effectively but, as it is your last chance to convince or otherwise impress the reader, it is worth investing some time in.

Take this opportunity to restate your thesis with confidence; if you present your argument as "obvious" then the reader might just do the same.

Although you can reuse the same key words in the conclusion as you did in the introduction, try not to copy whole phrases word for word. Instead, try to use this last paragraph to really show your skills as a writer by being as artful in your rephrasing as possible. Although it may seem like a waste of time — especially during exams where time is tight — it is almost always better to brainstorm a bit before beginning your essay.

This should enable you to find the best supporting ideas — rather than simply the first ones that come to mind — and position them in your essay accordingly.

Your best supporting idea — the one that most strongly makes your case and, simultaneously, about which you have the most knowledge — should go first. Even the best-written essays can fail because of ineffectively placed arguments. Sentences and vocabulary of varying complexity are one of the hallmarks of effective writing. When you are writing, try to avoid using the same words and phrases over and over again. If you are asked about "money," you could try "wealth" or "riches.

In the end, though, remember that good writing does not happen by accident. Although we have endeavored to explain everything that goes into effective essay writing in as clear and concise a way as possible, it is much easier in theory than it is in practice.

As a result, we recommend that you practice writing sample essays on various topics.

Essays can be crucial to admissions and scholarship decisions.

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A classic format for compositions is the five-paragraph essay. It is not the only format for writing an essay, of course, but it is a useful model for you to keep in mind, especially as you begin to develop your composition skills.

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Essay maps are not concerned with paragraphs so much as with sections of an essay. They anticipate the major argumentative moves you expect your essay to make. Try making your map like this.

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How To Write an Essay Introductory Paragraph. Body Paragraph I. Body Paragraph II. Body Paragraph III. Concluding Paragraph. Note that the author uses only three or . While rivers flow on their own, writers have to work to make their writing smooth and coherent. An essay that flows is well-organized, well-written, concise and logical. Choppy sentences, poor word choice, nonexistent transitions and illogical structure can make an essay unclear and difficult to understand. Imagine.

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