Saturday, August 4, 2007


Exercise Five: The Parts of an Essay (writing the body)

An essay is composed of three parts:
1. The opening paragraph or introduction
2. The body
3. The conclusion

Developing your topic and beginning your essay
Since the body of the essay is the biggest part it is often the best place to start. That way, the bulk of your essay is completed first.

In order to begin writing the body of your essay, you need to develop your topic. This involves closely examining your thesis statement. The first question you need to ask yourself is: how do I plan to support the opinion in my thesis?

Well, you begin by making a list of reasons or examples that support your opinion. You need a list of, at least, three strong reasons. For example, if we look back at the thesis statement in Exercise four, we can easily create a list to support the opinion stated in the thesis:

Thesis – When it comes to animals, dogs make better pets than cats.

Reasons/Examples to support opinion –
1) Dogs are fun

2) Dogs help you exercise

3) Dogs are loyal

4) Can you add any other reasons?

Once you have your reasons/examples, putting the body of the essay together becomes very simple by following these steps:

Step 1 – Examine your first reason/example. I.e. “dogs are fun”
Step 2 – Explain what you mean (why are dogs fun?) and use examples to back up your ideas. In this instance you might
explain that it’s fun to teach dogs games and tricks, or that dogs like to play.
Step 3 – Put your ideas together in step two to create a paragraph. Keep in mind that there should be only one main topic in a
paragraph. If you find yourself wanting to branch off of a topic onto another related one, begin a new paragraph to
discuss that idea.
Step 4 – Repeat steps 1 – 3 for the second and third reasons/examples. Once you have the minimum three paragraphs written
to support your thesis, the body of your essay is complete.

Remember, the body of your essay must have at least three paragraphs. Additional paragraphs, however, can help strengthen your essay if they help reinforce your ideas.

Look back at the four thesis statements you created in Activity 4B and fine tuned in activity 4C. Make a list, for each of those statements, of at least three reasons/examples that support your opinion in each thesis.

Choose one of the thesis statements and lists of reasons/examples you worked on in the previous activity. Following steps 1 – 4 of exercise five, use your list of reasons to write the paragraphs to make up the rough copy of the body of an essay.

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