THE RELATIONSHIP OF PARAGRAPH STRUCTURE TO ESSAY STRUCTURE
TOPIC SENTENCE THESIS: A complete sentence listing
the main points of the essay.
I. FIRST MAIN POINT/PARAGRAPH
I. Sub-topic 1. Details
1. Details 2. Details
2. Details B. Sub-point
II. SECOND MAIN
II. Sub-topic A. Sub-point
1. Details 1. Details
2. Details 2. Details
III. THIRD MAIN
III. Sub-topic A. Sub-point
1. Details 1. Details
2. Details 2. Details
CONCLUDING SENTENCE Review your main points. Restate your
thesis; however do not copy it.
The Writing Center Valle Verde Tutorial Support Services EPCC 1
(Structure, Organization, & Development)
The Basics of Good Essay Form
The ability to write a good essay is important to your college success. Besides its importance for passing the English
0310 Exit Exam, the essay is basic to nearly all classes. It is not really difficult to write a good essay once the writer
understands the logic behind it. The form illustrated in this handout, along with other handouts the tutor may provide, should
help provide the basics to arranging an essay. The subject of the essay will depend on the assignment, but the basic format will
apply in many situations. (FACTORED THESIS)Although there are many ways to write well, the most important elements in
writing essays are focus, organization and development.
Body Paragraph 1:
Focus is the single most important component of a good essay. Every part of the essay should pertain to this point.
The best place to state this point or thesis statement is at the end of the introductory paragraph; look at the last sentence in the
previous paragraph and see that the thesis of this essay is underlined and tells the reader exactly what will be covered in this
essay. The Exit Exam often requires that the essay have a persuasive approach. In the thesis statement written above, the words
"most important" provide the persuasive approach because the elements of writing this author has selected (focus, development
& organization) may not be considered the most important by another writer. The purpose, then, is to prove the thesis; to
convince the reader that this position is the true position. (TRANSITION SENTENCE) The best way to persuade a reader is to
provide a well-thought out organization.
Body Paragraph 2:
To be sure, organization is the next most important aspect of an essay; it helps the reader follow the points being made.
The best way to do this is by using a predictable form, like the one demonstrated here. This essay is organized with an
introduction that clearly states a thesis, three body paragraphs that refer back to the thesis statement and a conclusion that
summarizes the main ideas for the reader. The organization of an essay can come about by outlining or listing the main points
before starting to write. Generally, each body paragraph will develop one of the ideas mentioned in the thesis statement. Notice
that each paragraph begins with a topic sentence which tells the reader which point will be developed in the paragraph and how
it relates to the thesis. The information in the paragraph explains the topic sentence and gives details about it by providing a
vivid image for the reader. You may also notice that the last sentence of each paragraph leads the reader into the next one; this
is called a transitional sentence. Transitions help the essay flow smoothly form beginning to end. Good organization helps keep
the writer and the reader on track, and helps the writer avoid repetition and/or straying form the point.
Body Paragraph 3:
(TRANSITON SENTENCE) Another essential element of writing is development. Essay development is the element
of writing that draws the picture for the reader – it is the information provided that will help persuade the reader that this
interpretation is the best. Paragraphs are developed with details, examples from personal experiences, information that comes
from research or with sound reasoning which is explained to the reader. Each paragraph should contain some explanation or
support for the point made in the topic sentence of that paragraph. A well-developed essay makes the reader feel like he has
been provided with a full discussion of the topic. It is important not to get emotional when developing these points; logical
reasons are the best way to convince the reader. It is also essential to stay on topic when developing these ideas.
Of course, focus, organization and development are not the only considerations in writing a successful essay. After
writing the essay, it is important to go back through it and check for errors in spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, etc. Care
must be taken to cite any outside sources you may have used. You must cite these borrowed sources both in the paragraphs and
on the Works Cited page at the end of the essay when required; a writing tutor can help with these things. Although mechanics
like spelling and punctuation are important, the three elements described in the body of this essay really show the level of a
writer's skill. If these concepts can be mastered, a writer will be able to handle almost any writing assignment that comes along.
The Writing Center Valle Verde Tutorial Support Services EPCC 2