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Essay writing

Structure
There are many different types of essays (or responses) and they can have many purposes, but the basic structure is the same. You may be writing an essay to argue for a particular point of view or to explain the steps in a particular task.
Essays generally follow the same basic format:
Section

Purpose

Overview

INTRODUCTION

The introduction sets the tone for the essay and helps to engage the reader by outlining the topic, the writers position on a topic or issue, and the main arguments to be presented. The introductory paragraph has a very important role. It tells the reader what to expect in the rest of the essay: how the writer will demonstrate their opinion and how they will back up their opinion by using relevant examples from the text(s).

An introduction should start with an interesting first sentence, to gain the readers interest and to set up a context for the essay. If the essay is an exposition, the writer argues from one point of view only. The first sentence may strongly support or oppose the ideas in the question. In the case of a discussion question, the writer argues from two or more points of view. The first sentence may show that there are a number of valid positions that can be taken about the ideas posed by the question.

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The writer should state their response to the essay question and ideas about the text(s) in question. This is the statement of position and it shows whether or not the writer agrees with the idea presented by the question. The introduction should also outline why the writer has taken this position (the reasons for the thesis) with a summary of the evidence from the text(s) which support the position. The points should be generalised and in the order that they will be presented in the essay.

Quick tip
The introduction is where the writer says what they are going to say.

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BODY

The body of an essay is where the student expands on the points outlined in the introduction. The body is where the student tries to convince the reader of their point of view and effectively answers the essay question. The body includes a number of linked paragraphs with references to the text(s) to back up the writers point of view.

Quick tip
The body of an essay is where the writer says what they have to say.

The body of an essay features a number of paragraphs that start with linking words such as: moreover, in addition, another, similarly, also, furthermore, however, in contrast, on the other hand, although and alternatively. Each paragraph should start with a topic or lead sentence that explains the main idea of the paragraph. A writer may have to write more than one paragraph for each idea. The writer should back up their point of view with examples taken from the text(s). This could include quotations from the text (use double quotation marks to enclose the quoted passage), or references to part of the text that supports the writers point of view.

CONCLUSION

The conclusion to an essay is generally one paragraph long and answers the main points and questions outlined in the essay introduction. It provides the writer with the chance to restate their position and persuade the reader with reference to the main points and evidence in the body of the essay.

Quick tip
The conclusion is where the writer says what they have said.

Remind the reader of the your point of view. Do not introduce new arguments here, although it is effective to clinch arguments with fresh expression and evaluation statements or references to the main points within the essay. Check that the conclusion ends on a strong note, reinforcing your main point of view. Ways to introduce your conclusion: So It is clear that In conclusion, In light of the evidence Having considered some of the important arguments These examples suggest/demonstrate/ prove/indicate

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Essay writing
Discussion essay planner
A discussion essay (or response) looking at both sides of the argument could be structured like this:
INTRODUCTION

Statement of issue (thesis)

Position

Preview point

BODY

Argument for

Point

Paragraph starter: An immediate response is

Evidence Argument against Point Paragraph starters: However ... Despite this

Evidence Argument for Point Paragraph starter: Another aspect


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Evidence Argument against Point Paragraph starter: Nevertheless

Evidence

CONCLUSION

Summary and recommendation

Summary

Paragraph starters: In conclusion Consequently ... Paragraph starter: On balance ...

Recommendation

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Essay writing
Evidence and references
Evidence is important in essay writing as it helps support the writers main idea or argument.
Evidence can include quotations taken directly from the text(s), or references to parts of the text which support your point of view. It is important that the reader knows why the quotation or reference is significant to the writers argument. It must be explained how the quote or reference supports the writers position. Tips for putting direct quotes into essays: Use quotation marks to enclose the quoted passage. Use an ellipsis (3 full stops ) to show that words have been omitted within the text being quoted. Use a diagonal slash to indicate a line break, as occurs in poetry. Longer quotes, such as a whole sentence or paragraph, or several lines of poetry, should be presented on a new line and indented. A quotation might look like this in your essay: Much of the written text of The Kraken is the language of opposites, which cleverly reinforces the theme of the book. Moreover, mottos such as Where there is light, there must also be darkness also heighten the anticipation of danger in the reader.
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If you use quotes, you need to reference them in your bibliography at the end of your essay. A bibliography is a list of references in alphabetical order of the authors names and the titles of their work. A bibliography may look like this: Crew, Gary and McBride, Marc, The Kraken, Melbourne, Lothian, 2001. Coen, Joel and Coen, Ethan, O Brother, Where Art Thou? Film, 2000.

