G ENERAL E SSAY G UIDELINES The following three slides will describe a general outline for most essays. All guidelines for this, and other essays, are just that, guidelines. In reality, there are many, many different genres and ways to write an essay. Some instructors may want you to write more towards or less towards a specific genre. Sometimes they may also ask that you follow specific “rules” for their essay.
I NTRODUCTION Attention grabber: Interesting facts, personal story, interesting question, define a key word, interesting quote, a small piece of the ending or lesson Transition sentence: Help the reader smoothly move from the attention grabber to the main idea/thesis Main Idea and/or Thesis: The section explains what you will be writing about in your essay.
B ODY P ARAGRAPH ( S ) Topic Sentence: Explains to the reader what this body paragraph will be about Evidence: Specific details or facts that help prove your point Response and Analysis: Explain to the reader how your evidence helps prove your point, why you selected that evidence, or how it relates to the larger picture of your essay. Repeat the Evidence and Response if you have more that go with this paragraph/topic Summary Section: Sometimes it’s a good idea to reinforce what your paragraph was about by restating the main points
C ONCLUSION Summary: Summarize your main points or overall ideas Examine from alternate perspectives: What lessons should be learned? What other viewpoints might be thought of? Wrapping it up: There are lots of possibilities here. You might point back to something from the introduction. You might further examine lessons learned/ morals found. You might offer solutions to problems or suggest further questions. What do you want the reader to be left with after they finish reading your essay?