2 Though this is a review for all of you, I think it is important to refresh you on these points. Be sure to review these notes before writing your first essay so you will include all of them. A passing essay must include all the basic parts of an essay. Typically, low grades on the first essay are the result of not double checking to see that all these parts are in the essay.
3 AudienceAlways assume your readers know nothing about what you are writing unless stated in the assignment handout. If your essay is over the head of the reader, it will not be functional.For example, writing in detail about welding when your audience knows nothing about welding would mean they couldn’t understand the essay.
4 Use the appropriate tone for your audience Use the appropriate tone for your audience. For example, a reading response is an informal paper where first person pronouns and slang (when necessary) are acceptable to use. An essay, however, is formal and only third person can be used. Only formal language and tone – no slang or insults or cliches – will be accepted.For formal essays, only third person is allowed. Since the point of this class is to be bale to write a formal essay, failure to omit first and second person from your writing will prevent you from passing your essays.
5 PurposeYou will always have a purpose for writing. Purposes vary, but you must know why you are writing before you begin or even choose a topic. The specific type of essay you write will help you find your purpose.All of the essays you write for this class will be arguing a point. You must pick just one side of a debate and use reliable sources to prove why you are correct.
6 Main pointFor essays, the main point is a thesis statement (last sentence of the introduction).The thesis should be only one sentence that clearly states what the essay is about and, in most cases, a reference to how you will prove it. The thesis is an essential part of the essay!For paragraphs, the main point is a topic sentence (first sentence of the paragraph).This will also be only one sentence that tells the reader what that paragraph is about and how it ties to the thesis.
7 Your thesis and topic sentences should never speak to the reader Your thesis and topic sentences should never speak to the reader. For example, “This essay will explore…” This is lower level writing. We will look at examples of well-written thesis statements and topic sentences before you write your first out of class essay.You should also never have to cite or quote in a thesis or topic sentence. It should be your own explanation of what the essay or paragraph will be about .
8 Support Support is how you prove your point (the thesis). Support must appear in everything you write.This will come in the form of outside sources for all essays.Be sure you use reliable sources. Unless there is prior approval, you should only use the online databases the library subscribes to. Using Wikipedia or another website will not count as research and your essay will not pass as it will be unsupported at that point.
9 Parts of the introThe thesis should be the last sentence in the introduction for most writing you will do (always in this class). It can appear in other places.The sentences leading up to the thesis statement should be broad information about the topic or a relevant example. You must prove that your topic is an issue worthy of debate before you begin the actual argument! The intro is a good place for this. As such, it will sometimes be necessary to give support in the intro.The best formula for a thesis statement is the following – what you will talk about and how you will prove it. State what the essay will be about first and then give what you will write about to prove what you say. However, this can be generic as well. For example, “The Patriot Act is harmful to the country for a variety of reasons.”
10 BodyA good rule of thumb to follow is that for every page the essay should be, you will have one body paragraph. So a three page essay will have three body paragraphs and a five page essay will have five body paragraphs.A body paragraph will not be a whole page – this estimate includes the intro and conclusion. Following this rule will prevent you from having under-developed paragraphs or huge paragraphs that should have been broken up.Each paragraph begins with a topic sentence that explains what the paragraph will be about and how it ties to the thesis.
11 ConclusionSummarizes the whole essay. Usually, one or two sentences summarizing each paragraph and then a concluding sentence that gets the main point across to the reader again.The function of this repetition is to give the reader a second chance to get everything you said in the essay.A more elevated conclusion is to take your essay to the next step. For example, if you wrote about why gay marriage should be legal, your conclusion could focus on what would change if it were made legal.
13 The arguing essay has a basic format that you will always follow. The first thing you have to do is prove that you are sympathetic to the opposition. After your introduction and thesis, your first body paragraph will address the oppositions’ views. Mention the most common counter-argument and then explain why it’s not as good as yours.This will let the reader know right off the bat that you understand them, you just don’t agree with them.If you don’t do anything but disagree with the opposition, you will alienate your audience.
14 You may set up your essay in two different ways in regards to understanding the opposition. First you will just have a large first body paragraph that addresses several of the more prominent arguments of the opposition. Then the rest of your essay will address each of those mentioned in the first body paragraph.Or you could start each body paragraph with an argument from the opposition and then spend that paragraph proving why your view is better.
15 Paragraph structure Every paragraph has three basic parts. Topic sentence – always the first sentence of the paragraph that clearly states what it will be about.Body – contains the support for the topic sentence in the form of outside, reliable sources.Concluding sentence – restates the topic sentence in different words and transitions to the next paragraph. Don’t’ forget this! This is the most common part missing from an essay!
16 Example outlineThesis – Books should not be banned in public high schools because it limits student’s choices, limits topics to discuss in class, and is unfair to teachers.Topic sentence 1 – Banning books in public high schools should not be allowed because students should have the right to choose what they read.Topic sentence 2 – Limiting discussion topics in high school through book-banning is detrimental to student development.Topic sentences 3 – Teachers are placed in an unfair situation by not being allowed to teach certain books.Note how the wording of the topic sentences are different than the thesis. Variety is good!
17 Common mistakesTone – using sarcasm, insults, slang, or foul language will result in alienating your audience which will render the essay useless. Also, second and first person are informal and will alienate your audience. For example, if you wrote, “you can see why having kids is so time consuming.” however, I’m your reader and I don’t have any kids, so I now have no connection to your point because of the wording.Humor – formal essays have very little room for humor. Unless you are writing a personal essay, it is best that you never use humor and, if you do, use it sparingly.Word choice – using lots of big words won’t make you appear smarter. It will jumble your meaning and result in an ineffective essay. Also, be sure you are using correct words. This is a frequent mistake.Too wordy – use as few words as possible to say what you need to. Extra words confuse the message of the essay. If you cannot reach the page limit then you need to come up with new ideas – not restate the ones you have with more words.
