Essay The basic high school or college essay has the following standardized, five paragraph structure: Paragraph 1: Introduction Paragraph 2: Body 1 Paragraph 3: Body 2 Paragraph 4: Body 3 Paragraph 5: Conclusion Taken together, then

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The basic high school or college essay has the following standardized, five paragraph structure:

Paragraph 1: Introduction

Paragraph 2: Body 1

Paragraph 3: Body 2

Paragraph 4: Body 3

Paragraph 5: Conclusion
Taken together, then, the overall structure of a five paragraph essay should look something like this:
Introduction Paragraph

An attention-grabbing "hook"

A thesis statement

A preview of the three subtopics you will discuss in the body paragraphs.

First Body Paragraph

Topic sentence which states the first subtopic and opens with a transition

Supporting details or examples

An explanation of how this example proves your thesis

Second Body Paragraph

Topic sentence which states the second subtopic and opens with a transition

Supporting details or examples

An explanation of how this example proves your thesis

Third Body Paragraph

Topic sentence which states the third subtopic and opens with a transition

Supporting details or examples

An explanation of how this example proves your thesis

Concluding Paragraph

Concluding Transition, Reverse "hook," and restatement of thesis.

Rephrasing main topic and subtopics.

Global statement or call to action.

Parts of an Essay
Introduction Paragraph
What is an introduction paragraph?

The introduction paragraph is the first paragraph of your essay.

What does it do?

It introduces the main idea of your essay. A good opening paragraph captures the interest of your reader and tells why your topic is important.

How do I write one?

1. Write the thesis statement. The main idea of the essay is stated in a single sentence called the thesis statement. You must limit your entire essay to the topic you have introduced in your thesis statement.

2. Provide some background information about your topic. You can use interesting facts, quotations, or definitions of important terms you will use later in the essay.

Hockey has been a part of life in Canada for over 120 years. It has evolved into an extremely popular sport watched and played by millions of Canadians. The game has gone through several changes since hockey was first played in Canada.

Supporting Paragraphs
What are supporting paragraphs?

Supporting paragraphs make up the main body of your essay.

What do they do?

They develop the main idea of your essay.

How do I write them?

1. List the points that develop the main idea of your essay.

2. Place each supporting point in its own paragraph.

3. Develop each supporting point with facts, details, and examples.

To connect your supporting paragraphs, you should use special transition words. Transition words link your paragraphs together and make your essay easier to read. Use them at the beginning and end of your paragraphs.
Examples of transition words that can help you to link your paragraphs together:
For listing different points


For counter examples

Even though

On the other hand


For additional ideas

In addition to

Related to


To show cause and effect


As a result of


Like all good paragraphs, each supporting paragraph should have a topic sentence, supporting sentences, and a summary sentence.
Summary Paragraph
What is a summary paragraph?

The summary paragraph comes at the end of your essay after you have finished developing your ideas. The summary paragraph is often called a "conclusion."

What does it do?

It summarizes or restates the main idea of the essay. You want to leave the reader with a sense that your essay is complete.

How do I write one?

1. Restate the strongest points of your essay that support your main idea.

2. Conclude your essay by restating the main idea in different words.

3. Give your personal opinion or suggest a plan for action.


Overall, the changes that occurred in hockey have helped to improve the game. Hockey is faster and more exciting as a result of changes in the past 120 years. For these reasons, modern hockey is a better game than hockey in the 1890s.

Sample Othello Essay

Heaven Is My Judge”: Literary Devices in Othello

William Shakespeare's classic drama Othello centers around the two conflicting characters of scheming, manipulative Iago and the honorable, but often times faithless Othello. Despite the fact that these men are completely opposite in character, Iago commands such persuasive powers that he literally starts to affect Othello’s thinking, altering the figures of speech he uses and his perceptions of those close to him. Both Othello and Iago use many of the same literary devices and much of the same figurative language to express not only their opinions of those around them, but also their general conceptions of the workings of the universe on a more spiritual level.

Act I of Othello closes with Iago giving a soliloquy introducing his plan to make Othello lose faith in his wife. This speech reveals Iago to have an incredibly materialistic and conceited nature, as he reduces everyone mentioned to an object easily capable of manipulation. Roderigo becomes Iago's purse, Cassio is simply a handsome, noble man who can be used to make Othello jealous, and Othello himself is “As tenderly [led] by the nose/ As asses are” (1163). Even Iago's own wife, Emilia, is referred to as Iago's “office,” an item that he has earned, rather than a woman he has vowed to love. He concludes this speech by saying “Hell and night/ Must bring this monstrous birth to the world's light,” comparing Othello and Desdemona's marriage to a “monster birth,” while equating himself and his deceptions to Satan. Iago continuously makes comments about how hell is superior to heaven. In a later soliloquy near the end of Act II, Iago continues to relate the people he is manipulating to objects, this time also comparing the entire scenario to a game in which he plays the villain and Othello is a prize to be won. Iago mocks himself and his feigned innocence in this speech, exclaiming “Divinity of hell!/ When devils will the blackest sins put on/ They do suggest at first with heavenly shows,/ As I do now” (1180). Iago hates that he must play an innocent underling in his own plot, but at the same time he realizes that the easiest method to achieve his goals is to hide his true intentions under a cloak of innocence.

Othello's soliloquy in Act V, before he kills Desdemona, bears many parallels to the speeches made by Iago throughout the play. Othello, like Iago, objectifies Desdemona several times, first refusing to spill her blood, for fear of ruining her “smooth as monumental alabaster” skin. He then says “Put out the light, and then put out the light” (1124), trying to give himself the resolve to literally extinguish the room's light before figuratively extinguishing Desdemona's life. This comparison of Desdemona to an extinguishable candle, rather than granting conviction, serves to stay further action briefly while he fully considers the analogy. He muses that if he extinguishes a candle, he can always light it again, while if he “extinguishes” his wife, here compared to some object of intricate design, nothing can bring her life back. When Othello finishes the candle analogy, he repeats the same idea, this time comparing Desdemona to a rose that, once plucked, can never grow again. This speech is concluded with the very Iago-like statement “this sorrow's heavenly,/ It strikes where it doth love” (1125). Othello believes he is doing the right thing by killing his wife because according to his Christian beliefs, his God tests those He loves. This is not exactly what Iago was referring to when he mentioned devils putting on “heavenly shows,” but it greatly increases the audience's sense of dramatic irony to know that Othello believes himself to be doing the right thing, even at this late point in the play.

While Othello uses much of Iago’s own figurative language by the end of the play, he does so to achieve different results. Iago degrades every other character by comparing them to objects that can easily be manipulated, while Othello, when he dehumanizes people, somehow makes them out to be more than human. Likewise, when Iago makes reference to heaven and hell, he always describes how hell comes out on top. Othello, on the other hand, knows that heaven represents all that is good and right on Earth and so eventually throws himself at the mercy of his God, making him the tragic hero of the play.

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