The Essentials of Writing Presented by C. M. Herrington, MAA, MAT Bilgi University ELP1
The Structure of the EssayAll essays have 3 major parts: THE INTRO, BODY AND CONCLUSION. • Title : States the topic and captures the readers’ interest. Structure of Essay • Presents the writers’ subject and thesis Introduction • Grabs the readers’ interest • Explains and supports the thesis with details and further develops ideas. Body • Presents the supporting details in a clear sentence. • Reemphasizes the thesis and reflects on the larger significance of the topic. Conclusion • Draws the essay to a satisfying close.2
Thesis Statement It expresses the main idea in an essay and the writer’s point of view. It is usually one sentence long and consists of two parts. The first part states the topic and the second part, the writer makes some point about the topic (controlling idea) It should be specific in order to limit the topic to make it manageable . A thesis that is too general is NOT effective.3
3 Examples of Thesis Statements Examples The advantages of living in a new culture far exceed the disadvantages. The most effective way to reduce discrimination is to teach young children to be open minded and tolerant of differences. The study of cultural differences in verbal communication style involves three main types of expression: direct vs. indirect, formal vs. informal, and logical vs. emotional.4
The Most Common Type of Introduction There are many ways to introduce a topic. The common type of General Statement introduction starts with a general statement about the Limiting Sentences subject, clarifies or limits the topic in one ore more Thesis sentences, and then Statement states the thesis of the essay in the final5 sentence.
Example of an introduction where the movement is from general to specific. The ways in which people communicate differ General significantly around the world. What people stateme say, how they say it, and what they mean nt when they say it depend on the standards and customs of their society. People in some Limiting Sentence cultures, for example, tend to say things s directly, whereas those in other cultures speak indirectly. Some cultures value formal means of communication, while other societies prefer the informal; some cultures stress emotional Thesis expression, and other emphasize logical stateme expression. These variations in the forms and nt functions of verbal communication, reelecting culturally learned values, often lead to6 intercultural conflict and misunderstanding.
Ways to Capture Your Reader’s Interest As a provocative question. Use an engaging quotation. Make an unexpected or controversial statement. State a common belief and then declare a contrary view. Offer a striking7 example
What to Avoid in an Introduction Don’t blatantly announce your intent. Avoid statements such as “In this essay, I will analyze…”. Don’t apologize. Avoid statements as “ I am not an expert... Don’t make promises you can’t fulfill. Don’t create an introduction that is too long8 or too short.
Body Paragraphs In the body, you present and develop your main points. Each body paragraph explains, clarifies, or illustrates the thesis. •Look at the example of a topic sentence for the reading in your course packet on page 12. Characteristics of Body paragraphs 1. Clarity. The main point and supporting details of the paragraph are clear. 2. Unity. All sentences relate to the main idea of the paragraph and support the topic sentence. 3. Development. The paragraph provides enough detail and has some logical pattern of organization. 4. Coherence. The sentences are logically connected to each other, and the ideas flow smoothly.9
The Conclusion It effectively What to avoid in a Conclusion reemphasizes the 1. Don’t simply repeat your thesis. It’s importance of your more effective to leave your readers thesis, and brings with one or two provocative thoughts to the essay to a think about. logical close. 2. Don’t introduce a new idea that needs more development. 3. Don’t announce what you have done. It may sound mechanical. 4. Don’t create a conclusion that is too long or too short. There needs to be balance. 5. Don’t apologize. Apologies weaken the impact of your ending. 6. Don’t end in an abrupt manner. It should end smoothly.10
The Writing Process (see course handouts page 113-124) Brainstorming/Assessing the writing situation: reflecting on the subject, one’s attitude toward the subject, purpose, audience, sources of available information, and the writing assignment. Exploring and planning: discovering, refining, finding support for and organizing ideas. Writing/Drafting: expressing and developing ideas and supporting details in rough form. Revising: rethinking and rewriting drafts to improve the content, focus, and structure. Editing and proofreading: checking for effective word choice and sentence structure and for correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and mechanics. Publishing / Final draft11
Checklist for Assessing the Writing Situation (p.112) Subject Writers attitude toward the subject Purpose Audience Sources of available information Writing assignment12
Exploring and Planning (113-118) After assessing 1. Brainstorming the writing situation and 2. Freewriting before your first draft, experiment 3. Clustering with one or more of the prewriting 4. Journalist’s strategies. This Questions helps you discover 5. Outlining ideas, and figure out with part of 6. Keeping a Journal the subject will be your focus, and find details to support your13 points.
