Essay Writing Tip #4 Bringing Your Essay Together

tip #4 bRINGING YOUR ESSAY TOGETHER

You’re writing your essay. You have your introduction (with a clear argument that answers the question), you’ve written paragraph after paragraph of evidence that supports your argument, but your essay just doesn’t flow.

Here are two ways to for your essay to come together Click To Tweet

Here are two ways to for your essay to come together and help the reader read your essay with ease and interest.

  1. Use Transitions

Transition words or phrases help our brains prepare for what is coming next.

These words/phrases are for introducing an example:

For instance,

For example,

These words/phrases are for introducing (additional) information:

Also,

In addition,

Furthermore,

Moreover,

Additionally,

These transitions are for contrast/opposites:

However,

In contrast,

On the other hand,

On the contrary,

These transitions are are for closing an idea or an essay:

As a result,

In conclusion,

To conclude,

In summary,

Transitions connect what you are saying now to what you are about to say. Adding a transition here and there will do wonders for improving the flow of the essay. Of course, there are many more transitions than listed above so take some time to look for more if needed.

  1. The “So What” Factor

I began  college a very strong writer and was proud of my ability to write an English or History essay. However, when I took a required writing class my first semester, I learned the key to writing clear, poignant essays. Every time I turned in a draft of an essay, my professor would return it with “So what?” written on the side of each paragraph.

“So what?” What did that mean? The “so what” was obvious to me. I stated my argument in the introduction and I went on to defend it with examples in the subsequent paragraphs. I wrote a final statement about the topic in the conclusion. That was an essay, wasn’t it?

What my brilliant professor was teaching me was the importance and necessity of connecting my evidence back to the argument. From her comments demanding the same “So what?” on draft after draft, I learned to view the essay reader in a new light.

Basically, you have to imagine that the reader has just arrived from another planet and knows nothing about anything. As an essay grader for standardized exams as well as a classroom teacher from public school to graduate school, I can honestly tell you that the reader gets upset when they have to do the thinking, instead of you doing it for them.

What does this mean? Let’s take the gum in school example. My argument is that students should be able to chew gum in class. One of my examples is that students have bad breath. I write a complete paragraph proving that students have bad breath. I have just made someone read an entire paragraph proving that students have bad breath, but my essay is about chewing gum. Now the reader is thinking, “Students have bad breath. So what?”

As a writer you have to make the connection for the reader, if you leave it up to them to draw the connection on their own, you will lose points on the essay and your writing will be viewed as weak. I know this seems ridiculous and unnecessary, but that’s the way it is.

In order to answer “So what?”, you need to add one sentence at the end of the paragraph that connects your evidence to your argument. For example:

Because students having breath is a serious problem, students must be allowed to chew gum in the classroom.

What to do:

1.Read your essay the way it is.

  1. Now add in some transitions.
  2. Next, write a connecting sentence (that answers “so what?”) at the end of each paragraph with evidence and supporting details.

If you have questions about any of this or you’d like to have your essay looked at before you hand it in, contact us RIGHT NOW and we’ll help your essay be as strong and clear as possible.

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Afsaneh Moradian

Afsaneh has been teaching for over 15 years from preschool to graduate school, and is often invited to give teacher training workshops and speak at educational conferences. Her vast experience in working with different ages, academic levels, and cultures has given her the ability to work with anyone and help them achieve their learning goals.
Afsaneh Moradian
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