An essay consist of:
An Argument which should answer a question or a few related question
It should Prove something by reasoning and evidence, especially including apt examples and
confirming citations from any particular text or sources your argument involves.
It should contain a Topic. The writer should formulate The question(s) he/she will seek to answer
in the essay. Then develop a provisional thesis or hypothesis.
The essay’s organization should be designed to present your argument clearly and persuasively.
3. Methods of composing an essay :
1) Writers start writing early as a means of exploration and discovery.
2) They write what seems readiest to be written.
3) They keep the essay’s overall purpose and organization in mind, amending them as drafting
4) They attend to the whole essay and draft and redraft—rearranging the sequence of its larger parts,
adding and deleting sections to take account of what they discover in the course of composition.
5) Once they have a fairly complete and well-organized draft, they revise sentences, with special
attention to transitions—that is, checking to be sure that a reader will be able to follow the sequences
of ideas within sentences, from sentence to sentence, and from paragraph to paragraph.
4. Planning and Organizing
The starting point to organize your paper is during the pre-writing stage. It allows you to pay more
attention to sentence-level issues when you sit down to write your paper.
Ask the following questions: What type of essay am I going to be writing? Does it belong to a specific
genre? The genres of essay can be a book review, a lab report, a document study, or a compare-and-
contrast essay. Most university type of essays are argumentative, and there is no set pattern for the
shape of an argumentative essay.
Essay outlines should follow certain basic principles. but the structure of an essay should not be
determined by the structure of its source material.At any given point in your essays, you will want to
leave yourself free to go wherever you need to in your source material.
Writers will have to do some reading and weighing of evidence before they start to plan. But as a
potential argument begins to take shape in your mind, you may start to formalize your thoughts in the
form of a tentative plan.
5. Techniques for integrating note-taking
Method 1: Index cards
Write down every idea, fact, quotation, or paraphrase on a separate index card. When you’ve collected all your
cards, reshuffle them into the best possible order, and you have an outline.
Method 2: The computer
You can collect your points consecutively, just as you would on paper.
Method 3: The circle metod
This method is designed to get your ideas onto a single page, where you can see them all at once. The
advantage of the circle method is that you can see at a glance how things tie together; the disadvantage is that
there is a limit to how much material you can cram onto a page.
You should read through your essay, and every time you make a new point, summarize it in the margin. If the
essay is reasonably well-organized, you should have one point in the margin for each paragraph, and your
points read out in order should form a coherent argument.
Planning provides the following advantages:
helps you to produce a logical and orderly argument that your readers can follow
helps you to produce an economical paper by allowing you to spot repetition
helps you to produce a thorough paper by making it easier for you to notice whether you have left anything out
makes drafting the paper easier by allowing you to concentrate on writing issues such as grammar, word choice,
Overplanning poses the following risks:
doesn’t leave you enough time to write and revise
leads you to produce papers that try to cover too much ground at the expense of analytic depth
can result in a writing style that lacks spontaneity and ease
does not provide enough opportunity to discover new ideas in the process of writing
7. Using Thesis Statements
Every paper requires one. Assignments that ask you to write personal responses or to explore a subject don’t want
you to seem to pre-judge the issues. Essays of literary interpretation often want you to be aware of many effects
rather than seeming to box yourself into one view of the text.
A thesis statement must come at the end of the first paragraph. This is a natural position for a statement of focus,
but it’s not the only one. Some theses can be stated in the opening sentences of an essay; others need a paragraph
or two of introduction; others can’t be fully formulated until the end.
A thesis statement must be one sentence in length, no matter how many clauses it contains. Clear writing is more
important than rules like these. Use two or three sentences if you need them. A complex argument may require a
whole tightly-knit paragraph to make its initial statement of position.
You can’t start writing an essay until you have a perfect thesis statement. It may be advisable to draft a hypothesis
or tentative thesis statement near the start of a big project, but changing and refining a thesis is a main task of
thinking your way through your ideas as you write a paper. And some essay projects need to explore the question
in depth without being locked in before they can provide even a tentative answer.
A thesis statement must give three points of support. It should indicate that the essay will explain and give evidence
for its assertion, but points don’t need to come in any specific number.
8. INTRODUCTIONS AND CONCLUSIONS : A good introduction should identify your topic, provide essential context, and
indicate your particular focus in the essay. It also needs to engage your readers’ interest. A strong conclusion will provide a
sense of closure to the essay while again placing your concepts in a somewhat wider context. It will also, in some instances,
add a stimulus to further thought.
PARAGRAPHS :a paragraph is a sentence or a group of sentences that supports one central, unified idea. Paragraphs add
one idea at a time to your broader argument. Probably the most effective way to achieve paragraph unity is to express the
central idea of the paragraph in a topic sentence, this is the main point of the paragraph.
