Writing an essay can be difficult, especially if you aren't sure how to structure your paragraphs. If you have trouble organizing your essay, you're in luck! Sorting the paragraphs may become easier after you understand their purpose. Also, knowing what to include in the introduction, body, and conclusion will help you finish the task more easily.
Method 1 of 4: Sort the paragraphs
Step 1. Begin the essay with an introductory paragraph
The introduction should tell the reader what the essay is going to be about. The first three sentences will give an overview of the topic. After presenting the topic or problem, you will end the introduction with a thesis sentence that will express your argument or position on the topic.
A basic introduction will be approximately 3-4 sentences long
Step 2. Include at least 3 body paragraphs in which to explain your ideas
These paragraphs are the points where you will explain your argument or position on the subject. First, introduce the main point of this paragraph. Then provide evidence or support for the points you make. Next, explain the evidence and how it supports your ideas. Lastly, provide a transition to the next paragraph.
The body paragraphs will cover most of the essay. A body paragraph should be 4 sentences long. However, a good one in a short essay will be at least 6 to 8 sentences long
Step 3. Finish with a concluding paragraph
The conclusion provides a brief summary of the ideas, so that the reader can reflect on them. Help him understand what you want him to learn from this essay. For example, you could give him a call to action or ask him to reconsider his position on your issue.
A good conclusion for a short essay should be 3-4 sentences long
Step 4. Use transitional words to move from paragraph to paragraph fluently
The reader will recognize that paragraph breaks indicate that you are going to address a new point. However, transitions can help you make the change more easily. You can use transitions to show how your ideas relate to or oppose each other.
- For example, imagine that you are going to write an essay on recycling. The first point could be the value of local recycling programs, while the second could be the importance of encouraging recycling in jobs and schools. A good transition between these two points could be "In addition" or "Also".
- If the third point indicates that upcycling might be the best way to reuse old items, a good transition could be "however" or "on the other hand." This is because upcycling is about reusing items rather than recycling them, so it's a bit different. The reader must recognize that you are talking about something a little different than the first two points.
Method 2 of 4: Structure the Introduction
Step 1. Begin your essay with a point that captures the reader's interest
The first sentence should make the reader want to keep reading. This is often difficult, so you may have to write it last. Here are some common ways to capture the reader's interest:
- Provides a quote: "According to Neil LaBute, 'We live in a disposable society.'
- It includes statistics: "The Environmental Protection Agency reports that only 34% of the waste generated by Americans is recycled each year."
- Write a rhetorical question: "If you could change your habits to save the planet, would you do it?"
Step 2. Explain the topic and its importance in two sentences
Write two general statements on the subject, and define the thesis. Give readers a general idea of what you are going to write, including any important background information.
Here's an example: “Recycling offers a way to reduce waste and reuse old items, but many people don't bother to recycle them. Landfills will continue to grow as more generations dispose of their garbage, unless people change their habits. "
Step 3. Present the argument or position in a thesis statement
The last sentence of the introduction will be the thesis statement, which will guide the essay. The thesis should include your position on the topic and the points you will make. You will develop these points in each of the paragraphs at a later time.
- Here is an example of a basic thesis on recycling: “To reduce the amount of garbage in landfills, people should participate in local recycling programs, start recycling at school or work, and upcycle old items whenever can”.
- If you're writing a persuasive argument or essay, your thesis might look like this: "Recycling may take more effort, but recycling and super-recycling are valuable ways to prevent landfills from expanding."
Method 3 of 4: Make Good Body Paragraphs
Step 1. Start each body paragraph when you have a new idea to present
The “body” paragraphs are those that you will place between the introduction and the conclusion. The paragraphs start with a new idea, which you must explain in the topic sentence. There is no standard size for paragraphs, but they must be at least 4 sentences long.
- A good body paragraph in a short essay usually has 6 to 8 sentences. If you are not sure how many sentences the paragraphs should include, check with your teacher.
- Write a new paragraph for each of the main ideas. If you include too much information in a paragraph, this can make it confusing.
Step 2. Write a clear topic sentence to introduce the main point
Begin the paragraph by stating the topic clearly. The topic sentence should express an idea or point as clearly as possible. The rest of the paragraph will expand on the idea in this sentence.
- If you start your essay by writing an outline, include the topic sentence of each paragraph in the outline.
- You could write, "Local recycling programs are a valuable way to reduce waste, but only if people use them."
Step 3. Provide evidence to support the point you want to make
The evidence could be a quote, statistics, or an example that supports the idea. Choose evidence that is appropriate for the task. If you don't know what to use, talk to the teacher and review the assignment sheet.
- The evidence could come from books, magazine articles, websites, or other reputable sources.
- The word evidence might make you think of data or experts. However, some essays will only include your ideas, depending on the assignment. In this case, you may be allowed to use observations and experiences as evidence, but only if the assignment specifically allows it.
- You could write, "According to Mayor Anderson's office, only 23% of local households participate in the city's recycling program."
Step 4. Analyze your evidence in 1-2 sentences to connect it to your ideas
Explain the evidence in your own words and tell the reader how it supports the main idea of this paragraph. Help the reader understand how this information supports the thesis.
- In some cases, you could include more than one supporting item in the same paragraph. You should provide a one or two sentence explanation for each.
- For example, you can write, “Residents who use the recycling program don't put much trash in local landfills, so they help keep the community clean. On the other hand, most households do not recycle, so the program is not as effective as it could be”.
Step 5. Conclude the paragraph
Use the final sentence of the paragraph to connect it to the main topic of the essay, or to introduce an idea that you will explore in the next paragraph.
For example, you could write "Obviously, local recycling programs can make a big difference, but they are not the only way to reduce waste."
Method 4 of 4: Organize the conclusion
Step 1. Restate the thesis in the opening sentence of the conclusion
Begin the conclusion by reminding the reader of the main points. This will help you remember what you have argued for in the essay.
You could write, "By participating in local recycling programs, recycling at work, and upcycling old items, people can reduce their environmental footprint."
Step 2. Summarize in 1 or 2 sentences the way in which the arguments support the thesis
Briefly explain the key information you bring to the essay, as well as how it supports your ideas. Convince the reader that you've made your point.
As an example, you could write “Statistics show that few people participate in the recycling programs available, but these are an effective way to reduce waste. Through recycling and upcycling, people can reduce garbage production by up to 70%. "
Step 3. Finish by answering the question “Why is it important?
”. This will help the reader identify what you want them to learn from the essay. This gives it relevance, which makes the reader more appreciative of your ideas. Here are some great ways to end your essay:
- Give readers a call to action. For example, write "To save the planet, we all have to recycle."
- Offer a solution to the problem you present. You can suggest something like "With more information about recycling, more people will participate in their local programs."
- Mark the next question that needs to be answered. You could write "To get more people to recycle, researchers need to identify the reasons why they don't."
- Provide valuable information on your topic. For example, he points out, "If everyone recycled, landfills could be a thing of the past."
- Ask a friend to read your essay and give you their opinion. Ask him if he understands your points and if you need to develop any ideas in more depth.
- Writing gets easier with practice, so don't give up! They have all been beginners at some point, and it is normal to have trouble with writing.