STRUCTURE IS CRUCIAL!
How you structure your essay is vitally important.
It adds to the „readability‟ of your writing.
If you structure is confusing to your teacher or exam
assessor, you will lose marks.
HOW TO STRUCTURE
Body Paragraphs (2-4 depending on detail
included in your writing and examples used).
The overall essay structure is like an hourglass:
The introduction starts broadly by introducing
the topic and the materials to be discussed.
It then narrows in focus down to a specific
contention, much in the way that an
hourglass narrows from top to centre.
The body of the essay focuses on specific
evidence, and is narrow in focus like the
centre of the hourglass.
The conclusion extends from the narrow
argument and once again situates the essay in
a broader context, like the bottom of the
You may define key words/concepts if necessary.
Explain your position.
State your contention and indicate the direction your discussion
In your introduction you need to include a “spoiler” of what each
of your body paragraphs will discuss. So I will know from reading
just your introduction, what you will talk about in each paragraph.
This needs to be done in different words to what you will use in
STOP! DO NOT PASS GO!
DO NOT TALK ABOUT ANYTHING IN YOUR
INTRODUCTION THAT YOU WILL NOT TALK
ABOUT IN ANY OF YOUR BODY
SIMILARLY, DO NOT TALK ABOUT
ANYTHING IN YOUR BODY PARAGRAPH
THAT HAS NOT BEEN BRIEFLY OUTLINED
IN YOUR INTRODUCTION!
1. Begin your introduction generally. Be sure to
state the title and author of the text.
2. Create a few sentences that
specifically lead toward your
3. Focus in on the purpose
of your essay. Write
your contention. You
want it to be both
clear and engaging
for the reader.
EXAMPLE – USING THE DYSTOPIAN
Dystopian fiction has seen a recent resurgence in popularity, and
now more novelists than ever are writing books, film scripts and
short stories speculating on the future of our socio-political world.
One work that has been cited as a constant influence is Orwell‟s
„1984‟, primarily because of the bleak landscape that Orwell paints
for us, not only in terms of the landscape but also in terms of the
lack of political and social freedom offered the antagonist Winston
Smith. It is these areas that I shall be discussing throughout this
essay, suggesting how these factors make this novel the ubiquitous
Have I been successful? What else could I
Each paragraph makes ONE point or presents ONE idea.
You must use appropriate quotes, examples, and evidence from
the text to support your point. Try to put the example in to some
sort of context i.e. „This can be seen when Winston first speaks to
Don‟t repeat yourself in your quote – it is there to support what
you have said, not just say the same thing again.
Refer back to the question at points during your essay.
Topic sentence: the focus / main point of the
Evidence: support the point with well-chosen
evidence from the text
Explanation: explain the significance of the
evidence and how it supports the point
Link: link your overall point/idea/argument back to
the essay topic and potentially link forward to the next
Is a little “spoiler.”
It is essentially a one sentence summary of what you
are going to discuss in the rest of your paragraph.
The reader should be able to know what to expect in
the rest of the paragraph by just reading the topic
EVIDENCE AND EXPLANATION
If you want to mix up the order – go for it!
You can refer to other works if you so wish – show me
that you are a student of literature, not just this novel!
You need, at some point, to discuss the language
techniques Orwell uses, even if it just using some
terminology, for example,‟ This simile suggests that…‟,
or „This structured dialogue between……reemphasises
the rigid relationship they share…‟
Do not narrate the story…
This is a mini one sentence conclusion.
How does your body paragraph prove, add to or
summarise what your overall idea/argument?
You need to refer back to the essay question.
Depending on the flow of your essay you may like to
also link to your next paragraph – this cannot be done
without careful planning however.
Sum up your argument.
Restate your contention.
You need to end strongly – do not raise any new points! Have
you come to any new ideas? Reached a decision on an
You need to avoid just repeating the same ideas in the same
Now ask yourself “What is
the bigger picture of my essay?”.
Do not repeat what you have already said. Show the
reader the bigger picture. The conclusion should widen
to a more general finish.
Try to finish your essay by arriving at a bigger idea.
1984 is a novel that is more about social control and conformity
than it is about political control. Discuss.
What to do? PLAN (PPPPP). If you do not plan, how are you going to;
Choose appropriate events, actions, characters and quotes?
Separate your writing into perfectly coherent and cohesive
Write a structured, beautifully flowing essay?
Know what you want your conclusion to be – what‟s the point of your
IT‟S ASKING YOU ABOUT TWO AREAS…
So, draw up two quick tables or brainstorms – one for each area,
with examples of each.
Then, draw up your conclusion – do you agree or not? Is it one or
the other or a combination of both? It‟s up to you but you‟ll base your
conclusion on evidence you have already given in the main body of
Introduction – tell me what you are going to be discussing and what
your contention is – spoiler alert!