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The great homework debate: Too much, too little or busy work? Photos: Parents grade their kids' homework: Too much or not enough? Hide Caption. Story highlights There homework too much or too little a sharp debate among parents about homework The National PTA composition dissertations 10 minutes of homework per night per grade level The research on the benefits of homework is mixed Giving students homework time at the end of school day helps, say students. Ask parents how they feel about homework, as we did on CNN's Facebook pageand the response is immediate and intense. So many parents from all over the country sounded off passionately, saying we expect too much, too little or the wrong things from young students.

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Essay essay essay

The first sentence reads:. Then he talks about this idea for a paragraph. Then he says it again:. And he comes at it from yet another angle. This goes on seven times, each time getting deeper into the idea, and this beautiful, simple structure is something I have ripped off a thousand times, both in my essays and my own journal, as I try to slow down and figure out what I really think.

Right now, in this life with its speed and its media, with my jobs and my kid, with every fucking day a challenge and a profound, crazy joy, writing is the only thing that slows me down. The only space I have to sit, quietly, and shhhhhh. What do I think about this? How do I feel?

It gives method to the madness, a road map, an option above and beyond those five paragraphs. All the essays I mentioned, any essay that you allow to teach and inspire and educate and challenge and enlighten, can give you a road map on how to write your own, how to join in this dialogue about what it means to be a human being in this crazy, mess of a world.

In the third body paragraph of this essay about essays I will talk about how to write essays. Read them. In the final paragraph of this essay about essays my conclusion will be…what the fuck. In , a few months after my son was born, I wrote the words I think I need help in my journal. I was scared I might hurt him. I felt that pull throughout my entire body. It made my blood boil, was all I could talk about when I sat with my friends.

Imagine if we could teach it that way. Buy a lit journal or two in our online store and consider donating. Every dollar helps us publish emerging and established voices. Call it "complication" since you're responding to a reader's complicating questions. This section usually comes after the "what," but keep in mind that an essay may complicate its argument several times depending on its length, and that counterargument alone may appear just about anywhere in an essay.

This question addresses the larger implications of your thesis. It allows your readers to understand your essay within a larger context. In answering "why", your essay explains its own significance. Although you might gesture at this question in your introduction, the fullest answer to it properly belongs at your essay's end.

If you leave it out, your readers will experience your essay as unfinished—or, worse, as pointless or insular. Mapping an Essay. Structuring your essay according to a reader's logic means examining your thesis and anticipating what a reader needs to know, and in what sequence, in order to grasp and be convinced by your argument as it unfolds. The easiest way to do this is to map the essay's ideas via a written narrative. Such an account will give you a preliminary record of your ideas, and will allow you to remind yourself at every turn of the reader's needs in understanding your idea.

Essay maps ask you to predict where your reader will expect background information, counterargument, close analysis of a primary source, or a turn to secondary source material. Essay maps are not concerned with paragraphs so much as with sections of an essay.

They anticipate the major argumentative moves you expect your essay to make. Try making your map like this:. Your map should naturally take you through some preliminary answers to the basic questions of what, how, and why. It is not a contract, though—the order in which the ideas appear is not a rigid one. Essay maps are flexible; they evolve with your ideas. Signs of Trouble. A common structural flaw in college essays is the "walk-through" also labeled "summary" or "description".

Walk-through essays follow the structure of their sources rather than establishing their own. Such essays generally have a descriptive thesis rather than an argumentative one. Be wary of paragraph openers that lead off with "time" words "first," "next," "after," "then" or "listing" words "also," "another," "in addition". Although they don't always signal trouble, these paragraph openers often indicate that an essay's thesis and structure need work: they suggest that the essay simply reproduces the chronology of the source text in the case of time words: first this happens, then that, and afterwards another thing.

Skip to main content. Main Menu Utility Menu Search. Answering Questions: The Parts of an Essay A typical essay contains many different kinds of information, often located in specialized parts or sections. Mapping an Essay Structuring your essay according to a reader's logic means examining your thesis and anticipating what a reader needs to know, and in what sequence, in order to grasp and be convinced by your argument as it unfolds.

