- Uses 1 st or 2 nd person point of view (I, you); flat or lifeless voice
- Uses words which are simple or inappropriate
- Contains frequent errors in standard written English: capitalization,
punctuation, spelling, and/or sentence formation
0 - No paper, off-task, or acts of plagiarism
THE INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH
An introductory paragraph catches the reader’s attention, gives some background information about the topic in general, and states the thesis. This paragraph can be divided into three parts.
1. Introductory Technique – Some teachers call this “the Hook” or “Attention Getter.”
Whichever technique you use, it must focus attention on the essay’s topic.
2. Link – This section explains the hook and leads the reader to the thesis statement. Its length depends on the type of essay. For example, if you are writing a literary analysis essay, you need to give a brief summary of the book as you lead to the thesis.
3. Thesis Statement – This is the topic sentence for the essay. It has two parts: a specific topic and your attitude about it
(subject + opinion)
More On Introductory Techniques
1. Definition: Explain a term that is central to the thesis. This may be a dictionary definition or the writer’s definition.
2. Rhetorical Question: This question needs to be central to the thesis and answered in the essay.
3. Startling Statement or Relevant Fact: Either one can serve to interest the reader and direct attention to the thesis.
4. Quotation: A quotation from the book works especially well when writing a literary analysis essay. Remember a quotation may be any section of the book, dialogue, description, or narration.
5. Anecdote: A short interesting or humorous incident is another popular introductory technique. With this hook, the writer must be careful to keep it short in relation to the overall length of the essay.
6. History or Background Information: This type or hook gives information that establishes context for the paper.
Never start an essay with a statement such as “In this essay I am going to write about …”
Organizing Your Position
Step 1: Figure out exactly what your answer is to the topic question and phrase it as a statement.
Step 2: Decide who your audience is.
Step 3: Brainstorm points/arguments that support your position. What is true about the topic that supports your point of view?
Step 4: Brainstorm/research facts that prove each of your points/arguments.
Constructing a Thesis Statement
What do you believe to be true?
What do you want your audience to agree to?
Is there an opposing viewpoint?
Is your topic specific enough to argue in a short paper but broad enough to allow at least three distinct points/arguments to be made?
Brainstorm points that are true about your topic that support your point of view.
All three points should be different from one another and support the point of view you have taken with your thesis.
Choose your three strongest or combine to create three and rank from strongest to weakest.
Research and brainstorm concrete details/examples that support each of your three points.
Possible evidence includes the following: quotes from others, past events, facts, personal anecdotes.
Evaluate the examples
Separate fact from opinion; only expert opinions carry weight in an argument.
Confirm that evidence is directly relevant to your point and does not contradict your point of view.
THE BODY PARAGRAPH
The body paragraphs provide proof and support for the thesis statement. A typical expository essay includes three or more body paragraphs. The more evidence the writer can provide, the more likely the reader will accept the validity of the thesis statement.
Organization of body paragraphs in a particular essay generally follows one of the patterns listed below.
second strongest, least strong, strongest argument
3. Comparison/Contrast – showing similarities and differences
4. Cause and Effect – relationship between event and outcome
Body Paragraph Structure
The topic sentence of each body paragraph must help prove the thesis statement.
Supporting sentences give concrete proof, examples, details, and/or facts that prove the thesis (concrete details).
The writer must explain the importance of each specific piece of evidence in one or two sentences following the evidence. This is often referred to as “commentary” about the evidence. Commentary means that the writer explains why the evidence helps prove the thesis in his or her own words.
The paragraph’s last or “concluding” sentence brings the paragraph to a conclusion and transitions to the topic sentence of the next paragraph.
Each paragraph of the essay is linked to the next one by various kinds of transitions; the
sentences within each paragraph are also smoothly connected to one another by transitional
words and phrases.
English teachers often ask students to write body paragraphs of ten or more sentences or 100 –
150 words. The purpose of this is to make sure the paragraphs will be specific and well
developed. It is a good idea to remember this when writing your essay.
On the following page is a simple pattern that shows exactly how a body paragraph is structured.
Sample Body Paragraph
Each line represents one sentence in the body paragraph.
1. Topic sentence (TS) – This idea helps prove that the thesis statement is true.
2. Concrete Detail (CD) – A fact, example, quotation, paraphrase, or piece of evidence to back up the topic sentence.
3. Commentary (CM) – Shows why CD provides proof.
4. Commentary (CM) – Shows why CD provides proof.
5. Concrete Detail (CD) – A fact, example, quotation, paraphrase, or piece of evidence to back up topic sentence.
6. Commentary (CM) – Shows why CD provides proof.
7. Commentary (CM) – Shows why CD provides proof.
8. Concrete Detail (CD) – A fact, example, quotation, paraphrase, or piece of evidence to back up topic sentence.
9. Commentary (CM) – Shows why CD provides proof.
10. Commentary (CM) – Shows why CD provides proof.
11. Concluding sentence (CS) – This sentence is tied directly to the topic sentence, brings the paragraph to a close and serves as a transition to the next paragraph.
THE CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH
The concluding paragraph effectively ends the essay by summing up the discussion in a few sentences. It gives the writer one last chance to make the point.
For the beginning writer, a three part conclusion is often taught.
1. Restate the thesis in slightly different words.
2. Summarize the main points of the body paragraph.
3. Go further in explaining the significance or importance of the thesis.
Six ways to write a concluding paragraph.
1. The paragraph emphasizes the main points by summarizing them. This could be used for a fairly complex, long essay or a research paper.
2. The paragraph draws a conclusion from the body paragraphs.
3. The paragraph evaluates what has been done. This works when the essay is describing a process or a historical event.
4. The paragraph answers the question posed by the thesis statement.
5. The paragraph recommends a specific course of action. This works for a persuasive or
6. The paragraph gives a final powerful example to emphasize the main point. This, too,
works for a persuasive essay.
Transitions are very important in writing paragraphs and essays. They are the links that hold the chain of ideas together. These links occur in the manners shown below.
1. Use pronouns to refer to ideas or people previously mentioned (he, she, it, you, I, etc.).
Pronouns must agree with their noun antecedent in gender and number.
Example: When the children left the bus, they discovered that they were in an
unfamiliar neighborhood. This place had bright lights and tall trees.
2. Repeat words or phrases from one sentence to the next. This method is especially
effective between the last sentence of one paragraph and the first sentence (topic
sentence) of the next paragraph.
Example: In this situation, Jacques was very jealous. (last sentence of paragraph)
Another time, he became jealous when his mother brought his brother a gift.
(first sentence of next paragraph)
Various Purposes of Transitions
a. To introduce an example: thus, for example, for instance, to illustrate
b. To add an idea or fact: again, also, besides, furthermore, in addition, moreover, similarly
c. To establish spatial order: above, below, here, there, inside, outside, nearby, beyond, over, under
d. To establish time order: first, then, before, after, finally, meanwhile, later, second, next
e. To tie together several reasons and show cause-and-effect relationship: because, for, in the second place, since, inasmuch as, to that end
f. To restrict, to contradict, to show contrast: although, however, nevertheless, on the contrary, otherwise, instead, yet, on the other hand, despite this fact
g. To indicate a conclusion or result: therefore, in conclusion, to sum up, consequently, as a result, accordingly, in other words