Writing/ Drafting As your write your first draft, keep your materials nearby so that your can easily refer to them. Start by writing an intro in which you present your topic and thesis . Next, write the body paragraphs, present your major pints and details that support them. Finally, write a conclusion, reflect on the topic14 and bring the essay to a logical
Revising Revision means more than correcting the grammar, spelling, pu nctuation and mechanics. It involves a whole process of “re vision,” seeing again- rethinking and reshaping the content. To revise an essay, a writer adds, deletes, rearran15 ges and rewords
Revising: Checklist (see page 120-121) 1. Content Leave enough time to 2. Audience revise your essay. 3. Purpose Ask someone to read and respond to the 4. Tone content, organization and 5. Title development. 6. Clarity Read your rough draft 7. Unity aloud. 8. Coherence Start with large revisions- 9. Developme and later focus on nt sentence level changes. 10. Organizatio Keep revising your essay n until your are satisfied with the content, clarity, unity, cohe rence, development, and organization.16
Editing and Proofreading Editing involves looking closely at individual sentences for technical correctness- grammar, spelling punctuation, mechanic-and effective word choice. Editing Checklist (see p.123) 1. Word Choice- avoid redundancy, use the most accurate, effective words to convey meaning. 2. Sentence structure- Avoid sentence fragments and run on sentences. Vary the sentence structure and length. 3. Grammar-Is the grammar correct? Are all the sentences grammatically complete? Are the parts of speech and word order are correct? 4. Usage- Is the spelling, punctuation ,capitalization and paragraph indentation correct? 5. Citations of sources- Ideas taken from sources, paraphrased or quoted resources are properly cited. 6. Essay format- Have you followed all formatting requirements17 for the essay by using the correct font size, type, line spacing, margins and page numbering.
Writing with Sources-the amount and type of source material will depend on your topic, audience and purpose. Reasons for including references: The give background information to help the readers understand your ideas. They provide examples and other details to support a point you are making or to counter an argument. They enhance your credibility by providing evidence from specialists you’re the subject area. The indicate to your reader where to find further information about your18 subject.
Types of Sources-Sources are either primary or secondary. 1. Primary sources are firsthand, or original materials, includi ng eyewitness 2. Secondary sources accounts of include materials events, docume that nts, diaries, lette describe, analyze, o rs, speeches, TV r comment on a shows, movies, primary source. photographs, an d original19 research.
Evaluating Sources (see p.126-127) 1. Relevance- Think about how closely related to your topic it is, or if the source is too general or too specialized for the topic, purpose or audience. 2. Reliability- how accurate, complete and unbiased is the info? 3. Currency- How recent is the info. 4. Authorship- Who is the author of the source, and what are his or her qualifications about the subject? Is the author associated with a special interest group that might compromise the objectivity of the source. 5. Purpose and Audience- What is the purpose of the sources-to inform, persuade, or entertain ? Who is the intended audience for the source?20
Documenting Sources (p.128-131) Keep a working Bibliography- this is a list of all the sources that you might use for your paper. It will help you to organize your research later. Information to Record in a Working Bibliography Book Article Website Name of author(s) Name of author(s) Name of author(s) Title of book Title Title Place of publication Volume and issue number Name of website Year of publication Date of publication Date of publication or last update Volume, edition, and translator’s Page number on which the article Page, paragraph, or section name , if relevant appears. numbers. Editor or sponsoring site, Date website was accessed, Full electronic address, or URL. *In your major (social sciences)you will be required to use APA21 (American Psychological Association) documentation style to cite sources.
APA Documentation Style APA is an author year system that cites a writer’s sources listed alphabetically by the author’s last names. See your course book on page 131 for examples.22
Avoiding Plagiarism The act of plagiarizing: To avoid it you should the copying of another consult your instructor or persons ideas, text, or librarian , or refer to a other creative work, and writing style manual. If presenting it as ones you follow the guidelines own, especially without below you can reduce the permission. Though chance of your plagiarism in and of itself plagiarizing. is not illegal, it is usually Take accurate summary frowned upon; and many and paraphrase notes. cases of plagiarism Make sure that your involve illegal copyright language is not too violation. close to the Plagiarism, intentional or original, change both unintentional, is a a type the wording and the of intellectual theft and sentence structure. Use can have serious your own words and consequences ranging don’t mix the author’s23 from failure on an language with your assignment to expulsion