- Introductory Statement: name the author(s) and title(s), and/or the subject of the essay
- Thesis: state the thing you’re arguing as an assertion in one sentence
- Expanded Thesis: name your main arguments (i.e., your sections)
- Overview: name your essay’s sections (if you have an expanded thesis, you do not need an overview)
- Background (optional): one key term or fact (maximum one sentence)
Body Paragraphs (Sections)
- Topic Sentence: first sentence of every paragraph states its main claim
- Evidence: quote text whenever possible, paraphrase only if you have no other option, always cite
- Interpretation: explain how this evidence supports the topic sentence
- Significance: explain how this evidence supports the thesis of the essay
- Transition: explain how this paragraph/section leads to the next one
* Repeat for as many paragraphs/sections as is necessary for your essay! *
- Review: summarize the paragraphs/sections of your essay (i.e., major pieces of evidence and arguments)
- Conclusion: rephrase the thesis as if the readers now agree with you
- Memorable Statement: say something witty or pithy, raise questions unaddressed in the essay, etc.
- what you’re essay is arguing
- the conclusion that you came to after analyzing the evidence
- not how you came to your conclusion (that goes in the body paragraphs)
- not a summary of the whole argument
- (don’t argue, say what your argument is going to be
- a truth claim, an assertion
- verb in the simple present tense: e.g., is, shows, demonstrates, etc.
- not a hypothetical: e.g., would, could, might, may…
- not subjective reasoning: e.g., I think, I believe, it seems to me, etc.
- must be controversial, begs to be proved
- cannot be obvious/well-known or a statement of fact
- cannot be a generalization: i.e., a claim about a universal rule
- no generalizations; e.g., always, forever, all, etc.
- simple thesis: one clause, a single assertion (one thing that is true)
- no evidence (examples, quotations) or argument (reasoning, logic)
- expanded thesis: includes reasons why the thesis is true
- an expanded thesis must reflect the outline of your essay