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Writing an Essay


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Title: Writing an Essay

Writing an Essay
for expository and persuasive purposes
Consider carefully these bits of advice before
you begin writing
Learn to distinguish between a report and a
critical essay. In the former, one merely shows
familiarity with a topic by "telling the
information." In the latter, however, one
analyzes something. From this analysis, one draws
conclusions about the prompt topic, shows
feelings about the topic, and tries to explain
how/prove those conclusions are valid.
Take pride in your work. Submit a neat, clean
copy and do your best to convince the reader your
ideas are important. Remember All writing is
for an audience. By anticipating the reaction of
that audience to both the appearance and content
of your essay, you will become a better writer.
Most bad essays are the result of haste rather
than shoddy thinking or poor writing skills. To
write well, most people need time, time to plan,
write, and edit.
To avoid a poor score/grade, write a rough draft.
Then have as many people as you can read it and
offer advice. Make corrections and write a final
draft. Your essay will receive higher marks than
if you had not put forth this effort.
Creating Analysis
To Create Analysis, Use 5 WHYs
Question 1 Why do I have to pass English
? Answer Because I want to graduate
Question 2 Why do I want to graduate? Answer
Because I want to go to college
Question 3 Why do I want to go to
college? Answer Because I want to get a
good job
Question 4 Why do I want to get a good
job? Answer Because I want to be
successful in life
Question 5 Why do I want to be successful in
life? Answer Because I want to have
everything I desire
End Result of 5 WHYs Analysis
I have to pass English so that I can have
everything I desire in my future life.
5 WHYs for Expository Prompton Responsibilities
of a Student
Q Why is doing all assignments a
responsibility? A Because students are graded
on their work
Q Why are students graded on their work? A
Because teachers need to know if students
Q Why do teachers need to know if students
understand? A Because teachers have the
responsibility of educating
Q Why must teachers educate students? A
Because students need to well-rounded and
knowledgeable about the world they live in
Q Why do students need to be well-rounded and
knowledgeable? A Because students want to be
able to function as productive members of their
End Result of 5 WHYs Analysis
Students need to do all of their assignments so
that they can be eventually become productive
members of American society.
5 WHYs for Persuasive Prompt on Lengthening
School Time
Q Why is more student/teacher interaction
beneficial? A Because students can ask more
Q Why should students be able to ask more
questions? A Because students will learn more
and understand
Q Why should students learn more and
understand? A Because they need to be able to
academically compete with students from
other nations
Q Why do students need to compete with other
nations? A Because we, as a nation, need to
remain the worlds superpower
Q Why do we need to remain a superpower? A
Because otherwise we might lose our country and
our freedoms to those of another nation
End Result of 5 WHYs Analysis
More student/teacher interaction is beneficial
because todays students are tomorrows leaders.
As a nation, America is in danger of loosing its
status as a world superpower due to the
devaluation of education in American society.
Outline Format
  • Introduction
  • Broad beginning grabs the readers attention
  • Link sentence
  • Thesis states the
    purpose of the entire

Tell me! Tell me NOW!
  • Support Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3
  • Pull down transition, topic sentence
  • Statement
  • Detail
  • Why/How or Analysis or Explanation
  • Statement
  • Detail
  • Why/How or Analysis or Explanation
  • Statement
  • Detail
  • Why/How or Analysis or Explanation
  • Closing sentence

  • Conclusion
  • Rephrase thesis
  • Insight/Universality Many people today . . .

