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Essay Structure

When writing essays for class, it is important to pay special attention to the structure of the paper.  The structure of the paper guides the overall development of your essay.  This means that you should organize the topics and structure of your essay before you write it. 

The Structure

Essays may vary in length and style, but all will follow a similar pattern.  Your need to bring the readers into the content of your essay by starting with general content and ultimately bringing them to the specific content of your paper.  This can be described as a “funnel” from broad content to more specific content.

The general content is at the top of the funnel and as your paragraph continues, you become more specific to the topic of your essay.

The Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is the central argument for your paper.  The thesis statement should be the last item in your first paragraph or introductory section. 

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of your essay will build upon your thesis statement.  You will work to demonstrate how your thesis statement is supported by providing evidence for it.  A well-organized essay will develop at least three areas supporting the thesis statement.
This is not a time to introduce new information that was not included in the introductory paragraph.  Your introductory paragraph, and specifically your thesis statement, should include elements of the ideas that you will cover in your body paragraphs.



The conclusion is similar to your introductory paragraph but is reversed.  You will begin with a sentence that is specific (likely a brief summary of the topics covered in the body paragraphs) and will progress to more general world knowledge.

Overall Organization of Your Paper