A good essay has vivid topic sentences, well-connected paragraphs, and carefully-applied transition words. These are mastered by students through provision of considerable number of writing activities. They can only be masters of good writing skills only if they can write on their own and connect the ideas systematically as they write. The following are the three important things make any good essay should have:
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- WELL-CONNECTED PARAGRAPHS.
A paragraph is a self-contained unit in writing that deals with a particular point or idea. A paragraph consists of one or more sentences. In most writings, paragraphs are indented, that a first line of a paragraph begins off the margin line while the rest sentences begin immediately after the margin line. Or a paragraph is a group of sentences that are combined to present a single idea. Paragraph can be short or long depending on the idea being presented. Paragraph helps the reader distinguish one idea from another. We may have many ideas and our job is to divide and organize them neatly into individual paragraphs.
A common English usage states that a paragraph should have three to five sentences but even single-word paragraphs are common in English language especially in a journalistic and poetic style.
A paragraph should have a topic sentence or a “main idea”, preferably first, and multiple “supporting” or “detail” sentences which explain or supply evidences are followed. A good paragraph often begins with a topic sentence which is distinguished from other sentences with a full stop. The succeeding sentences are details that support and explain the main idea in a specific way. Paragraph transition word is distinguished from other sentences with a comma.
- CLEAR TOPIC SENTENCES/POINTS.
The topic sentence is the sentence in a paragraph which summarizes the main idea of that paragraph. It is usually the first sentence in a paragraph. It is also called Focus Sentence as it organizes an entire paragraph.
Although topic sentences may appear anywhere in a paragraph, in academic essays they often appear at the beginning. The topic sentence acts as a kind of summary and offers the reader an insightful view of the writer’s main ideas for the following paragraph.
A topic sentence adds cohesion to a paper and helps organizes ideas both within the paragraph and the whole body of work at large.
As the topic sentence organizes the idea of the paragraph, serving as a sub-thesis, it remains general enough to cover the support given in the body paragraph while being more direct than the thesis of the paper.
A topic sentence may begin with a complex sentence (main clause followed and dependent clause. E.g. while he is conservative, John is also a pragmatist). Some begin with questions. But most exam essays topic sentence begin with a single term, short phrase, short sentence, or even a long sentence.
A topic sentence is distinguished from the rest sentence with a full stop.
- CAREFULLY-APPLIED TRANSITION WORDS.
Transition words are words or phrases that show the relationship between sentences, paragraphs, or sections of a text or speech. Transitions provide greater cohesion by making it more explicit or signaling how ideas relate to one another. Transitions act as bridges to connect words and ideas so that your readers don’t have to do the mental work for you.
- Coordinating transitions. These connect ideas that are equal in rank, quality or significance. For example; and, also, too, together with, not only…but also, as well as, furthermore, moreover, in the same way, likewise, comparatively, and so on.
To introduce and opposing point; but, however, yet, on the contrary, on the other hand, in contrast, still, neither, nor, nevertheless, notwithstanding, besides.
To signal a restatement; that is, in other words, in simpler terms, to put it differently.
- Temporal transitions. These show frequency: frequently, hourly, often, occasionally, now and then, day after day, every so often, again and again, and and so on.
To show a particular time; now, then, at that time, in those days, last week, next, week, in 1999, at the beginning of August, at six o’clock, first thing in the morning, two months ago, when, and so on.
To introduce a beginning; at first, in the beginning, since, before then.
To introduce a middle; in the meantime, meanwhile, as it was happening, at that moment, at the same time, simultaneously, next, then.
To signal an end; (or beyond); eventually, finally, at last, in the end, later, afterward.
CONCLUSION AND OTHER OBSERVATIONS.
Topic sentence, details on the idea, and concluding sentence (or example sentence) are the internal organizations of a single paragraph. But you should also consider the ways of organizing these materials within the paragraph and across the paragraphs. A transition word is a solution to this because it balances the paragraph and links the previous paragraph to the next paragraph.
Transitions are a way of connecting your ideas. When you consider good transitions, ask yourself whether your transition refers to the previous idea, and links that idea to the next idea.
These transition words can also be used to introduce examples in the concluding sentence of a paragraph. Here words like; for instance, for example, in a nutshell, hence, thus, that is, then, etc are common.
The paragraph transition element is grammatically optional (termed as Adjunct) with respect to the rest of the sentence. Adjuncts are omissible, mobile, and stackable, as are frequently marked out with commas although such demarcation is optional for shorter adjuncts.
Supporting Adjuncts: and, because, since, so, etc.
Contrasting Adjuncts: although, but, however, whereas, yet, etc.
Time-Ordering Adjuncts: after, before, while, etc.
Check out how to Study & Teach other Form Three Sub Topics in this Blog!
Also check out:
Form I Sub topics, at FORM I SYLLABUS TOPICS REVIEW
Form II Sub topics, at FORM II SYLLABUS TOPICS REVIEW
Form IV Sub topics, at FORM IV SYLLABUS TOPICS REVIEW
For more on Literature Topics, check out Literature in English Blog
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For Form IV NECTA Examination Sections, check out ELABORATED CSEE NECTA EXAMINATION SECTIONS
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