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4 Steps to Writing an Essay

1) Decide on a topic

2) Decide on a purpose: inform, convince, entertain

3) Decide on a method to accomplish your purpose:

        (1) comparison and contrast,

        (2) cause and effect,

        (3) persuasion,

        (4) evaluation,

        (5) narrative

4) Decide on a structure:

Basic structure:

Introductory paragraph

Supporting paragraphs-----------------paragraph order will vary depending on type of method chosen

Closing paragraph

  Methods to Accomplish Purpose

Comparison and Contrast

Method A: Compare/Contrast Entire Subject At One Time

Paragraph 1) introduction

Paragraph 2) subject 1

                        feature A

                        feature B

                        feature C

Paragraph 3) subject 2

                        feature A

                        feature B

                        feature C

Paragraph 4) conclusion

 

Method B: Compare/Contrast Feature-By-Feature

Paragraph 1) introduction

Paragraph 2) feature A

                        subject 1

                        subject 2

Paragraph 3) feature B

                        subject 1

                        subject 2

Paragraph 4) feature C

                        subject 1

                           subject 2

Paragraph 5) conclusion

 

Cause and Effect Essay: (Move from most obvious to least obvious)

Paragraph 1) introduction

Paragraph 2) define problem

Paragraph 3) cause

---- order of (3) and (4) may vary, depending on type of essay

Paragraph 4) effect

Paragraph 5) recommendations
 
 

Persuasive

Method A:

1) introduction

2) argument # 1, and examples/illustrations

3) counter argument # 1

4) argument # 2, and examples/illustrations

5) counter argument # 2

6) argument # 3, and examples/illustrations

7) conclusion

In Method A, the argument # 3 should be irrefutable, and should allow for no counter argument.
 

Persuasive Method B.

1) introduction

2) argument # 1, and examples/illustrations

3) argument # 2, and examples/illustrations

4) argument # 3, and examples/illustrations

5) conclusion
 
 

Evaluation:

1) introduction -- what is being evaluated

2) criterion 1 evidence / counter evidence

3) criterion 2 evidence / counter evidence

4) criterion 3 evidence / counter evidence

5) conclusion(s)
 
 

Narrative

Story line should flow, usually in a chronological order

1) introduction

2) event # 1

3) event # 3

4) event # 4

5) climax/conclusion

 

All essays should answer the question "so what?"

1. Tell why the story, etc., is valuable to you as a person.

2. Tell why the story, etc., is valuable to our society.

3. Tell what we can learn from this.

4. What does it reveal about the character(s), etc.?

5. What does it reveal about the writer's attitude toward her/his subject?

6. How has the story, etc., changed your feelings toward a particular subject?

 

 

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