The essay there are three components to the essay: Introduction

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There are three components to the essay:
Introduction: a) motivator (attracts the reader's interest)

b) thesis statement (presents the main idea)

c) blueprint (quick summary of main points to be presented -one for each central paragraph)
Central Paragraphs: * also called Supporting Paragraphs or collectively known as The Body

* often there are three paragraphs but there can be more

* each paragraph must relate to and support the thesis statement
Conclusion: 2 parts:

a) reworded thesis statement (which might include reminders of the main points argued)

b) the clincher - a final sentence or two that leaves no doubt in the reader's mind that the essay has reached its end but also is used as one final attempt to persuade the reader


Thesis statement with blueprint

a) Thesis Statement: limited subject/ precise opinion

Your thesis statement must not be too broad or too narrow.

In other words, when you choose your thesis statement, make sure that it is a thesis that you are able to support with the central paragraphs.

b) Blueprint: a summary, in advance, of the topic sentences for your central paragraphs.

* in the case of the 5-paragraph essay, the blueprint should have three separate ideas.

* each of these three will be the basis for one of the central paragraphs.
* The thesis statement and the blueprint may be combined into one sentence.

* Each of the three ideas presented in the blueprint must be similar in structure so that the reader is aware that three ideas are being presented.

* Blueprints often answer the questions: Why? How? When?

Example of thesis statement with blueprint:
Overly competitive sports can damage a child psychologically. The child's view of self, peers, and adults are all susceptible to harm.

(Note that the blueprint answers "how" the child is damaged.)
Example of thesis statement with blueprint included:
Wayne Gretzky must be considered the greatest hockey player when his scoring records, number of championships, and impact on the game itself are taken into consideration.
The Motivator: *the part of the introduction that gets the reader's attention

*it always comes first!

Here are 3 examples of good ways to motivate the reader: (note that there are many more possibilities)
a) the opposite opinion: state the opinion your paper opposes and then make a transition to your thesis statement. Basically, you state what the "poor, misguided people" believe and then you state your opinion.
Example: Some people think that smoking makes them appear to be sophisticated and mysterious, perhaps even seductive. They become Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca or Lauren Bacall in To Have or Have Not. Those people, however, are wrong. The reality is that smoking is a really disgusting habit - messy, irritating to others, and even harmful to non-smokers.
b) another interesting motivator is a brief story (also called an anecdote). It engages the reader's attention and makes him/her want to continue reading.
c) Another easy way to get your reader's attention is to begin with a statement that is interesting. (It can be interesting because it is intriguing or because, perhaps, because of the tone.)

Example: Seeing smokers flick ashes on your desk or throw ashes on the rug is a sickening site. Long after these people have left, their "droppings" remain, together with the foul smoke they have exhaled from their tar-coated lungs. Let's face the facts; smoking is a disgusting habit - messy, irritating, and even harmful to non-smokers.

Note: Both examples above did not use the personal pronoun "I". The use of the first person is not acceptable for a formal essay but can be used in an informal essay. The vocabulary choices in the second example are slightly less formal but help to catch the reader’s attention by establishing an angry tone.

  • similar to the one-paragraph essay where the opening sentence is supported by the facts that follow

  • each central paragraph has a topic sentence (this topic sentence should support the thesis statement given in the introduction as well as broadly indicate the content of the paragraph.)

  • each central paragraph has specific support (e.g. examples from the novel) which support the topic sentence.

  • when the last item of specific support of a central paragraph is finished, so is that paragraph. It is also acceptable to include a closing statement for that paragraph to sum up the point made. Many writers also like to incorporate a smooth transition to the next paragraph in the final sentence rather than wait until the next paragraph’s topic sentence.

  • the topic sentence of a central paragraph must have limited subject/ precise opinion. (Otherwise, the reader will not know the purpose of the paragraph.)

  • the topic sentence for the central paragraph should have these three parts:

a) a transition (provides continuity between paragraphs)

b) a reminder of the thesis statement.

c) the main idea of the paragraph.

Example: The theme of prejudice can also be seen in the treatment of Tom Robinson by the racist citizens of Maycomb.
[For the example cited, the specific support of the paragraph must support and expand upon the topic of racial prejudice, seen in the treatment of Tom Robinson.]

  • reminds the reader of the main points of your essay and it gives them a sense of finality

  • the part that gives the finality is the "clincher"

Clincher – here are two types (of many possibilities):

A) the reference to the motivator

- reminds the reader of the motivator you used in your introduction

- brings the paper full circle, and it's unmistakable signal that it is finished


Those who have never participated in such a disgusting habit should be commended. Hopefully the others that have started will decide to quit. These "sophisticated people" will soon find out that Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were mysterious and appealing in spite of their habit, not because of it.
B) an interesting statement

- an interesting statement is a good way to end a paper

-your statement might be interesting because of the information or because of the tone

Those who have never participated in such a disgusting habit should be commended. Hopefully the others that have started will decide to quit. These "sophisticated people" will soon find out that Humphrey Bogart, mysterious and appealing though he might have been, unfortunately died of cancer of the throat - most likely caused by smoking!


Note: The methods of citation within the text vary from teacher to teacher (and subject to subject). Always check with your instructor to find out what style is preferred.

In MLA style, referring to the works of others in your text is done in two ways. When you make reference to someone else's idea, either through paraphrasing or quoting them directly, you:

  • provide the author's name (or the title of the work) and the page (or paragraph) number of the work in a parenthetical citation

  • provide full citation information for the work in your Works Cited list

Examples of parenthetical citation:
Author and Page Number:

Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful

feelings" (Wordsworth 263).
Author clearly identified within sentence with page number:

Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (263).

No direct quotation but paraphrasing has been employed:

Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (263).

Note: A Works Cited page is required at the end of the essay when using the parenthetical style of citation. This page contains all of the sources employed in your essay with necessary publishing information for each.

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