Parts of an Academic Essay
An academic essay is one written in a school or college
The following features may not be found in newspaper columns or
magazine articles, as that is a different writing style.
Keep this in mind as we read and write this semester.
Parts of an Academic Essay:
5 main parts:
• Transitions (throughout)
• announces content/topic of essay
• grabs readers’ attention
Tips for creating good titles:
• mimic other popular titles
• “A Tale of Two Citizens”
• create a play on words
• state your claim
• Why Texting in Class Should Be Allowed
• steal a line from your essay (helps to write title last)
(first paragraph of essay)
• introduces topic, provides background information
• entices readers to keep reading (“hook”)
• last sentence is thesis statement, which states claim of essay
(first paragraph of essay)
Essay Prompt: In what ways do you think technology has harmed
us as a society? Discuss some negative effects you have noticed.
Sample Introduction (no thesis included):
Today, technology surrounds us. We drive cars or ride
trains to get to and from work. We have cell phones for
calling, text messaging, and even using the Internet. While
technology has helped us make a lot of advancements, it has also
caused some problems.
Developing a Thesis Statement
1.) State topic as question.
• Has technology harmed society?
2.) Turn Question into Position (must make claim!)
• Technology has harmed society.
3.) Narrow Thesis
• Technology has harmed society by making us lazier, creating
health problems, and weakening our social skills.
3. Body Paragraphs
(“middle” paragraphs of essay)
• provide support and examples for thesis statement (“heart” of
• topic sentence – first sentence, restates thesis claim and
summarizes that paragraph
• supporting sentences – provide support and examples for topic
• closing sentence – ends sentence by summarizing paragraph
Understanding Topic Sentences
• Technology has harmed society by making us lazier, creating health
problems, and weakening our social skills.
First Topic Sentence:
• Technology has caused us to be lazier, which is a problem.
Second Topic Sentence:
• Furthermore, technology has unfortunately created more health
Third Topic Sentence:
• Finally, technology has negatively affected our social skills.
(last paragraph of essay)
• summarize essay, restate claim
• offer “final thought” for topic (without bringing up new ideas)
(use throughout essay)
• words or phrases that connect paragraphs and sentences to
• also, however, for example, therefore, etc.
They Say I Say outlines additional strategies for connecting paragraphs and
sentences—these also fall under the “transitions” category.