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Basic Essay Structure Central Idea The central idea is the focus of any type of composition. It states what you are going to prove.

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Presentation on theme: "Basic Essay Structure Central Idea The central idea is the focus of any type of composition. It states what you are going to prove."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Basic Essay Structure

3 Central Idea

4 The central idea is the focus of any type of composition. It states what you are going to prove.

5 A central idea should be opinion-based. (Why argue a fact?)

6 In a composition, the central idea should appear in the introduction after you have attracted the reader’s attention.

7 Ideally, the central idea should appear in the middle of the introductory paragraph.

8 State the central idea in one complete sentence.

9 Sample Central Idea: Harlan High School should strengthen its academic expectations.

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11 Thesis Statement

12 The thesis states how you are going to prove your central idea or the reasons for the opinion in your central idea.

13 You must make a reference (a hook) to your central idea in your thesis; however, do NOT quote directly from the central idea.

14 The points you will use to prove your central idea must be stated in your thesis in the order you will present them.

15 The three points in the thesis should also be in parallel structure.

16 The thesis statement should be the last sentence of your introduction.

17 Sample Thesis: To improve academic achievement, Harlan High School should expect more not only from students, but also from the teachers and administrators.

18 The paragraph is a series of sentences developing one topic.

19 The Topic Sentence The topic of a paragraph is stated in one sentence. This is called the topic sentence.

20 The rest of the paragraph consists of sentences that develop or explain the main idea. Through the centuries rats have managed to survive all our efforts to destroy them. We have poisoned them and trapped them. We have fumigated, flooded, and burned them. We have tried germ warfare. Some rats even survived atomic bomb tests conducted on Entwetok atoll in the Pacific after World War II. In spite of all our efforts, these enemies of ours continue to prove that they are the most indestructible of pests. main idea concluding sentence

21 A topic sentence may be developed by giving examples. A topic sentence may be developed by giving examples. A topic sentence may be developed by telling an incident A topic sentence may be developed by telling an incident A topic sentence may be developed by giving details. Developing a Paragraph

22 COMMENTARY

23 Each detail sentence should be accompanied by commentary. Commentary is your explanation of how a specific detail supports the central idea.

24 When you write commentary, you are “commenting on” a point you have made.

25 Analysis Interpretation Insight Evaluation Explication Discussion Speculation Synonyms for commentary include

26 Commentary is a difficult skill to master because all the opinions and interpretations must come from you. Teachers cannot supply the information you will need to write commentary. It is up to you think of some original, individual statements to make about your details and examples.

27 NO COMMENTARY Driving in the fog to Sacramento was a frightening experience. No signs were visible from the freeway, so I couldn’t see if there were any gas stations nearby to fill my near-empty tank. In addition, it was 12:00 noon, and the fog was so thick that I couldn’t read the exit sign until I started passing them. To make matters worse, a police car suddenly appeared ahead and drove at forty miles per hour for the next thirty minutes, and none of us were allowed to pass him. When I finally reached Sacramento that day, a great sense of relief permeated my body and mind.

28 COMMENTARY Driving in the fog to Sacramento was a frightening experience. No signs were visible from the freeway, so I couldn’t see if there were any gas stations nearby to fill my near-empty tank. I panicked at the thought of being stranded alone in a strange place. I kept hoping to see a station materialize in the fog and couldn’t make up my mind what to do.In addition, it was 12:00 noon, and the fog was so thick that I couldn’t read the exit sign until I started passing them. I realized I had driven on for hours, dreading the never-ending blurring lines on the horizon. I had

29 been expecting the weather to lift suddenly and let me get back on schedule.To make matters worse, a police car suddenly appeared ahead and drove at forty miles per hour for the next thirty minutes, and none of us were allowed to pass him. It was as though an invisible force field had been thrown up behind the patrol car. No one felt brave enough to dare going around him, and so we sulked behind him for what seemed like hours. When I finally reached Sacramento that day, a great sense of relief permeated my body and mind.

30 No Commentary Saturday morning cartoons are often criticized by public officials because of their violence and themes. Critics complain about coyotes jumping off cliffs, of dogs and cats blackening each other’s eyes, and Martians spying on earth and making plans to destroy it. These same animals battle over birds, carrots, or the right to a hole in the ground. Finally, when the fights are over, the most violent person often gets food, toys, or candy as a reward. Children’s programming needs to be changed to avoid the messages that do nothing but harm those who watch them every week.

31 Commentary Saturday morning cartoons are often criticized by public officials because of their violence and themes. Critics complain about coyotes jumping off cliffs, of dogs and cats blackening each other’s eyes, and Martians spying on earth and making plans to destroy it. This violence may be realistic, but there is no accompanying realistic blood, pain, or mutilation. These scenes emphasize destruction and winning through physical harm to others. These same animals battle over birds, carrots, or the right to a hole in the ground. The theme of these actions - - greed and selfishness - - is not appropriate for young children. The wrong values are encouraged and

32 children do not see any examples of peaceful resolution to problems. Finally, when the fights are over, the most violent person often gets food, toys, or candy as a reward. The idea that showing greed or inflicting pain is rewarded in any way, large or small, is a subtly distasteful message. If children see this behavior being successful on television, they have no reason not to try it themselves. Children’s programming needs to be changed to avoid the messages that do nothing but harm those who watch them every week.

33 Unity in the Paragraph Every sentence in a paragraph should support the main idea expressed in the topic sentence. main idea sentence

34 The concluding or clincher sentence Restate the topic sentence in different words. A clincher sentence or concluding sentence clinches the point made in the paragraph. It summarizes the paragraph.

35 Coherence in a Paragraph Stick to the point: The ideas have a clear and logical relation to each other. Put details or examples or incidents in logical order chronological in relation to each other in order of importance

36 Connecting Sentences Within the Paragraph chronological order first meanwhile later afterwards finally objects in relation to one another next to in front of beside between behind in order of importance however furthermore as a result in fact yet Transition words

37 Types of Paragraphs The narrative paragraph tells a story The persuasive paragraph. tries to convince the audience The descriptive paragraph describes something The expository or explanatory paragraph gives information or explains something

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39 Writing Conclusions

40 A conclusion provides a thoughtful end to a piece of writing; unfortunately, many conclusions are little more than summaries of what has already been said. WRITING CONCLUSIONS

41 One of the first things a reader remembers after having read a piece of writing is the last words the writer uses. For that reason, a writer should understand and take advantage of the power of an effective conclusion. Effective conclusions are particularly important in persuasive essays since they are the last chance the writer has to convince the reader. The following is a collection of suggestions for writing effective conclusions.

42 Use a summary statement rather than phrases like the following: "In summary...," "To conclude...," "To summarize...," or "In closing...." These are too obvious and vague to be effective. Use a transitional phrase which summarizes a point in your essay instead. A sample summary statement is as follows: "As we have seen, poverty is a known contributor to crime; therefore, it should not be discounted when considering ways to prevent crime."

43 * Ending with a rephrased thesis statement that contains no substantive changes. Avoid :

44 * Introducing a new idea or subtopic (although you may end with a provocative question).

45 * Focusing on a minor point in the essay.

46 * Concluding with a sentence tacked on to your final point.

47 * Apologizing for your view by saying such things as "I may not be an expert" or "At least this is my opinion."

48 * Attempting to make up for an incomplete structure. (If you say you will discuss four books, but only attempt a complete discussion of two books, do not try to cover the remaining texts in a concluding paragraph. In such a situation, it's best to limit your paper to topics you can realistically cover.)

49 REMEMBER: Your conclusion should be analytical and insightful. DO NOT REGURGITATE on your reader by repeating yourself.

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