How to Write an Essay

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Writing an essay typically consists of composing an introductory paragraph, an elaborated body and a concluding paragraph. Write an essay with tips from a produced playwright in this free video on writing.

Part of the Video Series: Academic Writing Tips
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Video Transcript

Hi, this is Laura Turner, and today we're going to talk about how to write an essay. Writing an essay is probably one of the most important skills you will learn through your life. It will help you write so many other things that you're going to need for other situations in your life, other than just writing about academic things. So, listen to my advice. And hopefully, you'll be able to write a very good essay, by the time you've listened to this. So, first of all, choose a topic. Make it very specific. Don't choose for example, I'm going to write a paper about China, right? Say, I'm going to write a paper about the Olympics in Beijing in 2008. OK. Make it very specific. Even make it more specific. Say, I'm going to write a paper about Ladies' Gymnastics in Beijing in 2008. And so, therefore, you sort of pare it down. Make the topic as specific as you need it for the length of the paper that you're writing. So, for example, if you have a ten page paper, you might ought to take perhaps two different sports from the Olympics, to write about in your paper. If a five page paper, one is probably going to do you pretty well. So, choose a topic that is specific enough for the length at which you need to write it. Number two, gather research about your topic. Go and find sources, also again, appropriate to how long your paper is going to be. Number three, I would really start off, this is what I do whenever I write an essay. I would start off writing freely, about the topic. Hopefully, you're a little interested in it, and you can actually just, sort of talk to yourself on paper about what you want to write about. And then once you've written down a good bit of information, sort of take that information, and form it into paragraphs. The last thing I want to talk about, is how to form your introductory paragraph. Which is perhaps your most important paragraph in your essay. Because in your into paragraph you are not only going to tell the reader what you're going to do, but you're also going to tell yourself what you're going to write about. And, actually I have an example of one of my papers here. About Huckleberry Finn and Huck Finn's moral journey. So, therefore, I say in my first paragraph here, that Mark Twain writes in this novel. It is a novel that examines the experiences of a child who walks the fine line between right and wrong. And then, I continue, through this paragraph, to actually point out three different points. The Wilkes sisters in the novel. Episode, the two episodes on the Walter, the steamboat, the Walter Scott, and the feud between the Sheperdsons and the Grangerford family. And so, in my essay I'm going to write about these three things. I have nailed it down in my introductory paragraph. I have told through the title, as well as the intro sentence, what the, the essay's going to be about. And then, I go ahead, at the end, and I say that Huckleberry Finn grows up by the end of his journey. That's the end of my introductory paragraph, and that's what I'm going to prove by the end of the essay. So, you almost have your entire essay in your first introductory paragraph.

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