Tutor profile: Matt H.
How do I organize an essay?
There are different ways to organize an essay, and if your teacher has given you directions on organization, always follow those. One common method, however, is called the Three-Point-Five-Paragraph essay. This type of essay begins with an introduction that tells us the basics of the topic. It ends with a thesis statement. Now, a thesis statement is just your main idea, what you’re trying to prove. It usually has a claim and then your reasons for why you think your claim is true. For example, a thesis could be, “People should eat more vegetables because they are healthy, make people feel better, and are better for the environment.” My claim is “People should eat more vegetables.” That is what everything in the essay is there to show. My three reasons for the claim are “because they are healthy, make people feel better, and are better for the environment.” For the body paragraphs, you just write one paragraph on each of the three reasons/points in your thesis. In my example, you would write one paragraph on why people should eat more vegetables because they are healthy, another on why people should eat more vegetables because they will feel better, and a third on why people should eat more vegetables because they are better for the environment. Finally, your last paragraph is a conclusion that just summarizes everything you’ve said, all your main points.
What is a theme in a book?
Often, authors aren't just writing stories for entertainment but also to make a point. English teachers call this a theme, and it's similar to a moral--the lesson that you learn from the book. Perhaps, as in Animal Farm, it's the dangers of totalitarianism. Perhaps, as in Crime and Punishment, it's a warning to those who consider themselves intellectually superior to others, those who think they are above morality. Consider what changed about the main character in the book. What lesson did he or she learn? What lesson would the author want the reader to learn?
How do I make my writing sound more natural?
Often, academic essays can sound stuffy or hard to read. Now, in most situations, it is important for your essays to be professional and formal--but that doesn't mean they have to be confusing or wordy. One of the best pieces of writing advice I was ever given is to write how you talk (though a little more formal for academic work). We all have tons of experience with communicating out loud, and writing is just "talking on paper." Another important suggestion is, after you've written your first draft, cut all unneeded words. If the essay makes sense without a word or sentence, cut it. This will make your work easier to read and more concise.
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