Writing a Basic Essay

Writing a Basic Essay

I teach English at a community college, and one of the biggest issues students face when it comes to writing a basic essay is how to put their ideas down on paper.  Or rather typing them in a word processor, which is my preferred way of receiving a paper.  I tell my students that the way to write a basic essay is to understand the basic parts that make up an essay.  These may vary from instructor to instructor.  Below is my list of items I require in each essay submitted in my class. 

Basic Essay Format

Introductory Paragraph –Introduce the topic of your essay.  Give some background information on why it is a timely topic or why it is pertinent to be addressed.  What is happening in the world that makes this topic something that needs to be address?   The last sentence should state what you will prove about the topic.  (The thesis statement is last sentence in introduction).

Body Paragraph 1 (First Major Topic)—Begin with a topic sentence, which addresses what the entire paragraph will be discussing.  Add supporting details.  Add a closing statement that transitions to a new point that will be addressed in next paragraph.

Body Paragraph 2 (Second Major Topic)—Begin with a topic sentence, which addresses what the entire paragraph will be discussing.  Add supporting details.  Add a closing statement that transitions to a new point that will be addressed in next paragraph.

Body Paragraph 3 (Third Major Topic)—Begin with a topic sentence, which addresses what the entire paragraph will be discussing.  Add supporting details.  Add a closing statement that transitions to a new point that will be addressed in next paragraph.

Conclusion Paragraph—Several methods are good to use here—give a restatement of thesis worded slightly differently from introductory paragraph.  Use a call to action for the reader to do something or stop doing something.  Sum up major points brought out in body of essay and close with an overall message to the reader.

In addition to these required items, students are to include their name, course, date, and assignment title in the upper left hand corner of the paper.  They are to include a title (centered) that represents the content of the essay.  They also should double space their essay and indent all paragraphs.  Following these steps can help students get off to a good start when writing a basic essay.

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