The Essay Austin English 11 Stages of the Writing Process
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The Essay PREWRITING: Choose a topic Brainstorm ideas Organize ideas Decide on the purpose and audience Decide on the appropriate form/genre/mode for the purpose Drafting Write the rough draft Emphasis is on CONTENT REVISING Share drafts with a partner, a small group, or a teacher Constructive feedback is given on content Changes are made in the CONTENT based on feedback Look at sequence, detailing, and organizing to see that it is logical and coherent EDITING Author proofreads own paper for mechanical errors Proofread others’ papers Students are accountable for conventions that have been taught Proofread for spelling, grammar and usage, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence formation errors PUBLISHING Choose an appropriate format to share finished product Students share their published form with an audience 3 PARTS OF AN ESSAY Structure: 5 paragraphs (each paragraph 5-8 sentences) Introduction: 1 paragraph with thesis statement Body: 3 paragraphs each with a topic sentence Conclusion: 1 paragraph THESIS STATEMENT States very specifically, in one sentence, the points of the essay’s topic (one point per body paragraph) Serves as an outline for the body (discuss the points in the order presented in the thesis) Unifies the essay by giving key words, phrasing, etc. which can be repeated in the body THESIS STATEMENT MUST BE ONE DECLARATIVE SENTENCE IT CANNOT BE A QUESTION THEREFORE A GOOD THESIS FORMULATES YOUR TOPIC AN YOUR POINT OF VIEW IT IS NOT A STATEMENT OF PURPOSE INTRODUCTION GENERAL TO SPECIFIC!!! Set the stage for your observations, feelings, thoughts, research, etc. This is a good place to define terms or use quotes, famous sayings, etc. Focus in on the specific points in the thesis statement. The thesis statement is generally the last sentence of the introduction paragraph. BODY SPECIFIC, SPECIFIC, SPECIFIC A. DISCUSS EACH POINT OF YOUR THESIS STATEMENT IN THE ORDER STATED IN THE THESIS—ONE POINT PER PARAGRAPH B. TOPIC SENTENCE IN ECH PARAGRAPH SHOULD PICK UP KEY WORDS USED IN THE THESIS BODY C. GIVE SPECIFIC PROOF TO SUPPORT EACH POINT. USE FACTS, EXAMPLES, LOGICAL REASONS, AND STATISTICS TO SUPPORT YOUR POINT USE RELEVANT QUOTES FROM THE WORKS EXPLAIN SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE PLOT, SETTING, CHARACTERIZATION , THE AUTHOR’S STYLE, ETC. WHICH SUPPORT YOUR OPINION MAKE ALLUSIONS OR COMPARISONS TO OTHER LITERARY WORKS CONCLUSION SPECIFIC TO GENERAL A. RESTATE YOUR THESIS USING DIFFERENT WORDING, BUT KEEP YOUR POINTS IN THE ORDER YOU DISCUSSED THEM IN THE BODY. B. SUM UP KEY PROOFS. C. MAKE GENERALIIZATIONS. WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES YOUR TOPIC MAKE TO YOU, TO OTHER PEOPLE, TO THE WORLD. Transitions To compare two things: In the same way likewise Also like As similarly Transitions To contrast things: But on the other hand Although however In the meantime although Nevertheless on the contrary Counter to as opposed Even so still Even though yet otherwise style Style is some special quality that commands interest or gives pleasure, something that makes you sit up and take notice. The secret to style is CONTROL. TWO COMMANDMENTS: 1. Do not use first or second person or the impersonal one. Example: I believe that God exists. God exists. 2. Do not use the word there to begin a sentence. Example: There was something wrong. Something was wrong. style USE ACTIVE VOICE: Active voice is direct, vigorous, strong. It lets your subjects perform. Passive voice is indirect, limp, weak, and sneaky. Vary your sentence length. Use FORMAL LANGUAGE. Do not use slang, contractions, jargon, cliches, etc. DO’S OF ESSAY WRITING Use good transitions between paragraphs and points in each paragraph Use literary terms (protagonist, antagonist, setting, irony, symbolism, theme, characterization, conflict, narrative, drama) Make allusions to other works Use quotes from the work being discussed Put the title, author, and genre of the work being discussed in the first paragraph DON’TS OF ESSAY WRITING Say “in my opinion”, “I think”, “I believe”, etc. Don’t use first person! Switch tenses or persons Refer to the essay itself. For example: “This essay will prove. . .” “This paragraph discusses. . .” etc. Say the same thing over and over. Use specific and numerous details of proof. PLAGIARISM Plagiarism occurs in one of three ways: Failing to cite quotations and borrowed ideas Failing to enclose borrowed language in quotation marks Failing to put summaries and paraphrases in your own words DOCUMENTATION Follow the MLA Handbook for your sources Make copies of all research used in the paper ALL BORROWED INFORMATION MUST BE DOCUMENTED, WHETHER YOU BORROW AN AUTHOR’S WORDS, IDEAS, OR SENTENCE STRUCTURE. Sentences containing your own original thoughts obviously do not need documentation. Information that is assumed common knowledge does not need to be documented To indicate that you are using a source’s exact phrases or sentences, you must enclose them in quotation marks. Parenthetical Documented Parenthetical documentation is a way to indicate in parentheses the sources of borrowed information. This avoids plagiarism. The page number must be included so the reader could look up the original information for further clarification. What must be included in the parentheses? You must include the author’s last name and the page number. EXAMPLE: “This affects the environment and is in turn affected by it” (Newton 10). What should NOT be included in the parentheses? No punctuation inside the parentheses Do not write “page” or “pg” Where does the punctuation go? After the parentheses EX. …country (Jones 32). EXCEPTIONS No author mentioned—include the first piece of information from the Works Cited page. Usually this is the title of the article. EX. The need for nurses continues to grow in the coming years (“Nursing” 120). EXCEPTIONS AUTHOR MENTIONED IN THE SENTENCE – only the page number is needed EX. The social acceptance of coal miners, according to Peter Jones, British correspondent for Newsweek, was far from good (43). WORKS CITED Alphabetical order – whether it begins with author, title, etc. Double – spaced 12 point font Center Works Cited at the top of the page WORKS CITED EXAMPLE: Works Cited Field, Sally. Teaching . New York: Apple, 1976. Strategies Gunn, Betty. Personal Interview. 22 December 1995. Landry, Lucy. Becoming an English Teacher. New York: MacMillian, 1998. “Teaching.” The Encyclopedia of Careers and Vocational Guidance. Ed. William Hopke. Vol. 12. Chicago: Ferguson, 1988.
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