What is an Essay? Video Lecture
If they are not your own words, you need to put them in quotation marks and give the name of the person who wrote them originally. And in high level classes, the teacher will probably require you to use MLA or APA format. The essay should end with a short conclusion paragraph that either summarizes the main points or restates the thesis statement.
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This lecture we’ll talk about academic essays. You’ll learn the important parts of an essay, and the different types of essay. An essay is a piece of writing that is focused around only one topic. Essays have several paragraphs that help to develop the topic. Let’s look at the different parts of an essay. There is a title that tells you what the essay is going to be about. The first paragraph of the essay will be the introduction. The introduction might have some background information or other general statements about the topic. The most important part of the introduction is the thesis statement, which comes at the end of the introduction. Then there are the body paragraphs. And each essay needs at least two body paragraphs. This essay has three body paragraphs. And you can have as many body paragraphs as you need. The body paragraphs help to develop the thesis statement. That means they give reasons and examples. That help to prove the thesis statement. The last paragraph in the essay is the conclusion. A conclusion wraps up the essay. You might summarize your main points or restate your thesis. An essay needs to have all of these parts to be complete. Here’s a simpler look at the essay structure. Again, we see the thesis statement is in the introduction. That tells the reader the point that you’re trying to make in the essay. And each body paragraph is a supporting topic for that thesis statement. The first body paragraph will be your first support of the thesis so it relates directly to the thesis statement. The second body paragraph gives your second support or reason and it supports to the thesis statement as well. The same is true with the third body paragraph. This is your third support of the thesis statement. This is an important thing to check in your essay. If the body paragraphs are not related to the thesis statement, then they don’t belong in the essay, or you need to fix your thesis statement. Here are some of the types of essays that use the structure we’ve talked about. Illustration is a kind of essay that supports a thesis using examples. Illustrate means to show, so this kind of essay shows the reader something through examples. Argument is a kind of essay that proves a point by giving reasons. Each body paragraph will give another reason to support the thesis. Classification divides a topic into categories, and each body paragraph will be a separate category. These essays have a thesis statement and several body paragraphs to support the thesis. Compare and contrast is a type of essay that shows the similarities between two things or the differences between two things. In this type of essay, the body paragraphs will be about the similarities or the differences. And finally, cause and effect will describe the causes of something or the effects of something. These essays all use the five paragraph structure that we’ve looked at. They have an introduction, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph. These are the types of academic essays you will most likely be asked to write in schools in the US. There are several other types that are a little bit different, and I will talk about those in a minute. Here are a few other things to remember when you write an academic essay. All of the essay types we’ve mentioned so far use third person pronouns. Third person pronouns refer to other people like he, she, they, him, her, and so on. Other people means not you and not I. You and I are first and second person, and they are not appropriate for an argument or an illustration essay. So do not use I, me, we, my, our, you, your and so on. Next, you want to be sure to cite your sources. This means that if you use words that are not your own, maybe you got them from the internet or from a book or a magazine. If they are not your own words, you need to put them in quotation marks and give the name of the person who wrote them originally. This is very important when writing an essay that you will turn in or give to someone else. You cannot use other people’s words and pretend that they are your own. Of course, you probably know that you need to use correct grammar and punctuation in your essay. If you have mistakes, the reader will not want to read your essay. Finally, make sure you use the correct format for the essay. This will depend what your teacher wants you to do. If the teacher says it’s okay to hand write your essay without a computer, then make sure you use notebook sized paper and write neatly. If your teacher wants you to type it, make sure you use printer paper and have enough ink in the printer to make a clean copy. You are responsible for making sure the printed essay looks good on the paper. And in high level classes, the teacher will probably require you to use MLA or APA format. These are style guides for printing your paper. Usually MLA and APA require you to have a particular kind of heading and it’ll have page numbers. You also have to double space the lines and use 12 point font. Always ask your teacher which format he or she wants you to use. Here are a few other types of essays that you might be asked to write, and they are different from the others that we’ve talked about. These four essays use different structures. The description essay describes a place or an event. A narration tells a story about something that happened. A process tells how something happens or it tells the reader how to do something. And a definition essay does what it sounds like. It defines something. But there’s a special way to define something with an essay. These essays have some different rules that apply to them, and you’ll learn about those another time. Let’s review what we’ve learned. Academic essays must have an introduction with a thesis statement. The essay needs to have several good body paragraphs that support the thesis. The essay should end with a short conclusion paragraph that either summarizes the main points or restates the thesis statement. Remember not to use first or second person pronouns. Don’t use I or me or you or we, instead use third person pronouns like he, she, or they. Also remember to use quotation marks around any words that are not your own. And you need to say where you got those words from. Remember to use the format that your teacher tells you to use. Finally, there are several different types of academic essays that you might be asked to write. Argument and illustration are probably the most common of these.
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