Writing a Six-Paragraph Essay in 30 Minutes Q: How in the heck am I going to do this?



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Writing a Six-Paragraph Essay in 30 Minutes

Q: How in the heck am I going to do this?
A: It's not easy. You have to have practice so that writing in an organized, fluent fashion is second nature to you.
Q: How should I structure my essay?
A: The simplest method is to follow the guidelines I've given you for a six-paragraph essay:
OPENING: Start with an attention-getter which pulls the reader into your paper. Connect the attention-getter to your topic. Transition from a brief discussion of your topic to your thesis statement. Your thesis statement should be clearly stated at the end of your opening paragraph.
* Your opening should be 3-5 sentences in length.
BODY PARAGRAPHS 1, 2, and 3: Each body paragraph should begin with a transitional phrase that leads into your topic sentence. Your topic sentence should clearly state the supporting argument of this paragraph. After stating your argument, explain the why and how behind your argument. Then, include one or two vivid, specific examples that illustrate your point. Always end your paragraph with a concluding sentence which sums things up or smoothly leads into the next paragraph.
* Each body paragraph should be 5-8 sentences in length.
BODY PARAGRAPH 4: This paragraph should begin by stating one argument of the other side. After you state the other side's argument, explain why you still believe they're wrong in a few sentences. Use a vivid example to illustrate your point. End the sentence with a concluding sentence that strongly restates your opinion.
* Your rebuttal paragraph should be 4-7 sentences in length.
CONCLUSION: Begin your conclusion with one of the summary transitions (not "in conclusion") and reword your thesis statement. Then, summarize the key points you made in your paper briefly. Finally, end with a clinching statement (relate to the future, stress the importance of the topic, end with a powerful quotation, end on a universal note that eveyone can relate to).
* Your conclusion should be 3-5 sentences in length.

How to Organize Your Time When Writing a Six-Paragraph Essay in 30 Minutes...
PLANNING / ORGANIZING: Always quickly plan out your essay before writing it. This will save you time in the long run. It is an extremely bad idea to just jump in and start writing. I suggest making a quick version of an organizer like this:


Thesis:



P1:

P2:

P3:

OS:

How? Why? Specific Examples?
1.
2.
3.


How? Why? Specific Examples?
1.
2.
3.

How? Why? Specific Examples?
1.
2.
3.

How? Why? Specific Examples?
1.
2.
3.

* Give yourself three-four minutes to come up with your thesis & supporting points. STOP after four minutes even if you're not completely finished and START WRITING!! You can figure out the details later, as long as you have your thesis and supporting points.


Writing Your Opening Paragraph...


  1. Start with an attention-getting statement that pulls the reader into your paper. I suggest using a general background statement, an anecdote (a brief story related to your topic), or a strawman (presenting the other side & quickly shooting it down).

  2. Connect smoothly into your topic.

  3. Your thesis should be located at the end of your opening paragraph. Avoid expressions such as I think, or I believe.

SAMPLE OPENING with an ANECDOTE

Everyone knows somebody just like my Aunt Marva. The minute Marva enters a room where there's a television, she turns it on. The very minute! Does she even care what's on? It doesn't matter. It might be a soap opera or a football game or one of those animal shows on red ants in Africa. She sits there mesmerized. My Aunt Marva is like a lot of people who've been brainwashed by television. Clearly, television is more harmful than helpful.


Writing an Effective Body Paragraph...

Each body paragraph must:



  1. Begin with a clear topic sentence

  2. Include vivid, specific examples that support the topic sentence

  3. End with a concluding sentence that sums up the paragraph

SAMPLE BODY PARAGRAPH

Television could be helpful if people would choose quality programs and limit the amount they watch; however, this isn't the case for the majority of viewers. Most television viewers watch anything and everything, including infomercials for quesadilla makers, mindless dating shows, and reality shows on MTV featuring rich, spoiled, teenage idiots blathering about their materialistic lives. There is no cure for the type of stupidity that mindless television inflicts on a person. Instead of being engaged by new ideas, television viewers are overwhelmed with worthless programming that doesn't enrich their lives in any way. Obviously, this type of television viewing is pointless.



Writing an Effective Body Paragraph...

It is also important to try to write body paragraphs that are very clear and coherent. This means that every idea should make sense, and transitions should be used to link ideas together.



SAMPLE BODY PARAGRAPH

Not only does television fill your mind with useless images, it also wastes your time. Time spent festering in front of the "boob tube" would be better spent talking with a friend or reading a book. A good conversation with a friend is always more fulfilling than watching an hour of television because you're actually interacting with another human being, not just sitting back passively on your couch. In addition, reading actually informs you and sharpens your mind at the same time. Think of how much a person could learn if he or she gave up an hour of television to read about subjects of interest. Without a doubt, a person's time is better spent doing something other than watching the television.



Writing an Effective Body Paragraph...

Another good way to "spice up" your body paragraph is to include similes or metaphors that help the reader envision what you're talking about.



SAMPLE BODY PARAGRAPH

Furthermore, too much television is damaging to a person's mind. If a teenager watches too much television, his mind is held hostage by flickering images of shiny cars, beautiful women, toothpaste, deodorant and Pepto-Bismol. These images crowd out the young man's imagination and take away his ability to create. The mind of a frequent television watcher becomes more passive with time; as a result, she becomes a mindless sheep, unable to think for herself. When the United States has too many passive, non-thinking citizens, this allows the corrupt to manipulate the people. This is what happens when people allow a machine to dissolve their brains like Jello in the hot August sun.



Writing Your Rebuttal Paragraph...

  1. State the opinion of the other side in your topic sentence. Make sure to identify the other side ("Some people think..." or "Others believe...").

  2. You can either shoot down the other side's argument, or you can concede that they may have a point. If you admit that they have a point, MAKE SURE to explain why they're still wrong overall.

  3. End the paragraph by restating your point of view clearly.

SAMPLE REBUTTAL PARAGRAPH

Of course, there are many high-quality programs on television. Creative shows such as Lost may inspire viewers to think imaginatively, and educational programs such as Biography may teach people about history. However, these shows are the exception to the rule. The vast majority of television programming is a wasteland of mindless babble that does nothing but clutter our thoughts. When it comes to television as a whole, the bad outweighs the good.



Writing Your Conclusion

  1. Reword your thesis.

  2. Summarize your key points.

  3. End with a clincher (in this case, the clincher relates to the future).

SAMPLE CONCLUSION

All in all, the less television you watch, the better off you'll be. In general, television is a pointless waste of time that destroys the human mind. As a country, if we continue to waste countless hours in front of a mind-numbing machine, we have a frightening future to look forward to - a future that we probably won't even see coming because we'll be too busy watching MTV's newest reality show.


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