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Basic Essay Structure

All essays include three major parts:

  • introduction,
  • body, and
  • conclusion.

Introductory Paragraph

Grabber: Grab the reader's attention by using an anecdote, an interesting example, a quotation, a statistic, a thoughtful question, or interesting information.

Background information: Explain how your topic fits into the big picture.

Thesis statement/statement of intent: Give a focus and a map to the rest of your essay by introducing the main points of the body.

Body Paragraphs

Topic sentence: Present one of the main points to connect to the thesis. Make sure each body paragraph focuses on one specific topic.

Middle of paragraph: Provide the supporting details/ideas.  Elaborate using reasons, examples, research, a short narrative, statistics, analysis, and/or explanations.

Concluding sentence: Summarize the topic for this paragraph.

Transition: Connect one paragraph to the next paragraph. Transitions can be used at the end or the beginning of the next paragraph. Remember to begin a new paragraph when you change focus.​

Concluding Paragraph

Concluding statement: Restate your thesis statement in new words, and state why the thesis is important in your field.

Key ideas: Summarize a few of the key ideas you want your reader to remember. This will depend on the length of the essay.

Clincher: End with something that will stick in the reader's mind by providing a call to action, a thought-provoking question, an opinion, the significance of the subject to the reader, a recommendation, or a logical conclusion.