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What Are The Elements Of Essay

Understanding The Essay Structure: A Complete Tutorial

There is nothing more important than the essay structure whenever you have been given some task to handle. In most cases a lot of students barely ever get to think about the importance of the structure of the paper that they are working on, at least not until they are presenting their work and it is already too late for them to make any changes without failing to deliver the task on time. Every paper that you write has specific outlay plans that you are supposed to follow to the latter. There is no excuse here. As long as you are trying to make sure that you can get your work done in the best way possible, you must adhere to the necessary structure requirements.

The following is a brief tutorial on what the average structure of whichever essay you are asked to write looks like:

  • The title
  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion

The title

The title of your paper is one of the most important things that you should never take for granted. There is a good reason why this is the case. It is the first thing that your teacher sees when they get your paper, and if it is not so good, you can be sure that you will almost immediately see your chances of acing that paper go down the drain.

It is important to look into some sample topics in an attempt to learn how to use some of the best of them so far, and turn them into the best. Once you have the basic idea of what you want to write, coming up with the rest of the paper is not supposed to be a challenge for you at all.


Another thing that you need to know how to do is to come up with the perfect introduction for your work. Introducing your paper will give you the best foundation, and make it easier to convince the teacher that you truly know what you are writing about.


The body of your paper include the literature review, the discussion points and the analysis of the information that you have gathered in the subject area. This must be articulate and supported with relevant evidence.


Finally, it is important for you to write a really good conclusion. This is supposed to sum up all the work that you have done so far, and put an end to the discussion.

The Elements of a Good Essay


Introduction: For a five-page essay, this element should be kept to a minimum! Please do not write a “funnel introduction”; we do not have the space to waste on generalities. Think of the introduction merely as a way to launch elegantly into your thesis statement. It can help to look at your motive for the paper (see below) as a means to this end.


Thesis: This is the key insight that you intend to convey. A thesis should lay out an argument and set the stage for the exploration that will follow. An example: “Demodocus’s song and Odysseus’s response bring to the fore distinctions between personal memory and public memory, or history.”


Motive: There should be something in your essay that offers a challenge: frames an ambiguity, explores a difficulty, asks a question. The motive provides the answer to the question, “Why bother writing this essay?” Note that this means that the question your essay explores should not have an obvious answer. A good motive surprises us with something we had not thought of before. General examples of good motives include:


-The truth is different from what one would expect on first reading.

-There is an interesting complexity or ambiguity that has gone unnoticed.

-A standard reading of a work needs challenging.

-The text is especially hard to make sense of, and its logical argument needs sorting out.

-A question presents itself in the text to which there may be a hidden answer.

-Something that seems minor in the text actually turns out to be very important.


Key Terms: Every coherent argument rests on a few recurring key terms, oppositions, and distinctions. Make sure that your reader can figure out what they are, and make sure that you have chosen the right words to indicate them.


Body Paragraphs: These should consist of (1) a claim, (2) evidence, and (3) an analysis of your evidence. See also the next two elements for further remarks on how body paragraphs should progress.


Complication or Development: A strong essay makes various turns and divides into sub-topics. It should also gain complexity as it progresses. This process can be helped immensely by revision. Look at your own thoughts and see how you can add another level to them, what new questions your own comments raise. Then include that new level in your revised essay by answering some of your own questions. Development (or the lack thereof) often registers in the transitions between paragraphs: pay special attention to these.


Implication or Significance: One important type of complication is to draw out or briefly speculate upon the broader significance of what you have been arguing—the implication of your analysis of a given text for the author’s works in general, or for the genre, or for the period.   Such reflections can often make a strong conclusion.


Conclusion: This does not need to repeat your thesis, although it is a good idea for the conclusion to remind your reader of the overall themes of your essay by establishing the broader implications of your thesis. Take things one step beyond the work you have been dealing with, but make sure not to go too far astray, or to generalize too much. You want to be suggestive, not confusing or clichéd.



Do visit the Yale College Writing Center Website

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