Techniques to write a paragraph:
1. The definition paragraph
2. The analysis or classification paragraph
3. A comparison or a contrast paragraph
4. A qualification paragraph
5. The process paragraph
6. The best overall strategy to enhance flow within a paragraph is to show connections (deliberate repetition, strategic use of
pronouns, specialized linking words).
7. Usually, paragraphs are between one-third and two-thirds of a page double spaced
USING TOPIC SENTENCES : A topic sentence states the main point of a paragraph: it serves as a mini-thesis for the
paragraph. You might think of it as a signpost for your readers—or a headline—something that alerts them to the most
important, interpretive points in your essay.
9. Reading and Researching
CRITICAL READING:To read critically is to make judgements about how a text is argued.
1. First determine the central claims or purpose of the text .
2. Begin to make some judgements about context .
3. Distinguish the kinds of reasoning the text employ.
4. Examine the evidence (the supporting facts, examples, etc) the text employs.
5. Critical reading may involve evaluation
TIPS ON READING:
1. Textbooks: Be aware of the structure of the text as you read: the chapter titles, headings and subheadings will name the main concepts to be
2. Primary sources:Read through each literary work or historical document, paying attention to your own responses and questions.
3. Research reading: In going through sources for a research essay, you are looking for facts to support or modify your original view of the topic, and
for others’ opinions to bolster and to challenge your own.
TAKING NOTES FROM RESEARCH READING: If you take notes efficiently, you can read with more understanding and also save time and frustration
when you come to write your paper
10. DEALING WITH NEW WORDS:A key point is that you don’t need to interrupt your reading to look up
every hard word right away in the dictionary—in fact, experts say it’s actually better to guess first. When
you have learned a new word, take steps to make it part of your active store of words. The best way to
increase and deepen your general vocabulary is to spend time reading (at the bookstore, college book
sales, and the library, in popular journalism, on the Web)
RESEARCH USING THE INTERNET: Research on the Net must be used carefully and critically.
PREVIEWING: Read the title and headings, think about the subject matter, look for information
about the author,the place and date it has been published, the audience, think about the purpose
you are reading the text.
SKIMMING AND SCANNING: By skimming a text, you can get a sense of its overall logical progression.
Scanning is basically skimming with a more tightly focused purpose: skimming to locate a particular
fact or figure, or to see whether this text mentions a subject you’re researching.
SUMMARIZING: Summarizing a text, or distilling its essential concepts into a paragraph or two, is a
useful study tool as well as good writing practice
11. Using sources
HOW NOT TO PLAGIARIZE: It’s against the rules to buy essays or copy chunks from
your friend’s homework, and it’s also plagiarism to borrow passages from books or
articles or Web sites without identifying them
STANDARD DOCUMENTATIONS FORMATS: Different disciplines use their own systems
to set out information about sources.
USING QUOTATIONS:Quotations come from somewhere, and your reader will want to
PARAPHRASE AND SUMMARY:To paraphrase means to restate someone else’s ideas in
your own language at roughly the same level of detail. To summarize means to reduce
the most essential points of someone else’s work into a shorter form. Along with
quotation, paraphrase and summary provide the main tools for integrating your
sources into your papers.
12. Specific Types of writing
THE BOOK REVIEW OR ARTICLE CRITIQUE: An analytic or critical review of a book or article is not primarily a
summary; rather, it comments on and evaluates the work in the light of specific issues and theoretical
concerns in a course.
WRITING AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY: An annotated bibliography gives an account of the research that
has been done on a given topic. Like any bibliography, an annotated bibliography is an alphabetical list of
research sources. In addition to bibliographic data, an annotated bibliography provides a concise summary of
each source and some assessment of its value or relevance
THE LITERATURE REVIEW: A FEW TIPS ON CONDUCTING IT: A literature review is an account of what has been
published on a topic by accredited scholars and researchers.
THE ABSTRACT: Abstracts are important because they give a first impression of the document that follows,
letting readers decide whether to continue reading and showing them what to look for if they do. An abstract
should represent as much as possible of the quantitative and qualitative information in the document, and
also reflect its reasoning.
THE COMPARATIVE ESSAY: A comparative essay asks that you compare at least two (possibly more) items.
These items will differ depending on the assignment.
13. WRITING ABOUT HISTORY:
When writing a historical research paper, your goal is to choose a topic and write a paper that
1. Asks a good historical question
2. Tells how its interpretation connects to previous work by other historians, and
3. Offers a well-organized and persuasive thesis of its own.
WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE TIPS:
1. Avoid plot summary.
2. Master the art of the analytical thesis.
3. Let the structure of your argument determine the structure of your paper.
4. Opt for analysis instead of evaluative judgments.
5. Don’t confuse the author with the speaker.
6. Integrate quotations fully into your argument.
WRITING A PHILOSOPHY ESSAY:
In studying philosophy, students aim to do the following:
1. understand such philosophical questions and the concepts, arguments, and theories that philosophers use to address them
2. think critically about such arguments and theories
3. develop their own answers to philosophical questions
Writing philosophy essays is a key part of studying philosophy.
