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Writing Essay's and Papers

Depending on what you are writing, there may be differences in how to present your written words. For example, if you're writing a letter to your friend about what you did over the summer, you likely will not be very formal about it. However, if your teacher has assigned the class to write a three-page essay about a topic - it needs to be formal, and there are a few little rules to follow.

First, let's outline a few do's and don't's when writing an Essay or Paper as a classroom assignment.

  • Do follow your teachers instructions on how to create a cover page (also called a "title page.")   Since may teacher's have varying requirements for this, we have opted to leave a lesson on the subject out.
  • Do Not use contractions. For example, instead of using "They're," use "they are." Instead of "it's," use "it is."
  • Do make each paragraph have a "title sentence" and "ending sentence." The title sentence should state what the rest of the paragraph is going to be about. The next sentences should provide the details. And the last paragraph should summarize the details.
  • Do use proper citations. Never take credit for other people's work!
  • Do make your very first sentence interesting and provide a glimpse at what the paper is about.
  • Do Not count any pages with only graphics, charts, or graphs as a page if there is a page requirement.
  • Do write an outline sketching out how you're going to make the paper flow. Once you have an outline, the rest of the paper is a lot easier!

If you were to write an essay about healthy eating, the following outline could be a starting point for quickly writing a great paper.

Topic: Health Eating

Opening Paragraph:
Title Sentence: While most people know they should be eating healthy, the fact remains that not many people do.
Supporting Sentence: [Give statistic about the number of times an average family eats fast food.]
Supporting Sentence: [Give statistic about obesity.]
Supporting Sentence: [Supply an idea that will be worked out later in paper, for example, "For many, eating healthy is eliminated because they simply do not have the time to create a healthy meal at home.]
Closing sentence: [Wrap up what you've said, lead into next paragraph.]

Paragraph 2:
Title Sentence: [Relate back to opening paragraph - "Not only does the frequency in which people eat fast food prevent them from eating healthy, but the food they order pushes them further away from a healthy diet."]
Supporting Sentences....

Using this outline, you could provide more supporting sentences, and each additional paragraph you can tie back into something that may have been briefly touched on early, or a related topic on the overall subject of your paper.

Other points when writing an essay:

Essay's are mostly considered formal writing! No slang terms should be used. If an acronym is used (such as "BIOS"), is should be fully explained what it stands for the first time it appears in your paper. (BIOS, for those that do not know, stands for "Basic Input Output System.") The only exceptions are for acronyms that everyone should know: USA, for example.

Enjoy writing the essay - if you focus on learning about your topic instead of what you're going to write about, it makes it much easier!

Lookign for a different kind of paper to write? Go and check out another Writing Topic in the Writing Lesson Center!


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