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Elements of Essay Writing


Essays can be written many different ways, but the traditional five-paragraph essay has essential elements that transcend all essay writing. Proper planning and organization is required when writing an essay, particularly when developing a thesis statement, which sets the focus and tone of an essay. The introduction, body paragraph and conclusion are the other primary elements of an essay. It is customary to prepare an outline before writing to give your essay structure and effective flow.

Thesis

The thesis is the statement of an essay that determines the primary focus. A thesis statement should be one coherent, concise sentence that clearly states the point of your essay. If you are writing a persuasive essay, the thesis statement is where you make your primary argument. A strong thesis statement is essential for an effective and cohesive essay. Traditionally, your thesis statement should be the last sentence in your introductory paragraph, but more relaxed styles of essays may have the thesis elsewhere in the introduction.

Outline

One of the main steps in writing an essay is creating an outline of material to create the most effective structure. Traditionally, outlines use a system of Roman numerals, upper- and lower-case letters, and numbers to classify points. Create one heading for each paragraph, including your introduction and conclusion. For each supporting paragraph in the body of your essay, list the most essential points you want to cover.

Introduction

An essay introduction consists of one paragraph that introduces your reader to your essay. Mention any background information or general information that is pertinent to the topic in the introduction before your thesis statement. The introduction should summarize the point you intend to make in the body of your essay.

Body

The supporting paragraphs that back up your thesis make up the body of an essay. Each paragraph should contain at least one point to confirm your thesis with any necessary supporting information. A five-paragraph essay, for example, has three body paragraphs. Depending on the style of your essay, you may have more body paragraphs. Write one body paragraph for each point that supports your thesis.

Conclusion

The conclusion of an essay is one paragraph that summarizes the principal points made throughout the body. Contrary to the introductory paragraph, which summarizes the overall idea of the essay, the conclusion should specifically confirm why your thesis is correct using the points from your supporting body paragraphs.

About the Author

Sophie Southern has been a freelance writer since 2004. Her writing has been featured in "JPG" magazine and on Zlio.com. Southern holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography from the School of Visual Arts.

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