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 writer’s 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 reader’s 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.

Go to www. schoolatoz.com.au for articles and videos on essay writing and check out our other essay writing help sheets: Checklist Compare and contrast essay planner Critical analysis essay planner Discussion essay planner Evidence and references Exposition essay planner Review essay planner What is an essay?

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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Permission must be received from the department for all other uses. A writer may have to write more than one paragraph for each idea. The body of an essay features a number of paragraphs that start with linking words such as: moreover.au © Owned by State of NSW through the Department of Education and Communities 2011.schoolatoz. Ways to introduce your conclusion: • So… • It is clear that… • In conclusion. Quick tip The conclusion is where the writer says what they have said. This work may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-commercial educational purposes only. 2/2 . The body includes a number of linked paragraphs with references to the text(s) to back up the writer’s point of view. 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. however. The writer should back up their point of view with examples taken from the text(s). furthermore. reinforcing your main point of view. or references to part of the text that supports the writer’s point of view. also. on the other hand. similarly. The body is where the student tries to convince the reader of their point of view and effectively ‘answers’ the essay question. CONCLUSION The conclusion to an essay is generally one paragraph long and answers the main points and questions outlined in the essay introduction. Check that the conclusion ends on a strong note. Each paragraph should start with a topic or lead sentence that explains the main idea of the paragraph. although and alternatively. tips and info sheets go to www. 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. another. in contrast. This could include quotations from the text (use double quotation marks to enclose the quoted passage). Remind the reader of the your point of view.… • In light of the evidence… • Having considered some of the important arguments… • These examples suggest/demonstrate/ prove/indicate… For more homework help. Quick tip The body of an essay is where the writer says what they have to say.BODY The body of an essay is where the student expands on the points outlined in the introduction.com. in addition.

Paragraph starter: On balance .. Recommendation For more homework help.au © Owned by State of NSW through the Department of Education and Communities 2011.com.schoolatoz... Permission must be received from the department for all other uses. schoolatoz.au for articles and videos on essay writing and check out our other essay writing help sheets: Checklist Compare and contrast essay planner Critical analysis essay planner Evidence and references Exposition essay planner Review essay planner Structure What is an essay? Evidence Argument against Point Paragraph starter: Nevertheless Evidence CONCLUSION Summary and recommendation Summary Paragraph starters: In conclusion … Consequently . This work may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-commercial educational purposes only.. tips and info sheets go to www..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 . 1/1 .com. Despite this Evidence Argument for Point Paragraph starter: Another aspect … Go to www..

It is important that the reader knows why the quotation or reference is significant to the writer’s argument. 2000. Tips for putting direct quotes into essays: Use quotation marks to enclose the quoted passage. there must also be darkness” also heighten the anticipation of danger in the reader. Coen.com. schoolatoz. you need to reference them in your bibliography at the end of your essay. A quotation might look like this in your essay: Much of the written text of The Kraken is the language of opposites. O Brother. tips and info sheets go to www. Lothian. Evidence can include quotations taken directly from the text(s). Where Art Thou? Film.Essay writing Evidence and references Evidence is important in essay writing as it helps support the writer’s main idea or argument. Ethan.schoolatoz. A bibliography may look like this: Crew. Go to www. Gary and McBride. 1/1 . The Kraken. Moreover. should be presented on a new line and indented. 2001. as occurs in poetry. Melbourne.au © Owned by State of NSW through the Department of Education and Communities 2011. A bibliography is a list of references in alphabetical order of the authors’ names and the titles of their work. Use an ellipsis (3 full stops … ) to show that words have been omitted within the text being quoted. This work may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-commercial educational purposes only. which cleverly reinforces the theme of the book. such as a whole sentence or paragraph. Marc. mottos such as “Where there is light.com. or references to parts of the text which support your point of view. Permission must be received from the department for all other uses. It must be explained how the quote or reference supports the writer’s position. For more homework help. Use a diagonal slash to indicate a line break.au for articles and videos on essay writing and check out our other essay writing help sheets: Checklist Compare and contrast essay planner Critical analysis essay planner Discussion essay planner Exposition essay planner Review essay planner Structure What is an essay? If you use quotes. or several lines of poetry. Longer quotes. Joel and Coen.

Supporting evidence For more homework help. 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 .Essay writing Exposition essay planner An exposition essay requires you to take a side and argue your point of view. 2. schoolatoz. tips and info sheets go to www.au for articles and videos on essay writing and check out our other essay writing help sheets: Checklist Compare and contrast essay planner Critical analysis essay planner Discussion essay planner Evidence and references Review essay planner Structure What is an essay? 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. 3.. Permission must be received from the department for all other uses. 1/1 . Main points 1.au © Owned by State of NSW through the Department of Education and Communities 2011.com. Go to www. 4.schoolatoz.com. This work may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-commercial educational purposes only..

