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Introduction to English Essay Writing

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1 Introduction to English Essay Writing
Dr. Peih-ying Lu November 15, 2010

2 Outline I. Organization of a Paragraph A. Topic Sentence
B. Supporting Sentences C. Concluding Sentence D. Model Paragraph II. Organization of an Essay

3 I. Organization of a Paragraph
A paragraph has three parts: a topic sentence, several supporting sentences, and a concluding sentence.

4 A. Topic Sentence A topic sentence at the beginning of a paragraph gives reader an idea of what they will read. A topic sentence is neither too general nor too specific.

5 A. Topic Sentence =a Topic+ a controlling Idea
The topic sentence tells what topic the paragraph is going to discuss. The topic sentence is the most important sentence in a paragraph. It has two parts: a topic and a controlling idea.

6 A. Topic Sentence The topic names the subject of the paragraph.
The controlling idea controls or limits the topic to a very specific point or points.

7 B. Supporting sentences
The supporting sentence give details about the topic. Supporting sentences explain the topic by giving more information about it. Tip: you can use signal phrases, “for example,” or “for instance” to begin a supporting sentence.

8 C. Concluding Sentence The concluding sentence summarizes the main points or restates the topic sentence in different words. Tip: Begin with a conclusion signal. Conclusion signals: All in all, In brief, In conclusion, Indeed, It is clear that…, These examples show that…, You can see that…

9 D. Model Paragraph: A Hawaiian Wedding
The mix of cultures in Hawaii makes weddings there very special occasions. Certainly, Hawaiian clothing, music, and other Hawaiian customs play a big role. For example, the bride often wears a long white holoku (wedding dress), and the groom wears a long-sleeved white shirt and pants with a red sash around his waist. Both the bride and the groom wears leis (necklace made of flower) …Another Hawaiian custom is…. Other customs included in the festivities depend on the ethnic backgrounds of the couple. For instance, …. All in all, a Hawaiian wedding is truly a magical, multicultural event.

10 Questions on the Model Look at the title. What is the topic of the paragraph? Look at the first sentence. What does it say about the topic? Now look at the last sentence. What idea from the first sentence is repeated here?

11 II. Organization of an Essay
Introductory Paragraph: Thesis statement (like a topic sentence in a paragraph, it names the topic of the essay.) Body supporting paragraph A (a subdivision of the topic) supporting paragraph B (a subdivision of the topic) supporting paragraph C (a subdivision of the topic) Concluding Paragraph: Restatement or summary of the main points; final comment.


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