What are the characteristics features of a good essay?

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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A good essay consists of three elements of composition: content, structure, and mechanics. If the writer deals effectively with each of these, the result will be an essay that expresses the writer’s thinking in an effective, interesting, and organized manner.

Content.  The content of the essay is the writer’s message. Good essays develop the writer’s main points through thorough discussion and by the use of specific details. General is boring; specific is interesting. A good essay includes specific details to support the writer’s explanations.

Structure.  The structure of the essay is its organization. An effective essay is organized with an introduction, main body, and conclusion. The introduction should begin in an interesting way that gains the reader’s attention; it should then lead the reader into the writer’s thesis statement: one sentence that states the writer’s position, what the writer will explain and support in the essay.

The main body should consist of several well developed paragraphs. The conclusion should “wrap it up” by giving the reader a sense of closure.

Finally, the writer should use transition words and phrases to move the reader smoothly from one idea to another within a paragraph and from one paragraph to another.

Mechanics.  “Mechanics” refers to the use of language. A good essay is well written and carefully edited in terms of grammar, punctuation, word usage, and spelling.

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