Despite the fact that, as Shakespeare said, "the pen is mightier than the sword," the pen itself is not enough to make an effective writer. In fact, though we may all like to think of ourselves as the next Shakespeare, inspiration alone is not the key to effective essay writing. You see, the conventions of English essays are more formulaic than you might think — and, in many ways, it can be as simple as counting to five.
Though more advanced academic papers are a category all their own, the basic high school or college essay has the following standardized, five paragraph structure:. Body 1 Paragraph 3: Body 2 Paragraph 4: Body 3 Paragraph 5: 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. 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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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, You may have your topic assigned, or you may be given free reign to write on the subject of your choice. If you are given the topic, you should think about the type of paper that you want to produce. Should it be a general overview of the subject or a specific analysis? Narrow your focus if necessary.
If you have not been assigned a topic, you have a little more work to do. However, this opportunity also gives you the advantage to choose a subject that is interesting or relevant to you. First, define your purpose. Is your essay to inform or persuade? Once you have determined the purpose, you will need to do some research on topics that you find intriguing. Think about your life. What is it that interests you?
Jot these subjects down. Finally, evaluate your options. If your goal is to educate, choose a subject that you have already studied. If your goal is to persuade, choose a subject that you are passionate about. Whatever the mission of the essay, make sure that you are interested in your topic. In order to write a successful essay, you must organize your thoughts. This structure serves as a foundation for your paper.
Use either an outline or a diagram to jot down your ideas and organize them. To create a diagram, write your topic in the middle of your page. Draw three to five lines branching off from this topic and write down your main ideas at the ends of these lines. Draw more lines off these main ideas and include any thoughts you may have on these ideas. If you prefer to create an outline, write your topic at the top of the page.
The best essays on writing from around the net -- essays on the craft of writing by famous writers Essential Essays for Writers. On Keeping a Notebook by Joan Didion A beautiful meditation on keeping notes that explores the heart of the writing process. Why I Write by Joan Didion.
The writing we produce that will never actually make it into a finished piece of writing is still productive, productive because it gets us to a cognitive point we could not have otherwise reached. The process may feel inefficient at times, but that process is essential to the production of knowledge, no matter what our discipline, and no.
The links below provide concise advice on some fundamental elements of academic writing. Affordablepapers is a reliable writing service with a great reputation. This company has assisted college student for more than 10 years, delivering essays and term papers of the highest quality. We respect our clients and make sure our papers help students from America, Europe, and the .
When writing an essay it is good practice to consider your reader. To guide the reader through your work you will need to inform them where you are starting from (in the introduction), where you are going (as the essay progresses), and where you have been (in the conclusion). Writing an academic essay means fashioning a coherent set of ideas into an argument. Because essays are essentially linear—they offer one idea at a time—they must present their ideas in the order that makes most sense to a reader.