WRITING IN THE SCIENCES:
A science paper should be written in a clear and concise style, its paragraphs should be coherent, and its ideas should be well organized.
14. HOW TO USE ACTIVE VOICE IN THE SCIENCES:
Science journals are returning to a preference for the active voice, and university science departments are
following suit, though they have lagged behind somewhat. Several influential science journals—Science,
Nature, and the British Medical Journal, among others—are quite explicit in this preference.
EFFECTIVE ADMISSION LETTERS TIPS:
1. Be focussed.
2. Be coherent
3. Be interpretive.
4. Be specific.
5. Be personal.
15. APPLICATION LETTERS AND RÉSUMÉS:
Specific Points about the Application Letter:
1. Write a letter for each application, tailored for the specific situation.
2. Use standard letter format, with internal addresses (spell names correctly!) and salutations.
3. Most application letters for entry-level jobs are one page in length—a substantial page rather than a skimpy one.
4. Start strong and clear.
5. Use paragraph structure to lead your reader from one interpretive point to another.
6. End strongly by requesting an interview.
Specific Points about the Résumé
(in academic life usually called curriculum vitae or c.v.)
1. Have more than one on hand, emphasizing different aspects of your qualifications or aims.
2. Make them easy to read by using headings, point form, and lots of white space.
3. The basic choice is between the traditional chronological organization (with the main sections Education and Experience)
and the functional one (where sections name types of experience or qualities of character).
4. List facts in reverse chronological order, with the most recent ones first. Shorten some lists by combining related entries (e.g.
THE ACADEMIC PROPOSAL:
An academic proposal is the first step in producing a thesis or major project. Its intent is to convince a supervisor or academic
committee that your topic and approach are sound, so that you gain approval to proceed with the actual research.
16. ACADEMIC PROPOSALS IN GRADUATE SCHOOL:
There is no one formula for a thesis proposal, given the range of disciplines and organizational sequences for processing it. You have to think on:
1. Process (how to do it).
2. Function (what it’s for).
3. Rhetoric (how it gets through).
THE LAB REPORT:
Lab reports are the most frequent kind of document written in engineering and can count for as much as 25% of a course yet little time or attention
is devoted to how to write them well.
1. Title Page
4. Methods and Materials (or Equipment)
5. Experimental Procedure
11. Further Reading
17. ORAL PRESENTATIONS TIPS:
1. Sign up early.
2. It helps to know what’s expected of you.
3. Choose your topic carefully.
4. Define the scope of your research.
5. Organize your talk as you would an essay.
6. Try to make use of supplementary media to illustrate or illuminate aspects of your talk.
7. Leave time to rehearse your presentation.
8. It’s important to feel comfortable about the way you look, and to be relaxed and confident, during your
9. Treat your presentation like a well-planned performance.
10. Handle questions with confidence.
11. After your seminar, take time to assess your “performance.”
18. Style and Editing
REVISING AND EDITING:
Revising gives you the chance to preview your work on behalf of the eventual reader. Revision is much more
than proofreading, though in the final editing stage it involves some checking of details. Good revision and
editing can transform a mediocre first draft into an excellent final paper.
HIT PARADE OF ERRORS IN GRAMMAR, PUNCTUATION, AND STYLE:
Guide to avoid the most common errors:
1.Faulty Agreement, 2.Sentence Fragments, 3.Run-on [fused] Sentences, 4.Overuse of Passive Voice, 5.Faulty
Parallelism, 6.ague Pronouns, 7.Dangling Modifiers, 8.Squinting or Misplaced Modifiers, 9.Mixed or Dead
Metaphors, 10.Faulty Word Choice [Faulty Diction], 11.Wordiness, 12.Comma Splices, 13. Misuse of Comma,
Semicolon, and Colon, 14. Incorrect Comparison, 15. Double Constructions.
USING THE COMPUTER TO IMPROVE YOUR WRITING:
The computer lets you easily type in text, shift it around, and edit it.
19. WORDINESS: DANGER SIGNALS AND WAYS TO REACT:
One of the most efficient ways to improve your writing is to edit it for conciseness
The “Man” Trap:
Many standard wordings seem to assume that every individual is male. Repeating he and she, him and her, his
and hers at every reference is clumsy. Finding alternatives can be as simple as using plural rather than singular, or
avoiding a pronoun altogether.
Punctuation, when skillfully deployed, provides you with considerable control over meaning and tone.