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Essay writing
Exposition essay planner
An exposition essay requires you to take a side and argue your point of view.
An exposition essay (or response) could look like this:
INTRODUCTION

Position (thesis)

Preview

BODY

Argument 1

Point Evidence

Paragraph starter: An obvious position

Argument 2

Point Evidence

Paragraph starter: In addition ...


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Argument 3

Point Evidence

Paragraph starter: Moreover

CONCLUSION

Reinforcement of thesis

Summary

Paragraph starters: As a consequence Therefore

Recommendation

You can plan your essay by mapping out main points and supporting evidence.
Main points 1. 2. 3. 4. Supporting evidence

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Essay writing
Critical analysis essay planner
A critical analysis essay allows the writer to show their understanding of the text and how the author has used language to create meaning.
A critical analysis essay (or response) could look like this:
INTRODUCTION

Begin with an interesting first sentence to grab the readers attention and set up a context for the analysis. Write in the third person avoid the use of I, me or my. Introduce the text using its full title and the authors name. The writer should state their response to the question and ideas about the text (this is called the statement of position). The introduction should include some sentences that outline why the writer has taken this position with a summary of some of the evidence from the text that supports the position this could include discussion of the central meaning of the text and some of the main techniques or language used by the author to achieve the meaning. Write a one or more paragraphs about each of the different elements or parts of the text. These parts could include discussion of the texts: meaning structure tone and atmosphere type of language used imagery and symbolism other language uses. Start each paragraph with a topic sentence that states the main idea for the paragraph. Include relevant examples from the text as evidence including direct quotes from the text and references to characters or plot. Use linking words at the start of each paragraph to bind the essay together. Useful linking words include: moreover, in addition, another, similarly, also, furthermore, however, in contrast, on the other hand, although and alternatively. Dont introduce new ideas remind the reader of the main ideas and themes of the text. The conclusion should reaffirm and support the writers point of view (outlined in the introduction).
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BODY CONCLUSION

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Essay writing
Compare and contrast essay planner
A compare and contrast essay looks at how two texts are similar or different.
A compare and contrast essay (or response) could look like this:
INTRODUCTION

Statement of issue (thesis)

Preview

BODY

Theme (text a)

Point Evidence

Paragraph starter: The main theme/s of (text a) explore Paragraph starters: In contrast Similarly Paragraph starter: The setting of (text a) Paragraph starters: In comparison Likewise Paragraph starter: The characters in text (a) Paragraph starters: On the other hand In the same way ... Paragraph starters: In conclusion Consequently
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Theme (text b) Setting (text a) Setting (text b) Characterisation (text a) Characterisation (text b)

Point Evidence Point Evidence Point Evidence Point Evidence Point Evidence

CONCLUSION

Reinforcement of thesis

Summary Recommendation

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Drawing a diagram or table that displays the similarities and differences between texts can help with essay planning. Text A Theme

Text B

Setting

Characterisation

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Essay writing
What is an essay?
An essay (or response) is a short piece of writing.
Essays are used to develop and expand ideas or arguments and include supporting evidence. In high school, students are given a question which they must develop an answer for in essay form. Typical school essays include: Type Main purpose
A discussion often consists of both sides of an argument being considered. Information and opinions about more than one side of an issue must be presented. To persuade by arguing one side of an issue eg letter to the editor.

Structure
Statement of issue (thesis): introduces issue and position to be argued. Arguments: series of paragraphs arguing for and against the issue. Recommendation or summary.

Key features
Present tense. Use of words that contrast arguments eg however, nevertheless, in contrast, on the other hand. Actions (verbs) are often changed into things (nouns). eg explore exploration; recite recitation; we have considered after consideration of. Use of words that qualify eg usually, probably, may, often.

DISCUSSSION

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Statement of position (thesis): introduces issue and position to be argued. Arguments: one paragraph for each argument or point. Reinforcement of thesis and recommendation.

