You see, the conventions of English essays are more formulaic than you might think – and, in many ways, it can be as simple as counting to five.
Though more advanced academic papers are a category all their own, the basic high school or college essay has the following standardized, five paragraph structure: Paragraph 1: Introduction Paragraph 2: Body 1 Paragraph 3: Body 2 Paragraph 4: Body 3 Paragraph 5: Conclusion Though it may seem formulaic – and, well, it is - the idea behind this structure is to make it easier for the reader to navigate the ideas put forth in an essay.
You see, if your essay has the same structure as every other one, any reader should be able to quickly and easily find the information most relevant to them.
The principle purpose of the introduction is to present your position (this is also known as the "thesis" or "argument") on the issue at hand but effective introductory paragraphs are so much more than that.
If yours is much longer you might want to consider editing it down a bit!
Here, by way of example, is an introductory paragraph to an essay in response to the following question: "Do we learn more from finding out that we have made mistakes or from our successful actions?The reader needs to know this and it is your job as the writer to paint the appropriate picture for them.To do this, it is a good idea to provide the reader with five or six relevant facts about the life (in general) or event (in particular) you believe most clearly illustrates your point. The importance of this step cannot be understated (although it clearly can be underlined); this is, after all, the whole reason you are providing the example in the first place.Try instead to be more general and you will have your reader hooked.The middle paragraphs of the essay are collectively known as the body paragraphs and, as alluded to above, the main purpose of a body paragraph is to spell out in detail the examples that support your thesis.For proof of this, consider examples from both science and everyday experience.Because this is the first paragraph of your essay it is your opportunity to give the reader the best first impression possible.Despite the fact that, as Shakespeare said, "the pen is mightier than the sword," the pen itself is not enough to make an effective writer.In fact, though we may all like to think of ourselves as the next Shakespeare, inspiration alone is not the key to effective essay writing.In fact, it took him more than 1,000 attempts to make the first incandescent bulb but, along the way, he learned quite a deal.As he himself said, "I did not fail a thousand times but instead succeeded in finding a thousand ways it would not work." Thus Edison demonstrated both in thought and action how instructive mistakes can be.