Organizing the essay

Introductory Paragraph

Introductory paragraph consists of general points or attention grabbing details leading to the main idea. For instance, there are several means that effective writers use to "hook" their readers: beginning with an amusing or interesting anecdote, beginning with a question, beginning with a quotation, and beginning with a startling or paradoxical statement. The main idea is often written at the end of this paragraph in a thesis statement, which may also contain three or more reasons (written very succinctly) for supporting this main idea. Each of these reasons should be elaborated on in the body paragraphs that follow. Note: A thesis statement does not always come at the end of the introductory paragraph--some essays have the very first sentence as the thesis statement.

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Body Paragraph #1

Body Paragraph #1 often begins with a transition word or words like "First" or "The first of these reasons" and gives examples and/or details relating to the first supporting reason.

Body Paragraph #2

Body Paragraph #2 often begins with a transition word or words like "Next" or "Second" or "Another reason" or "The second of these reasons" and gives examples and/or details relating to the second supporting reason.

Body Paragraph #3

This often begins with a transition word or words like "Finally" or "Last" or "The final reason" and gives examples and/or details relating to the third supporting reason (which is often the strongest of the three supporting reasons).

Concluding Paragraph

This paragraph may begin with "In conclusion" or "To conclude" (although some markers find these somewhat mundane) or "Clearly" and often restates the thesis statement in different words. It may move from there to a general comment about life, or to a final important point, or to a suggestion about future action that may be needed. Some writers like to end with a relevant quotation, or end with a question, or end with a prediction or warning.

Another concluding technique is to end with some idea or detail from the beginning of the essay (thus bringing this idea full circle). Yet another means of concluding is to end with an allusion to a historical or mythological figure or event.

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