Writing You must remember that no piece of writing is never perfect at the first time
You may start revising as soon as you finish writing. Read what you have written, and ask yourself these questions: “Have I said what I wanted to say?” and “Have I made myself clear to the reader?” These are questions about the content of your writing.
you also need to ask yourself about the organization of your paragraph. The basic questions to ask are: “Does this paragraph have a topic sentence”, “What is my topic?”, “What is my controlling idea? What are my supporting sentences?” “Do I need more supporting sentences?”, and “Do I have a concluding sentence?”.
Any time your text is awkward or confusing, or any time you have to pause or reread your text, revise this section.
Examine your Paragraphs
Examine the overall construction of your paragraphs, looking specifically at length, supporting sentence(s), and topic sentence. Individual paragraphs that are significantly lacking length or sufficient supporting information as well as those missing a topic sentence may be a sign of a premature or under-developed thought.
When you edit, you check to make sure the spelling, capitalization, punctuation, vocabulary, and grammar are correct. Editing is somewhat mechanical because you are basically following rules. The rules of spelling, for example, are clear; a word is either right or wrong. In grammar and punctuation as well, we can usually say that something is wrong and something else is right.
Reading the paper aloud (and slowly) can help you make sure you haven't missed or repeated any words.
Make sure each sentence has a subject. In the following sentence, the subject is "students": The students looked at the OWL website.
Make sure each sentence has a complete verb. In the following sentence, "were" is required to make a complete verb; "trying" alone would be incomplete: They were trying to improve their writing skills.
See that each sentence has an independent clause; remember that a dependent clause cannot stand on its own. The following sentence is a dependent clause that would qualify as a fragment sentence: Which is why the students read all of the handouts carefully.
Review each sentence to see whether it contains more than one independent clause. If there is more than one independent clause, check to make sure the clauses are separated by the appropriate punctuation.
Sometimes, it is just as effective to simply break the sentence into separate sentences instead of including punctuation to separate the clauses.
Example run-on: I have to write a research paper for my class about extreme sports all I know about the subject is that I'm interested in it.
Edited version: I have to write a research paper for my class about extreme sports, and all I know about the subject is that I'm interested in it.
Another option: I have to write a research paper for my class about extreme sports. All I know about the subject is that I'm interested in it.
A paragraph is a collection of related sentences dealing with a single topic.
The Basic Rule: Keep One Idea to One Paragraph
The basic rule of thumb with paragraphing is to keep one idea to one paragraph. If you begin to transition into a new idea, it belongs in a new paragraph.
A topic sentence A topic sentence is a sentence that indicates in a general way what idea or thesis the paragraph is going to deal with. In an easy way to make sure your reader understands the topic of the paragraph is to put your topic sentence near the beginning of the paragraph. (This is a good general rule for less experienced writers, although it is not the only way to do it).
The topic (which is introduced by the topic sentence) should be discussed fully and adequately. Again, this varies from paragraph to paragraph, depending on the author's purpose, but writers should beware of paragraphs that only have two or three sentences. It's a pretty good bet that the paragraph is not fully developed if it is that short.
Conclusions are shorter sections of academic texts which usually serve two functions. The first is to summarise and bring together the main areas covered in the writing, which might be called "looking back"; and the second is to give a final comment or judgement on this. The final comment may also include making suggestions for improvement and speculating on future directions.
Transitions are usually one or several sentences that "transition" from one idea to the next. Transitions can be used at the end of most paragraphs to help the paragraphs flow one into the next.
Always note down exactly the source of information when you are making notes. The title, author, page number, publisher and date, and place of publication should be clearly written at the top of your page of notes.
If you are to claim that a piece of work is your own, then you must acknowledge the source of any ideas that are not your own. You must also show the source of any direct quotations – these are words for word quotations placed within parenthesis ( ). You must also acknowledge the source of indirect quotations – that is material that you are quoting but which has been changed into your own words, paraphrased, or summarized.
Paragraphs can be easily expanded to essay length. Similar to a paragraph, an essay is also composed of three sections. They are: introductory paragraph, supporting paragraphs, or a body; and a concluding paragraph.
The topic sentence of the paragraph becomes the thesis statement of the essay which comes at the end of the introductory paragraph. The supporting sentences of the original paragraph expand into three separate body paragraphs in the essay. Finally, the concluding sentence is made into a concluding paragraph.
Your first paragraph should introduce the main point of your paper. Your goal for the introductory paragraph is to clearly and concisely let the reader know what your paper is all about, and exactly what it is you are trying to communicate.
It begins with a general statement of the larger topic, and then each sentence narrows it down until you get to the specific thesis statement.
