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How can I best organize my essay?

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Jessica Gardner | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted September 20, 2012 at 4:18 PM via web

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How can I best organize my essay?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 21, 2012 at 1:22 AM (Answer #1)

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In general, the basic elements needed for a well-organized essay will not differ much per assignment. However, depending on the type of essay, the organization of the body of the essay will differ per need. Regardless, below is a discussion the elements every well-organized essay needs, as well as ideas for organizing the body of the most common type of essay, the thesis, or argument essay.

Every argument essay needs a strong introduction with a thesis.
The thesis should be the last 1 to 2 sentences of the introduction. The thesis will also lay the ground work for the argument of your entire essay. You can think of the thesis as a sort of "road map" to your entire essay. A well-written thesis makes organizing an essay much easier.

The introduction will also start with an attention grabber, give relevant background information surrounding the argument, and culminate in the statement of the argument, or thesis. For some students, it can be difficult to think of an attention grabber. This is especially true if they are still unsure of exactly what they are trying to say. In that case, the easiest thing to do to write a well-organized intro, once you know your essay's argument, is to actually start with writing the thesis. Writing the thesis can open your mind up to firmer ideas, enabling you to think of a starter for the intro. You will then be able to fill in the rest of the intro from there.

The second most important element any well-organized essay needs, especially an argument essay, is a conclusion. The conclusion should wrap up the whole essay. You will want to restate the thesis you have just proved, summarize your argument, and tie up any loose ends still in the argument. One common mistake students make that leads to a poorly organized essay is adding new information into the conclusion. Always remember that if you don't say it in the essay, you don't want to say it in the conclusion. Alternatively, if during the conclusion-writing process you do discover a new idea you feel is important to add, then be sure and revise the essay so that this new idea is argued in the paper as well.

The third most important element for well-organized essays is the body. For most argument essays, each body paragraph will simply address one new point per paragraph that is aimed at proving the thesis. You want to be sure that each paragraph only addresses one topic per paragraph. How you organize each of these body paragraphs depends on what makes the most since for your particular argument. Don't worry too much about the organization of the body at the beginning of the writing phase because you can always switch things around later and revise your thesis to match your new argument pattern.

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taangerine | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted July 14, 2014 at 4:32 AM (Answer #2)

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You should organize your essay with 3 important elements: 

INTRODUCTION

  • In the introduction, you should try to get your point across with ~4-5 sentences. When writing the introduction, it is important to have a HOOK and a THESIS. The HOOK should give the reader or audience an interest to your essay topic, and the THESIS should give the reader or audience a clear insight to what your entire essay is about. 
  • Tip: Don't go too indepth in your introductory paragraph. That is saved for your body paragraphs. 

BODY

  • In your body paragraphs, state examples that support your thesis. Always try to refer back to your thesis whenever possible. 
  • Tip: Try not write about anything that does not support your thesis because that can hurt your essay and its structure later on. 

CONCLUSION

  • In the conclusion, it is basically a final analysis about what you wrote about. Reflect & restate your thesis here. It is important to have a conclusion because it helps you end your essay.
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melissa1106 | Student, Grade 11 | Salutatorian

Posted July 14, 2014 at 3:59 PM (Answer #3)

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The best way to structure an essay is in three parts. First come the introduction, body, then closing.

In the introduction what you are going to be talking about should be introduced. You should want to get the reader interested and hooked on your argument or topic. Do not go into further details of the topic, that is for the next section. The last sentence should be a topic sentence which should formally state what you will be talking about.

In the body you show evidence and details about what you are discussing. Usually a good amounts in 3 details and 1 quote per paragraph. Depending on the type of essay state your opinion also in the body and make sure your points are proved.

In the closing sum up what you have talked about. Do not introduce any new information just reflect and reinstate what was said in the body. close your conclusion with a sentence that makes your audience think.

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