Incorporate these five important ingredients into your formal essays
Without the five major components of essay writing, you cannot present a well structured formal essay. Every student worth his salt needs to understand the basics of essay writing and essay formatting in order to move to the next academic level. With the advancements that have been made in the field of software and other language related applications, there are quite a few students who tend to depend on essay templates and software for their essay writing needs. Though these are good in their own way, they have a few limitations that could put a student back in his journey towards academic excellence.
Go through these five elements of a formal essay before you embark on your essay writing journey
1. Every essay should begin with an introduction that contains a well structured and strongly worded thesis statement. This is an indication of what the essay is focusing on and the scope of the topic too.
2. Your thesis statement would cover a fair amount of work that you intend doing. Therefore the second ingredient of all formal essays is the arrangement of paragraphs that contain supporting facts and data based on your intro.
3. The shift between paragraphs need to be very smooth. At the end of the first paragraph there needs to be a transition sentence that indicates what will come up in the second paragraph. This smooth transition should be repeated.
4. A perfect conclusion is the best end to a good essay. Any formal essay ensures that all points are brought to their logical ends in the concluding section.
5. Language, style and tone -these make up the fifth element of a good essay. Simplicity is the key and do not try to go overboard trying to impress anybody with flowery language.
If you are able to understand the basic elements of essay writing, you will be able to learn how to write a good formal essay, fairly easily. Of course, your teacher is going to tell you that practice makes perfect and that it is essential to write an essay a day to see how you can be a good essay writer in a short period of time.
Trying to practice writing an essay might sound quite simple; however, as you move along your student career, you will realise that you have far too many tasks to concentrate on. You have term papers to do and the odd presentation that you have to make. In this kind of a situation, it would be better for you to find out more about how we can help you meet your deadlines.
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Notice how each of these objects are objective correlatives for the writer’s family. Taken together, they create an essence image.
Quick: What essence image describes your family? Even if you have a non-traditional family–in fact, especially if you have a non-traditional family!–what image or objects represents your relationship?
Based on the image the writer uses, how would you describe her relationship with her family? Close? Warm? Intimate? Loving? Quiet? But think how much worse her essay would have been if she’d written: “I have a close, warm, intimate, loving, quiet relationship with my family.”
Instead, she describes an image of her family "huddled in front of the fireplace while drinking my brother’s hot cocoa and listening to the pitter patter of rain outside our window.” Three objects--fireplace, brother’s hot cocoa, sound of rain--and we get the whole picture of their relationship. We know all we need to know.
There’s another lesson here:
Principle #2: Engage the reader’s imagination using all five senses
This writer did. Did you notice?
- Fireplace (feel)
- Brother’s hot cocoa (taste, smell)
- Pitter patter of rain (sound)
- Biggest photograph (sight)
And there’s something else she did that’s really smart. Did you notice how clearly she set up the idea of the scrapbook at the beginning of the essay? Look at the last sentence of the second paragraph (bolded below):
Cutting the first photograph, I make sure to leave a quarter inch border. I then paste it onto a polka-dotted green paper with a glue stick. For a sophisticated touch, I use needle and thread to sew the papers together. Loads of snipping and pasting later, the clock reads three in the morning. I look down at the final product, a full spread of photographs and cut-out shapes. As usual, I feel an overwhelming sense of pride as I brush my fingers over the crisp papers and the glossy photographs. For me, the act of taking pieces of my life and putting them together on a page is my way of organizing remnants of my past to make something whole and complete.
The sentence in bold above is essentially her thesis. It explains the framework for the whole essay. She follows this sentence with:
This particular project is the most valuable scrapbook I have ever made: the scrapbook of my life.
Boom. Super clear. And we’re set-up for the rest of the essay. So here’s the third thing we can learn:
Principle #3: The set-up should be super clear
Even a personal statement can have a thesis. It’s important to remember that, though your ending can be somewhat ambiguous—something we’ll discuss more later—your set-up should give the reader a clear sense of where we’re headed. It doesn’t have to be obvious, and you can delay the thesis for a paragraph or two (as this writer does), but at some point in the first 100 words or so, we need to know we’re in good hands. We need to trust that this is going to be worth our time.
Principle #4: Show THEN Tell
Has your English teacher ever told you “Show, don’t tell?” That’s good advice, but for a college essay I believe it’s actually better to show THEN tell.
Why? Two reasons:
1.) Showing before telling gives your reader a chance to interpret the meaning of your images before you do. Why is this good? It provides a little suspense. Also, it engages the reader’s imagination. Take another look at the images in the second to last paragraph: my college diploma... a miniature map with numerous red stickers pinpointing locations all over the world... frames and borders without photographs... (Note that it's all "show.")
As we read, we wonder: what do all these objects mean? We have an idea, but we’re not certain. Then she TELLS us:
That second page is incomplete because I have no precise itinerary for my future. The red flags on the map represent the places I will travel to, possibly to teach English like I did in Cambodia or to do charity work with children like I did in Guatemala. As for the empty frames, I hope to fill them with the people I will meet: a family of my own and the families I desire to help, through a career I have yet to decide.
Ah. Now we get it. She’s connected the dots.
2.) Showing then telling gives you an opportunity to set-up your essay for what I believe to be the single most important element to any personal statement: insight.
Principle #5: Provide insight
What is insight? In simple terms, it’s a deeper intuitive understanding of a person or thing.
But here’s a more useful definition for your college essay: Insight is something that you’ve noticed about the world that others may have missed. Insight answers the question: So what? It's proof that you’re a close observer of the world. That you’re sensitive to details. That you’re smart.
And the author of this essay doesn’t just give insight at the end of her essay, she does it at the beginning too: she begins with a description of herself creating a scrapbook (show), then follows this with a clear explanation for why she has just described this (tell).
Final note: it’s important to use insight judiciously. Not throughout your whole essay; a couple times will do.
So what can you steal from this for your essay?
- Principle #1: Use objects and images instead of adjectives
- Principle #2: Engage the reader’s imagination using all five senses
- Principle #3: The set-up should be super clear
- Principle #4: Show THEN Tell
- Principle #5: Provide insight