Structure of the essay

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The introduction acquaints the reader with the topic. Its purpose is to get the readers' attention and make them want to read the essay. For this reason, you should try to make your introduction interesting, engaging, and original. You can do this through one of the following:

  • Give a startling example or statistic general

  • Tell a story

  • Use a relevant quotation specific

Bear in mind that just because the introduction appears at the beginning of the essay, it does not mean you have to write the introduction first. On the contrary, very often the wittiest, most engaging introduction is written after the author has completed the body of the essay.


Thesis Ideas 

The introduction should also allow readers to get their bearings. After having read the introduction, the readers should know what the topic is and the point that you will make about the topic. As a writer, you indicate the point you will make about your topic in a thesis. The thesis can be either stated or implied. For our purposes, your thesis must be stated. In either form, it should clearly and specifically convey your point. Note that the thesis you begin with and the one you end with may not be the same. As you go through the drafting process, you should be getting a clearer sense of what you are trying to say, and this should be reflected in your thesis. To find your thesis, ask yourself these questions:

  • What point am I attempting to make in this essay?

  • Has this point been clearly indicated to my audience in my essay?

For our purposes in Junior English ---Introductions and Thesis Ideas

  • Introductions should be only one paragraph

  • Thesis statements must appear as the last sentence of the first paragraph

  • Thesis statements should be only one sentence long.

Your thesis statement will have two parts.

  • The first part states the topic.

    • Kenya's Culture

    • Building a Model Train Set

    • Public Transportation

  • The second part states the point of the essay.

    • has a rich and varied history

    • takes time and patience

    • can solve some of our city's most persistent and pressing problems

Or in the second part you could simply list the three main ideas you will discuss.

    • has a long history, blends traditions from several other cultures, and provides a rich heritage.

    • requires an investment in time, patience, and materials.

    • helps with traffic congestion, resource management, and city budget.

Once you have formulated a thesis statement that fits this pattern and with which you are comfortable, you are ready to continue.

Body Paragraphs


The purpose of a body paragraph is to develop and prove the thesis. Each body paragraph should make just one point that clearly develops and supports the thesis. In the same way that you have a thesis to indicate the point of the essay, you should have a topic sentence for each body paragraph.


The Introduction is to the Essay


The Topic Sentence is to the Paragraph

The topic sentence states the point of the paragraph, and all of the other sentences should support, develop, and explain that point. To develop body paragraphs, do the following:

  • Provide details and explanation

  • Give vivid examples

  • Cite statistics and quotations from the literature where appropriate

  • Include research as necessary

  • Be descriptive

A Note on Body Paragraphs and Transitions

Each body paragraph should be unified independently. That is, it should make sense by itself and be able to stand alone. However, it is just one piece of the essay, and it is up to you, as the author, to connect the body paragraphs together and relate them to the thesis. You do this by referencing key words or ideas from the thesis and using transitional words and phrases.


The purpose of the conclusion is to bring the essay to a satisfying close. You should avoid bringing up a new point in your conclusion and you should avoid lengthy and excessive summary. The most successful conclusions are thoughtful and reflective. After having presented your topic and proven your thesis, you want to be able to make an overarching statement based on that information. If you struggle with concluding your work, reread the essay and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What have I learned from having written this essay?

  • What are the implications or consequences of my thesis? specific

  • What is the last impression with which I want to leave my audience? (restate thesis)


(implications or what was learned or a summary)

Here are some sample introductory paragraphs. You're the judge--which one is strongest?

1. On September 16, 1990 I experienced the worst feeling of my life the feeling of incompetence. It was a feeling of indescribable disbelief. My mother, my only parent, fell down the stairs of our home. It was then that I knew that I had to become a doctor to help people who were suffering like my mother. By attending your college, I will be able to fulfill my dream and to give back to my community through medicine.

2. My father divorced us when I was in seventh grade. At that time, I was going through what my mother called my "difficult stage" because my world revolved around school, friends and boys, and "family" was often put on the back burner. I was unprepared for the resulting family crisis; my father, the man who nurtured my passion for art, literature and my love of languages, would no longer be a part of my life. At the time, I thought that I could not go on. Now I realize that my father's rejection, while extremely painful, gave me a resiliency and strength of character that I did not previously know I possessed.

3. It was once said that "We have nothing to fear but fear itself," and that is a motto that I have lived by for all of my seventeen years on this earth. It is a motto that I have based all of my academic endeavors on. It literally came into effect one Wednesday morning earlier this year. I got called into the House One Principal's office at our school. I walked towards the office a little pondered. I had never been called into that office before, because that principal only handled the math and science departments of the entire school. I doubted that the principal even knew me. When I entered the office I was greeted by a group of familiar faces that I knew from my physics class. Our principal told us to have a seat and relax. The reason that we were called in was that there was going to be a Science Competition happening that Saturday and the school really wanted us to enter into it. The principal said that she knew it was short notice, but based on our performances in all our science classes she knew that we could pull it off. She stated that we were some of the only high school juniors and seniors who had completed and gone beyond the required science courses.

Introductory Paragraph

Thesis Sentence

First Body Paragraph

Topic Sentence

Specific Support

Specific Support

Specific Support

(transitions throughout to connect ideas)

Second Body Paragraph

Topic Sentence

Specific Support

Specific Support

Specific Support

(transitions throughout to connect ideas)

Third Body Paragraph

Topic Sentence

Specific Support

Specific Support

Specific Support

(transitions throughout to connect ideas)

Concluding Paragraph

Reworded Thesis 

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