First impressions are often lasting impressions.
This is true in life, and especially in writing.
If you get off to a good start, readers are more
apt to stick with you through the rough spots,
forgiving an occasional error or concentrating
extra hard when you explain a complex idea. Use
the advanced introductions explained to ensure a
good first impression.
Stylistic Introductions
1. An introduction is a contract between a
writer and a reader. The writer promises to
deliver the goods described in the introduction.
2. An introduction should set up an essay about
one key idea only the key idea comes from the
3. The information should begin broad and
narrow down to the thesis sentence, linking the
ideas between sentences and keeping the flow.
4. An introduction should be a minimum of 4
Ask a Question
Begin by asking an INTERESTING question. Do not
ask a question with a yes or no answer unless
it is UNIQUE. This is the ONE AND ONLY time you
should use the word YOU in an essay.
When you were a child, how many times did your
parents have to tell you to clean your room?
Parents often require that their children do
household chores in order to lessen the load on
their parents shoulders and teach
responsibility. Living on a farm caused me to
have many more chores than my friends, but in the
long run I became a stronger person and am
thankful for the lessons that my parents taught
me while living on the farm. Living on the farm
with my parents taught me the value of hard work
and dedication, the fragility of life, and the
importance of a mans word.
Begin with a Fact or Example
By now, you understand the importance of
specific, concrete details in your papers body.
Details can also be excellent ways of opening, as
they give your reader a specific, concrete
connection to the subject.
Last July, Duke, a four year old Labrador
retriever, was dragged behind a pickup truck on a
rope and left to die on the desert. Fortunately,
he was found and taken to the Humane Society
where his wounds were treated, and he was
gradually nursed back to health. Eventually, he
was adopted by Bill and Linda, a young couple who
say they could not imagine finding a better pet.
Not all stories of animal abuse end as happily as
Dukes, but the Humane Society works hard to help
all animals in distress, and it deserves support.
The Humane Society is beneficial because it
provides needed community services, it cares for
unwanted animals, and it enables the community to
purchase loving pets at a comparatively nominal
Examples From Life
Begin with Man has a tendency to or Man often
displays a desire to. Finish the sentence. Add
a minimum of two examples from everyday life.
Then write the link sentence followed by the
thesis sentence.
Man often displays a desire to live at the
expense of others. He will sit on a bus or walk
down a street and see someone being brutally
attacked by muggers, and he will turn his head
the other way. He will read the daily newspaper
headlines of murders in his own city, and he will
think nothing of it as long as it does not touch
his family. In fact, it is this only caring for
oneself that is the biggest problem in American
society today. People today are self-absorbed
to the point of causing a demoralization in the
values of society, an increase in criminal
behavior, and a loss of what it means to be an
Relevant Incident From Story or an Anecdote
Choose an incident from a story youve read or
create one of your own (an anecdote). Add a link
sentence and end with the thesis statement.
It was the summer of 1985. I was seven years old
and having the time of my life during my carefree
vacation when I learned a lesson on giving that I
will never forget. My best friend, Becky, and
her family lost their house to an electrical
fire. The entire neighborhood pitched in and
gave them food and shelter until they could find
a place to live. Then they donated household
items and even raised money through a silent
auction. The compassion that the community
showed during Becky and her familys desperate
time of need changed me like no other event in my
life. This lesson on giving taught me the
importance of being a true friend, it taught me
to value everything I have, and it taught me to
have faith in mankind.
Begin with a quotation and the person who said
it. Explain the quotation. Provide a link from
the quotation to the key word(s)/topic. End with
the thesis sentence. One statement of caution
It will be difficult to come up with a quote off
the top of your head when writing for a
standardized test.
Charles de Tallyrand once said, Society is
divided into two classes the shearers and the
shorn. The quote explains how society chooses
to classify people as the stronger and weaker,
the conformists and the outcasts. This
classifying of individuals in either a positive
or negative manner happens in all places,
including high schools everywhere. In Orange
Park High School the three categories that most
students are grouped into include the
alternatives, the jocks, and the intellectuals.
THESIS Statement
A thesis statement is a sentence that gives FOCUS
to the paper. It should come at the END of the
introductory paragraph.
All topic sentences, analysis sentences, and
closing sentences should refer back to the
KEYWORDS of the thesis.
Formulating a Thesis
1. Ask yourself this question What is my prompt
asking me to do?
2. Be sure that your thesis is based on a
substantive critical issue (keywords from prompt).
3. Be sure your thesis contains a relationship
between the prompt and your ideas. Such a
relationship allows you to take the relationship
apart, analyze the pieces of it, analyze the way
they intersect, and, in doing so, show the reader
that you are knowledgeable about the prompt topic.
Requirements of Thesis
  • Include the key word(s) from prompt
  • State the three support paragraph topics

Two types of transitions exist paragraph and
internal flow words.
Think of paragraphs and ideas as structures which
need bridges between them for the reader to
Pull Down Transitions
used to link PARAGRAPHS together
  • begin with a prepositional phrase or clause
    stating the idea from the previous paragraph
  • end with a comma
  • attach the topic sentence of the new paragraph

