Please review this guideline for a five-paragraph standard essay.
Please note: this is an essay template only. As a writer, you should primarily follow customers' instructions and their requirements regarding essay length and number of words and overall structure.
Keep in mind: An essay is a short piece of writing that discusses, describes or analyzes one topic. It can range in length from one paragraph to more than twenty. It can be about anything, and be written in almost any style. It can be serious or funny, straight-forward or symbolic. It can describe personal opinions, or just report information.
Basic elements of an essay:
1. Introduction (Introductory Paragraph).
Your essay should start with an introductory paragraph. There are actually many different ways to begin an essay; therefore, the format of the introductory paragraph is flexible. Often, essays begin with a General Introductory Statement. This statement could be an anecdote, description, striking statistic, a fact that will lead to your thesis, etc. Beginning this way, you will use the first few sentences to prepare, or "lay the groundwork" for your thesis, and use the last sentence of the first paragraph to present your thesis. However, your thesis statement can be anywhere in your introduction. In a longer essay, you can even wait to present your thesis until the second paragraph or later. Also for a longer essay, you should begin to introduce a few supporting ideas in the first couple of paragraphs. These supporting ideas should be the topics that you will discuss in full in your body paragraphs. For a short essay, presenting supporting ideas during the introduction is optional.
Your second paragraph generally begins the body of the paper. (For a longer paper, the body of the paper may not begin until the third paragraph or later). This paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that introduces the first supporting idea (the support for your thesis). You should use the middle of the paragraph to discuss your support, give examples, and analyze the significance of these examples. Your last sentence of the body paragraph could be used to draw a conclusion for that supporting idea, or to transition into the next paragraph.
Your next two body paragraphs should follow the same format as your first body paragraph. They should each have a separate topic sentence and supporting ideas, but the three paragraphs should work together to prove your thesis. If you are writing a longer paper, you will have more than three body paragraphs, but they should all follow this format.
The form of your Conclusion, like your introduction, is flexible. One good way to conclude a paper is to begin the last paragraph with a statement that reflects on what has been stated and proved, without repeating it exactly. Then you should briefly restate your key points to gently remind the reader how well you proved your thesis. Your conclusion should end with a statement or idea that leaves a strong impression and provokes further thought.
(This guideline is largely based on "English Works! at Gallaudet University").
7. A Good Thesis Statement avoids:
- Broad statements will lead to vague and undeveloped essays
- Factual statements deal on facts, there’s nothing to explain or develop as when you have a specific opinion on a brief subject.
8.Shaping The Thesis
- Avoid broad statements. A thesis that is too broad will cause the writer to present a superficial discussion that will never get beyond the obvious.
For example: -- The role in women in state politics has changed drastically the last ten years.—
- Improved Thesis. Be specific and concise.
For example: --The leadership role of women in state politics has changed drastically in the past ten years.—
9. Avoid factual statements.
- Factual statements leave the writer with nothing to say, with no way to develop it.
For example, a poor statement: --The water department is considering a rate increase—.
Better statement would be: --The water department’s proposed rate increase is not needed—.
10. Avoid the Announcement
- Poor announcement example:
--I will explain why our board of education should consider magnet schools.—
--This essay will describe the best way to choose a major.—
--Our board of education should consider magnet schools.—
--Students who are unsure of how to choose a major should follow my advice.—
11, Avoid VagueTerms (stay concise and specific)
--It is interesting to consider the various meanings of love.—
--We apply the work love to a broad spectrum of emotions.—
12. Evaluating Thesis Statement
Determine whether these thesis statements are broad, factual, announcements, or vague, and then think about re-writing them.
-- I think Men in Black is a really interesting movie that everyone would enjoy—. This is a vague statement.
-- My essay will tell you how to apply for a college loan with the least amount of trouble—. This is an announcement.
-- Having a close friend to talk to is very important—. This is a broad statement.