What to include in an essay

This simple guide will show you how to perfect your essay structure by clearly introducing and concluding your argument, and laying out your paragraphs coherently in between. Your essay writing can be dramatically improved overnight simply by using the correct essay structure, as explained below. When you are writing an essay , every sentence and every paragraph is important. But there is something extra important about introductions.

General Essay Writing Tips

Just like going out on a date for the first time, you want the introduction to be just right, almost perfect. You want to put your best self forward and create a great first impression. You should already know this, but most professors and instructors will start grading your work in their head as soon as they begin reading it. And most will have some notion of where your essay falls on that scale before they even finish the introduction. It will be the rarest of markers who withholds judgement until the end.

The introduction is something you absolutely must start strong. Always develop an introduction that clearly sets out the aims of what you are about to write and, if applicable, refers to the subject under investigation.

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State what the essay will try to achieve and briefly mention some of the main points you will consider. The idea is to give the marker an overview of your argument, to show that your thought process is logical and coherent and that you have carefully thought the question through. Think of your introduction as a thumbnail picture of the whole essay. Anyone, but especially the marker, should know the essay subject and how you intend to prove or disprove it, just from having read just the introduction.

You have been given this assignment: The main purpose of Gothic fiction is to break normal moral and social codes. It is certainly true that many works of Gothic fiction manifest the transgression of normal moral and social codes as their major theme. Their emphasis on female sexuality, their breaking of the boundaries between life and death and their shocking displays of immoral religious characters would all suggest that this is indeed the case. However, it is also important to consider other major aspects of the genre that might be considered equally important in purpose, such as its fascination with the supernatural, its portrayal of artificial humanity and its satirical social attacks.

Reread that paragraph.


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Does it tell you what the topic of the essay is? What the point is?

8 tips for great essay writing | Oxbridge Essays

What the essay plans to do? Now, without reading think about just the size of that paragraph. If a marker were to see an introduction that were any less than that they would automatically know, without even reading a word, that the topic was not going to be well introduced. That is not to suggest you simply fill up the paragraph, but that a certain amount of information in the introduction is expected.

It is worth pointing out that in a much longer essay an introduction does not need to be limited to a single paragraph.

Generally, however, it will be. The second part of the essay is the body. This is the longest part of the essay. In general, a short essay will have at least three full paragraphs; a long essay considerably more. Each paragraph is a point that you want to make that relates to the topic. Paragraphs, like the essay overall, also have an expected structure. You should start a new paragraph for each major new idea within your essay, to clearly show the examiner the structure of your argument.

Each paragraph should begin with a signpost sentence that sets out the main point you are going to explore in that section. It is sometimes helpful to refer back to the title of the essay in the signpost sentence, to remind the examiner of the relevance of your point. Essay writing becomes much easier for you too this way, as you remind yourself exactly what you are focusing on each step of the way. Here's a signpost sentence example: One important way in which Gothic fiction transgresses normal moral and social codes is in its portrayal of the female heroine.

Essay Tips: 7 Tips on Writing an Effective Essay

Further sentences in this paragraph would then go on to expand and back up your point in greater detail and with relevant examples. The paragraph should not contain any sentences that are not directly related to the issue set out in the signpost sentence. So you are writing an essay that clearly separates its ideas into structured sections.

Going back to the wage-raise example: in the middle of talking about how punctual you are, would you start talking about how you are a good colleague, then about that client you impressed, and then talk about your punctuality again? Of course not. The same rules apply: each paragraph deals with one idea, one subject. The last section of your essay is the conclusion. In general, this will also be a single paragraph in shorter essays, but can go on to two or three for slightly longer discussions.

Every well-structured essay ends with a conclusion. Its purpose is to summarise the main points of your argument and, if appropriate, to draw a final decision or judgement about the issues you have been discussing. Sometimes, conclusions attempt to connect the essay to broader issues or areas of further study. It is important not to introduce any new ideas in the conclusion — it is simply a reminder of what your essay has already covered. An essay is not like a mystery novel which keeps the reader in suspense; it should not slowly reveal the argument to the reader.

Instead, the contention and supporting arguments are usually stated in the introduction. That is, introduce the particular problem or topic the essay will address in a general sense to provide context, before narrowing down to your particular position and line of argument. The introduction usually starts by providing some background information to your particular topic, so the reader understands the key problem being addressed and why it is an issue worth writing about.

However, it is important that this is brief and that you only include information that is directly relevant to the topic. This might also be an appropriate place to introduce the reader to key terms and provide definitions, if required. Instead, make sure that your initial sentence relates directly to the problem, question or issue highlighted by the essay topic.

Setting the parameters of the essay is important. State your position on the topic also referred to as your main argument , or contention , or thesis statement. Make sure that you are directly answering the question and the whole essay question if there is more than one part! Provide an overview of how you are approaching the essay.

Whether this ability is something a person is born with, or whether it is something that a person can learn, has been the subject of considerable debate. Kambil has outlined two categories of leadership attributes that help to frame the discussion: 'traits' mostly innate and 'skills' which can be developed through experience or training.

This essay will draw on the trait theory of leadership to argue that that leaders are first born, but then must be made. A potential leader should develop their natural traits as well as learn and practise skills which will help them to persuade, equip and inspire others to realise their vision.

Read the paragraph below and see if you can identify the key features of an introduction. This is an introduction written in response to the essay question: 'Can Rome's actions towards Carthage be described as defensive imperialism?

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