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Essay
-a group of paragraphs that develops a central idea
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Structure of an Essay
Introductory paragraph-General Information-Thesis statementDevelopmental paragraphs (3 or >)-Topic sentence-Supporting sentencesConcluding paragraph-Summary-Personal comment (optional)
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Structure of a paragraph and an essay
Paragraph-Topic sentence-Supporting Sentences-Supporting details-Concluding sentence
Essay-Introductory paragraph-Thesis StatementDevelopmental paragraphsConcludingparagraph
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Introductory Paragraph
Purpose- to give readers a general/ background informationto catch the readers’ interestTo provide the central idea of the essay in the thesis statement
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Types of Introductory Paragraphs
“Turnabout” introductory paragraph – authors opens with a statement contrary to his or her actual thesisDramatic Entrance – author opens with a narrative, descriptive, or example pertinent to the topic“Relevant Quotation” – author opens with a quotation pertinent to the topicFunnel approach – author opens with general information leading to the central idea of the topic (most common type of introductory paragraph)
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Turnabout” introductory paragraph
An Example:We live in an era where television is the national pastime. Since the invention of the television set, people have been spending more of their free time watching television than doing anything else. Many of the television addicts feel that this particular pastime is not a bad one; indeed, they argue that people can learn a great deal watching television. I am sure that if you look long and hard enough, you can probably find some programs that are educationally motivating. However, for the most part, I say that watching television is a waste of time.
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Dramatic Entrance Introductory paragraph
An example:The rain pours down as if running from a faucet, lightning streaks across the dark restless sky, and thunder pounds the roof and walls of the house. All of a sudden the wind kicks up. Trees sway madly back and forth; loose objects are picked up and thrown all around. The house creaks and moans with every gust of wind. Windows are broken by pieces of shingle from a neighbor’s roof or loose objects picked up by the wind. Power lines snap like thread. The unprepared house and its occupants are in grave danger as the awesome hurricane approaches. Had they prepared for the hurricane, they might not be in such danger. Indeed, careful preparation before a hurricane is essential to life and property.
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Relevant Quotation Introductory Paragraph
An Example:“The saffron is an arrogant flower,” begins an old Spanish zarzuela named for its lush, purple blossom. “It is born with the sunrise and dies at sunset.” For a couple of weeks in October of every year, in Spain’s La Mancha region, the arrogant crocus is harvested frenetically, as fast as it flowers.For Saffron is the world’s most precious spice, often rivaling, ounce for ounce, the cost of gold. A pound of its tiny threads – the stigmas, of female organs, of Crocus sativus, an autumn crocus – currently costs well over $2,000. There is such a demand for these little fibers the Spanish call “red gold” that virtually all that is grown will be sold.
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Funnel Approach Introductory Paragraph
Traveling to a foreign country is always interesting, especially if it is a country that is completely different from your own. You can delight in tasting new foods, seeing new sights, and learning about different customs, some of which may seem very curious. If you were to visit my country, for instance, you would probably think that my people have some very strange customs, as these three examples will illustrate.
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Funnel Approach
General Statements

Thesis Statement
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Thesis Statement
Is the central idea of the essayMay lists the subdivisions of the topicMay indicate the method of organisation of the entire paperIs usually the last sentence in the introductory paragraph
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Thesis Statements
Can be written in several ways- Without subtopics:Eg: Being the oldest son has more disadvantages than advantages.Young people in my culture havelessfreedom than young peoplein the United States.
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With subtopics:1)Thelarge movement of people from rural to urban areas has major effects on a city’s ability to providehousing,employment, andadequate sanitation services.2)Prejudicesarises from three basic causes:childhood conditioning, ignorance, and fear.3)Youngpeople in my culture have less freedom than young people in the United Statesnot onlyin their choice of life-stylebut alsoin their choice of careers.
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How to Tell a Strong Thesis Sentence from a Weak One.
A strong thesis takes some sort of stand.Example: There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement. (Thesis Statement)This is a weak thesis. First, it fails to take a stand. Second, the phrase “negative and positive aspects” is vague.
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Because Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, it poses a potential danger to customers. (Thesis)This is a strong thesis because it takes a stand.
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A strong thesis justifies discussion.Your thesis should indicate the point of the discussion. If your assignment is to write a paper on kinship systems, using your own family as an example, you might come up with either of these two thesis statements:My family is an extended family. (Thesis Statement)This is a weak thesis because it states an observation. Your reader won’t be able to tell the point of the statement, and will probably stop reading.
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While most American families would viewconsanguinealmarriage as a threat to the nuclear family structure, many Iranian families, like my own, believe that these marriages help reinforce kinship ties in an extended family. (Thesis Statement)Thisis a strong thesis because it shows howyour experience contradictsa widely-accepted view.A goodstrategy for creating a strong thesis isto showthat the topic is controversial. Readers willbe interestedin reading the rest of the essay to see how you support your point.
