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Essay Writing: An Overview. What is an Essay? According to The American Heritage Dictionary: Essay: n. 1. A short literary composition on a single subject,

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Presentation on theme: "Essay Writing: An Overview. What is an Essay? According to The American Heritage Dictionary: Essay: n. 1. A short literary composition on a single subject,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Essay Writing: An Overview

2 What is an Essay? According to The American Heritage Dictionary: Essay: n. 1. A short literary composition on a single subject, usu. Presenting the point of view of the author. V. To make an attempt at; try.

3 The Building Blocks An essay is made up of paragraphs. Each paragraph contains one topic sentence, or one main idea. Each paragraph contains evidence to help prove the writer’s point Paragraphs are organized logically by transitions.

4 A thesis statement is your answer to the question posed in the topic.

5 Sample Topic: Should students be required to give 40 hours of community service to receive their AA or AS degrees? YESNO Students will learn the benefits of service to others Students may gain experience in a future career Students may be exposed to people of different lifestyles and beliefs Community service teaches us about sacrifice and compassion Students should do community service because they want to, not because they they have to. Students are already very busy. This would add another burden that not all students could handle. Students who are required to do so may not do the best job. Students are adults and should not be treated like children.

6 Rate these statements: Yes, community college students should have to do service to graduate. No, community college students should not have to do service to graduate.

7 Community college students should be required to do volunteer work because they will gain valuable life experience while they learn skills that may someday lead to a career or long term interest. Students should not be required to do service work because If we force students to do volunteer work for a degree, we are treating them like children and assuming that most students would not do so otherwise.

8 A thesis should state the topic A thesis should state your position on the topic A thesis should state your main reasoning for your position A thesis statement in usually (not always) ONE sentence

9 Essay Structure An essay must contain the following: *Introduction *Body Paragraphs *A Conclusion *Citations, if needed

10 Identifies the subject, additional texts, relevant authors Often states the thesis (though not always) Aims to catch the reader’s attention May begin with an anecdote (story) May begin with a fact May begin with a question May be more than one paragraph

11 The Body Contains paragraphs that support for the thesis Contains paragraphs with clear topic sentences Support of the thesis can include 1. Description 2. Examples from texts 3. Factual Evidence

12 Conclusion Provides a sense of finality May restate the major ideas—without being too repetitive! May interpret the significance of material presented in the paper May make predictions May end with a quotation

13 Flow Each paragraph should connect logically to the next Organize them according to time sequence, subject, or ideas. Connect paragraphs with transitions Transitions include: First, Next, Last, In addition, Moreover, Finally, In contrast, Of course, Obviously, Again…

14 An Essay’s Purpose: To argue and/or persuade To teach To tell a story To investigate a subject To entertain To learn To interpret/analyze (or a combination of the above!)

15 Writers use various strategies to most effectively convey their ideas: Compare/contrast Show Cause and effect Describe a Process Defining terms Classify and Divide Illustrate through example Analyze facts, data, theories, or literature

16 The Five Paragraph Formula Many high school teachers say that an essay must contain 5 paragraphs The 5 paragraph essay is a good way to begin learning about essay structure. In college, however, you will also write longer essays. Your essays may be anywhere from 2-20 pages in length.

17 Revisions Allow sufficient time for revisions Read instructor’s suggestions Read peer suggestions Review the assignment Reorder ideas, if needed Add crucial detail Proofread for clarity and coherence Check punctuation

18 Most Common Errors! --Lacks Clear Thesis --Does not have 2 or 3 reasons to explain thesis --Lacks specific examples/support --Sentence Fragments --Run-On Sentences --Verb Errors --Spelling and punctuation errors

19 Tips: Develop your own unique style: Don’t try to sound like everyone else! Study grammar! Improve your vocabulary. Learn a few new words a week and use them in conversation. Use the tools. Consult your books often. Give yourself plenty of time to revise. Writing is a process. Read, Read, Read. Study the examples of good writers.

20 Formatting your paper Use standard 8.5X 11 paper Double Space Use one inch margins on all sides Use a standard font (nothing fancy, please) Include Name, Instructor, Class, and Date in the left hand corner Center Title Include header in upper right hand corner with last name and page #

21 Jane Doe Professor Morales English 120 2 March 2005 A Beginning and an End Doe 1 The last time I saw my grandmother, I still remember the sound of her laughter and how it filled the room with happiness. My brothers and sisters would gather around her and wait for her to begin her stories about what life was like when she was a little girl. She’d begin to speak, and we’d sit up tall, eager for her voice to soothe us

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