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How to Write a Hamburger Essay

Comparing Paragraphs and Essays to the Beloved Hamburger

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How to Write a Hamburger Essay
Image used under Creative Commons license by pointshoot

What is a hamburger essay? Well, a hamburger essay is similar to a hamburger paragraph! What's a hamburger paragraph?! OK, ok... Enough with the food already! Think about a hamburger for a moment. What are the three main main components of a hamburger? There's a bun (bread) on top and a bun on the bottom. In the middle, you'll find the hamburger itself. In other words, the meat. Ok, so what does that have to do with an essay, or even a paragraph? Here's how it helps:

  • The bun - introduction and topic statement
    • The meat - the supporting arguments for your paragraph
  • The bun - the conclusion (which restates the topic statement)

Does that help? The topic sentence and the conclusion sentence is very similar to the bun in a hamburger. It's the same thing, but in different words - a bun in a different shape. Here's an example of a hamburger paragraph:

Hamburgers are tasty meat patties surrounded by inviting bread. In a similar fashion, hamburger essays provide all the meat of your supporting arguments surrounded by the similar bun of an introduction and conclusion. What's convincing about both is the meat, or substance, in the middle. The topic, or introductory paragraph, sets the stage by making a statement followed by what can be expected in the rest of the essay. The conclusion provides an almost mirror image of the introduction, wrapping up the arguments with a restatement of the thesis of your essay. All the proof and nutrients are in the meat - the body - of your essay.

In this hamburger paragraph, I've outlined a hamburger essay. Here's how:

Start off with something to catch your interest

Hamburgers are tasty meat patties surrounded by inviting bread.

State the thesis

In a similar fashion, hamburger essays provide all the meat of your supporting arguments surrounded by the similar bun of an introduction and conclusion.

Provide supporting arguments

What's convincing about both is the meat, or substance, in the middle. The topic, or introductory paragraph, sets the stage by making a statement followed by what can be expected in the rest of the essay. The conclusion provides an almost mirror image of the introduction, wrapping up the arguments with a restatement of the thesis of your essay.

End with a rephrasing of the thesis

All the proof and nutrients are in the meat - the body - of your essay.

The hamburger essay, then, is just an extension of a strong paragraph extended over five paragraphs.

Instead of providing an entire essay, I'd like to introduce the idea of organizing your essay. If you create a map of your hamburger essay it will be much easier for you to write the final essay. Many students choose their topic thesis and then start writing. The problem this approach is that there is little organization. Even if you know what you'd like to write, as well as the supporting arguments you are going to use, it's easy to get lost without a map. That's what I recommend creating a map before you begin.

Use short phrases to create your map. There is no need to write full sentences, the map is to help you organize your thoughts. Once you have your map, you can begin writing full sentences because you'll know how you are going. The map will take 10 minutes or so to create, but in the long run it will save you a lot of time. To help you get the idea, here's an example hamburger essay map. I've chosen to write a persuasive essay on the topic: Should the government tax junk food? - rather appropriate for a guide to writing about hamburger essays!

  • Introductory Paragraph
    • Intro: Rise in deaths caused by obesity
    • Thesis: Obesity causing explosion in health care costs necessitates government tax
    • Paragraph 1 intro: Rise in fast food consumption in the US
    • Paragraph 2 intro: Increase in diabetes due to fast food consumption
    • Paragraph 3 intro: Explosion in health care costs directly related to obesity
    • Conclusion for intro: Govs need to take action
  • Body Paragraph 1
    • Intro: Statistics explosion
    • Proof 1: stats past to present
    • Proof 2: growth in fast food chains over past 50 years
    • Proof 3: American's lifestyle in love with fast food
    • Tie to thesis: Need to recognize our love of fast food is making us sick = costs money so tax needed on fast food
  • Body Paragraph 2
    • Intro: Diabetes on the increase
    • Proof 1: Statistics over past 30 years
    • Proof 2: Relationship of obesity to diabetes
    • Proof 3: Parallel growth in fast food chain expansion and diabetes
    • Tie to thesis: obesity increase health care costs = gov needs to tax fast food
  • Body Paragraph 3
    • Intro: Rising health care costs
    • Proof 1: Alarming rise in health care premiums
    • Proof 2: Percentage of health care costs related to treating obesity related problems
    • Proof 3: Heart related problems tied to obesity
    • Tie to thesis: health care is too expensive gov needs to tax those who are contributing to quick rise
  • Concluding Paragraph
    • Intro: Seen how fast food growth parallels obesity in US
    • Restate paragraph 3: Health care costs rising quickly
    • Restate paragraph 2: Diabetes found in more and more adults
    • Restate paragraph 2: American's love of fast food tied to health care cost rise
    • Restate thesis: For all of the above, gov needs to tax fast food to help pay for damage
    • Interest thought: Imagine how much health care costs decrease if we eat vegetables

With my map in hand, I can now sit down to write clear sentences, making sure to use linking language and other good writing style. I don't need to worry about what I'm going to write, and I can concentrate on writing style. For this reason alone, drawing up a map to your hamburger essay will ensure success.

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