Writing a Composition A presentation by the Purdue University Writing Lab (Adapted by Jochen Lüders)
What is a Composition about? In a composition you are mostly supposed to give your opinion about an issue and support it with the help of logical arguments and examples.
The Structure of a Composition • Title • Introduction • Main Part • Conclusion
The Function of the Title • Arouse the reader’s interest • Introduce or hint at the topic
Creating a Title • You may try to attract attention e.g. with the help of: • an allusion • a pun • an alliteration • a quotation • a question
Evaluating Titles Imagine you want to write a composition about the problem of road rage. Which do you consider the best title? Road Rage Mobile Madness High Noon on the Highway
The Function of the Introduction • Introduce the topic and purpose of the composition • Arouse the reader’s interest in the topic • Lead to the main part • It often gives the writer’s opinion about a controversial issue.
Introduction • personal anecdote • real or hypothetical example • question • quotation • surprising/shocking statistics • striking image
Main Part • Normally your main part should consist of three paragraphs. • Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence that summarizes the main idea of the paragraph. • Indent the first line of each new paragraph. • In a “Discuss” composition there are four paragraphs.
Arranging Paragraphs • Paragraphs should be arranged in climactic order i.e. from the weakest to the most convincing argument.
“Discuss” Topics • When the topic demands “Discuss”, you should give two pros and two cons. • Begin with the weaker arguments and finish with the more convincing ones.
Conclusion • Don’t just repeat yourself. • Don’t present new arguments. • It is often elegant to refer back to the introduction or the title.