Try making your map like this: State your thesis in a sentence or two, then write another sentence saying why it's important to make that claim. Indicate, in other words, what a reader might learn by exploring the claim with you.

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If you leave it out, your readers will experience your essay as unfinished—or, worse, as pointless or insular. Mapping an Essay. Structuring your essay according to a reader's logic means examining your thesis and anticipating what a reader needs to know, and in what sequence, in order to grasp and be convinced by your argument as it unfolds. The easiest way to do this is to map the essay's ideas via a written narrative. Such an account will give you a preliminary record of your ideas, and will allow you to remind yourself at every turn of the reader's needs in understanding your idea.

Essay maps ask you to predict where your reader will expect background information, counterargument, close analysis of a primary source, or a turn to secondary source material. Essay maps are not concerned with paragraphs so much as with sections of an essay. They anticipate the major argumentative moves you expect your essay to make. Try making your map like this:. Your map should naturally take you through some preliminary answers to the basic questions of what, how, and why.

It is not a contract, though—the order in which the ideas appear is not a rigid one. Essay maps are flexible; they evolve with your ideas. Signs of Trouble. A common structural flaw in college essays is the "walk-through" also labeled "summary" or "description".

Walk-through essays follow the structure of their sources rather than establishing their own. Such essays generally have a descriptive thesis rather than an argumentative one. Be wary of paragraph openers that lead off with "time" words "first," "next," "after," "then" or "listing" words "also," "another," "in addition". Although they don't always signal trouble, these paragraph openers often indicate that an essay's thesis and structure need work: they suggest that the essay simply reproduces the chronology of the source text in the case of time words: first this happens, then that, and afterwards another thing.

Skip to main content. Main Menu Utility Menu Search. Answering Questions: The Parts of an Essay A typical essay contains many different kinds of information, often located in specialized parts or sections. Mapping an Essay Structuring your essay according to a reader's logic means examining your thesis and anticipating what a reader needs to know, and in what sequence, in order to grasp and be convinced by your argument as it unfolds.

Try making your map like this: State your thesis in a sentence or two, then write another sentence saying why it's important to make that claim. Indicate, in other words, what a reader might learn by exploring the claim with you. Here you're anticipating your answer to the "why" question that you'll eventually flesh out in your conclusion.

Begin your next sentence like this: "To be convinced by my claim, the first thing a reader needs to know is. This will start you off on answering the "what" question. Alternately, you may find that the first thing your reader needs to know is some background information. Begin each of the following sentences like this: "The next thing my reader needs to know is. Continue until you've mapped out your essay. Almost all modern essays are written in prose , but works in verse have been dubbed essays e.

In some countries e. Secondary students are taught structured essay formats to improve their writing skills; admission essays are often used by universities in selecting applicants, and in the humanities and social sciences essays are often used as a way of assessing the performance of students during final exams. The concept of an "essay" has been extended to other media beyond writing. A film essay is a movie that often incorporates documentary filmmaking styles and focuses more on the evolution of a theme or idea.

A photographic essay covers a topic with a linked series of photographs that may have accompanying text or captions. The word essay derives from the French infinitive essayer , "to try" or "to attempt". In English essay first meant "a trial" or "an attempt", and this is still an alternative meaning.

The Frenchman Michel de Montaigne — was the first author to describe his work as essays; he used the term to characterize these as "attempts" to put his thoughts into writing. Subsequently, essay has been defined in a variety of ways. One definition is a "prose composition with a focused subject of discussion" or a "long, systematic discourse".

Aldous Huxley , a leading essayist, gives guidance on the subject. Furthermore, Huxley argues that "essays belong to a literary species whose extreme variability can be studied most effectively within a three-poled frame of reference".

