But Alex’s professor doesn’t want it. She underlines the first two sentences, and she writes, “This is simply too general. Arrive at the point.” She underlines the third and fourth sentences, and she writes, “You’re just restating the question I inquired. What’s your point?” She underlines the final sentence, and then writes into the margin, “What’s your thesis?” because the final sentence within the paragraph only lists topics. It doesn’t make an argument.
Is Alex’s professor just a grouch? Well, no—she is wanting to show this student that college writing isn’t about following a formula (the five-paragraph model), it is about making an argument. Her first sentence is general, the way she learned a essay that is five-paragraph start. But through the professor’s perspective, it’s much too general—so general, in fact, so it’s completely outside the assignment: she didn’t ask students to define civil war. The third and fourth sentences say, in a lot of words, they just restate the prompt, without giving a single hint about where this student’s paper is going“ I am comparing and contrasting the reasons why the North and the South fought the Civil War”—as the professor says. The final sentence, which should make an argument, only lists topics; it doesn’t begin to explore how or why something happened.
You can guess what Alex will write next if you’ve seen a lot of five-paragraph essays. Her body that is first paragraph begin, “We can easily see a number of the different explanations why the North and South fought the Civil War by taking a look at the economy.” What’s going to the professor say about this? She may ask, “What differences can we come across? What an element of the economy will you be speaing frankly about? How come the distinctions exist? What makes they important?” The student might write a conclusion that says much the same thing as her introduction, in slightly different words after three such body paragraphs. Alex’s professor might already respond, “You’ve said this!”
What could Alex do differently? Let’s start over. This time, Alex does not start with a preconceived notion of how to arrange her essay. Rather than three “points,” she decides that she’s going to brainstorm until she comes up with a principal argument, or thesis, that answers the question “Why did the North and South fight the Civil War?” Then she will regulate how to organize her draft by taking into consideration the argument’s parts and just how they fit together.
After doing some brainstorming and reading the Writing Center’s handout on thesis statements, Alex thinks about a argument that is main or thesis statement:
- Both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against oppression and tyranny, but Northerners centered on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their rights to property and self-government.
Then Alex writes her introduction. But alternatively of you start with a statement that is general civil wars, she gives us the ideas we must know so that you can understand all the components of her argument:
- The usa broke away from England in response to British tyranny and oppression, so opposition to tyranny and a belief in individual freedom and liberty were important values into the republic that is young. But in the nineteenth century, slavery made Northerners and Southerners see these values in completely different ways. By 1860, the conflict over these values broke out into a war that is civil nearly tore the country apart. Both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, but Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their rights to property and self-government in that war.
Every sentence in Alex’s introduction that is new the reader along the path to her thesis statement in an unbroken chain of ideas.
Now Alex turns to organization. You’ll find more about the thinking process she passes through within our handout on organization, but here you will find the basics: first, she decides college essay writers for pay, she’ll write a paragraph that gives background; she’ll explain how opposition to tyranny and a belief in individual liberty had become such important values in the United States. Then she’ll write another background paragraph by which she shows how the conflict over slavery developed in the long run. Then she’ll have separate paragraphs about Northerners and Southerners, explaining in detail—and evidence that is giving claims about each group’s cause of likely to war.
Observe that Alex now has four body paragraphs. She could have had three or two or seven; what’s important is her argument to tell her how many paragraphs she should have and how to fit them together that she allowed. Furthermore, her body paragraphs don’t all discuss “points,” like “the economy” and “politics”—two of them give background, and the other two explain Northerners’ and Southerners’ views at length.
Finally, having followed her sketch outline and written her paper, Alex turns to writing a conclusion. From our handout on conclusions, she understands that a “that’s my story and I’m sticking to it” conclusion doesn’t forward move her ideas. Using the strategies she finds within the handout, she decides that she can use her conclusion to spell out why the paper she’s just written really matters—perhaps by pointing out that the fissures inside our society that the Civil War opened are, most of the time, still causing trouble today.
Will it be ever OK to write a five-paragraph essay?
Yes. Have you ever found yourself in times where somebody expects you to definitely add up of a body that is large of on the spot and write a well-organized, persuasive essay—in fifty minutes or less? Seems like an essay exam situation, right? When time is short in addition to pressure is on, falling back regarding the good old five-paragraph essay can help you save time and offer you confidence. A five-paragraph essay might also work as the framework for a speech that is short. Try not to end up in the trap, however, of creating a” that is“listing statement when your instructor expects a quarrel; when making plans for your body paragraphs, think about three aspects of an argument, in the place of three “points” to go over. On the other side hand, most professors recognize the constraints of writing blue-book essays, and a “listing” thesis is probably much better than no thesis at all.
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