Skip to main content

Essay Elements and Structure

 

As stated in The Nature, History, and Types of Essay, an essay is a prose non-fiction piece of writing with a varying length that addresses a thing, a person, a problem, or an issue from the author's personal point of view. To make the discussion effective, the elements that build the description, narration, exposition, or arguments in an essay should be well-organized. Structurally, the basic elements of an essay are organized into three main sections (introduction, body, and conclusion), as illustrated by the following figure.

Figure 1. Basic essay Structure

 (Credit: https://peachyessay.com/blogs/how-to-structure-essay/)

The followings are a brief description of each essay element. To make the description effective, the essay titled How Reading Empowers EFL Learners is referred to as an illustration. Thus, you are suggested to read it first before continuing reading the next section.

A. INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH

  1. The general statement or orientation to the topic is one or two sentences that introduce the topic. The general statement must be interesting so that the readers are motivated to read the essay up to the end. Scarry & Scarry (2010, pp. 507-508) offer 9 patterns from which an author can select and use to attract the readers, like definitions of the subject to discuss, anecdotes, a startling statement, a famous quotation, and soon. 
  2. The thesis statement tells what the writer intends to prove, defend, or explain about the topic. It gives the main idea of an essay and is usually placed at the end of the introductory paragraph. A thesis statement is built up by a topic + controlling idea.
  3. Outline of the main points (or strategy of development) describes the organization of the essay, i.e. what will be discussed first, second, etc. It is often preceded by the essay’s purpose statement. However, not all essays include this information. The topic discussed in every body paragraph should be presented in line with the order in the outline. Look how How Reading Empowers EFL Learners in Figure 2 states the purpose and outline, and how the body paragraphs are presented in the sequence determined in the outline.

Figure 2: A Sample of Analysis of Essay Elements



B. BODY PARAGRAPH 
Body paragraphs of an essay discuss the evidence and arguments introduced in the thesis statement. In general, if a thesis statement has presented three pieces of evidence or arguments about the topic, there will be three body paragraphs. However, if there are more arguments or evidence, there could be more paragraphs. Most body paragraphs have topic sentences and some supporting sentences. Some others, however, may have a concluding sentence. 
  1. Topic Sentence in a body paragraph is usually the first sentence and states the main idea.
  2. Supporting sentence provides details, i.e. facts, explanations, arguments, analysis, and citations of someone else’s ideas employed to back up the main idea of the paragraph.
  3. Concluding Sentence recaps the main point developed by the supporting sentences and indicates to the reader that this is the end of the paragraph. Concluding sentence is rarely included in the body paragraphs of an essay. 
C. CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH 
A concluding paragraph is used to indicate to the reader that the discussion will end. It could cover the following parts. 
  1. Thesis restatement is one or more sentence used to repeat or reaffirm the thesis presented in the introductory paragraph.
  2. Summary of main points recapitulates the key points discussed in the whole body paragraphs. The summary can be written in one to three sentences, depending on the amount of the key points. The first sentence of the concluding paragraph of How Reading Empowers EFL Learners summarizes the main points. 
  3. Final comment can be one or more of: (1) a conclusion drawn from the discussion in the body paragraph, (2) final observation about the controlling idea, (3) relevant suggestion, solution or warning, or (4) a prediction based on the details of the body paragraphs. How Reading Empowers EFL Learners includes an implication and a warning.
Achieving Coherence by Using Transitions
Coherence is the logical bridge between words, sentences, and paragraphs in the essay. Since it relates one point to another in the essay, it helps the reader to comprehend the discussion easily. Coherence is achieved through the use of transitional words, like first, second, finally, therefore, consequently, however, etc. (See Scarry & Scarry, pp. 511-513)

References
Scarry, S & Scarry, J. (2010). The writer’s workplace with readings: Building college writing skills. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning


Comments

  1. Thanks for this simple but informative post. I really helps me write better.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The article was up to the point and described the information about education and learning. Thanks to blog author for wonderful and informative post. cable storage bag

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Types and Functions of Plot

Type of Plots  The plot used in fictions can be differentiated into four types: linear, episodic, parallel, and flashback. The most common plot employed in short stories is the linear plot. Some short stories, though quite rarely, also use flashback plot. The episodic and parallel plots, however, are found only in long fiction, i.e. novels. Short storied do not use episodic and parallel plots because short stories normally concentrate on a single event with a very limited number of characters, while episodic and parallel plots include a series of events or more than one plot. The following section describes each plot briefly. The Linear Plot The linear plot (sometimes is also called dramatic or progressive plot) presents action or occurrences chronologically. It typically starts with an exposition (or introduction to the setting and characters) and the conflict. After that, the rising action follows which leads to a climax. Soon after the climax, falling action emerges which brings

An Analysis of the Theme of Hemingway’s “Old Man at the Bridge”

  An Analysis of the Theme of Hemingway’s “Old Man at the Bridge” Introduction The theme is one of the most interesting elements of fiction, including a short story. It refers to the central idea or meaning that the author wants to convey to the readers. Some stories convey a single theme, but some other stories have several themes. Since short stories are related to human life, Alternbend and Lewis (1966, p. 78) define theme as “The general vision of life or the more explicit proposition about human experience that literature conveys”. In relation to this, one of the easiest ways to determine the theme of a short story is by asking ourselves, “What does the story say about life? The theme of fiction is generally presented through the other elements of fiction, particularly the plot and characterization. This article is a venture to analyze the theme of Hemingway’s Old Man at the Bridge . This story is interesting to analyze due to two reasons. First, it is based on Hemingway’s exp

An Analysis of the Theme and Plot of "A Long Walk Home"

  An Analysis of the Theme and Plot of   A Long Walk Home Summary of the Short Story Boccaro’s  A Long walk Home  is a short story that tells how Jackson, a teen with a delinquent tendency, grows wiser after experiencing a bitter experience with his father. It begins when one morning Jackson is asked to have his father’s car repaired in a garage 18 miles away from their home on condition that when the car is finished, Jackson should pick his father at 4 p.m. since the car requires a few hours to be serviced, after dropping of it to the garage, he watches some movies up to 6 p.m. To avoid his father from getting angry for his being late, Jackson says that it takes long to repair the car without realizing that his father has phoned the garage and knows there’s no problem with the car. Jackson’s lie makes his father angry to himself for his failure to educate his son. So he refuses to get into the car and walks home. This makes Jackson very regretful and decides not to lie to his father e