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The Essay: Structure and Development

The Essay: Structure and Development

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The Essay: Structure and Development

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  1. The Essay: Structure and Development NEC FACET Center

  2. Doing so, helps you and your reader stay on track. When writing an essay, you will always follow a structure. Why?

  3. Introduction Begins your essay Body Paragraphs Relay your main points Conclusion Ends your essay Basic 3-Part Structure

  4. To convey the full picture, writers must fit these essay parts together like the pieces of a puzzle.

  5. They create interest. Introductions have several purposes:

  6. They introduce your subject. Introductions have several purposes:

  7. They state a main point or thesis. Introductions have several purposes:

  8. They set the direction or tone. Introductions have several purposes:

  9. Structure of the Introduction • Writers most commonly use a “funnel” or “inverted pyramid” structure. • The introduction starts out broad, gradually narrowing to the main point at the end. • A single sentence thesis statement expresses the essay’s main point.

  10. Structural Diagram of Introduction 1-2 general sentences about broad subject area to be discussed 1-2 specific sentences about the subject area 1-3 general sentences leading into topic 1-3 specific sentences about topic thesis statement

  11. Sample Introduction Broad Opening Inflation has raised the price of groceries to an all-time high. Many are forced to cut corners to stay within the family’s food budget. One way to cut expenses is with a backyard garden. The three most important steps in making a garden are planning, planting, and tending. Gradual Narrowing of subject Thesis with stated main points

  12. Expanded Sample Introduction Inflation has raised the price of groceries to an all time high. A few years ago, a head of lettuce cost 99 cents, but today even a small head is usually at least $1.50. Such increases force the homemaker to cut corners to stay within the family’s food budget. One way to reduce Broad opening Example Gradual narrowing of topic begins

  13. grocery expenses--and to get pleasure and exercise at the same time--is with the backyard garden. Even the beginner or the true city slicker can grow tomatoes, onions, or salad herbs. Although some research into soil types and fertilizer helps, no extensive knowledge is necessary. If one plans carefully, the hard work of planting and tending will be worth the effort. Added examples, details Polished thesis with main points

  14. The Thesis • Before writing introductory paragraphs, writers should know what they want to prove in their essays. • They should write down this idea in a single sentence.

  15. The thesis is frequently described as a “subject plus an attitude.” • Subject: The new factory in town • Subject + attitude = thesis: The new factory in town violates current pollution control regulations.

  16. Also, The thesis frequently outlines the writer’s main points: • Subject + attitude + main points = thesis: The new factory in town violates current pollution control regulations by emitting hazardous gases, dumping waste into Swallow Creek, and failing to provide protective clothing to employees.

  17. Purpose of the Thesis • The thesis serves as a blueprint for the essay, setting up a plan of what will follow. • In a sense, the thesis also serves as a contract with the reader, making a promise that the writer must then fulfill.

  18. In the introduction, do not make an announcement: “In the following paragraphs, I will show . . . .”

  19. Thesis The thesis must cover the full subject of an essay--just as an umbrella must cover its subject Looked at the other way around, all topic sentences and supporting details in the essay’s body paragraphs must directly relate to the thesis.

  20. Thesis Body Paragraphs

  21. Body Paragraphs • The typical student essay contains an introduction

  22. Body Paragraphs Introduction • The typical student essay contains an introduction

  23. Body Paragraphs Introduction • The typical student essay contains an introduction, 3-4 body paragraphs Body paragraph 1 Body paragraph 2 Body paragraph 3

  24. Body Paragraphs Introduction • The typical student essay contains an introduction, 3-4 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Body paragraph 1 Body paragraph 2 Body paragraph 3 Conclusion

  25. Purpose of the Body • The body of the essay supports the thesis. • It attempts to prove that the author’s thesis is correct. • Body paragraphs may do the following: • Explain reasons • Provide examples & anecdotes • Present facts & statistics

  26. Paragraph Parts • Body paragraphs consist of the following parts: • a topic sentence • a series of supporting sentences • a concluding sentence.

  27. Topic Sentences • Topic sentences resemble thesis statements. • The thesis expresses the overall point of the entire essay. • Similarly, the topic sentence expresses the overall point of an individual paragraph.

  28. Scope of Topic Sentences Just as the thesis must cover the subject of all the body paragraphs, the topic sentence must cover the points of every supporting sentence within that one paragraph.

  29. Providing Coherence You can create smooth flow between sentences and paragraphs by following a logical method of organization.

  30. Logical Arrangements • Chronological order: arranging events in the order in which they occurred, such as the details of baking a cake. Mix Bake Cool Ice and Decorate

  31. Spatial Order Describing from left to right, top to bottom, or near to far, such as describing a scene in the Rocky Mountains.

  32. Climactic Order Arranging information from least to most important, such as telling about the newest animals at the local zoo.

  33. In addition to using logical order, you can also achieve coherence by using appropriate transitions.

  34. Examples of Transitions • addition: furthermore, moreover, also, in addition, first, second, third • comparison: in the same way, likewise, similarly • contrast: however, nevertheless, on the other hand, on the contrary

  35. More Transitions • emphasis: above all, especially, in fact, indeed, most important • result: consequently, therefore, for this reason, thus, hence, because of this • place: above, below, beyond, inside, outside, nearby, next to, to the south, on the far side, outside • time: afterward, before, currently, during, first, next, finally, gradually, later, meanwhile

  36. Select the best transition. Consequently Meanwhile However • I like the old house and think I might buy it. _______, I like the new house too. Above all However,

  37. Select the best transition. Next Indeed Currently Therefore Nevertheless • First, I’ll visit England. _____, I’ll travel to the Netherlands and France. Next

  38. Select the best transition. On the other hand Especially Thus Beyond that Later • In the foreground, the buildings’ reflections shimmer in the harbor. _______, the skyscrapers stand silhouetted against the sunset. Beyond that

  39. The Conclusion The concluding paragraph gives readers a sense of completion so that the essay doesn’t seem to end abruptly.

  40. Techniques for a Conclusion • Restate the thesis in different words. • Summarize briefly. • Emphasize the importance of the subject. • Discuss implications for the reader. • Suggest action if appropriate for subject.

  41. A Techniques to Avoid in a Conclusion • Do not announce what you have just done. • Example: “As the past few paragraphs have demonstrated, . . .”

  42. Other Techniques to Avoid • Do not apologize for your lack of expertise. • Do not simply repeat what you have said previously.

  43. Essay writing can be enjoyable if you follow these structure and development tips.