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Dear Dish-it: How Do I Write An Essay?

April 26, 2013

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Dear Dish-it,

I need to know how to write an essay. Last year I skipped a grade and missed out on learning how. Please help before my assignment is due!

Stressed Out

Hamburger Essay StructureHamburger Essay Structure

Dear Stressed Out,

Don't be stressed out. An essay is like a written debate. You use evidence and examples to support your viewpoint or argument on a particular topic. This requires research and brainstorming, not just your own personal opinions.

Essay Structure

The structure of an essay is quite simple. Have you ever heard of the hamburger example? Your introduction is the top bun, your supporting paragraphs are the meat, and your conclusion is the bottom bun. Visualizing a hamburger is a good way to remember the correct order.

Introduction

After you’ve completed your brainstorming and gathered all your research, you can begin writing the introduction. This includes a hook that will get your teacher’s attention, a brief explanation of the essay’s subject, and finally your thesis (your main point or argument). A strong thesis is the most important part of an essay. It needs to be clear and generally only one sentence long.  

Paragraphs

Every teacher will have different requirements when it comes to the amount of paragraphs required. Generally, three is expected. Before beginning your paragraphs, create an outline to determine which arguments you will make and in what order. This will keep you from getting off track.  

Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that will introduce the single point you’ll be making to support your thesis. Make sure you give cited examples (citations may include the book, page number, author, website, etc. where you found this information). You can’t make arguments without evidence.

Conclusion

In your conclusion, you need to tie everything together and restate your thesis. Like your hook, end with something that will leave your teacher feeling thoughtful or satisfied. A quote or interesting anecdote related to the essay topic is usually a safe bet. When you’re finished, make sure to reread your work, or have a parent read it, to ensure that there are no grammar or spelling mistakes.

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