Though more advanced academic papers are a category all their own, the basic high school or college essay has the following standardized, five paragraph structure: Paragraph 1: Introduction Paragraph 2: Body 1 Paragraph 3: Body 2 Paragraph 4: Body 3 Paragraph 5: Conclusion Though it may seem formulaic – and, well, it is - the idea behind this structure is to make it easier for the reader to navigate the ideas put forth in an essay.
The middle paragraphs of the essay are collectively known as the body paragraphs and, as alluded to above, the main purpose of a body paragraph is to spell out in detail the examples that support your thesis.
For the first body paragraph you should use your strongest argument or most significant example unless some other more obvious beginning point (as in the case of chronological explanations) is required.
Not only does this tell the reader what to expect in the paragraphs to come but it also gives them a clearer understanding of what the essay is about.
Finally, designing the last sentence in this way has the added benefit of seamlessly moving the reader to the first paragraph of the body of the paper.
Put a disproportionate amount of effort into this – more than the 20% a simple calculation would suggest – and you will be rewarded accordingly.
Active voice, wherein the subjects direct actions rather than let the actions "happen to" them – "he scored a 97%" instead of "he was given a 97%" – is a much more powerful and attention-grabbing way to write.In college and beyond, MLA is still the safest bet for English and many other humanities; Chicago Style is most common for business, history, and fine arts; and APA is typical for education, psychology, and some sciences.Despite the fact that, as Shakespeare said, "the pen is mightier than the sword," the pen itself is not enough to make an effective writer.The principle purpose of the introduction is to present your position (this is also known as the "thesis" or "argument") on the issue at hand but effective introductory paragraphs are so much more than that.Before you even get to this thesis statement, for example, the essay should begin with a "hook" that grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want to read on.At the same time, unless it is a personal narrative, avoid personal pronouns like I, My, or Me.Try instead to be more general and you will have your reader hooked.In fact, though we may all like to think of ourselves as the next Shakespeare, inspiration alone is not the key to effective essay writing.You see, the conventions of English essays are more formulaic than you might think – and, in many ways, it can be as simple as counting to five.Because this is the first paragraph of your essay it is your opportunity to give the reader the best first impression possible.The introductory paragraph not only gives the reader an idea of what you will talk about but also shows them how you will talk about it.