How to organize your essay, English

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Organizing your essay

The introduction is critical. Remember the old saying First impressions are the most important? This is true with state assessment writing. The introductory paragraph of your essay is like the steering wheel of a car--without a good one, your essay will be directionless. A good idea to try would be the O.O.P. This includes the opening statement, opinion statement, and the plan or position statement (also known as a thesis). These are as follows:

 

Opening statement: These are attention grabbers such as a statistic, fact, or situation involving your topic. For example:

Many teenagers today are unaware of the long-term consequences from using alcohol and drugs.

Opinion or belief statement: These reveal what you believe or feel about the subject. This connects you as the writer to the reader so that the reader will see you are sincere about the topic. For example, I believe a class on drug education and prevention at my school would benefit teens because they couldn't use the excuse of ignorance or peer pressure.

Position or plan statement: This is technically your thesis statement. This focuses on the two or three main points you are going to make in this essay. Remember: This statement is much like the steering wheel of a car it shows the reader you have organization, direction, and purpose in your writing. For example,

This new class will focus on drug education, prevention, and ways to get help for teens in trouble with alcohol or drug use.  (These will be your body paragraph topics.)

 

    Your body paragraphs are like the engine to your car they make the essay run. These paragraphs follow the normal writing procedure for good paragraph writing--topic sentence, supporting details and examples, and concluding sentences. Each body paragraph develops one point of your thesis statement.

    a.      Topic sentences correlate with the existing position or thesis from the introduction. As you write, refer back to this statement and make sure you are on track. Keep your thesis in mind for each body paragraph.

    b.     Body paragraphs of persuasive essays can either appeal to the reader logically, emotionally, or ethically.

Logical appeals are examples based more on reason than emotion. These are backed up with facts of some kind to show the reasonable explanation of an idea.

Emotional appeals rely on tone and word usage to convey the heart of the matter or the emotion behind a situation

Ethical appeals are usually seen in persuasive essays that explore both sides of an argument and focus on the fairness and sincerity of the reader.

    Remember the time element: You only have so much time to develop examples and ideas. Focus on two or three per paragraph and make sure they relate to the topic sentences.

    Concluding paragraphs should restate the thesis in some way that sums up the essay. This is where you call for action and try to convince the reader further of your belief. This is NOT where you introduce new ideas or evidence supporting your topic. Remember your conclusion is ending your essay and should not lead the reader toward new facts or details about the topic.

 


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