Permission must be received from the department for all other uses. tips and info sheets go to www. Useful linking words include: moreover. in contrast.com. schoolatoz. another. This work may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-commercial educational purposes only. Write in the third person – avoid the use of I. Go to www. 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. in addition.au © Owned by State of NSW through the Department of Education and Communities 2011. Introduce the text using its full title and the author’s name. 1/1 . These parts could include discussion of the text’s: • meaning • structure • tone and atmosphere • type of language used • imagery and symbolism • other language uses. although and alternatively. Write a one or more paragraphs about each of the different elements or parts of the text. The conclusion should reaffirm and support the writer’s point of view (outlined in the introduction). Don’t introduce new ideas – remind the reader of the main ideas and themes of the text. The writer should state their response to the question and ideas about the text (this is called the statement of position). Use linking words at the start of each paragraph to bind the essay together. A critical analysis essay (or response) could look like this: INTRODUCTION Begin with an interesting first sentence to grab the reader’s attention and set up a context for the analysis. furthermore. Start each paragraph with a topic sentence that states the main idea for the paragraph. similarly.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.com.schoolatoz. Include relevant examples from the text as evidence – including direct quotes from the text and references to characters or plot. on the other hand. also. however.au for articles and videos on essay writing and check out our other essay writing help sheets: Checklist Compare and contrast essay planner Discussion essay planner Evidence and references Exposition essay planner Review essay planner Structure What is an essay? BODY CONCLUSION For more homework help. me or my.

This work may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-commercial educational purposes only.Essay writing Compare and contrast essay planner A compare and contrast essay looks at how two texts are similar or different.com. 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 .au for articles and videos on essay writing and check out our other essay writing help sheets: Checklist Critical analysis essay planner Discussion essay planner Evidence and references Exposition essay planner Review essay planner Structure What is an essay? 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 For more homework help. Permission must be received from the department for all other uses..com. schoolatoz.. Paragraph starters: In conclusion … Consequently … Go to www. tips and info sheets go to www.schoolatoz.au © Owned by State of NSW through the Department of Education and Communities 2011. 1/2 .

2/2 .com. tips and info sheets go to www.au © Owned by State of NSW through the Department of Education and Communities 2011.Drawing a diagram or table that displays the similarities and differences between texts can help with essay planning.schoolatoz. This work may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-commercial educational purposes only. Permission must be received from the department for all other uses. Text A Theme Text B Setting Characterisation For more homework help.

nevertheless. we have considered after consideration of. may. This work may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-commercial educational purposes only. Structure Statement of issue (thesis): introduces issue and position to be argued. often.Essay writing What is an essay? An essay (or response) is a short piece of writing. 1/3 . Actions (verbs) are often changed into things (nouns). Actions (verbs) are often changed into things (nouns).au © Owned by State of NSW through the Department of Education and Communities 2011. recite recitation. recite recitation. on the other hand. in contrast. may. Recommendation or summary. probably. Reinforcement of thesis and recommendation.com. Use of words that qualify eg usually. Use of words that link arguments eg in addition. students are given a question which they must develop an answer for in essay form. Use of words that qualify eg usually. eg explore exploration. To persuade by arguing one side of an issue eg letter to the editor. Arguments: one paragraph for each argument or point. Typical school essays include: Type Main purpose A discussion often consists of both sides of an argument being considered. moreover. Permission must be received from the department for all other uses. In high school. For more homework help.com. Arguments: series of paragraphs arguing for and against the issue. Information and opinions about more than one side of an issue must be presented. Key features Present tense. Use of words that contrast arguments eg however. Essays are used to develop and expand ideas or arguments and include supporting evidence. EXPOSITION Most of the text is written in present tense. probably. we have considered after consideration of. DISCUSSSION Go to www.schoolatoz. eg explore exploration. tips and info sheets go to www. often.au for articles and videos on essay writing and check out our other essay writing help sheets: Checklist Compare and contrast essay planner Critical analysis essay planner Discussion essay planner Evidence and references Exposition essay planner Review essay planner Structure Statement of position (thesis): introduces issue and position to be argued. schoolatoz.

similarly. 2/3 . including theme/meaning. on the other hand. Write in the third person – avoid the use of ‘I’. in addition. ‘me’ and ‘my’.com. imagery and symbolism. Conclusion: remind the reader of the key points. Key features Several paragraphs may need to be written about one or more aspects of the text. alternatively. For more homework help. such as full quotations from the text. should be included to support the writer’s point of view. CRITICAL ANALYSIS COMPARE AND CONTRAST To compare and contrast two texts. Use linking words at the beginning of paragraphs eg moreover. furthermore. tone. Review: one paragraph for each aspect of the text. structure. Permission must be received from the department for all other uses.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. Don’t simply retell or recount – show how the texts are similar or different. This work may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-commercial educational purposes only. Evidence. Include direct references to the text. Conclusion: final analysis and reaffirmation of the thesis. Statement of position (thesis): introduces the key similarities and/or differences. language use. Use connecting words at the beginning of paragraphs to clearly indicate similarities or differences eg in contrast. another.schoolatoz.au © Owned by State of NSW through the Department of Education and Communities 2011. Observations: one paragraph for each key similarity/ difference. tips and info sheets go to www.

