Essay Writing Terms. Introduction. Grabber. Focus Statement. Thesis Statement. Thesis Support. Topic Sentence. Body Paragraph. Details.

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1 Essay Writing Terms Title Introduction Grabber Focus Statement Thesis Statement Thesis Support Body Paragraph Conclusion Modified Focus Modified Thesis Challenge Bridge Audience Formality Tone Purpose Organization Flow Diction the name of your essay; should capture your audience s interest the first paragraph of an essay; includes grabber, focus statement, and thesis statement the first sentence of an essay; should grab the reader s attention; can be a question, exclamation, powerful statement, or a well-known quote or saying the topic or subject of your essay in complete sentence form; must be written in the form of a statement your position/opinion on the topic; the point you want to make in your essay; must be written in the form of a statement a brief phrase that supports your thesis; used in the planning stages; eventually become topic sentences for body paragraphs thesis support in sentence form; the first sentence of a body paragraph; introduces the focus of the body paragraph a paragraph of support for the thesis; must have topic sentence and details and/or examples examples, facts, statistics, sensory details, incidents, and anecdotes that support the topic sentence of a body paragraph the last paragraph of an essay; includes a modified thesis, modified focus and a challenge to the reader a restated focus statement in the concluding paragraph; should remind readers of the original topic a restated thesis statement; should remind readers of your position/opinion on the topic an interesting question, quotation, vivid image, call for action, warning, or suggestion to the reader; leaves reader thinking about your essay a transition word, phrase, or sentence connecting paragraphs; designed to help essay flow smoothly the reader(s) of your essay determined by the audience, the level by which you choose your words for an essay the attitude of the essay; word choice and word arrangement determine the tone the reason you are writing your essay (to express yourself, to inform your readers, to entertain, to describe, to analyze, etc.) the order in which your paragraphs and/or details are arranged the efficiency of an essay; good flow means that the essay is easy to read and paragraphs and ideas are well-connected the specific words and phrases you choose in your writing; includes how you arrange those words for maximum impact 2012 Secondary Solutions 9

2 General Essay Structure In order to write a well-structured essay, it is important that the structure of the essay is consistent. Every essay must have a minimum of 5 paragraphs. There should be an Introduction, 3 Body Paragraphs, and a Conclusion. Within the Introduction should be a grabber, focus statement, and a thesis statement. Each Body Paragraph begins with a topic sentence and includes supporting details. The Conclusion must have a modified focus statement, modified thesis statement and finish with the challenge. The structure is pictured in the graphic below: Grabber Introduction Focus Statement Thesis Statement Body Paragraph #1 Body Paragraph #2 Body Paragraph #3 Conclusion Modified Focus Statement Modified Thesis Statement Challenge 2012 Secondary Solutions 12

3 Essay Writing Terms Title Introduction Grabber Focus Statement Thesis Statement Thesis Support Body Paragraph Conclusion 2012 Secondary Solutions 10

4 Modified Focus Modified Thesis Challenge Bridge Audience Formality Tone Purpose Organization Flow Diction 2012 Secondary Solutions 11

5 General Essay Structure 2012 Secondary Solutions 13

6 Types of Essays Throughout your school career, you will be asked to write several types of essays on numerous subjects. It is important that you are familiar with the purpose and structure of the most common types of essays. Argumentative An Argumentative or Persuasive essay requires you to win the reader over to your way of thinking. One of the most important aspects to keep in mind when writing an argumentative or persuasive essay is audience. You must know who your audience is in order to choose the best defense. Ask yourself, what do my readers know about this topic? What arguments would appeal to them? You must not only argue and defend your main points, but also effectively anticipate and respond to any possible counter-arguments the opposition might raise. Cause and Effect Cause and Effect essays explore why things happen (causes) and what happens as a result (effects). These essays give reasons and explanations for behaviors, events, or circumstances. It is important that your presentation is factual and believable, and that in your thesis statement you explain whether you will be discussing causes, effects, or both. Compare and Contrast Compare and Contrast essays are used to examine two or more subjects and the similarities and/or differences between them. The task of this type of essay is to clarify something unknown by analyzing it next to something with which the reader is familiar. Like the cause and effect essay, it is important that your thesis statement clearly states whether you will be comparing (giving similarities), contrasting (showing differences), or both. Descriptive In a Descriptive essay, your task is to describe something to your audience, allowing the reader to fully experience the object, event, or situation. Sensory details, figurative language, and powerful vocabulary can create an image in the reader s mind, enhancing his or her understanding and appreciation of the topic. This is one of the few essays in which the use of I may be acceptable. Informative/Explanatory An Informative/Explanatory essay teaches or informs your reader about a subject. This type of essay can explain how something works, how to perform a task, the steps in a procedure, or why something is the way it is. Ultimately, the reader should have a better understanding of the subject after reading your paper. Response to Literature Response to Literature essays focus on the analysis of a literary work. A literary work can be an article, another essay, poem, short story, novel, etc. Your thesis statement should be your opinion about one or more aspects of the text, or the text as a whole. In a Response to Literature, you are required to use evidence from the text to support and/or prove your own ideas. It is absolutely essential that you know how to choose quotes from the text, as well as how to use them in your paper. Reflective/Narrative The Reflective essay or personal Narrative differs from most other essays in that in these types of essays, you are often writing about your own personal experiences and/or telling a story about what you learned from that experience. The reflective or narrative essay does not seek to find answers or draw conclusions about an event, but rather, seeks to explore the discoveries you made about yourself through the event. This is one of the few types of essays in which the first person pronoun I is acceptable Secondary Solutions 16