19 MLA format is used strictly for humanities (history and English mostly). APA is mainly used for science and math classes.Ultimately, whatever style you have to use will be determined by your instructor. Be sure to ask what they expect if they don’t say.
20 Fonts, style, and sizeFor formal writing (this includes school and work) you need to use a basic font. Times New Roman is the standard.All papers for this class must be written in Times New Roman.Most fonts that aren’t basic make the document hard to read and imply that the writer isn’t serious about whatever it is that was written. Other basic fonts, like Arial, take up more space than Times New Roman and count against your page length.
21 Size 12 is the expected size that you should write your documents in. Bold and italics are used for headings and subheadings. You will not use these in this class (or, probably, any other class).Titles are not written any different than the rest of the text – size 12, Time New Roman, regular style.Title should be centered with no extra spaces between it and the rest of the paper. This will count against your length if you have too much space!
22 Your title should never be the name of the assignment Your title should never be the name of the assignment. It must refer specifically to your topic.Everything in your essay must be double spaced – extra spaces are never required.
23 Header in 2003The header of you essay is a special function in word that is found under “view”, “header footer”.Tab all the way over to the right side of the page and type your last name.Below where you type is a tool box. The first icon of a page with a large # on it is the one you need to click. This will automatically insert the correct page number and your last name on every page you type.Only set up a header on papers that are more than one page long.
24 Header in 2007Click insertClick page number, top of page, plain 3. This will appear on the far right of the page.Click headerClick blank and tab over to the far right side of the page. Type in your last name only.Sometimes when you do the name it will erase the number so just add it in again.Be sure you only use plain headers. They cannot have the designs.
25 HeadingNot to be confused with the header, the heading appears on the left side of the essay only on the first page.Your heading should have the following information in this order: your name, instructor’s name, class name, assignment name, and date essay is due. For this class, the last line of the heading will be “final draft”.They are double spaced
26 CitingYou must cite in-text after you use a sources and have a works cited page at the end of the essay. This is a part of the essay and should have a header as well. Refer to your example sheet for set up.When citing, always put the first thing from the works cited page before a comma or period in the parenthesis. For a website, there is no page number. For a book, put the page number.
28 Citing a summaryWhen you are done quoting or summarizing you need to cite where that info came from so it doesn’t look as though you are claiming it for yourself or so the reader can reference it themselves.A citation for a summary follows: A summary of the source would be here (Arenson 4). This is often several lines long. Just cite when you are done summarizing.In place of my name would be the author’s last name and in place of the number would be the page number you got the scene from.If you are summarizing for a whole para then only cite at the end.
29 Direct quotesIf you are only citing a short line or two of material then it is best to directly quote the material so the reader can see exactly what it says in the author’s own words.A good rule of thumb is that you will have about two quotes per paragraph. Any more than this says you are either cramming too many points into one paragraph or you are not making enough points and keeping offering quotes for the same point over and over – neither is good! You should never, ever, ever quote and then quote again. You need to explain how that quote relates to your point before giving support for another point!
30 Citing a direct quoteA citation for a direct quote follows: “The quote is here” (Arenson 4).Note that, just as in the summary citation, the parenthesis are inside the punctuation and the last name and page number appear with no punctuation between them.When citing an internet source you will not have the page number.
32 Author’s last nameCitations can be difficult because there are sooooo many special circumstances involved.The author’s last name does not have to appear in the parenthesis if it mentioned earlier in the sentence because you have already credited them.An example of the above: Mrs. Arenson claims that citations can sometimes be confusing (4).
33 OmissionsSometimes you will not want to quote all of a sentence so you will need to show that you have altered the sentence. Remember, quotes should be short and fairly infrequent.An example of the above: “Sometimes citations can be difficult” (Arenson 4).Note that where words have been taken out three periods with a space between each one and on either side of the end ones have been added. The rest is still the same.
34 Changes to the quoteEven though you are quoting, you must always make sure that the sentence is grammatically correct. You may change a quote by adding brackets around what you have changed to make the sentence correct.An example of the above: The boys must make their own heat by “play[ing] until [their] bodies glowed” (Joyce 30).The verb has been conjugated to make it grammatically correct and “our” has been replaced by their. When replacing a word entirely you must put brackets around the whole thing and leaver out the word you have changed.
35 InsertionsSometimes you will have to add information to the quote so that is makes sense.An example: “They [the students] hated writing essays” (Arenson 4).Typically, unless already stated in the sentence or quote, you will do this for pronouns.
37 A quote can never stand alone as a sentence A quote can never stand alone as a sentence. In other words, your words must appear in the sentence that contains a quote.Typically, you will introduce quotes by stating where the info came from (who wrote it, what journal it came from, etc.). This gives your paper authority, which you must do.Be sure to cite at the end of the sentence.If done correctly, quotes will not interrupt the flow of reading an essay.Summarizing sources is always a good tactic for not interrupting the flow of an essay. Basic facts or history that sets up your point should be summarized. You really only should directly quote something short or something so powerfully written that you don’t think you could reword it and keep the meaning.Quotes longer than 5 lines have a different format, so check their length. Really, no direct quotes should be this long.