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  • Essay Writing Workshop


  • What is an essay? - Written argument

    - Analytical form of writing (uses logical reasoning) to provide evidence to convince the reader of your side of the argument

    - An introduction, body, and conclusion

    - Sometimes a reference page

    - NOT a creative piece of writing

  • Before writing you must know…

    Your PURPOSE: Why are you writing this?

    Your AUDIENCE: Who are you writing this for?

  • Steps to Essay Writing

    1. Analyze the question

    2. Research

    3. Plan4. Write

    5. Edit

  • 1. Formulate a thesis

    2. Create an outline

    3. Write the essay

    4. Edit… edit… and edit some more

    5. Format properly and submit!

  • Formulate a Thesis Your teacher assigns you a topic.

    Develop a research question about the topic.

    The answer to your research question is your thesis.

  • -Your thesis is the heart and soul of your essay; it is the glue holding your essay together

    -It should NOT be stating a FACT - your thesis statement should NOT be something obvious - it is an arguable position

    -Your thesis statement should be analytical

    -WHAT: What claim are you making about the text?

    -WHY: Why should we care? Why is your claim important?

    -Your thesis should answer the “SO WHAT?” question

  • Examples: Example 1: Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel.

    - What is wrong with this statement?

    - This is an opinion about the book not an argument

    Example 2: In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore.

    - Better? How so? What is still missing?

    - Does not answer the “so what” question

    - What is the point of the contrast? What does the contrast signify?

    Example 3: Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American ideals, one must leave ‘civilized’ society and go back to nature.

    - Even better?

    - It presents an interpretation of the literary work based on an analysis of it’s content and answers the SO WHAT question

  • Creating an Outline Essential to a good essay

    Helps you organize your thoughts and supporting information before you begin writing

    Ensures that you have everything you need to write the essay

    ** sample graphic organizers have been posted on the website

  • Outlines Some people prefer to organize their

    outline by creating charts and inputting the appropriate information in these categories:

    Topic Context Evidence Analysis

  • How I organize my outline…

    The amount of topics / body paragraphs varies - it depends on how many topics you need to argue your position

  • Writing the Essay By the time you reach this point of the process you should have…

    A thesis

    Supporting arguments

    A complete outline


    Once the above information is all organized, you can begin putting everything into sentences and essay format.

  • Some editing tricks:

    1. Print your essay and read through it by yourself looking for spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors. Fix them and print again.

    2. Give the essay to someone else – ask him or her to tell you what is wrong with it or what changes can be made. Then make the changes and print it out again.

    3. Read the essay out loud and edit the errors you hear. Make the changes and print it out. It is complete.

  • Some editing tricks: Add something to the writing. 
 Remove something that confuses or repeats. 
 Move a section of the text. 
 Substitute a word, phrase, sentence or example.


    Does it make sense?

    Is the topic clear?

    Is the main idea clear?

    Are there enough reason / details to support the main idea? 

    Are there examples to support the reasons / details?

    Are there details not connected to the topic and main idea? 

    Is there a closing sentence or conclusion?

  • Three Parts of an Essay

    1.Introduction 2.Body Paragraphs 3.Conclusion

  • Introduction - Three main parts: (1) opening statement, (2)

    main arguments, (3) thesis
 OR —> (1) set the context, (2) thesis statement, (3) line of approach

    - Guides the reader through the course of an essay

    - If the reader does not understand where the introduction is heading, they will not be able to understand the purpose of the essay.

  • Introduction: 
 Opening Statement

    The opening statement should grab the reader’s attention. It allows you to introduce your topic without mentioning the supporting arguments. It should be interesting and invite the reader to want to know more.

    The GOOD Ex.: Shakespeare is a playwright who is known for his social commentary.

    The BAD Ex.: In today’s society, problems exist everywhere.

    The UGLY Ex.: In my essay I will show you that Hamlet is a woman hater.

  • Introduction: 
 Main Arguments

    Following statements should identify the main arguments that you are going to use to prove your thesis. You introduce the factors without elaborating about your supporting points. They serve to highlight what the body of your essay will be about.

    The GOOD Ex.: Main arguments that are each given a sentence to explain what they will be addressing.

    The BAD Ex.: Main arguments that are piled into one long run-on sentence.

    The UGLY Ex.: No arguments identified.

  • Introduction: 
 Thesis Statement

    Often the final sentence of the introduction is the thesis statement. This will tell the reader what position you are taking and attempting to prove. It is your opinion on the topic. It should get straight to the point: clear and concise.

    The GOOD Ex.: Through analyzing the Just War Theory and the Vatican’s position on armed conflict, it became apparent that if the church believes in the sanctity of all life, then all wars are unjustified, thereby proving that the Just War Theory is fundamentally flawed.

    The BAD Ex.: Poverty is a negative thing that affects a person’s quality of life.

    The UGLY Ex.: Inequity exists and I believe that it is wrong.

  • Introduction: 
 The Other Approach

    Introductory Statement

    Setting the context / background information - build up towards your thesis

    Thesis statement

    Line of approach: road map to your argument that identifies your supporting arguments / points.

  • Body Paragraphs The main arguments you will be using to prove your thesis

    Discuss in the order that you introduced them in your introduction

    Begin with your weakest argument and lead to the strongest

    Each argument should have a topic sentence = a statement of your argument

  • Body Paragraphs Context: indicate to your reader who said what it is you are using (the evidence), when it was said and where

    The evidence is the information you are using to prove your thesis

    Analysis: the observations that you make of the evidence, which you are using to prove your arguments, which is proving your thesis. It is not summarizing or paraphrasing. You must make the appropriate connections between the evidence and the point you are trying to prove.

  • Conclusion Restating the thesis, main arguments and closing statement

    Revisit the central argument to remind your reader what the point of your essay is

    Do not repeat the thesis and main arguments word for word

    The GOOD Ex.: Clearly the Just War Theory is a collection of paradoxes, which in some cases, serve to confuse the internal community, more than demystify the complexities of war.

    The BAD Ex.: A poor person cannot live a happy life.

    The UGLY Ex.: That is why inequality is wrong.

  • Conclusion The main arguments are there to remind the reader of the evidence that you used to prove your thesis. You must resist each one in the order in which you discussed them in your essay.

    The GOOD Ex.: Main arguments that are each given a sentence to explain what was addressing.

    The BAD Ex.: Main arguments that are piled into one long run-on sentence.

    The UGLY Ex.: No main arguments identified.

  • Conclusion Closing statement: you want to leave the reader with a strong statement that is relevant but not expected.

    The GOOD Ex.: It is for these reasons that Shakespeare remains a barometer by which social norms are measured.

    The BAD Ex.: The world would be a better place without any problems.

    The UGLY Ex.: I hope that you understand the point that I was trying to make in my essay.

  • Rules for Formatting Your Essay

    - No contractions

    - No pronouns

    - Correct grammar, punctuation and citations

    - Specified verb tense

    - No abbreviations

    - No clichés

    - Do not use slang

    - Do not overuse exclamation marks

    - Parentheses / Brackets = if some