Basic, failsafe, no-frills essay form
(Particularly useful for in-class essays)
The introductory paragraph may begin by catching the reader's attention with:
- a bold statement
- a scenario
- a question
- a compelling statistic
- a formulation of a problem
It should provide background information.
- Identify the topic of the paper (e.g., Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken" or The unification of Italy).
- Give some context, a summary, or the main components of that topic. Sometimes it helps to answer a few of the 5 W's: who, what, where, when, why . . . and how.
The thesis statement should state the specific, main idea the paper will discuss.
- For many in-class essays, you can rephrase the question as a statement.
Body of the essay:
Each body paragraph should:
- have a topic sentence that clearly connects to the thesis & tells what point the whole paragraph will make
- develop support specific to the point of the topic sentence using authorities cited, explanations, facts, examples, details or statistics.
- use analysis to show "how" and "why" the types of support give insight into the topic
- provide transition (a word or two: "On the other hand"; a phrase: "An equally important program..."; or a sentence: "Frost uses this ironic theme again in 'The Road Not Taken.'") to show how your paragraphs are connected.
- Return to the thesis idea so the reader understands the importance of the main point of your paper.
- Don't just repeat what was in the paper -- that has already been said.
- State what you most want readers to remember or think about from your essay.
- However, do not bring up new topics!