Writing an Essay
by Lori Butler
In order to write a good paragraph, the following guidelines should be
All paragraphs S.U.C.K. -- they must be
supported, unified, coherent, and convey knowledge.
- Support comes in the form of facts, examples,
physical description, and personal experience.
- Facts are statements that can be proven as true and can be found
in publications as such.
- Examples usually start with words like such as, for example, for
- Physical description is exactly like it sounds. The writer
describes the physical appearance of an item by telling what it
sounds like, what it smells like, what it looks like, how it feels,
and how it tastes. Create a vivid image for your reader so that
he/she feels truly involved in the story.
- Personal experience is something we all have. Use what has
happened to you, your past, in order to enrich your writing. We
learn from our experiences material that helps us grow and progress.
Use this to help your readers feel like they understand where you
are coming from and what you are telling them.
- Making your writing unified means that each and every sentence is
written about the exact same topic as well as the same aspect of that
topic. Do not include sentences that come to you as digressions.
- For example, if I were writing a paragraph about a nurse's
duties within the emergency room of a hospital, I would not include
any sentences about whether or not he/she dates fellow employees or
doctors. It has nothing to do with that nurse's duties in the
emergency room. Sentences within the paragraph may discuss actual
things a nurse must do in order to help patients, doctors, and other
staff members as part of his/her job.
- Coherent literally means "to stick together." In order for a
paragraph and even an essay to stick together, we must use these great
words called transitions.
- Examples: however, furthermore, therefore, next, later, in
addition to, etc.
Now that you understand what each paragraph needs to include, let's
discuss the basic requirements for an essay overall. Most of you learned how
to write a basic 5-point essay in high school. That is a good place to
start. The fundamental structure is an introduction,
body, and conclusion.
- The introduction generally should tell what your subject is, do
something to grab the reader's attention, and state your thesis.
- General information should give the reader's some type of
background that helps the reader develop an understanding of your
- In order to grab the reader's attention, you should give some
incredible story or unknown statistics that make the reader want to
continue reading to learn more.
- A thesis is basically a topic plus an assertion about that
topic. For example, you can't write a 5-page paper about basketball
and cover everything you need to say. However, you could discuss the
basic rules of a double dribble or walking within a 5-page paper.
Therefore, you need to be specific enough to cover your material
completely, but general enough so that you have enough to say.
- The body of the essay is your opportunity to dazzle your readers
with the wealth of knowledge that you have about the particular subject.
Give examples, describe, list specifics, quote statistics, etc.
- The conclusion has two main jobs: wrap up what you've said and
reiterate the thesis of the paper. State the thesis in a different way
and in different words. A reader does not want to read the same thing
over and over, but at the same time, you don't want that reader to miss
the point of the paper.