Essay Writing

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					Essay Writing
            Types of essays
• There are two types of essays you may be called to write:
  research and opinion
• In a research essay, you are explaining or describing
  something along multiple lines.
   – Research-concentrated paragraphs; lots of facts, statistics,
     and specific names and terms
   – No opinion; explanation of something only
   – Point-by-point explanation
   – Discussion of the topic from multiple points of view; both
     positive and negative aspects are addressed
• In an opinion essay, you are defending your opinion or
  position on a specific topic
   – May or may not be supported by researched evidence
   – Your position must be evident
   – Step-by-step explanation of your opinion; lead the reader from
     A to B to C, etc.
   – You will provide a counterargument to your position, and then
     respond to it
Essay format: “Say what you want
to say, say it, then say you’ve said
• Paragraph 1: Introduction
• Paragraph 2: Supporting point 1
  (weakest argument for opinion)
• Paragraph 3: Supporting point 2
  (strongest argument for opinion)
• Paragraph 4: Supporting point 3
  (middle-strength argument for
• Paragraph 5: Conclusion

Body Paragraph 1

Body Paragraph 2

Body Paragraph 3


1. General                       General
Statement                           -

2. Outline: BP1                     -
   3. Outline: BP2                  -

       4. Outline: BP3              -
             5. Conclusion/         -
• the introduction is just that – an
  – Sentence 1: general statement
  – Sentence 2: outline statement: Body
    Paragraph 1
  – Sentence 3: outline statement: Body
    Paragraph 2
  – Sentence 4: outline statement: Body
    Paragraph 3
  – Sentence 5: thesis (opinion)/concluding
      General Statement
• the general statement is designed to
  introduce the reader to your overall
  essay topic
  – All your BPs should support or fall
    under this topic
  – Avoid statements that begin with “since
    the dawn of time…” or “for centuries…”
  – In an opinion paper, where you have a
    thesis, here is the difference between the
    • General statement – introduces the topic
    • Thesis – outlines your specific position on the
Body Paragraph Sentences
• the three body sentences in this
  paragraph must correspond to the
  format of your essay
  – The order of these sentences is identical
    to the order of your paragraphs
  – Each sentence summarizes what you will
    be discussing in the corresponding
    paragraph (similar to that paragraph’s
    introduction sentence)
Body Paragraph Sentences
• For a research essay, your
  conclusion wraps up your
  introduction, just like any other
  concluding sentence.
• For an opinion paper, your thesis
  is your opinion on the topic
• Your thesis should identify exactly
  what your position on your topic is
  – The reader should be able to read your
    thesis and expect every supporting
    paragraph to support that position
  – It is always the last sentence in your
    introduction paragraph
  – This is the sentence to which you should
    relate all your supporting paragraphs
  Supporting Paragraphs:
     Research Essays
• Select three subtopics that are
  essential to understanding your
  – Explanation, pros, cons
  – Before, during, after
  – Social, political, economic
• Each supporting paragraph discusses
  one and only one topic
  – That topic should be identified in
    introductory sentence of that
  Supporting Paragraphs:
      Opinion Essays
• Supporting paragraphs should be
  arranged in the following order:
  weakest, strongest, second
• Each supporting paragraph discusses
  one and only one topic
  – That topic should be identified in
    introductory sentence of that
  – Each paragraph must relate back to the
Supporting Paragraphs:
        1. Introduction

