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How to Write a Strong Essay Body

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❶The former writes clearly and incisively. Sometimes it is easier to write part of the conclusion before you have finished doing research.

2. Stake out a position!

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Essays can be crucial to admissions and scholarship decisions.
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Put material in your own words so. If you cite well, you won't need much or any space to tie the source into your argument, and your writing will flow powerfully. On the other hand, if you quote at length, you will lead me to think you are padding your paper and dodging the difficult work of interpretation. In short papers concentrating on only one or two sources, footnotes waste space.

Instead, include brief references in your text like this: If you do footnote, I prefer footnotes to endnotes; readers are more likely to read them. Of course, when you rely on someone else's work even mine for an idea, a phrase, or a passage of any greater length, you know the rules: Citing sources allows you and me to refer to them later. Moreover, failing to cite sources is called plagiarism. In brief, it is generally defined as passing off another's work as one's own, whether or not you do it intentionally.

To plagiarize is to present someone else's work — his or her words, line of thought, or organizational structure — as our own. This occurs when sources are not cited properly, or when permission is not obtained from the original author to use his or her work. By not acknowledging the sources that are used in our work, we are wrongfully taking material that is not our own. Plagiarism is thus an insidious and disruptive form of dishonesty. It violates relationships with known classmates and professors, and it violates the legal rights of people we may never meet.

Do you see how I set that paragraph apart and acknowledge the writer? If I had not done so, I would have led you to believe I had written it myself. In our culture, such misrepresentation would have constituted both theft in that I am violating the writer and owner by appropriating his words as my own and fraud in that I would have misled you readers. In my profession, doing such a thing would cost me my academic credibility, and probably my job as well. If you have any doubt about whether something should be cited, I expect you either to cite it, or to check with me beforehand.

After your work is turned in, I will accept no excuse. If you engage in academic dishonesty in any part of an assignment, you will fail the entire course. Plagiarism is a mortal sin, and a deed you'll regret for the rest of your life. Especially if you get away with it. What should you cite? Above all, the course materials. The point of most assignments is to get you back into the course materials. I want to see evidence that you are interacting deeply with the texts and lecture material along the lines of the stated question.

If I don't see it, your grade will suffer. In fact, it may suffer, be buried, and not rise on the third day. Secondary research is less important, often not important at all. While research papers are important projects in a college education, I assign few of them. I would rather take on the task of helping you discover how to read a few books in depth than how to scan a library shelf.

By the way, for now, unless I say otherwise, you can add "Internet research" to your list of oxymorons "jumbo shrimp," "television journalism," "Pepsi Cola". The library is where you will find peer-reviewed work that reputable scholars thought promising enough to publish, and your school thought important enough to purchase.

The Internet is where you will find material offered for free whose quality you are not yet capable of judging. Avoid it unless you are sure it comes from reputable sources. You don't know where that stuff has been! If not, get to work on your style, pronto. I have required, conditionally required, and recommended books on grammar and style over the years. If you don't like my choices, you may prefer William Strunk Jr.

White, The Elements of Style Macmillan, 4th ed. It is clear, brief, and affordable. Of course, some in the wired generation prefer hypertext, no matter how good or inexpensive the paper alternative. A Handbook for Amherst Students , or Dr. Ed Vavra's on-line grammar. Do I "grade off" for poor grammar, spelling, or style?

On your course evaluations, do you take into account how well your teachers communicate? I hope you do. An argument is poorer when presented poorly, and this is inevitably reflected in how it is received.

If your style is too poor even to qualify as college-level work, I will consider your submission unacceptable and just hand it back or perhaps submit it to engrish.

I'm your professor, not your pen pal. Then the need for brevity will force you to think more clearly and make your case more effectively. It will help you in the long run. Don't just fill pages with drivel or stabs at what you hope I'm looking for. They are often shallow in ways that betray lack of understanding and scant interaction with the course materials. For the few of you who have the opposite problem, here's a tip: Proportionately spaced fonts on computers are much denser, so you're probably writing more than you would have written in school twenty years ago.

Then there is Times Roman, a typeface developed by the London Times to save newsprint. If you are obsessive-compulsive like me, you can write in Times to get even more of your precious thoughts on a page. After that, use reasonable point sizes, margins, and spacing. I can tell the difference even better than you can. I used to work at a newspaper, where we used every trick in the book to make copy fit. If you feel uneasy about the assignment, talk to the others in your small group. If you still feel uneasy, talk to me.

Come to office hours. Run a draft by me or your peer reviewer early for a proofread and an informal grade. Run an outline by me to check its coherence and completeness.

I want you to succeed at these assignments! Get enough sleep six to seven hours per night. When you don't get enough sleep, you tend to forget what you had learned the day before. When you are studying hard, take frequent, brief study breaks.

When exercised, your brain gets fatigued like your muscles do, but it doesn't have the pain sensors to tell you to stop. If you don't stop, the toxins that aren't being rested away kill your brain cells, just like alcohol does. Eat right and exercise. A recent study found exercise more effective in treating depression than anti-depressants!

Consider yourself an intellectual athlete. If you abuse your body, you will be as lousy a student as an athlete. I know it's cool to brag about how little you sleep and how poorly you eat, but it's cooler to do well in life.

