Essay Structure

hi this is dr. Swanberg and we’re talking today about essay structure in particular structure of a five paragraph essay and how to build an effective five paragraph essay the basic parts of the five paragraph essay are the thesis paragraph three body paragraphs and the concluding paragraph so you may have already learned this as introduction body and conclusion but I want to make sure that we know how long the body needs to be and that now that we are in college we’re actually calling it a thesis paragraph rather than an introductory paragraph and that’s because we are usually trying to prove something in the difference between an introduction and a thesis is that a thesis tries to prove something so here the basic body parts are first body paragraphs second body paragraph and third body paragraph and we’ll learn more about these as we talk about the different kinds of essays that we’re going to write but generally speaking all the essays that we’re going to write this semester have these five paragraphs the essays that we’re going to write this semester all have one thesis paragraph that contains at least ten sentences it can have more than ten sentences but we don’t really want it to have less than ten sentences it’s also important to make sure you know what the jobs of the thesis paragraph are and we’ll cover those in a few minutes we’re also going to have three body paragraphs each giving real-life details about one aspect of your thesis or the main idea that you raised in your introductory paragraph these should each have more than ten sentences each because they will be offering the details that will make your essay come to life the kinds of details that we use will vary depending on what kind of an essay that we are writing our first essay is a narrative essay so that’s going to use storytelling so each of the three body paragraphs and the narrative essay will tell a real-life story or will tell part of a longer real-life story we also have one concluding paragraph that also contains at least 10 sentences overall each essay has a different number of minimum words required the narrative essay must be between five hundred and fifty to a thousand words the definition essay must be between six hundred and fifty to a thousand words and our final essay of the semester the argument essay must be between 750 and a thousand words in English 101 you start out having to write essays that are a minimum of 750 words so we’re working our way up to that so again narrative essay must be at least 550 words and can go all the way up to a thousand the definition essay is going to have to clear it’d be a little bit longer and be six hundred and fifty to a thousand words and the argument essay is the longest which may must be between seven hundred and fifty to a thousand words the thesis paragraph is your first paragraph and it has five jobs to do if you do a few sentences for each one of these jobs you’ll have no trouble making it to the minimum ten sentences for a thesis paragraph the jobs are to raise the subject naturally to get the reader’s attention to give a clear and direct answer to the question let the reader know how the essay will proceed how it will be organized and what it will talk about and then get your ready reader ready for your body paragraphs when we talk about raising the subject naturally that means responding to the prompt in a way that is like you’ve not been asked a question so it’s just as if you’re raising the subject as if nobody asked you to write about it you’re just thinking about it so you have to think about what would be socially acceptable in terms of how you raise the subject and sometimes that’s asking your reader a question or if they thought about something and sometimes it’s just telling them that you’ve been thinking about the topic for a while the other thing that you need to do is to get the reader’s attention in a few sentences and sometimes this can be giving them some background on the topic or letting them know how you came by your expertise in the topic or just giving them some background that they need to understand what you’re about to talk about you also have to give a clear and direct answer to the question this is the most important part and this clear and direct answer to the question is also called your thesis I’ll be having students underline their thesis statements in their thesis paragraphs you also need to let the reader know how the essay will proceed and how it will be organized and what it will talk about that means that you’ve got three body paragraphs coming up and we want to know in the first paragraph what each of those three body paragraphs is going to be about the best way to do this is to give each body paragraph one sentence of preview in the thesis paragraph so here you have an opportunity to write three sentences to develop your paragraph sometimes people make the mistake of listing the things that the essay will be about in one sentence and they’ve missed an opportunity to develop that paragraph so we’re looking for three sentences that preview what the essay will be about and how it will be organized and then you want to get your reader ready for your body paragraphs notice that I’ve color-coded these jobs raise the subject naturally as yellow get the reader’s attention is dark blue give a clear and direct answer to the question as white let the reader know how the essay will proceed is in black and get your reader ready for your body paragraphs is in blue you’ll notice that I’ve color-coded the sample thesis paragraph in the next