But Alex’s professor doesn’t like it. She underlines the first two sentences, and she writes, “This is simply too general. Get to the point.” She underlines the third and sentences that are fourth and she writes, “You’re just restating the question I inquired. What’s your point?” She underlines the sentence that is final after which writes within the margin, “What’s your thesis?” because the past sentence into the paragraph only lists topics. It doesn’t make an argument.
Is Alex’s professor just a grouch? Well, no—she is wanting to teach this student that college writing isn’t about following a formula (the model that is five-paragraph, it’s about making an argument. Her first sentence is general, just how she learned a essay that is five-paragraph start. But from the professor’s perspective, it’s much too general—so general, in fact, so it’s completely outside of the assignment: she didn’t ask students to define civil war. The third and fourth sentences say, in so many words, “I am comparing and contrasting reasons why the North additionally the South fought the Civil War”—as the professor says, they simply restate the prompt, without giving just one hint about where this student’s paper is certainly going. The sentence that is final that ought to make a quarrel, only lists topics; it doesn’t start to explore how or why something happened.
You can guess what Alex will write next if you’ve seen a lot of five-paragraph essays. Her body that is first paragraph begin, “We can easily see a few of the different reasons why the North and South fought the Civil War by taking a look at the economy.” What’s going to the professor say about that? She might ask, “What differences can we come across? What area of the economy will you be speaing frankly about? How come the distinctions exist? Exactly why are they important?” The student might write a conclusion that says much the same thing as her introduction, in slightly different words after three such body paragraphs. Alex’s professor might respond, “You’ve already said this!”
What could Alex do differently? pay someone to write my paper Let’s start over. This time around, Alex doesn’t start with a preconceived notion of how to arrange her essay. In the place of three “points,that she will brainstorm until she comes up with a main argument, or thesis, that answers the question “Why did the North and South fight the Civil War?” Then she will decide how to organize her draft by thinking about the argument’s parts and how they fit together” she decides.
After doing a bit of brainstorming and reading the Writing Center’s handout on thesis statements, Alex thinks about a argument that is main or thesis statement:
- Both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, but Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their rights to property and self-government.
Then Alex writes her introduction. But rather of starting with a general statement about civil wars, she gives us the ideas we need to know in order to understand all the components of her argument:
- The usa broke far from England in response to British tyranny and oppression, so opposition to tyranny and a belief in individual freedom and liberty were important values in the republic that is young. But in the nineteenth century, slavery made Northerners and Southerners see these values in completely different ways. By 1860, the conflict during these values broke out into a civil war that nearly tore the nation apart. In that war, both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, but Northerners centered on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their rights to property and self-government.
Every sentence in Alex’s new introduction leads your reader down the road to her thesis statement in an unbroken chain of ideas.
Now Alex turns to organization. You’ll find more about the thinking process she goes through within our handout on organization, but here are the basics: first, she decides, she’ll write a paragraph that gives background; she’ll explain how opposition to tyranny and a belief in individual liberty came to be such values that are important the United States. Then she’ll write another background paragraph for which she shows how the conflict over slavery developed as time passes. Then she’ll have separate paragraphs about Northerners and Southerners, explaining in detail—and giving evidence for—her claims about each group’s reasons for planning to war.
Remember that Alex now has four body paragraphs. She could have had three or two or seven; what’s important is that she allowed her argument to tell her how many paragraphs she needs to have and how to suit them together. Furthermore, her body paragraphs don’t all discuss “points,” like “the economy” and “politics”—two of them give background, together with other two explain Northerners’ and Southerners’ views at length.
Finally, having followed her sketch outline and written her paper, Alex turns to writing a conclusion. From our handout on conclusions, she understands that a “that’s my story and I’m sticking to it” conclusion does not forward move her ideas. Applying the strategies she finds within the handout, she decides that she will use her conclusion to describe why the paper she’s just written really matters—perhaps by pointing out that the fissures in our society that the Civil War opened are, quite often, still causing trouble today.
Can it be ever OK to write a five-paragraph essay?
Yes. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where somebody expects you to definitely add up of a body that is large of on the spot and write a well-organized, persuasive essay—in fifty minutes or less? Feels like an essay exam situation, right? When time is short therefore the pressure is on, falling back in the good old essay that is five-paragraph help save you some time offer you confidence. A five-paragraph essay might also act as the framework for a short speech. Try not to fall under the trap, however, of creating a “listing” thesis statement when your instructor expects a quarrel; when making plans for your body paragraphs, think about three aspects of a disagreement, rather than three “points” to discuss. On the other side hand, most professors recognize the constraints of writing essays that are blue-book and a “listing” thesis is probably better than no thesis after all.
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