It’s difficult to grow up in this society. A teenager can get into all kinds of trouble with school, smoking, drugs, and dating. One of the worst kinds of trouble that a teenager can get into is getting involved with a gang. Gang members commit crimes and get hurt or killed all too often. Why do teenagers get involved in gangs? I think that gangs are a direct result of the breakdown of the traditional family.
My younger brother was a good student until our parents got divorced. Then, while my parents’ lives became a war zone over property and emotions, my brother withdrew into himself and felt abandoned and unloved. He needed to feel that he was a part of something. That’s when he got involved with a gang at his high school. The gang he joined became his family and was more important to him that anything. My parents didn’t notice my brother got badly hurt in a gang fight. I am convinced that gangs are a direct result of the breakdown of the traditional family.
To write this kind of introduction, you need to be aware of commonly known information. You can expand your knowledge of facts and statistics by carefully reading newspapers and journals.
It is estimated that there are nearly 5,000 gangs in the United States with a total of almost 250,000 members. In fact, in inner cities, where gangs are most common, 7 percent of all teenagers are gang members. Why are all these young adults choosing to be gang members? In my opinion, gangs are a direct result of the breakdown of the traditional family.
Gangs have existed in the United States for at least 100 years. At the turn of the twentieth century, there were many gangs in big East Coast cities. These gangs were mostly made up of members of the same ethnic group and primarily protected the neighborhood where their families lived. Nowadays, however, gang members have little to do with protecting their relatives. It’s my belief that gangs are direct result of the breakdown of the traditional family.
This is the main component of your essay. The body must supply ample evidence in support of your thesis. The correct format for presenting your evidence is within body paragraphs, the fundamental units in essay writing.
Each paragraph should represent and develop a single distinct idea.
Just as an essay, as a whole, needs clear and cohesive organization, your paragraphs must also be organized around a central theme. This theme is always stated in a topic sentence, which is most often the first sentence in that paragraph.
Your final paragraph of your essay is the conclusion. This paragraph should briefly draw together your evidence and reaffirm your thesis statement. If you have a firm understanding of the material, well-selected evidence, and a strong thesis, your conclusion should write itself. In other words, the conclusion summarizes what the essay argues or sets out to demonstrate. It provides the culmination of the evidence in a manner which you, as the writer, want to convince the reader to discern, understand, and/or believe about the topic.
Keep in mind that your conclusion is the place where your writing needs to be strongest, clearest, and most concise since it is the part of the essay that a reader will read last and be most remembered. Be persuasive! Ultimately, the quality of your essay is measured by whether or not the reader is persuaded by your thesis and how well you supported it.
It describes how something is done. It can explain in detail how to accomplish a specific task, or it can show how an individual came to a certain personal awareness.
The essay could be in the form of step-by-step instructions, or in story form, with the instructions/explanations subtly given along the way.
Cause/Effect Essays The cause/effect essay explains why or how some event happened, and what resulted from the event. The essay could discuss both causes and effects. A cause essay discusses the reasons why something happened. An effect essay discusses what happens after a specific event or circumstance.
Cause/Effect Essays If this cause essay were about a volcanic eruption, it might go something like: "Pressure and heat built up beneath the earth's surface; the effect of this was an enormous volcanic eruption." If this effect essay were about a volcanic eruption again, it might go something like: "The eruption caused many terrible things to happen; it destroyed homes, forests, and polluted the atmosphere."
Comparison/Contrast Essays It discusses the similarities and differences between two things, people, concepts, places, etc. The essay could be an unbiased discussion, or an attempt to convince the reader of the benefits of one thing, person, or concept.
The compare/contrast essay It could also be written simply to entertain the reader, or to arrive at an insight into human nature. The essay could discuss both similarities and differences, or it could just focus on one or the other.
A comparison essay usually discusses the similarities between two things, while the contrast essay discusses the differences.
When should I paraphrase, and when should I summarize?
To paraphrase means to express someone else's ideas in your own language.
To summarize means to distill only the most essential points of someone else's work.
Paraphrase and summary allow you to include other people's ideas without cluttering up your essay with quotations . They help you take greater control of your essay. You should be guided in your choice of which tool to use by considerations of space.
Summary moves much farther than paraphrase away from point-by-point translation. When you summarize a passage, you need first to absorb the meaning of the passage and then to capture in your own words the most important elements from the original passage. A summary is necessarily shorter than a paraphrase.
Here is a summary of the passage from "An Anthropologist on Mars":
In "An Anthropologist on Mars," Sacks notes that although there is little disagreement on the chief characteristics of autism, researchers have differed considerably on its causes. As he points out, Asperger saw the condition as an innate defect in the child's ability to connect with the external world, whereas Kanner regarded it as a consequence of harmful childrearing practices (247-48).