The writing of essays is one of the foundations of a student’s university education. Students are expected to show a certain level of expertise with their major. The essay is one way for them to show how much they know, as well as share their opinions based on what they have learned through class attendance and independent research and study.
To help students develop their writing skills, English classes from grade six through grade 12 are assigned to write smaller essays, usually in the 500 word range, which is about a page-and-a-half. It is the length of the typical letter to the editor featured in daily newspapers. Longer research papers may be required by other teachers, depending on the subject.
The essay is broken down into three components. The first part is the most critical, as it has to get the attention of the reader. This is the INTRODUCTION to the essay. There are five tools that are available to the student to help grab the readers’ attention, and they are called GRABBERS. Examples of grabbers include the following: quote/proverb, amazing fact, curiosity, humor, and anecdote. These grabbers will help the writer get to the point of the essay, which is called the THESIS. The thesis introduces the TOPIC the writer is addressing in the essay.
Once the subject is revealed to the reader, one has three opportunities to prove why the opinion they have is valid. The first reason is addressed in the second paragraph. One sentence explains the reason, and the other two or three sentences explain the reasoning. These three paragraphs are the BODY of the essay.
The second paragraph will explain the second reason. It will also have two or three sentences that support or reinforce the line of reasoning.
The third paragraph is your strongest argument supporting your thesis statement. It must also have the strongest reinforcement to your arguments. If the first and second paragraphs cannot stand, this is your third line of defense, and it must stand up to scrutiny.
Finally, we have the CONCLUSION of the essay, the summary of what you have just said. This is where you tie everything up into one nice, tidy little package.
Two tools are required to help bring your essay to life, and are particularly critical in longer essays at the university level. These tools are called SOURCES, and there are two types of sources: primary and secondary.
PRIMARY SOURCES include yourself as a witness to events that you are writing about in an essay. Other people you interview are also primary sources. You are getting first hand information.
SECONDARY SOURCES include books, newspapers, magazines, Internet websites, etc. These are sources that pass news of record on as a secondary source. You did not talk with someone one-on-one, but someone else did, and recorded their stories for the record.
One need never fear the writing of an essay when it is on a subject that one has an invested interest. It need never be boring or tedious. As a reflection of who you are and the passion you have for the subject, it should be a matter of joy that you write it. Who else better can tell your story or share your opinion than YOU?