chapters. surfing. A discussion of the author. author. Context: a paragraph identifying the work and important details. entertain or persuade a particular audience. scrolling. pop-ups. play or website etc and to judge the effectiveness of the text to either inform. director. actors. purpose. First person eg I/my may be used. Main events are outlined and major characters are introduced. lighting. functionality. Text synopsis: a series of paragraphs that provides a selective summary of the content of the text. Descriptive language for characters. content. setting. Use of technical and topical words.Type Main purpose To personally evaluate the quality of a book. graphics. • Book – incident. novel. read or listen to the text. Judgment: a final paragraph (or two) which summarises the reviewer’s opinion of the text. actors and publisher. For more homework help. 3/3 . special effect. Permission must be received from the department for all other uses. colour. designer or actors. scenery. such as the name of the director/ author. REVIEW • A recommendation for the audience to view. such as: • Film – director. Structure Title: an eye-catching heading to attract the reader’s attention. A plot summary which doesn’t reveal the ending or surprise elements of the work. film. Website – links. tips and info sheets go to www. main characters. script. URL. portal. setting and events. and the making or production of the text.com. The heading may be a pun on the title of the work being reviewed. dialogue. This work may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-commercial educational purposes only.au © Owned by State of NSW through the Department of Education and Communities 2011. language. author/producer/ designer.schoolatoz. Key features Most of the text should be written in present tense. viewer.

Include evaluative language such as: funny. Can be one or more paragraphs. schoolatoz. etc) and its genre (eg fantasy. parody). suitable. poem. 1/1 . publication details etc. Permission must be received from the department for all other uses. What is the reviewer’s opinion of the work? Include positive and negative aspects and a recommendation about the overall value of reading or viewing the work. play. A review essay (or response) could look like this: INTRODUCTION Provides the context of the work.au © Owned by State of NSW through the Department of Education and Communities 2011.com. tips and info sheets go to www.Essay writing Review essay planner A review essay evaluates the quality of a book. read or listen to the text. of particular interest. adventure. book. website etc to inform. enjoyed. eg Viewers of all ages will enjoy this film. Go to www. imaginative Provides a summary of the work. This work may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-commercial educational purposes only. A selective summarised recount of the main event(s).au for articles and videos on essay writing and check out our other essay writing help sheets: Checklist Compare and contrast essay planner Critical analysis essay planner Discussion essay planner Evidence and references Exposition essay planner Structure What is an essay? JUDGMENT BODY Provides the reviewer’s opinion of the work and a recommendation. characters and features of the work.com. Aim to answer the questions: Who? When? What? How? Why? Use evaluative language eg inventive. A final recommendation for the audience to view. actors. For more homework help.schoolatoz. website. Begin with a tantalising first sentence. Identify details of composer. film. An early evaluation of the text to entice the reader to continue reading the review. The writer should identify the type of work (a film. entertain or persuade an audience.

Permission must be received from the department for all other uses.au © Owned by State of NSW through the Department of Education and Communities 2011. Write the essay conclusion. Develop a key argument or idea for your essay. Underline the key words (eg discuss. Make sure the final copy is clean and neat. Organise notes into a plan. Reference quotes properly if you are using quotations or information directly from other sources. tips and info sheets go to www. words.Essay writing Checklist ❏ ❏ ❏ ❏ ❏ ❏ ❏ ❏ ❏ ❏ ❏ Read the question carefully. explain. Summarise the main ideas and demonstrate how you have proven your point. Ensure each point is given a new paragraph and provide supporting evidence for each point that you make. This should open the discussion and engage the reader. Check for spelling. The conclusion should reaffirm the introduction. The level of planning will depend on the type of essay. Make sure every point is relevant to the question.com. This work may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-commercial educational purposes only. punctuation and grammar. schoolatoz. compare) and consider what type of essay you are required to write. Edit the draft.schoolatoz. Brainstorm ideas. Write the introduction. including any footnotes or bibliography. 1/1 .com. Go to www. memorable parts of texts etc and jot these thoughts down on paper. Write the main body of the essay. Write notes in your own words. Use information sources that are relevant and accessible.au for articles and videos on essay writing and check out our other essay writing help sheets: Compare and contrast essay planner Critical analysis essay planner Discussion essay planner Evidence and references Exposition essay planner Review essay planner Structure What is an essay? ❏ ❏ ❏ For more homework help.

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