Examples of PDTs and Topic Sentences
While English is one of my favorite subjects,
Math comes in first place.
In addition to being a better reader, English
also enables me to be a better writer.
Even though poetry is difficult for me to
understand, it does have some endearing qualities.
Along with being considered a talented artist, I
would also want to be Ricky Martin so that I
could make a difference in peoples lives.
Prepositions That Work Well
According to After Along with Among As As well
as Aside from Because of Before By Since Until
By means of Despite During Except From In In
addition to In spite of On account of Prior
to Throughout
Subordinating ConjunctionsThat Work Well
After As soon as Before Since When Whenever While
Although As long as
Even if Even though If Provided
that Though Unless While In order that So that
Creating PDT,Topic Sentences
PROMPT There are many theme parks in the United
States. Think about which theme park is your
favorite. Now, write an essay explaining which
theme park is your favorite and why it is your
1st Support PDT, Topic Sentence
NOTE The first support paragraphs PDT contains
the key word(s) from the thesis
Thesis My favorite theme park is Islands of
Adventure in Orlando because it has exhilarating
water rides, breath-taking roller coasters, and
captivating entertainment.
PDT, topic sentence In explaining why Islands of
Adventure is my favorite theme park, it has
exhilarating water rides.
2nd Support PDT, Topic Sentence
Information discussed in previous
paragraph Islands of Adventure in Orlando is my
favorite theme park because it has exhilarating
water rides.
PDT, topic sentence In addition to exhilarating
water rides, it also has breath-taking roller
3rd Support PDT, Topic Sentence
Information discussed in previous paragraph
Islands of Adventure in Orlando is my favorite
theme park because it had breath-taking roller
PDT, topic sentence As well as breath-taking
roller coasters, Islands of Adventure even has
captivating entertainment.
Transitions to link IDEAS together within a
When following the suggested outline format, one
should provide links between the ideas present in
each paragraph. These flow words should be kept
simple. As with PDTs, flow words should also
show the relationship between the ideas.
Relationships Between Ideas
Developmental Order/ Similar Ideas Furthermore Be
sides In addition Another Also Furthermore Simila
Order of Importance First More important Most
important Above all
Contradictory Ideas Although Nevertheless Instead
however, In spite of yet, On the contrary
Chronological Order First Then As soon
as Afterward Presently Next Thereafter Eventually
Cause and Effect As a result Therefore Consequent
ly For this reason Thus
Support Paragraphs
Statement or Detail?
1. The concentration camps smells hung in the
air. 2. A dump truck unloads bodies of women
and children into a burning pit. 3. The
air smells of burning flesh. 4. Weather brings
traveling difficulty for many drivers. 5.
Millions of Jews were killed during World War
II. 6. Elie Wiesel spent three years in a
concentration camp. 7. Some people claim that
the genocide never took place.
Detailed Support Paragraph
In addition to the beat, hip hop is my favorite
genre of music because of the creativity it
inspires. The music of hip hop creates trends.
When Puff Daddys song about platinum was
released, platinum sales were bolstered almost 50
percent and are still rising. Hip hops ability
to start trends makes it even more popular,
making me like it even more. It is often said,
Hard work is like a cash of money, and this
holds true for hip hop. Artists like Dr. Dre
admit on working a full year on just one measly
record. As a reward for his hard work, he has
gone platinum 14 times. I like hip hop because
the musicians work hard and are rewarded,
something that is often overlooked now in
Americas dwindling morals. With so much
inspirational creativity it creates, one can only
see why hip hop is my favorite genre of music.
Support Paragraph Length
SNACK - 6 to 7 sentences DINNER - 8 to 10
sentences FEAST - 11 to 15 sentences
In order to do well (4 or higher), you will need
Save the BEST for LAST!
Organize your support paragraphs starting with
the weakest point and ending with the strongest,
leaving your reader with the most important and
best-supported evidence to remember most.
On an standardized essay, if you run out of time,
you should at least provide a one sentence
  • Restate the central idea (thesis)
  • Generalize the support paragraph information
  • Make a prediction
  • Leave the reader with something to think about
  • Do not introduce new or unrelated material