All the exercises and examinations in my classes have a way of creeping up on students. Once the written assignments begin in earnest, they keep coming.

Students soon feel the crunch. First year students are shocked by its intensity. The fifth week of the semester is the day your next credit card statement arrives after you haven't paid off last month's balance.

Last month's interest charges are now reflected in this month's minimum payment, and you have a whole new month of charges on top of last month's balance. You are tempted to make the minimum payment rather than change the spending pattern — to go for the grade rather than the learning, to subordinate today's reading and class discussion to the most imminent due date, to write off tomorrow and do an all-nighter.

Succumb to that temptation, and your semester begins its familiar spiral downward into servitude and bankruptcy. However, if it is not too late in the semester to turn things around, you can take a long, hard look at your schedule, acknowledge the ways you have been squandering your time, and change the way you live. In other words, you can repent. And next semester, you can keep your balance paid off. Temporal discipline is as difficult as fiscal discipline.

I find it harder. Yet indiscipline is harder in the end. One quarter in graduate school I was taking four courses three in systematic theology , working twenty hours a week as a researcher and writer, and buying and selling a house. Moreover, I needed straight A's to get into a good doctoral program.

So I did something unprecedented for me: I put due-dates and test dates for all my classes along with my work hours, home repairs, moving dates, escrow details, and extracurricular commitments on a semester-long calendar.

I blocked out research, reading, and writing time in order to help me gauge when to work on each project. There were times when I found out I would have to budget three days for a paper and complete it seven days before its due date because a midterm or business trip was coming. I advise you to do the same. That way you won't run out of time or get caught by last-minute problems.

You could even start as soon as it's assigned! The course of a semester puts you under considerable time pressure, and your writing invariably suffers. The Quick Writing Process. It will yield dividends in your writing far beyond your college years. Password must be at least 8 characters long. Password may only be 56 characters long.

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You have not applied your coupon. You're on your way to a new account. Card Number Have a Coupon Code? Card number is required. Credit card number invalid. Please correct or use a different card. You should find a way to establish a connection with the reader so that he or she remains interested. The language should be very personal and first person pronouns are inevitable.

Tenses are crucial in this type of writing. This example shows that the author did not use the tenses properly. Although it can be appropriate to jump back and forth between tenses throughout a paper, it should not occur in the middle of a paragraph about only one topic. The following example shows how this paragraph could be written appropriately. In the last sentence, some words were added to make the sentence clearer and more readable.

Book Report These assignments usually have a certain goal in mind for your paper. You may be asked to write as a critic, analyzing the book from a certain point of view. On the other hand, you may be asked to write a character analysis or a review illustrating the plot through symbolism.

Whatever the case, make sure to follow the instructions of your assignment. Book reports can either be formal or informal. If it is to be a formal critique, keep your writing objective. You want to give an overall review of the aspects of the plot and characters without making a judgment of your own unless told to do so in the assignment instructions, which would make it an informal critique.

Research Paper Do not use first person pronouns I, me, we, us, etc. See Writing a Strong Research Paper for more information on this topic. Newspaper Article Newspaper articles are the most informal type of writing.

Many of the general grammar rules do not have to be followed to allow for easier reading. You can use personal pronouns and have shorter, more concise sentences. It is not important to support claims with evidence.

Articles are usually written from one point of view on a personal level between the author and reader. Use transition words to help your paper flow more smoothly. Read 6 on General Grammar Tips to learn how to properly use these words.

Transition words can help your paper feel complete rather than choppy. Find a list of transition words here. The best way to begin writing your conclusion is to use the introduction paragraph s of your paper. Do not repeat what you have already written. Instead, expand on your thesis statement by describing how the evidence you found to support your ideas is important.

You want to leave the reader with something to remember about your paper. It is perfectly fine to begin writing your conclusion even before you are finished with the rest of your paper. Sometimes it is easier to write part of the conclusion before you have finished doing research.

Starting earlier on the conclusion will help you be consistent throughout the paper, and it will prevent the reader from reading repetitive statements.

If you didn't fully find evidence to support your thesis, or if there are gaps in research regarding a certain topic, put it in your conclusion! The reader should be well-informed about the process you took when writing the paper and how much work still needs to be done on the topic.

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Do not stray away from your side of the argument. Your language should be strong and concise. It is okay to have personal judgment, but also support your argument with evidence from research and/or scholarly resources. Strong argumentative papers will address the opposing side’s views and have claims against them.

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Given today's competitive college admissions process, a strong essay is critical. It can be the difference between acceptance and rejection. In this course, writing instructor Leigh Ann Chow covers planning, drafting, editing, and polishing an unforgettable college essay.

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Use this list of 20 essay conclusion examples that covers a range of topics and essay formats as a stepping stone to inspire and inform your own writing. You need a strong, coherent body in your essay or else you won't be getting too good a grade. In this quiz, you'll be tested on the ways to make sure you have the strongest essay body possible.

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Looking for even more help understanding the key components of a strong thesis statement? Check out these posts: How to Write a Thesis Statement in 5 Simple Steps; How to Turn a Good Thesis Statement Into a Great One; Turn Your Thesis Statement Into an Essay. Free strong women papers, essays, and research papers.