EXPOSITION

Most of the text is written in present tense. Use of words that link arguments eg in addition, moreover. Actions (verbs) are often changed into things (nouns). eg explore exploration; recite recitation; we have considered after consideration of. Use of words that qualify eg usually, probably, may, often.

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Type

Main purpose
To demonstrate an understanding of the ideas expressed in a text.

Structure
Statement of meaning: introduces ideas about the central meaning(s) of the text. Review: one paragraph for each aspect of the text, including theme/meaning, structure, tone, language use, imagery and symbolism. Conclusion: remind the reader of the key points. Statement of position (thesis): introduces the key similarities and/or differences. Observations: one paragraph for each key similarity/ difference. Conclusion: final analysis and reaffirmation of the thesis.

Key features
Several paragraphs may need to be written about one or more aspects of the text. Evidence, such as full quotations from the text, should be included to support the writers point of view. Use linking words at the beginning of paragraphs eg moreover, in addition, another, furthermore. Write in the third person avoid the use of I, me and my.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS

COMPARE AND CONTRAST

To compare and contrast two texts.

Dont simply retell or recount show how the texts are similar or different. Include direct references to the text. Use connecting words at the beginning of paragraphs to clearly indicate similarities or differences eg in contrast, alternatively, similarly, on the other hand.

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Type

Main purpose
To personally evaluate the quality of a book, film, play or website etc and to judge the effectiveness of the text to either inform, entertain or persuade a particular audience.

Structure
Title: an eye-catching heading to attract the readers attention. The heading may be a pun on the title of the work being reviewed. Context: a paragraph identifying the work and important details, such as the name of the director/ author, actors and publisher. Text synopsis: a series of paragraphs that provides a selective summary of the content of the text. Main events are outlined and major characters are introduced. Judgment: a final paragraph (or two) which summarises the reviewers opinion of the text.

Key features
Most of the text should be written in present tense. First person eg I/my may be used. Descriptive language for characters, setting and events, and the making or production of the text. A plot summary which doesnt reveal the ending or surprise elements of the work. A discussion of the author, director, designer or actors. Use of technical and topical words, such as: Film director, viewer, script, dialogue, special effect, lighting, scenery, actors. Book incident, novel, author, setting, main characters, language, chapters. Website links, surfing, scrolling, URL, pop-ups, portal, purpose, author/producer/ designer, colour, graphics, functionality, content.

REVIEW

A recommendation for the audience to view, read or listen to the text.

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Essay writing
Review essay planner
A review essay evaluates the quality of a book, film, website etc to inform, entertain or persuade an audience.
A review essay (or response) could look like this:
INTRODUCTION

Provides the context of the work.

The writer should identify the type of work (a film, book, play, poem, website, etc) and its genre (eg fantasy, adventure, parody). Identify details of composer, actors, publication details etc. An early evaluation of the text to entice the reader to continue reading the review.

Begin with a tantalising first sentence.

Include evaluative language such as: funny, enjoyed, of particular interest, suitable. Aim to answer the questions: Who? When? What? How? Why? Use evaluative language eg inventive, imaginative

Provides a summary of the work. Can be one or more paragraphs.

A selective summarised recount of the main event(s), characters and features of the work.

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JUDGMENT

BODY

Provides the reviewers opinion of the work and a recommendation.

What is the reviewers opinion of the work? Include positive and negative aspects and a recommendation about the overall value of reading or viewing the work. A final recommendation for the audience to view, read or listen to the text.

eg Viewers of all ages will enjoy this film.

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Essay writing
Checklist

Read the question carefully. Underline the key words (eg discuss, explain, compare) and consider what type of essay you are required to write. Use information sources that are relevant and accessible. Write notes in your own words. Reference quotes properly if you are using quotations or information directly from other sources. Brainstorm ideas, words, memorable parts of texts etc and jot these thoughts down on paper. Develop a key argument or idea for your essay. Organise notes into a plan. The level of planning will depend on the type of essay. Make sure every point is relevant to the question. Write the introduction. This should open the discussion and engage the reader. Write the main body of the essay. Ensure each point is given a new paragraph and provide supporting evidence for each point that you make. Write the essay conclusion. Summarise the main ideas and demonstrate how you have proven your point. The conclusion should reaffirm the introduction. Edit the draft. Check for spelling, punctuation and grammar. Make sure the final copy is clean and neat, including any footnotes or bibliography.
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