An argumentative essay comprises -
A thesis statement - This states your argument.
Topic sentences - These introduce each new idea to prove your argument. Writers build paragraphs around topic sentences.
Supporting information - Details, examples, facts, and data that support each topic sentence.
Good organization and logical flow make an effective argumentative essay. Transitions, signals, and other language devices allow writers to link thoughts and achieve coherence. Coherence means ideas are well organized, fact driven and, as a whole, they prove the thesis statement. This is essential in argumentative essay writing.
A common way to link sentences is with the basic words and, but, so and because. Academic language offers alternative words and phrases to ensure your sentences flow well.
And - in addition, additionally, moreover, apart from this, as well (as), further, furthermore
But - alternatively, conversely, despite, although, even though, however, on the other hand, in contrast, on the contrary, nevertheless, nonetheless
So - accordingly, as a result/consequence, consequently, for this reason, hence, therefore, thus
Because - due to, a/the consequence of, the result of, for, since, the effect of
Most of these words join two independent clauses, and they follow similar punctuation and grammar rules. For example:
Technology has enhanced communication. In addition, health & lifestyle benefits are unprecedented.
Technology has a dramatic impact on lifestyle choices; nevertheless, humanity continues to abuse the power that technology bestows.
Economic turmoil threatens business’ survival. Most companies, therefore, invest in technology that promotes efficiency and reduces costs.
Observe the different ways to use linking words to combine independent clauses. Notice their punctuation marks and their varying positions within a sentence. Check a usage guide if you are not sure of the correct rules.
A strong essay links ideas so a reader can follow the progression of an argument without losing focus or becoming confused. Sometimes information needs to be repeated to highlight the angle being developed. Other times, concepts and accusations must be explained or clarified by providing examples.
To repeat/simplify - in other words, simply put, to put it differently / another way
To show similarities – similarly, in a similar manner, correspondingly, in the same way, equally, for the same reason
To give examples - for example, for instance, a further instance of this is..., an example of this is…, such as
To concede/contrast - admittedly, although, even though, however
To show emphasis - interestingly, indeed, it should be noted (that), (un)fortunately, more important(ly), most importantly, unquestionably
Here is an example of how these words improve cohesion and sentence flow:
The complexities and moral dilemmas that nuclear technology poses are beyond the scope of simple minds. In other words, mankind is not ready to adopt nuclear technology into mainstream life. In the same way, advances in cloning and stem cell treatment raise ethical questions that humans struggle with. For example, could cloning be used to advance warfare? Admittedly, progression to this level is years away, but it is a valid concern.
Again, take note of sentence construction and punctuation in the paragraph above.
We have linked sentences and connected ideas. The final step is to provide stepping-stones between paragraphs. This seals the overall essay unity.
A useful mechanism is to remind readers of main points from previous paragraphs so that your next topic sentence makes a stronger impression. Use signal/pointing words at the beginning of paragraphs, as well as time signals.
Signal words - besides, in addition to, having..., not only...but also..., although, even though, while, despite
Time signals – first, second (etc.), meanwhile, subsequently, finally, to conclude
In an essay about the effects of technology on humanity, the topic of one paragraph could be:
Technology has prolonged life through advances in healthcare.
To proceed to the next paragraph, you could write:
In addition to unparalleled progress in medical treatment, technology enables people to acquire unlimited knowledge.
While there have been many positive outcomes, technology has also caused much pain and suffering.
Having looked at several advantages of technology, the negative implications now need to be considered. First,...
The purpose of connecting sentences, ideas, and paragraphs is to guide the reader along the path you develop. That is a solid way to prove an argument. An essay writer does not leave it to the reader to make assumptions or to fill in the blanks. Linking words and phrases, and other transition signals are a vital element of academic work. Learn to use them accurately to write better essay.
Tips on Writing an Expository Essay
The purpose of the expository essay is to explain a topic in a logical and straightforward manner. Without bells and whistles, expository essays present a fair and balanced analysis of a subject based on facts—with no references to the writer’s opinions or emotions.
A typical expository writing prompt will use the words “explain” or “define,” such as in, “Write an essay explaining how the computer has changed the lives of students.” Notice there is no instruction to form an opinion or argument on whether or not computers have changed students’ lives. The prompt asks the writer to “explain,” plain and simple. However, that doesn’t mean expository essay writing is easy.
The Five-Step Writing Process for Expository Essays
Expository writing is a life skill. More than any other type of writing, expository writing is a daily requirement of most careers. Understanding and following the proven steps of the writing process helps all writers, including students, master the expository essay.