       2. Support Point 1

         3. Evidence 1

          4. Analysis 1

       5. Support Point 2
         6. Evidence 2
          7. Analysis 2

       8. Support Point 3

         9. Evidence 3
         10. Analysis 3

      11. Conclusion/ Link
 Supporting Paragraphs:
• Each body paragraph has 3 PEAs
  in it:
 –Supporting Point: the point you’re
 –Evidence: the proof to back up your
 –Analysis: the explanation of your
  Supporting Paragraphs:
     Supporting Point
• Use three strong points to support
  or address the paragraph topic
• All points support or are relevant to
  the topic, and are in a logical order
• For an opinion paragraph, the three
  points naturally lead the reader to
  agree with your opinion
  Supporting Paragraphs:
• Your evidence is factual information
  which supports your points
  – E.g. qualified quotes, statistics, facts,
• Your evidence reinforces what you
  already said; it doesn’t replace it
  – Evidence is only there to prove that your
    point is true; it’s not the point itself
  Supporting Paragraphs:
• Types of evidence (In order of
  effectiveness, least to most)
  – Anecdotes
     • Personal stories and experiences, based on actual
       events. These can be from celebrities, noted field
       experts, or selected case studies.
  – Quotations
     • Actual testimony from a noted field expert or
       professional, addressing the specific topic. This is
       more effective than an anecdote, because
       anecdotes could be from non-experts, or be an
       improbable scenario.
  – Statistics
     • Quantifiable data regarding the specific topic. More
       effective than a quotation, because it is objective. It
       is based on measured and calculated data, and not a
       person’s opinion
  Supporting Paragraphs:
• Your analysis ties your point and
  evidence together
  –It explains your evidence, and
   makes it relate to your point
  –It’s like a “mini-conclusion”
• Do not “spell out” your analysis!
  –E.g. “The above point proves that…”
                  1. Thesis/
                  Summary         -
         2. Outline: BP1/         -
         Point 1                  -
     3. Outline: BP2/             -
     Point 2
  4. Outline:
  BP3/                            -
  Concluding                      -
  Point 3
5. Ending/                     General
Question/ Final
• Your concluding paragraph wraps up
  everything in your essay
  – Sentence 1: thesis (opinion)/beginning-of-
    the-end sentence
  – Sentence 2: outline statement:
    supporting point 1*
  – Sentence 3: outline statement:
    supporting point 2*
  – Sentence 4: outline statement:
    supporting point 3*
  – Sentence 5: end-of-the-
    end/question/final thought
    • * Instead of reiterating the topics discussed,
      you may use these sentences to answer “so
      what” questions
• Your conclusion can follow three
  formats: Here’s What, So What, Now
 –Here’s What:
   •It concludes your essay. In one paragraph,
    you wrap up what you were talking about,
    tie up any loose ends, and conclude the
   •In an essay, your conclusion links each of
    the supporting paragraphs in your essay
    back to your original thesis.
–So What:
 •Your conclusion answers the “so
  what” question. The reader reads your
  essay and says “Ok, I’m convinced, but
  why should I care about this?” Your
  conclusion answers that.
 •It could explain relevancy, or how
  your information may be used in real-
  life situations.
 •Your conclusion could complete this:
  “Let’s assume everything I said in this
  paragraph is completely true. Here’s
  how it will affect society…”
–Now What:
 •Your conclusion leaves your reader
  with something to think about.
 •It could pose a question that the
  reader must answer for him/herself,
  or provide a thought for them to
  ponder well after reading your paper.
 •It could ask the reader where we
  should go from here.
• Your conclusion should bring all the topics you discussed
  back together
• In an opinion paragraph, your first sentence must be the
• Follow the KISS approach. Don’t use 50 words where 10
  will do. State your point and move on. (That being said,
  don’t get stingy with words when you’re asked to explain
  or elaborate!)
• Don’t try to sound smart. People often make sentences
  that are much more elaborate than they need to be. Some
  sentences will be very complex (which is fine), but overly
  wordy sentences are annoying, confusing, and often
  riddled with mistakes.
• Be methodical; take it step-by-step. Imagine you are
  teaching the topic to someone. Start at the beginning, and
  end at the end. Don’t change that formula.
• Always have an intro sentence and a concluding sentence.
  Readers need to be eased into the topic; if you jump right in
  at the beginning, or abruptly change topics at the end, the
  reader gets confused and frustrated!
         Other Tips
• Proofread, proofread,
• Use vocabulary appropriate for
  the course and academic level
 –Words/phrases which should not
  be found in grade 12 formal
   •A lot

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