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You already have plenty of answers, but I'll add this cotribution anyway, since I wrote it and all....There are three large components of an academic essay, each with important subdivisions. The three main components are (1) Introduction, (2) supporting paragraphs, (3) Conclusion. The following is a brief sketch of these parts.
The Introduction is a short paragraph (about 5 - 7 percent of the whole essay) that tells the who or what, where, when, why and how of your essay. Specifically this is who or what your topic is; where and when the topic is (e.g. London, 1813); why you chose the topic (e.g., you disagree with critical opinion) and the how of the form of your essay (descriptive; analytical; literary analysis; persuasive; etc.). Most importantly, it tells the special idea you have about your topic (silly example: Oliver would have been happier if he had not asked for "More."). Your special idea is called your thesis statement (also called argument, assertion, question, hypothesis).
The paragraphs following the Introduction tell the reasons for your assertion of your idea. It first provides background information important to understanding the topic. The most important part of an essay comes after you tell the reasons when you proceed to explain the importance of the reasons for your special idea (this is analysis). Important words for these paragraphs are supporting evidence, quotes, proofs, main points, supporting points; these all refer to the reasons proving your idea to be true. Another important word here is analysis, which is your explanation of the importance of your reasons, of how they prove your idea.
Finally comes your Conclusion in which you remind your reader of your special idea and clearly state how you've proven your idea, then suggest what other idea about the topic might be explored. A Conclusion is also short and 5 - 7 percent of the whole essay. Basically, in your Conclusion you tell your reader what you told them and then tell them what else they might like to know about the topic.
If the essay topic is given by the teacher, you must structure the essay in paragraphs along the guidelines of the teacher. If you don't have an assignment, first choose a topic. Then, ascertain how many paragraphs the assignment requires. Start with an introductory pargraph with a thesis statement to explain what you will discuss in the essay. Next, a body paragraph or more will consist of statements answering the topic, along with supporting details, if necessary. To conclude the essay, discuss the major points of your discussion, and apply your own experiences in life with the topic if possible, or project the future with your analysis.
Brainstorming with a web can be most helpful in getting ideas for your paragraphs. Don't forget to organize info, plan your essay, revise and proofread until you are satisfied for your audience to enjoy reading it!
Clarity is the basic factor while you are writing an essay or any write-up. When you are a reader and you are going to evaluate and assess other’s write-ups, you have some demands. A similar criterion is applicable for you as a writer. That is why, in order to produce a good writing, it is wise to go through the following steps at least:
2. Writing the essay,
Brainstorm or jot down the ideas instantly which come across your mind regarding a particular topic on which you are preparing. Don’t forget to divide your essay into introduction, body paragraph(s), and conclusion. You can begin with a surprising sentence or anecdote. To magnetize and draw the attention of the readers is the chief quality of a good essay.
Definitely, your style would vary according to the topic given and the teacher's requirements. But always keep it in mind, whatever be the aim of your writing, it should be focused, arranged and organised. Then it will be an attractive one. And, following these steps is not only necessary to achieve a good grade; it would also develop your writing skill, and make you able to think in a more organised way. After all, writing is not only a product, rather, a process also.
Last but not the least, clarity and singularity are the key factors which would help to make essays stunning.
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