Expository Essay Structure
Usually, the expository essay is composed of five paragraphs. The introductory paragraph contains the thesis or main idea. The next three paragraphs, or body of the essay, provide details in support of the thesis. The concluding paragraph restates the main idea and ties together the major points of essay.
Here are expository essay tips for each part of the essay structure and writing process:
1. Prewriting for the Expository Essay
In the prewriting phase of writing an expository essay, students should take time to brainstorm about the topic and main idea. Next, do research and take notes. Create an outline showing the information to be presented in each paragraph, organized in a logical sequence.
2. Drafting the Expository Essay
When creating the initial draft of an expository essay, consider the following suggestions:
- The most important sentence in the introductory paragraph is the topic sentence, which states the thesis or main idea of the essay. The thesis should be clearly stated without giving an opinion or taking a position. A good thesis is well defined, with a manageable scope that can be adequately addressed within a five-paragraph essay.
- Each of the three body paragraphs should cover a separate point that develops the essay’s thesis. The sentences of each paragraph should offer facts and examples in support of the paragraph’s topic.
- The concluding paragraph should reinforce the thesis and the main supporting ideas. Do not introduce new material in the conclusion.
- Since an expository essay discusses an event, situation, or the views of others, and not a personal experience, students should write in the third person (“he,” “she,” or “it”), and avoid “I” or “you” sentences.
3. Revising the Expository Essay
In the revision phase, students review, modify, and reorganize their work with the goal of making it the best it can be. Keep these considerations in mind:
- Does the essay give an unbiased analysis that unfolds logically, using relevant facts and examples?
- Has the information been clearly and effectively communicated to the reader?
- Watch out for “paragraph sprawl,” which occurs when the writer loses focus and veers from the topic by introducing unnecessary details.
- Is the sentence structure varied? Is the word choice precise?
- Do the transitions between sentences and paragraphs help the reader’s understanding?
- Does the concluding paragraph communicate the value and meaning of the thesis and key supporting ideas?
If the essay is still missing the mark, take another look at the topic sentence. A solid thesis statement leads to a solid essay. Once the thesis works, the rest of the essay falls into place more easily.
4. Editing the Expository Essay
Next, proofread and correct errors in grammar and mechanics, and edit to improve style and clarity. While an expository essay should be clear and concise, it can also be lively and engaging. Having a friend read the essay helps writers edit with a fresh perspective.
5. Publishing the Expository Essay
Sharing an expository essay with a teacher, parent, or other reader can be both exciting and intimidating. Remember, there isn’t a writer on earth who isn’t sensitive about his or her own work. The important thing is to learn from the experience and use the feedback to make the next essay better.
Essay writing is a huge part of a education today. Most students must learn to write various kinds of essays during their academic careers, including different types of expository essay writing:
- Definition essays explain the meaning of a word, term, or concept. The topic can be a concrete subject such as an animal or tree, or it can be an abstract term, such as freedom or love. This type of essay should discuss the word’s denotation (literal or dictionary definition), as well as its connotation or the associations that a word usually brings to mind.
- Classification essays break down a broad subject or idea into categories and groups. The writer organizes the essay by starting with the most general category and then defines and gives examples of each specific classification.
- Compare and contrast essays describe the similarities and differences between two or more people, places, or things. Comparison tells how things are alike and contrast shows how they are different.
- Cause and effect essays explain how things affect each other and depend on each other. The writer identifies a clear relationship between two subjects, focusing on why things happen (causes) and/or what happens as a result (effects).
- “How to” essays, sometimes called process essays, explain a procedure, step-by-step process, or how to do something with the goal of instructing the reader.
Time4Writing Teaches Expository Essay Writing
Time4Writing essay writing courses offer a highly effective way to learn how to write the types of essays required for school, standardized tests, and college applications. A unique online writing program for elementary, middle school, and high school students, Time4Writing breaks down the writing process into manageable chunks, easily digested by young writers. Students steadily build writing skills and confidence, guided by one-on-one instruction with a dedicated, certified teacher. Our middle school Welcome to the Essay and Advanced Essay courses teach students the fundamentals of writing essays, including the expository essay. The high school Exciting Essay Writing course focuses in depth on the essay writing process with preparation for college as the goal. The courses also cover how to interpret essay writing prompts in testing situations. Read what parents are saying about their children’s writing progress in Time4Writing courses.