7 Reading an Essay Prompt There are many different types of essays, some of which are quite similar in nature. Different books give these various essays different names, which can often cause confusion. The most important thing to remember, however, is not the name of the type of essay you are to write, but the objective of the task you are given by the prompt. An essay prompt is the task you are given for the focus of your essay. A good prompt gives you clues about how to approach writing your essay. The first and most important key to understanding a prompt is to fully read the entire prompt. One mistake that many writers make is reading and responding to only part of the prompt. This immediately puts the writer at a disadvantage, because no matter how beautifully the essay is written, the writer did not fulfill the given task; this can lower his or her score significantly. Example: Compare and contrast the events of the Salem Witch Trials with the McCarthy Trials of the 1950s. It is important to note that the prompt instructs you to compare AND contrast the events. Just doing one or the other will lower your score. When reading a prompt, look for key words that suggest the type of essay you should be writing. Such words are analyze, compare, contrast, argue, persuade, describe, etc. Analyze/Review/Evaluate Explain the why and the how of a topic Analyze the literary strategies Steinbeck used in Of Mice and Men to create its realistic setting and plot. Compare Often used with contrast; find and analyze the similarities of a topic In a well-structured essay, compare the characteristics of a Cocker Spaniel with the characteristics of a Poodle. Contrast Often used with compare; find and analyze the differences of a topic Contrast having a dog or a cat for a pet. Argue/Persuade/Justify/Prove Agree or disagree, then support your opinion with evidence Many parents try to be their child s best friend, rather than a parent. Many psychologists feel that children need guidance, rule-setting and rule-enforcement, rather than a friend. Write an essay in which you argue your opinion on the topic. Describe/Illustrate Present details which will create an image in the reader s mind With details and imagery, describe the worst day you ve ever had. Explain/Define Often, this type of essay is an Informative/Explanatory essay. It is asking that you explain the parts of a process, the elements of an object, or something similar. Explain the process of applying for a summer job. Explain the importance of photosynthesis on plant growth. Identify Similar to explain, identify is asking you to point out the elements of something. Based upon your own personal experience, identify the positive and negative aspects of the Internet Secondary Solutions 17

8 Classifying Essay Prompts To be sure that you understand the different types of essay prompts you may be given, complete the following exercise. Directions: Below are different types of essay prompts requiring you to write different types of essays. Read the prompt, then decide which type of essay (Argumentative, Cause and Effect, Compare and Contrast, Descriptive, Informative/Explanatory, Response to Literature, or Reflective) the prompt is MOST LIKELY asking you to write. Write your answer on the line provided. Note: there may be more than one correct answer. 1. Based upon your own personal experience, identify the positive and negative aspects of the Internet. 2. Classify the best and worst reality shows on television. 3. Criticize the current use of standardized testing in public schools. 4. Explore the effects of long-term stress on the body. 5. Develop the steps to becoming a healthier person physically and mentally. 6. Explain why Americans have become some of the most overweight people in the world. 7. Interpret the relationship between Bradbury s reference to Burning Bright in Fahrenheit 451 and Robert Blake s The Tyger. 8. Give the pros and cons of the welfare system in the United States. 9. Relate the person you are today to the environment you came from and the influences that were impressed upon you. 10. Show how the allusions in a text help to enhance the understanding and appreciation of the text for the reader. 11. Summarize the key points in Martin Luther King Jr. s Letter from Birmingham Jail. 12. Take a stance on the subject of violence on television and in movies, supporting your response with details and examples. 13. Trace the development of the modern computer. 14. Illustrate your favorite place in the world. 15. Review the process of registering for a specific class at your school Secondary Solutions 21

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