Expository Essays
1st Person Pronouns
First person pronouns should only be used
in PERSONAL expository prompts.
When my prompt asks me a personal question about
my life, I use first person pronouns.
I, me, my, mine, we, us, our, ours
Personal Expository Prompts
Personal expository prompts ask you to write
about something from your own life.
Everyone has jobs or chores. Think of a job or
chore that you have or have had. Now explain why
you do your job or chore.
Most people have a hobby they enjoy. Think of a
hobby you have that you enjoy. Now explain why
this one hobby is particularly enjoyable to you.
Learning is for life. Think about something you
have learned recently. Now explain why you
learned and how it has affected you.
Expository Prompts
Many problems exist in the world today. Think of
some of the Americas biggest problems. Now
explain what the biggest problem is in America
People everywhere are getting concerned about
the environment. Think about an environmental
issue that you are familiar with. Now propose
some possible solutions to the problem.
Persuasive Essays
In a PERSUASIVE essay, your goal is to make your
argument so strong that you can CONVINCE your
reader your position is the BEST and MOST
LOGICAL. When you see the words convince or
argue, you know to write a persuasive essay.
When you see the words convince or argue, you
know to write a persuasive essay.
Listen up! I have something important to say.
Prewriting for a Persuasive Essay
The best way to plan for a persuasive essay is to
compare and evaluate both sides of the issue.
Then select the side with the strongest support.
Persuasive Introductions
You must start off with a strong and convincing
opening sentence.
Make your position clear RIGHT AWAY. NEVER open
a persuasive essay by giving both sides of the
argument and then choosing one.
The government must provide more financial
assistance to parents who use childcare.
Childcare centers assist children in their early
development. They give children an opportunity
to mix with other children and to develop social
skills at an early age. Parents and children
need to spend some time apart. Children become
less dependent on their parents and parents
themselves are less stressed and more efficient
care-givers when there are periods of separation.
Parents who cannot go to work because they do
not have access to childcare facilities cannot
contribute to the national economy. They are not
able to utilize their productive skills and do
not pay income tax. Government support for
childcare services assists individual families
and is important for the economic well-being of
the whole nation.
Writing Fundamentals
A Guide to the Language and Grammar of Formal
Formal Essay Format
  • Avoid contractions -cant, dont, wont, its
  • Avoid abbreviations
  • Avoid slang - cause, kid, goin, wanna, etc.
  • Avoid run-ons and sentence fragments
  • Avoid first person pronouns unless the EXPOSITORY
    prompt is PERSONAL
  • NEVER USE you, your, yours, yourself

Formal Essay Format
  • Vary your sentence structure
  • Extend your vocabulary
  • Use VIVID verbs
  • Be comma conscious
  • Check subject/verb and pronoun/antecedent

Grammar Book
NO NO Words
  • A lot Thing Very So, Really Well,
  • For example, In conclusion, The End
  • The reason is because
  • I am going to tell you
  • I think I feel
  • Personal Pronouns I me my mine we us our ours
    (unless the expository prompt calls for PERSONAL
  • you your yours yourself unless asking a
    question in the introductions broad beginning

The OGT Writing Test
Test Prompt Expository
TOPIC Writing Situation Communities throughout
the world vary in size. Some people live in big
cities others live in small towns. Directions
for Writing Before you begin writing, think
about life in a big city and life in a small
town. Now explain th reasons why you would prefer
to live in either a big city or a small town.
Test Prompt Persuasive
TOPIC Writing Situation Our federal government
wants to do something about the violence in
America. They are considering the issue of
violence shown on television. Directions for
Writing Before you begin writing, think about
whether or not violence in TV shows and movies
affects people who watch them. Now write to
convince your representative in Congress to agree
with your view concerning violence in TV shows
and movies.
Typical Scoring Guide 6 - 4
6 - unique introduction and conclusion,
addresses all areas of prompt fully, varied
sentence structure, extended use of vocabulary,
lots and lots of deep analysis with detailed
explanation, true sense of audience
5 - unique introduction and conclusion, addresses
all areas of prompt well, attempt varied sentence
structure, some higher vocabulary, good analysis
with explanation
4 - unique introduction and conclusion, has
structure,weak address of all areas of prompt,
weak analysis with explanation
Your Goal for a writing test is a MINIMUM of a 4
Superlative Writing Award
Test Scoring Guide 3-0
3 - an attempt made at structure, may not
address all areas of prompt, not many details or
2 - lacks structure in all areas
1 - makes an attempt to address the prompt
0 - writing is totally off the prompt topic
Non-Scorable - unreadable or blank
Tips - Prewriting
  • Read the prompt - circle all keywords and
    underline the major points to be discussed
  • Persuasive Essays - brainstorm both sides of the
    issue and choose the one with the strongest
  • Expository Essays - Choose a CREATIVE, UNIQUE
    topic - different from everyone else!
  • Write an outline of some sort (approximately five
  • If you cant think of a response, make it all up
    - be believably creative

Tips - Writing
  • Begin by writing an introduction that has STYLE,
  • Repeat KEYWORDS in thesis, topic, closing
  • Use similies and metaphors in your details to
    enhance your readers understanding
  • Always include analysis (Why, Why, Why) in each
    support paragraph point

More Tips - Writing
  • Write 5 paragraphs unless the prompt specifically
    states a certain number of support paragraphs
  • Always REREAD the essay, checking for grammatical
    and format errors, inserting more explanation,
    and changing vocabulary to more sophisticated

General Test Strategies
  • Write for the entire time allocated. If you
    figure 130 minutes for two essays, spend the
    entire time making sure that both essays are a
    superb reflection of your writing ability. Then
    you will have 20 minutes for the short-answer and
    the 10 multiple choice questions.
  • EDIT, EDIT, EDIT if you have time
  • Use to insert words

End Result of All Your Diligence!
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