FIXING COMMA SPLICES:
A comma splice occurs when you use a comma to join two complete sentences without placing an appropriate
joining word between them. The comma just isn’t strong enough to do the job of making one grammatical
sentence out of two. Be sure to avoid them in your essays.
Look out for faulty parallelism whenever you use one of the following constructions:
a and b
a, b, and c
a or b
a, b, or c
not only a but also b
The clauses or phrases joined by the conjunctions should have similar grammatical structures to ensure that your
reader can follow the logic of your sentence and to avoid awkwardness.
20. PASSIVE VOICE: WHEN TO USE IT AND WHEN TO AVOID IT:
The passive voice places the emphasis on your experiment rather than on you.If you now use a lot of passive sentences, you may not be
able to catch all of the problematic cases in your first draft. But you can still go back through your essay hunting specifically for passive
FIXING DANGLING MODIFIERS:
The term dangling modifier refers to a word or phrase, usually at the start of a sentence, that does not connect properly to the rest of the
SOME TOOLS AND RULES TO IMPROVE YOUR SPELLING:
1. Use a (good) dictionary.
2. Be consistent about using British or American spellings in your writing.
3. Always check certain “troublesome” suffixes in your dictionary.
4. Create your own “difficult-to-spell” lists.
5. Learn the standard pronunciations for frequently misspelled words.
6. Watch out for homophones, near-homophones, and other easily confusable words
7. Use your computer spellchecker, but with caution.
8. Become familiar with English spelling rules.
These can be Regular or Irregular also there are special cases.
These can be Singular, Plural or Possessive Pronouns.
21. SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT:
The two essential parts of a complete sentence are the subject and verb. The verb refers to the main action
in a sentence, and the subject refers to the person or thing responsible for the action. Subjects can consist
of a single word—a noun—but more typically they contain several words that, together, form a noun
phrase: e.g., the mood of Beethoven’s late quartets or abnormalities in the cells governing the
inflammatory response of the organis
In the simplest grammatical terms, a sentence fragment lacks a main—or independent—clause. Put more
informally, a sentence fragment doesn’t make a statement that can stand on its own. There are two main
types of fragments:
1. The first type doesn’t make a statement. It is all subject, no predicate—all actor, no action.
2. The second type of sentence fragment has a subject and a predicate, but the sentence still can’t stand
on its own. Usually, that is because it begins with a word—a subordinating conjunction
like although or because or when—that makes the sentence want to lean against a neighbouring one.
22. English as a Second Language
Articles are special modifiers that appear before nouns or noun phrases. There are only two articles in the English language: the and a (and
its variant an, used before a word that starts with a vowel sound).Take into account if it is Singular o Plural, Countable or incountable and
Definite or Indefinite.
1. A noun is countable if you can have more than one instance of it. The word exam is countable because you can have, say, four exams
scheduled at the end of the year. The word concentration, however, is uncountable, because it would not make sense to speak of having
four concentrations, even though you will need a lot of concentration to study for all four exams. Many words have both countable and
uncountable meanings, depending on the sentence.
2. Knowing whether the particular use of a noun is singular or plural is quite straightforward. Just ask the question, Am I referring to more
than one instance of something?
3. A noun is definite when it is clear to your reader which specific instance or instances of an entity you are referring to; otherwise it is
indefinite. Often the first use of a noun is indefinite and subsequent uses are definite.
SPECIAL CASES IN THE USE OF THE DEFINITE ARTICLE:
To decide if you should use the word the, ask yourself these three questions:
1. Is the noun indefinite (unspecified) or definite (specific)?
2. Is the noun modified?
3. Is the noun generic?
23. EXPRESSIONS OF QUANTITY: SPECIAL CASES OF SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT:
1. With fractions, percentages and indefinite quantifiers (e.g., all, few, many, much, some), the verb agrees
with the preceding noun or clause.
2. The words majority and minority are used in a variety of ways.
3. Expressions of time, money and distance usually take a singular verb.
4. Adjectives preceded by the and used as plural nouns take a plural verb.
5. Expressions using the phrase number of depend on the meaning of the phrase.
USING GERUNDS AND INFINITIVES:
Gerunds and infinitives are verb forms that can take the place of a noun in a sentence. Following an indirect
object (infinitive only). Some verbs are followed by a pronoun or noun referring to a person, and then an
infinitive. Gerunds cannot be used in this position.
VERBS FOR REFERRING TO SOURCES:
You can indicate your attitude to the sources you cite by choosing specific verbs to refer to them
24. Further Resources
ADVICE ON ACADEMIC WRITING:
The advice files on this site answer the kinds of questions that University of Toronto
students ask about their written assignments.
Prof. C.A Silber, Department of English. “ Some general advice on Academic
Writing Essay”.Toronto, Canada.: Univerty of Toronto.