Essay Format
Thesis Statement
0 First part of an essay
0 Try to capture the reader’s attention
Introduction Format
0 1. Attention getter
0 2. State your problem
0 3. Bridge or transition sentences
0 4. Thesis statement (always at the end)
Ways to Start Your Introduction
0 Strategy
0 Provide some interesting
background about the topic in
the form of a general statement
0 Use a thought-provoking
0 Ask a question about your topic
0 State a surprising fact or a
puzzling statement
0 Start with a short story
0 Examples
0 Today’s gnome owners become
tomorrow’s leaders.
0 “Gnomes are creatures to be
loved, not feared!”
Dr. S. Rosner
0 Why don’t many people like
0 In 1693, the first gnome was
brought to America.
0 Little Susie looked out her
window, only to see her precious
gnome, Willard, was being
Ways to Start Your Introduction
0 Strategy
0 State a common
0 Describe a problem
0 Give an analogy
0 Show how the topic is
related to the reader’s
0 Examples
0 People don’t learn bad
habits from gnomes.
0 Everyone knows what a
problem gnome-napping
has become in our society.
0 Gnomes are just like
0 Most people know how
difficult it is to take care of
garden gnomes.
0 Make a bridge to connect the attention getting
sentence(s) to your thesis statement
0 Common way to make a bridge is to explain why the
topic is important.
0 This bridge is often a few sentences long.
0 Conclude introductory paragraph with the most
important idea of the essay-THE THESIS
Thesis Statement
0 “In my opinion…”
0 “My paper is going to be about…”
0 “I think that…”
0 Don’t be vague or too broad in your claim
0 Don’t write the title of the story as your thesis
0 Don’t list facts
0 Don’t ask questions
Thesis Statement
0 Be specific
0 Make a claim that you have to support
0 Make a claim that you can make the strongest argument.
(It may not always be what you agree with)
Example of an Introduction
0 Example
Gnome-Phobia in America
1. In 2004, the Gnome Liberation Front (GLF) was created. This group of people believes that
gnomes should be free, not prisoners of their owner’s garden. 2. The GLF has now begun
gnome-napping, the act of stealing gnomes and “freeing them” in the wilderness; however, the
law is unwilling to do anything. 3. Many police state that the gnomes are not a serious enough
offense to deal with and that they have larger crimes to deal with. This is not acceptable. The
law should be taking the gnome-napping more seriously because people are committing a
crime. 4. Gnome-napping is stealing personal property, and is illegal, morally wrong, and
1. Attention getter
2. State your problem.
3. Bridge or transition sentences
4. Thesis statement
**NOTE: This doesn’t mean your intro is 4 sentences long. It just has 4 parts.
The Body
0 The body is a set of paragraphs that develop
the idea expressed in the thesis statement.
0 Make a list of main ideas that support the thesis statement.
Each main idea becomes the main idea sentence for a body
0 Arrange the main ideas in logical order (time, place,
0 Plan out each body paragraph by listing major details that
support each main idea
0 Order the details within each paragraph in a logical way.
Each body paragraph may end with a concluding sentence.
Example Essay Outline
Thesis Statement
Gnome-napping is stealing personal property, and is illegal, morally wrong, and
Body Paragraph 1
Topic Sentence: Gnome-napping is stealing someone’s personal property, and stealing is illegal.
Main Points:
Body Paragraph 2
Topic Sentence: It is morally wrong to take anyone’s property, whether it is a gnome or a car.
Main Points: 1.
Body Paragraph 3
Topic Sentence: The GLF is incredibly disrespectful because they take items that don’t belong them.
Main Points: 1.
The Writing Stage
0 After planning and arranging your main ideas and
major details, begin writing your body paragraphs.
0 The number of paragraphs depends on the topic’s
complexity, inclusiveness, and your purpose for
0 Usually a short essay contains 3 to 5 body
paragraphs, plus an introduction and conclusion
0 Remember to use signal words to make smooth
transitions between sentences and paragraphs.
Signal/Transition Words
0 For examples: For example, for instance, to
0 For organization or chronological order:
Next, finally first, secondly, third
0 For additional points: Furthermore, in
addition, also, moreover
0 For opposing ideas: On the other hand, in
contrast, although, however
0 For similar ideas: Likewise, similarly, in
Signal/Transition Words
0 For exceptions: However, nevertheless, but,
yet, still
0 For emphasis: Above all, finally, more
0 For understanding: In other words, in
essence, briefly
0 For summarizing: In conclusion, to sum up,
for these reasons, in a nutshell
0 For exams: Remember this, this is important,
this could be on the test
0 Leave the reader thinking about your topic. Leave
an impression on them!
0 No new information in conclusion
0 Be sure to recap your ideas
0 Should follow logically from the body of the essay
0 Restate your thesis statement in different words
0 You might want to have your reader do something
after reading (“call to action” – Example: Go write
your Senator about this problem.)
0 Directions: Identify whether the thesis is good, okay,
or bad.
0 _______ 1. Senator Debbie Stabenow works for Michigan.
0 _______ 2. My thesis is about how to get good grades.
0 _______ 3. The Great Debate
0 _______ 4. While on vacation I experienced quite an
0 _______ 5. Edgar Allen Poe was born in January 1809.
0 _______ 6. Implementing school uniforms would have
many benefits.
0 _______ 7. I am against school uniforms.
0 _______ 8. Students think that being “cool” means having
to sacrifice his or her morals, giving in to peer
pressure, and doing bad in school.
0 _______ 9. Comparing and contrasting the two poems will
illustrate why “If” by Kipling is the best poem.
0 10. Read the following essay prompt and write a
thesis statement for it:
0 Many communities are considering adopting curfews for
high school students. Some educators and parents favor
curfews because they believe it will encourage students
to focus more on their homework and make them more
responsible. Others feel curfews are up to families, not
the community, and that students today need freedom
to work and participate in social activities in order to
mature properly. Do you think that communities should
impose curfews on high school students?
0 11. Exercise: Read the following sample introduction
and underline the thesis twice and circle the bridge.
0 Remember that a bridge is where you bring up the topic of your paper, but
nothing specific.
0 Example Paragraph: Most people don’t choose who they
eat dinner with every night. It is usually whomever a
person lives with, or is around as dinnertime. There are
many fascinating people to spend time with while eating
dinner. If I were able to choose any three people, dead or
alive to eat with, it would take me a while to decide.
After great consideration I would invite Oprah, my
grandma, and President Lincoln.
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