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A strong thesis expresses one main idea.Readers need to be able to see that your paper has one main point. If your thesis expresses more than one idea, then you might confuse your readers about the subject of your paper. For example:Companies need to exploit the marketing potential of the Internet, and web pages can provide both advertising and customer support.
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This is a weak thesis statement because the reader can’t decide whether the paper is about marketing on the Internet or web pages. To revise the thesis, the relationship between the two ideas needs to become more clear. One way to revise the thesis would be to write:
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Because the Internet is filled with tremendous marketing potential, companies should exploit this potential by using web pages that offer both advertising and customer support.This is a strong thesis because it shows that the two ideas are related. Hint: a great many clear and engaging thesis statements contain words like “because,” “since,” “so,” “although,” “unless,” and “however.”
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A strong thesis statement is specific.A thesis statement should show exactly what your paper will be about, and will help you keep your paper to a manageable topic. For example, if you write a paper on hunger, you might say:World hunger has many causes and effects.This is a weak thesis statement for two major reasons. First, “world hunger” can’t be discussed thoroughly in five or ten pages. Second, "many causes and effects" is vague. You should be able to identify specific causes and effects. A revised thesis might look like this:
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Hunger persists in Appalachia because jobs are scarce and farming in the infertile soil is rarely profitable.This is a strong thesis because it narrows the subject to a more specific and manageable topic and it also identifies the specific causes for the existence of hunger.
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Developmental Paragraph
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Purpose:To explain, illustrate, discuss or prove the thesis statement
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Points to remember when writing developmental paragraph
Each developmental paragraph discusses one aspect of the thesis statement.eg: Smoking cigarettes has several effects on a person’s health.Each paragraph should then have as itstopic an effect.The controlling idea in the developmental paragraph should echo the central idea in the thesis statement.
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The developmental paragraphs should have coherence and unity.Transitional signals are important not only within paragraphs but also between paragraphs.There is a need to show relationship between your first and second paragraph, between your second and third paragraph and so on.
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Paragraph TransitionsA Model
Aggressive DriversThe number of vehicles on freeways and streets is increasing at an alarming rate. This influx of motor vehicles is creating hazardous conditions. Moreover, drivers are in such a rush to get to their destinations that many become angry or impatient with other motorists who are too slow or who are in their way. Aggressive drivers react foolishly toward others in several dangerous ways.
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Body Paragraph 1Transition words
One wayan angry driver may react is cut off another motorist. (+ supporting sentences) _______________________________________________________________________________________
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Body Paragraph 2Transition words
Another wayis to tailgate the other car. (+ supporting sentences) _______________________________________________________________________________________
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Body Paragraph 3Transition phrase
In addition to cutting and tailgating other cars, aggressive drivers often use rude language or gestures to show their anger. (+ supporting sentences) ________________________________________________________________
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Body Paragraph 4Transition clause
Although law enforcement authorities warn motorists against aggressive driving, the number who act out their angry impulses has not declined. (+ supporting sentences) _______________________________________________________________________________________
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Concluding paragraph
To conclude, aggressive drivers are endangering everyone because they create hazardous conditions by acting and driving foolishly. They should control their anger and learn to drive safely. After all, the lives they save could be their own.
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Concluding Paragraph
Function of Introductory Paragraph: open essay for discussion by introducing the topic and the central idea (thesis)Concluding paragraph: wraps up discussion – bringing the development to a logical end
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Common approach to writing a concluding paragraph
Restate the main points (subtopics) discussed.State them brieflyParaphrase the main pointsAdd a final comment (optional)Do Not:Bring up a new topicSound repetitious, so paraphrase the ideas.
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An Introductory paragraphA sample
Any person who lived in the twentieth century has seen a lot of changes take place in almost all areas of human existence. Some people are excited by the challenges that these changes offer; others want to return to the simpler life-style of the past. The twentieth century has certain advantages such as a higher standard of living for many, but it also has some disadvantages such as a polluted environment, the depersonalization of human relationships, and the weakening of spiritual values.
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A Concluding ParagraphA model
In short, although the twentieth century has indeed given some of us a lot of advantages by making us richer, healthier, and freer to enjoy our lives, it has, in my opinion, not made us wiser. The twentieth century has also made our earth dirtier, our people less humane, and our spiritual lives poorer. We wish to continue to enjoy the benefits of technological advancement because they free us to pursue our other interests and goals. However, we must make a concerted effort to preserve our natural environment for future generations. Moreover, we should take time now to make our lives more meaningful in our increasingly impersonal, mechanized world.
Format of Final Examination
MCQand Structured Questions (All topics but pay particular attention to topics covered from Week 8-Week14)Identifying sentence problemsIdentifying and/or writing thesis statementIdentifying and/or writing topic sentenceWrite selected paragraphs (Introductory, body paragraphs or concluding paragraphs)Cohesive devices

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Essay - vodppl.upm.edu.my