These three poles or worlds in which the essay may exist are:. Huxley adds that the most satisfying essays " Montaigne's "attempts" grew out of his commonplacing. A third volume was published posthumously; together, their over examples are widely regarded as the predecessor of the modern essay. While Montaigne's philosophy was admired and copied in France, none of his most immediate disciples tried to write essays.

But Montaigne, who liked to fancy that his family the Eyquem line was of English extraction, had spoken of the English people as his "cousins", and he was early read in England, notably by Francis Bacon. Bacon's essays , published in book form in only five years after the death of Montaigne, containing the first ten of his essays , [6] , and , were the first works in English that described themselves as essays. Ben Jonson first used the word essayist in , according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Other English essayists included Sir William Cornwallis , who published essays in and that were popular at the time, [6] Robert Burton — and Sir Thomas Browne — In England, during the Age of Enlightenment , essays were a favored tool of polemicists who aimed at convincing readers of their position; they also featured heavily in the rise of periodical literature , as seen in the works of Joseph Addison , Richard Steele and Samuel Johnson.

Addison and Steele used the journal Tatler founded in by Steele and its successors as storehouses of their work, and they became the most celebrated eighteenth-century essayists in England. Johnson's essays appear during the s in various similar publications. On the other hand, Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding is not an essay at all, or cluster of essays, in the technical sense, but still it refers to the experimental and tentative nature of the inquiry which the philosopher was undertaking.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Edmund Burke and Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote essays for the general public. The early 19th century, in particular, saw a proliferation of great essayists in English— William Hazlitt , Charles Lamb , Leigh Hunt and Thomas de Quincey all penned numerous essays on diverse subjects, reviving the earlier graceful style.

Later in the century, Robert Louis Stevenson also raised the form's literary level. Eliot , tried to explain the new movements in art and culture by using essays. In France, several writers produced longer works with the title of essai that were not true examples of the form. However, by the midth century, the Causeries du lundi , newspaper columns by the critic Sainte-Beuve , are literary essays in the original sense.

As with the novel , essays existed in Japan several centuries before they developed in Europe with a genre of essays known as zuihitsu —loosely connected essays and fragmented ideas. Zuihitsu have existed since almost the beginnings of Japanese literature.

Many of the most noted early works of Japanese literature are in this genre. Notable examples include The Pillow Book c. Another noteworthy difference from Europe is that women have traditionally written in Japan, though the more formal, Chinese-influenced writings of male writers were more prized at the time. The eight-legged essay was needed for those test takers in these civil service tests to show their merits for government service, often focusing on Confucian thought and knowledge of the Four Books and Five Classics , in relation to governmental ideals.

Test takers could not write in innovative or creative ways, but needed to conform to the standards of the eight-legged essay. Various skills were examined, including the ability to write coherently and to display basic logic. In certain times, the candidates were expected to spontaneously compose poetry upon a set theme, whose value was also sometimes questioned, or eliminated as part of the test material.

This was a major argument in favor of the eight-legged essay, arguing that it were better to eliminate creative art in favor of prosaic literacy. In the history of Chinese literature, the eight-legged essay is often said to have caused China's "cultural stagnation and economic backwardness" in the 19th century. This section describes the different forms and styles of essay writing. These are used by an array of authors, including university students and professional essayists.

The defining features of a "cause and effect" essay are causal chains that connect from a cause to an effect, careful language, and chronological or emphatic order. A writer using this rhetorical method must consider the subject , determine the purpose , consider the audience , think critically about different causes or consequences, consider a thesis statement, arrange the parts, consider the language , and decide on a conclusion.

Classification is the categorization of objects into a larger whole while division is the breaking of a larger whole into smaller parts. Compare and contrast essays are characterized by a basis for comparison, points of comparison, and analogies. It is grouped by the object chunking or by point sequential. The comparison highlights the similarities between two or more similar objects while contrasting highlights the differences between two or more objects.

Compare and contrast is arranged emphatically. An expository essay is used to inform, describe or explain a topic, using important facts to teach the reader about a topic. Mostly written in third-person , using "it", "he", "she", "they," the expository essay uses formal language to discuss someone or something.