slide and you’ll also notice that these jobs aren’t necessarily done in this particular order you can actually do these jobs in any order as long as it’s an order that makes sense let’s take a look at a sample thesis paragraph this is on a topic about a dress code and whether Lawson should continue to have a dress code this was written by a student several years ago and it contains all of the pieces of a thesis paragraph they raised the subject naturally by asking have you ever gone into a bank and seen the teller wearing torn jeans and a baseball cap I bet you have not seen it because most banks ask their employees to follow a dress code that’s how they raise the subject then they continue getting our interest in it in the next few sentences you’re marked in blue in fact many jobs require their employees to dress a certain way dressing your best shows respect for your job dressing your best at school also shows respect for your school and prepares you for the workplace then they tell us how their essay is going to be organized these sentences are in black I can tell you about three students who attend Lausanne Community College who show that dressing respectfully or looking sloppy can have an effect on a student’s success two students dress well and have had great success one student dresses sloppily and his school work is as sloppy as his outfits all three students show that your attitude is clear in the way you dress and you can tell very clearly from those sentences exactly how the essay is going to be organized and then we have that clear and direct answer to the question Lawson State should continue to have a dress code because it makes students practice showing a professional attitude and then we have a sentence getting the reader ready for our first paragraph the students at Lawson are living proof that you can dress for success so we have a nice fully developed ten sentence paragraph here by doing a few sentences for each of the jobs let’s take a look now at our body paragraphs now you just wrote a body paragraph for our class so these are reminders the topic sentence and a body paragraph does these three things it tells the reader exactly what the paragraph will be about it uses keywords from the prompt and it uses transitional phrases to orient the reader that means it lets them know whether they’re talking about the first example the second example or the third example the body paragraph uses real-life experiences and offers details which all support the main idea of your paragraph and the overall essay and the concluding sentence tells the reader how the details support the essays thesis or main idea this is a little bit different than the conclusion in your body paragraphs because we weren’t moving on to another paragraphs that we simply took part of what’s going to be in our concluding paragraph here telling the reader what to do or think next and we use that instead here we’re going to make sure we’ve connected the story we’ve told or the details that we’ve offered and make sure that we show how it proves the point we’re trying to prove again notice that each one of these things is color coded and we’re gonna see it at work in a couple of two-sample topic sentences here’s a sample body paragraph take a look at the three jobs that happen in the topic sentence we’ve got a transitional phrase in first we’ve got keywords from the prompt dress code is healthy and it tells us exactly what the paragraph will be about John example man but it’s not a super long sentence it does these jobs pretty quickly the first student who proves the dress code is healthy is John example man then the bulk of your essay is a bulk of your body paragraph is offering details John always dressed nicely he wore dress pants and a dress shirt on all but the hottest days of the year when he had presentations to do he wore a tie his clothes were always needed Preston he never looked messy his clothes fit him well and his pants did not sag to show his underwear his shirts were tucked in or they were put or were polo shirts that looked nice even untucked he said that dressing this way helped him feel like a young professional you could also see that he took his work very seriously even by the way he dressed he took even more care with his work than he did with his clothes and his work was always excellent he not only made a good first impression on his teachers but he made a lasting impression with his consistent hard work and dedication so those are the details and then we’ve got a sentence that explains how this connects to the point we were trying to prove for John the way he looked each day was a direct reflection on his attitude towards school as it is with many students so that’s the basic pattern that you’re going to follow for a sample body paragraphs take a minute and write this paragraph in your notes if you need to to make sure that you can write a sample healthy a healthy body paragraph here are some sample topic sentences for subsequent body paragraphs again we have a transitional phrase we have keywords from the prompt and it tells exactly what the paragraph will be about another student who shows that a dress code help students succeed is Mary example s’en the last student I will discuss Jane for example shows that dressing sloppily will lead to sloppy performance and you can imagine quite clearly with the details in each of those paragraphs would be and that’s the idea of a good strong topic sentence again I’ve put here some slides from our body paragraph structure lesson so that you can review the difference between