General Notes on a Perfect Essay Writing

August 3, 2017

  1. You are expected to use a word processor, where possible. This will not only help the reader, but it will also help you when you want to shift text, spell check etc. Computers for the word processing of TS assignments are available in the IT room, the library and in studio spaces, or, of course, you can use your own.
  2. Use only one side of paper, double spaced.
  3. Spelling and grammar. Always work with a dictionary and a grammar reference book at hand. 'Spellcheck' programs on a word processor are another way to check your spelling. Good grammar books are often those written for foreign language students e.g. Michael Swan's, Practical English Usage. Avoid contractions such as don't and beware of it's for its (belonging to). IT'S = IT IS. Be careful also of using must of for must have and your for you're ( you are). Apostrophe s 's is used for possessiveness (George's book). A single s without an apostrophe is used for plurals.
  4. Italicize or underline titles of books. Poems or critical essays should be in single quotation marks.
  5. Keep it simple. Try not to link your ideas with endless commas as both you and the reader will lose sight of the subject of the sentence.
  6. Presenting a considered evaluation of your research will show the reader how you are able to critically approach your chosen subject matter, and you should seek to articulate your own conclusion on your research. But remember that the whole essay is representative of your opinion and that the use of the first person pronoun (I) may not always facilitate an objective argument.
  7. Always make sure you use a new paragraph when you discuss another point/idea.
  8. Use the present tense when discussing texts and authors.
  9. Avoid emotive language as this often becomes vague. Saying that a piece of prose is 'wonderful' does not convey much to the reader. Try and aim for precision – you could say it is 'affecting', 'persuasive' or 'elegant'. Also avoid clichés.
  10. Always try to re-write several times. Swap essays with a friend and proof-read each other's.
  11. Your writing should be clear and persuasive. Your essay should be planned and structured as a developing argument, detailed and open in identifying its sources. Finally, your writing should satisfy yourself. 

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I. Introduction Paragraph

A. Attention Getter
1. Question
2. Quotation
3. Statistic
4. Interesting Generalization

B. Identification of the Title and Author of the Work

C. Thesis Statement: One or two sentences which express the central point or idea of the essay.

D. Preview of Main Points

II. Body Paragraphs

A. Transitions
1. Key Words or Phrases
2. Parallel Structure
3. Transitional Words

B. Topic Sentences: One sentence that expresses the central point or idea of the paragraph for each body paragraph.

C. Support for Main Ideas
1. Details
2. Examples
a. Something a character says
b. Something a character does
c. Something that is said about a character
3. Quotations from the Work

D. Coherence – All Sentences are linked and flow smoothly.

E. Unity – All sentences in the paragraph further develop the topic sentence.

III. Conclusion Paragraph

A. Summary of Key Ideas

B. Evaluation or Assessment of the Material Presented

C. Explanation of the Theme of the Work

D. Closing Statement: Same as I.A.

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