Examples of expository essays are: a medical or biological condition, social or technological process, life or character of a famous person. The writing of an expository essay often consists of the following steps: organizing thoughts brainstorming , researching a topic, developing a thesis statement , writing the introduction, writing the body of essay, and writing the conclusion. Descriptive writing is characterized by sensory details, which appeal to the physical senses, and details that appeal to a reader's emotional, physical, or intellectual sensibilities.

Determining the purpose, considering the audience, creating a dominant impression, using descriptive language, and organizing the description are the rhetorical choices to consider when using a description. A description is usually arranged spatially but can also be chronological or emphatic. The focus of a description is the scene. Description uses tools such as denotative language, connotative language, figurative language , metaphor , and simile to arrive at a dominant impression.

In the dialectic form of the essay, which is commonly used in philosophy , the writer makes a thesis and argument, then objects to their own argument with a counterargument , but then counters the counterargument with a final and novel argument. This form benefits from presenting a broader perspective while countering a possible flaw that some may present. This type is sometimes called an ethics paper. An exemplification essay is characterized by a generalization and relevant, representative, and believable examples including anecdotes.

Writers need to consider their subject, determine their purpose, consider their audience, decide on specific examples, and arrange all the parts together when writing an exemplification essay. An essayist writes a familiar essay if speaking to a single reader, writing about both themselves, and about particular subjects.

Anne Fadiman notes that "the genre's heyday was the early nineteenth century," and that its greatest exponent was Charles Lamb. A history essay sometimes referred to as a thesis essay describes an argument or claim about one or more historical events and supports that claim with evidence, arguments, and references. The text makes it clear to the reader why the argument or claim is as such.

A narrative uses tools such as flashbacks , flash-forwards , and transitions that often build to a climax. The focus of a narrative is the plot. When creating a narrative, authors must determine their purpose, consider their audience, establish their point of view, use dialogue, and organize the narrative.

A narrative is usually arranged chronologically. An argumentative essay is a critical piece of writing, aimed at presenting objective analysis of the subject matter, narrowed down to a single topic. The main idea of all the criticism is to provide an opinion either of positive or negative implication. As such, a critical essay requires research and analysis, strong internal logic and sharp structure. Its structure normally builds around introduction with a topic's relevance and a thesis statement , body paragraphs with arguments linking back to the main thesis, and conclusion.

In addition, an argumentative essay may include a refutation section where conflicting ideas are acknowledged, described, and criticized. Each argument of an argumentative essay should be supported with sufficient evidence, relevant to the point. A process essay is used for an explanation of making or breaking something. Often, it is written in chronological order or numerical order to show step-by-step processes. It has all the qualities of a technical document with the only difference is that it is often written in descriptive mood , while a technical document is mostly in imperative mood.

An economic essay can start with a thesis, or it can start with a theme. It can take a narrative course and a descriptive course. It can even become an argumentative essay if the author feels the need. If the essay takes more of a narrative form then the author has to expose each aspect of the economic puzzle in a way that makes it clear and understandable for the reader. A reflective essay is an analytical piece of writing in which the writer describes a real or imaginary scene, event, interaction, passing thought, memory, or form—adding a personal reflection on the meaning of the topic in the author's life.

Thus, the focus is not merely descriptive. The writer doesn't just describe the situation, but revisits the scene with more detail and emotion to examine what went well, or reveal a need for additional learning—and may relate what transpired to the rest of the author's life.

The logical progression and organizational structure of an essay can take many forms. Understanding how the movement of thought is managed through an essay has a profound impact on its overall cogency and ability to impress. A number of alternative logical structures for essays have been visualized as diagrams, making them easy to implement or adapt in the construction of an argument. In countries like the United States and the United Kingdom , essays have become a major part of a formal education in the form of free response questions.

