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Writing english essays for college

Think about what information should come first, second, third, etc.

Just try to get the major ideas on paper. Collect all of your notes and materials. Before you start to write, gather together all of the notes, books, and other materials that you will need to reference in order to answer the essay prompt effectively. Support is essential for an effective English essay, so do not try to write your essay without these materials.

If you have time, read through your notes before you begin. Make sure that you have your outline handy as well. You can build on your outline by expanding on each of the points in the order that they are listed in. Include topic sentences at the beginning of each paragraph. Topic sentences signal to readers what a paragraph will discuss. Start each of your paragraphs with a topic sentence so that your instructor will be able to see that your ideas progress in a clear, direct manner. Develop your ideas as much as possible.


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Make sure that you include as many details as possible throughout your essay. Remember that padding filling in with meaningless text or using extra wordy sentences is not an effective strategy for writing essays because instructors can see right through it. Your instructor has probably read hundreds of student essays over their career, so they'll know when an essay has been padded. Fill your essays with details that make your essay useful and insightful instead.

If you get stuck, some good strategies for developing your ideas include: Returning to the invention stage. This includes exercises such as freewriting, listing, or clustering. You can also revisit your notes and books to see if there's anything you missed or forgot. You can find a writing lab on most college campuses. They are free to students and can help you improve your writing at any stage in the writing process. Talking to your instructor. Take advantage of your professor's office hours or one-on-one appointments.

Meet with them and discuss ways that you can improve your essay before you hand it in. Cite sources using MLA style citations. If you use any sources at all in your essay, then you will need to cite them using the style that your instructor prefers. MLA style is the most common citation format used in English courses, so you will need to know how to use it. Provide in-text citations as well as a works cited page at the end.

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An MLA style works cited page starts on a new page at the end of the essay. Provide entries for each of the sources that you used. These entries should include the information necessary to allow the reader to find the source with ease. It's necessary to include an in-text citation for any information that you quote, summarize, or paraphrase from a source.

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Work towards a conclusion. The general structure of an essay usually goes from broad to specific. You could visualize this tendency as an upside-down pyramid or as a funnel. By the time you get to your conclusion, it should feel as though the information in your conclusion is inevitable. It's essentially a recap of everything you've spent your whole essay trying to prove.

You may find that you want to use your conclusion to: Qualify or complicate the information in your essay Suggest a need for further research Speculate on how the future will change the current situation. Give yourself plenty of time.

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Leaving your essay to the last minute is not a good idea. Try to allow yourself at least a couple of days to revise your work. It is important to take a one to two day break from your essay after you have completed it. Then you can come back to it and revise with a fresh perspective. Focus on improving the content of your essay first. Some people only focus on the grammar and punctuation when revising an essay, but this is less important than the content of your essay. Answer the essay question in as much detail as possible.

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Reread the essay question or assignment guidelines and ask: [9] Have I answered the question in a satisfactory way? Do I have a clear thesis? Is my thesis the focus of my essay? Do I include adequate support for my argument? Is there anything else I could add? Is there a logic to my essay? Does one idea follow the next? If not, how might I improve the logic of my essay? Ask a friend to read your essay. Having a friend or classmate take a look at your work can be helpful as well. Someone else may catch simple errors or notice something else that you missed because you have been looking at the document so much.

Make sure that you swap papers at least one day before the paper is due so that you will have time to correct any errors that your friend finds. Read your essay out loud. Reading your essay aloud can help you to catch simple errors that you might not have noticed otherwise. As you read, correct any errors that you find and make a note of anything that you think could be improved, such as adding more details or clarifying the language.

Analyze the topic or essay question. Take time to read over the essay question or guidelines and think about what the assignment is asking you to do.


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  • You should underline any keywords such as describe, compare, contrast, explain, argue, or propose. You should also underline any central themes or ideas that the assignment asks you to discuss such as freedom, family, defeat, love, etc. It's important to have a clear idea of what they want before you start working on the assignment. Consider your audience. Think about what you will need to include. Consider what you will need to include in your essay. For example, if you are tasked with writing about a character in a book, then you will need to provide lots of details about that character. This will probably require rereading some passages of your book as well as revisiting your notes from class.

    Do this by creating an outline and checking your work for logic. Start early and give yourself lots of time for revision. Try to complete your first draft about one week before the paper is due. Develop your ideas. Invention exercises can help you to draw out details that you already know, which can give you a great jump start on writing your essay. Some useful invention exercises include: [15] Freewriting. Write as much as you can without stopping.

    After you finish, go over what've written and underline or highlight any useful information for your essay. Make a list of all of the details and information that are relevant to the essay prompt. After you have listed everything that you can think of, read over it and circle the most important information for your essay. Write your topic in the middle of the page, then branch out with other connected ideas. Circle the ideas and connect them to the main one with lines. Keep going until you can't do any more. Research your topic if necessary. If you have been asked to conduct research for your paper, then you will want to do this before you begin drafting as well.

    Good sources to use for English essays include books, articles from scholarly journals, articles from trustworthy news sources NY Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.