something that’s a little too general to be a detail in a body paragraph and it’s something that is specific and in this slide and the next slide I’m going to have you review the difference between general versus specific pause this if you need to to write write down these reminders the other thing that you’re going to remember is that our first essay of the semester is going to be a narrative essay just like our body paragraph was a narrative paragraph our first essay is going to be a narrative essay so here is a reminder of the difference between informative details and narrative details please take a minute and pause this if you need to to write down these reminders of the difference between something informative and something narrative concluding paragraphs also have specific jobs to do they summarize and assess the examples you have offered as one unit what do they combine to show they declare that you have proved your point successfully and they tell the reader what is at stake if they do not agree with your point of view they also tell the reader what to do or think next and offer some advice the third job here is once again your best opportunity to do several sentences to develop your paragraph telling your reader what’s at stake if they don’t agree with you or if they don’t understand what you’re talking about is a really valuable place to spend some time let’s take a look at a successful concluding paragraph again the jobs are color coded summarizing and assessing the examples is in black declaring your point proved successfully is in yellow telling the reader what’s at stake if they don’t agree with you is dark-green and telling the reader what to do or think next is in purple here in black we assess what we’ve talked about these three stories about Lawson students combined to prove that the dress code is working the two students who follow the dress code did well in their studies the student who did not follow the dress code struggled most Lawson students fall into these same two categories so it recapped what the stories had been about and then made an assessment about them most students fall into these same two categories and that leads you to being able to state that you’ve proved your point successfully this proves that the dress code encourages students to do their very best now for a few sentences warning people what will happen if they don’t agree with us if Lawson got rid of its dress code students would not be practicing dressing like young professionals their pride would be less and they would go into the world work world not knowing what is expected of them again they took a couple of sentences to express what’s at stake now we have two sentences telling us what to do or think next the next time you see him tell dr. Crawford that the dress code is working in fact thank him for helping Lawson students take pride in their appearance and you can see that taking a few sentences for each one of the jobs of a concluding paragraph has helped us develop a nice healthy sized concluding paragraph the next thing I want to remind you about our transitional elements remember a transitional element highlights the shift to a new set of details in an essay we need both external transitions and internal transitions external transitions are the phrases in your topic sentences internal transitions are inside your paragraphs we practice needing those in the body paragraph that we wrote for our last assignment and here you’re reminded that your topic sentences now are also going to need transitional phrases use phrases that highlight your personality like the last straw instead of just first second and third we’ll brainstorm a list of transitional phrases in class that might help you out the transitional word or phrase does not have to first in a topic sentence or in any sentence they can appear in the inside the sentence and in any place that makes sense with the way you’re phrasing your work some notes about formatting the whole paper provide a single space on the first page only that contains your name your class day and time date assignment is turned in that means the date that you turn it in not the date that it’s due assignment name your first assignment name will be narrative essay the second will be definition essay and the third will be argument essay double-spaced your whole essay that means that will probably take up more than one page use 12 point Times New Roman regular font not bold not italics 12-point not larger or smaller and Times New Roman is preferred use one-inch or preset margins and left justify if you are not sure how to left justify please get some help from the space center indent the beginning of each new paragraph 1/2 inch by hitting the tab key once insert a page number in the upper right corner of your paper if you are unsure of how to work in Microsoft Word to do any of these tasks again help is available through the space center or you can see your instructor for some help additional resource reminders you have sample essays to use that we’ve printed out you have an essay jobs checklist to use that goes through all of the things we’ve gone through in this essay essay structure instructional video details about what you’re working on use your MLA format format details and watch the additional YouTube video on essay structure this is by another instructor but he does a really good job talking about essay structure so it’s really worth the listen watch the instructional videos on thesis and concluding paragraphs when they become available as reminders of what you’ve learned here