Structure of Essay

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University of Toronto St. George
Innis College Courses
Roger Riendeau

The Structure of an Essay Introduction 5% - 10% of the essay length Indicate the specific topic of the essay (What is the essay about?) $ establish background or contextual information (if necessary) $ present key issues and/or prevailing perspectives (if appropriate) $ be factual rather than opinionated $ consider a strategic opening $ quotation $ statistic $ relevance ploy $ definition $ anecdote $ question State the thesis (What is the essay attempting to explain or argue?) $ clearly present an opinion, a perspective, or a position on a debatable issue $ limit claims or assertions to those that can be readily supported or verified $ opinion should appear to emanate from fact Preview the organization of the essay (How will the analysis be presented?) $ show the progression of ideas that support the thesis $ maintain an objective rather than subjective voice $ state rather than explain supporting points Suggest the relevance of the thesis (Why is the thesis important?) $ foreshadow the conclusion $ highlight the significance, implications, or results of the analysis $ state rather than explain Body 80% - 90 of essay length Explain or argue the thesis in a series of unified, coherent, and comprehensive paragraphs $ Paragraph Development Strategy $ Statethe main point of the paragraph in the topic sentence $ Explain the main point of the paragraph by considering the pertinent questions $ What? $ Why? $ How? $ Who?
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