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How To Write an Essay

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Essay Essentials
There are many ways to write an essay. However, the standard essay form follows the same basic patterns as discussed in this 'how to'. Most essays take a repetitive form sometimes known as the "hamburger essay". What this means is that the introductory and concluding paragraphs are very similar, whereas the most important information is found in the body of the essay. Think of a hamburger: The buns cover the top and the bottom - the introduction and conclusion - and provide a nice covering for the most important part of the meal the burger.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 30 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Select the topic of your essay.
  2. Choose the central idea, or thesis, of your essay. For example: Information technology has revolutionized the way we work.
  3. Outline your essay into introductory, body and summary paragraphs.
  4. The introductory paragraph begins with an interesting sentence. For example: Home workers have grown from 150,000 to over 12 million in the past 5 years thanks to the wonders of the computer. There are a number of types of introductions: Interesting statistics, a quote from a famous person, or a rhetorical question such as "Did you know that ...".
  5. After this first sentence, add your thesis statement from above. The thesis clearly outlines what you hope to express in the essay.
  6. Use one sentence to introduce every body paragraph to follow. This linking to ideas you will develop further in your body paragraphs provides structure to your essay.
  7. Finish the introductory paragraph with a short summary or goal statement. For example: Technological innovation has thus made the traditional workplace obsolete.
  8. In each of the body paragraphs (usually two or three) the ideas first presented in the introductory paragraph are developed. Remember that referring to ideas first introduced in the initial paragraph provides structure to your essay.
  9. Develop your body paragraphs by giving detailed information and examples. For example: When the Internet was first introduced it was used primarily by scientists, now it is common in every classroom.
  10. Body paragraphs should develop the central idea and finish with a summary of that idea. There should be at least two examples or facts in each body paragraph to support the central idea.
  11. The summary paragraph summarizes your essay and is often a reverse of the introductory paragrah.
  12. Begin the summary paragrah by quickly restating the principal ideas of your body paragraphs. For example: The Internet in the home, benefits and ease of use of modern computer systems...
  13. The penultimate sentence should restate your basic thesis of the essay. For example: We have now passed from the industrial revolution to the information revolution.
  14. Your final statement can be a future prediction based on what you have shown in the essay. For example: The next step: The complete disappearance of the workplace.

Tips:

  1. Use strong verbs and avoid modals to state your opinion. It is better to write: The workplace has evolved than The workplace seems to have evolved
  2. Do not apologize for what you are saying. An essay is about your opinion.
  3. Do not translate from your mother tongue. It will quickly get you into trouble!

What You Need

  • Computer or Typewriter
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. English as 2nd Language

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