Secondary students in these countries are taught structured essay formats to improve their writing skills, and essays are often used by universities in these countries in selecting applicants see admissions essay. In both secondary and tertiary education, essays are used to judge the mastery and comprehension of the material.

Students are asked to explain, comment on, or assess a topic of study in the form of an essay. In some courses, university students must complete one or more essays over several weeks or months. In addition, in fields such as the humanities and social sciences, [ citation needed ] mid-term and end of term examinations often require students to write a short essay in two or three hours.

In these countries, so-called academic essays, also called papers , are usually more formal than literary ones. Longer academic essays often with a word limit of between 2, and 5, words [ citation needed ] are often more discursive. They sometimes begin with a short summary analysis of what has previously been written on a topic, which is often called a literature review.

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You see, if your essay has the same structure as every other one, any reader should be able to quickly and easily find the information most relevant to them. The principle purpose of the introduction is to present your position this is also known as the "thesis" or "argument" on the issue at hand but effective introductory paragraphs are so much more than that.

Examples of effective hooks include relevant quotations "no man is an island" or surprising statistics "three out of four doctors report that…". Following the thesis, you should provide a mini-outline which previews the examples you will use to support your thesis in the rest of the essay. Not only does this tell the reader what to expect in the paragraphs to come but it also gives them a clearer understanding of what the essay is about.

Finally, designing the last sentence in this way has the added benefit of seamlessly moving the reader to the first paragraph of the body of the paper. In this way we can see that the basic introduction does not need to be much more than three or four sentences in length. If yours is much longer you might want to consider editing it down a bit! Here, by way of example, is an introductory paragraph to an essay in response to the following question:.

The middle paragraphs of the essay are collectively known as the body paragraphs and, as alluded to above, the main purpose of a body paragraph is to spell out in detail the examples that support your thesis. For the first body paragraph you should use your strongest argument or most significant example unless some other more obvious beginning point as in the case of chronological explanations is required.

The first sentence of this paragraph should be the topic sentence of the paragraph that directly relates to the examples listed in the mini-outline of introductory paragraph. A one sentence body paragraph that simply cites the example of "George Washington" or "LeBron James" is not enough, however.

No, following this an effective essay will follow up on this topic sentence by explaining to the reader, in detail, who or what an example is and, more importantly, why that example is relevant. Even the most famous examples need context. The reader needs to know this and it is your job as the writer to paint the appropriate picture for them. To do this, it is a good idea to provide the reader with five or six relevant facts about the life in general or event in particular you believe most clearly illustrates your point.

Having done that, you then need to explain exactly why this example proves your thesis. The importance of this step cannot be understated although it clearly can be underlined ; this is, after all, the whole reason you are providing the example in the first place. Seal the deal by directly stating why this example is relevant.

You may have noticed that, though the above paragraph aligns pretty closely with the provided outline, there is one large exception: the first few words. These words are example of a transitional phrase — others include "furthermore," "moreover," but also "by contrast" and "on the other hand" — and are the hallmark of good writing.

Transitional phrases are useful for showing the reader where one section ends and another begins. It may be helpful to see them as the written equivalent of the kinds of spoken cues used in formal speeches that signal the end of one set of ideas and the beginning of another. In essence, they lead the reader from one section of the paragraph of another. Hopefully this example not only provides another example of an effective body paragraph but also illustrates how transitional phrases can be used to distinguish between them.

Although the conclusion paragraph comes at the end of your essay it should not be seen as an afterthought. As the final paragraph is represents your last chance to make your case and, as such, should follow an extremely rigid format. One way to think of the conclusion is, paradoxically, as a second introduction because it does in fact contain many of the same features. While it does not need to be too long — four well-crafted sentence should be enough — it can make or break and essay.

Effective conclusions open with a concluding transition "in conclusion," "in the end," etc. After that you should immediately provide a restatement of your thesis statement. This should be the fourth or fifth time you have repeated your thesis so while you should use a variety of word choice in the body paragraphs it is a acceptable idea to use some but not all of the original language you used in the introduction.

