ARRANGEMENTPatterns for College WritingChapter 3
Understanding the Parts of an Essay• An essay is a group of paragraphs that makes an argument about a topic.• An effective essay should: • introduce a topic • state that topic clearly • explain that topic through evidence and examples • make a argument or debatable conclusion about that idea.
What is an Essay?• An essay has four main sections: • an introduction that states the topic of the essay and make a point through the Thesis Statement • supporting or body paragraphs that contain the supporting point that explain the details of the topic • a conclusion paragraph that ties all the points of the essay together and restates your main point. • A reference or works cited page that documents your sources.
Introductions• There are several ways to begin an essay. You could: • give background information • begin with an original definition of a concept or term • tell a story or anecdote that relates to your topic • begin with a question (that you then answer) • give a meaningful or important quotation • make a surprising statement that catches the reader’s attention • give a contradiction • start with a fact or statement.
What NOT to do in an Introduction• Be sure to avoid the following when creating an introduction: • Don’t apologize – never start with statements like “In my opinion” or “I may not be an expert, but…” • Don’t begin with dictionary definitions – avoid beginning an essay with “According to Dictionary.com,” • Don’t announce what you intend to do – never start with phrases such as “In this essay, I will…” “I am going to argue that…”or “The purpose of this essay is to…” • Don’t wander – give a detailed but short overview of your topic. Give your reader just enough to make them want to read the rest of your essay.
Body Paragraphs• It is important to make sure that each body paragraph you write is: • Unified – relates to the main idea/topic of the essay • Coherent – flows smoothly and logically from one paragraph to the next • Well developed – has plenty of supporting evidence, facts, and explanation to make your ideas clear. • Follows a pattern of development • Clearly supports the Thesis Statement – make sure each paragraph relates back to and connects to the Thesis Statement.
Conclusions• The conclusion should give your readers a final impression of your topic and entire essay. In your conclusion you could: • review your main points or restate your thesis • give a recommendation of what your reader should do after reading your essay • give a prediction of what will follow • end with a relevant quote
What NOT to do in a Conclusion• Avoid making the following common mistakes when writing your conclusion: • Don’t repeat word for word your thesis or main point – come up with a new way of giving your earlier thoughts • Don’t end with an empty phrase – avoid clichés such as “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” or “That’s how the cookie crumbles” • Don’t introduce new points or go off in a new direction – a conclusion should always connect to what was said earlier in the essay. • Don’t’ end with an unnecessary announcement – never end by saying you are ending such as “In conclusion” or “As you can see”
Essay Organization• You can organize your body paragraphs using one of the three following layouts: • A point-by-point layout separates your essay sections by the points you are making • A subject-by-subject layout separates your essay sections by the subjects/objects/texts you are using. • A chronological layout puts your essay sections in order according to time.
Formal Outlines• Before you draft your essay, it is recommended that you generate a formal outline.• A formal outline allows you to layout each point and sub- point of your essay in the order you have chosen.• Your outline should follow the general pattern below: I. Introduction I. Thesis Statement II. Point/Subject/Event (as many as you are making in your essay) I. Supporting evidence/examples III. Conclusion I. Restate Thesis