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COMPOSITION The Paragraph The Thesis Statement The Persuasive Five Paragraph Essay
W HY D O W E W RITE ? Writing provides a means by which we: Discover Reflect Share Participate Becoming a proficient writer empowers you to change the world! Can you list an example of writing that has changed the world?
T HE P ARAGRAPH Paragraph: “A group of sentences that work together to develop a unit of thought.” (1) When paragraphs are combined logically, a writer is able to express his/her thoughts on a subject in a complete essay.
W RITING A P ARAGRAPH When writing an effective paragraph, the following characteristics are essential: “Unity: Have you made a clear connection between the main idea of the paragraph and the sentences that support the main idea? Development: Have you included detailed and sufficient support for the main idea of the paragraph? Coherence: Have you progressed from one sentence to the next in the paragraph smoothly and logically?” (1)
U NITY IN A P ARAGRAPH “A paragraph has unity when the connection between the main idea and its supporting sentences is clear.”(1) The main idea of a paragraph is called a topic sentence. In an academic setting, such as this, the topic sentence should be the first sentence of your paragraph. Begin your paragraphs with a topic sentence to provide a clear framework and purpose for your writing. As you develop your skills as a writer, you may learn to imply a topic sentence without expressly stating one; you may also learn to end your paragraphs with a topic sentence for a different effect.
C OHERENCE IN A P ARAGRAPH “A paragraph has coherence when its sentences relate to each other, not only in content but also in choice of words and grammatical structures.” To paraphrase…A paragraph has coherence when the sentences naturally flow from one to the next. How is this accomplished? Use transitional expressions: “in addition to”, “for example”, “however, in contrast”, “as a result”, “in summary”, etc. Use pronouns, referring back to the subject. Repeat key words throughout the paragraph.
T HE F IVE P ARAGRAPH E SSAY When you combine paragraphs to support one statement, a thesis statement, you develop your ideas and supporting statements into an essay. The five paragraph essay is a basic format used to accomplish this.
T HESIS S TATEMENT “A thesis statement is the central message of an essay. It’s the essay’s main idea.” (1) Basic requirements for a thesis statement: It states the essay’s subject. It conveys the essay’s purpose. It indicates your focus, or point of view. It uses specific language; it is clear. It may briefly state the major subdivisions of the essay’s topic.
T HE F IVE P ARAGRAPH E SSAY Introductory Paragraph The first paragraph in an essay, used to: 1. introduce the reader to the subject of the essay 2. create interest in the reader 3. often includes the thesis statement Body Paragraphs I, II, and III Coherently develop each of your supporting statements in a unified manner, continually bringing support for your thesis statement. Concluding Paragraph “A concluding paragraph ends the discussion smoothly by following logically from the essay’s introductory paragraph and the essay’s body paragraphs.” (1)
T HE C ONCLUDING P ARAGRAPH Strategies to Use: To avoid unnecessary repetition of your introductory paragraph, you may include a slightly different, but effective strategy to again support your thesis statement: Including a short, concluding story, statistic, or quotation that is pertinent to your thesis Asking a provocative question related to your topic An analogy A summary of the main points (only in the case of a long paper)
T HE C ONCLUDING P ARAGRAPH Avoid: Rewording your introduction Introducing new ideas Announcing what you have discussed Making absolute claims (“I have proved…”) Apologizing
MLA CITATION Last name, First name. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. (Indent 2 nd line if more information is required).
T HE P ERSUASIVE E SSAY In a persuasive essay, your thesis is known as your proposition or position statemen t. Your thesis should clearly state your opinion, in the third person. The reader assumes that your thesis is your opinion, and therefore does not require that your opinion be stated in the first person (“I believe…”). Not everyone will agree with your opinion. The purpose of a persuasive essay is to clearly state your opinion and persuade the opinion of the reader.
F IRST P APER A SSIGNMENT Five Paragraph Essay Discussing Summer Reading Literature
Y OUR T OPIC From your summer reading, choose the character you feel is most worthy of emulation. In a five paragraph essay, state and defend your choice using supporting examples from the literature. Use quotes from the text, as well as anecdotal examples to discuss the admirable moral qualities of the character. Be sure to cite the work you use from the book according to MLA guidelines. Papers turned in without citation will not receive a passing grade!
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