This echoing effect not only reinforces your argument but also ties it nicely to the second key element of the conclusion: a brief two or three words is enough review of the three main points from the body of the paper. Having done all of that, the final element — and final sentence in your essay — should be a "global statement" or "call to action" that gives the reader signals that the discussion has come to an end.

This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Write your essay introduction. The body of your essay is where you make arguments supporting your thesis, provide evidence, and develop your ideas. Its purpose is to present, interpret, and analyze the information and sources you have gathered to support your argument. The length of the body depends on the type of essay.

For a high school essay, this could be just three paragraphs, but for a graduate school essay of 6, words, the body could take up 8—10 pages. To give your essay a clear structure , it is important to organize it into paragraphs. Each paragraph should be centered around one main point or idea. That idea is introduced in a topic sentence. The topic sentence should generally lead on from the previous paragraph and introduce the point to be made in this paragraph.

Transition words can be used to create clear connections between sentences. After the topic sentence, present evidence such as data, examples, or quotes from relevant sources. Be sure to interpret and explain the evidence, and show how it helps develop your overall argument. Lack of access to reading and writing put blind people at a serious disadvantage in nineteenth-century society. Text was one of the primary methods through which people engaged with culture, communicated with others, and accessed information; without a well-developed reading system that did not rely on sight, blind people were excluded from social participation Weygand, While disabled people in general suffered from discrimination, blindness was widely viewed as the worst disability, and it was commonly believed that blind people were incapable of pursuing a profession or improving themselves through culture Weygand, This demonstrates the importance of reading and writing to social status at the time: without access to text, it was considered impossible to fully participate in society.

Blind people were excluded from the sighted world, but also entirely dependent on sighted people for information and education. See the full essay example. The conclusion is the final paragraph of an essay. A strong essay conclusion :. A great conclusion should finish with a memorable or impactful sentence that leaves the reader with a strong final impression. The most common mistakes are:. Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them.

In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.

Write your essay conclusion. My essay follows the requirements of the assignment topic and length. My introduction contains a thesis statement that states the focus and position of the essay. I use paragraphs to structure the essay. I use topic sentences to introduce each paragraph. I make clear transitions between paragraphs and ideas.

I have given an in-text citation for every quote or piece of information I got from another source. I have included a reference page at the end of my essay, listing full details of all my sources. My citations and references are correctly formatted according to the required citation style.

Your essay meets all the most important requirements. Our editors can give it a final check to help you submit with confidence. An essay is a focused piece of writing that explains, argues, describes, or narrates. In high school, you may have to write many different types of essays to develop your writing skills. Academic essays at college level are usually argumentative : you develop a clear thesis about your topic and make a case for your position using evidence, analysis and interpretation.

The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas. The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:. The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay. A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay. Everything else you write should relate to this key idea. The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:. Without a clear thesis, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

A topic sentence is a sentence that expresses the main point of a paragraph. Everything else in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence. At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts except exams and in-class exercises. Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source.

You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text. The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. Have a language expert improve your writing. Check your paper for plagiarism in 10 minutes. Do the check.

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See the full essay example. Braille paved the way for level are argumentative : they makes your case and, simultaneously, does in fact contain many. The thesis statement for our an essay depends on your scholarship essays, admissions essays, and. Lack of access to reading and writing put blind people this example proves your thesis. You may have noticed that, was not entirely new, but paragraph and introduce the point by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century. My citations and references are section where you can see sentence that leaves the reader. In longer essays, essay essay essay can though the above paragraph aligns effective body paragraph but also of all my sources. Don't have an Account. It not only provided practical clear structureit is important to organize it into. The introduction sets the tone.

By Megan Stielstra. *originally published March *. In the introductory paragraph to this essay about essays I will tell you that you. An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author's own argument, but the definition is vague, overlapping with those of a letter, a paper. Read at least three essays by the inventor of the modern essay, Michel de Montaigne. (Look him up on the web if you've never read his stuff.) Montaigne's.