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Writing Effectively. Ms. Carlino’s English Class. Characteristics of a Paragraph. For a paragraph to make sense, you need two things! Unity – each sentence supports the main idea Coherence – All sentences relate to each other

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writing effectively

Writing Effectively

Ms. Carlino’s English Class

characteristics of a paragraph
Characteristics of a Paragraph

For a paragraph to make sense, you need two things!

  • Unity – each sentence supports the main idea
  • Coherence – All sentences relate to each other

It’s important to have both, otherwise people won’t have a clue what you are saying.

Say I started talking about Sports. I could talk about football, then switch to basketball. Then maybe talk about how fouls are completely different in basketball than they are in baseball.

I’m still talking about sports so it’s unified – but it’s definitely not coherent!

ways to build coherence
Ways to Build Coherence
  • Sequential
    • In order
  • Spatial
    • Where it’s organized in space
  • Cause and Effect
  • Compare and Contrast
  • Order of Degree
    • From least important to most important

*Sometimes Order of Degree is the easiest in papers – that whole Bing, Bang, Boom idea

5 steps to writing an essay
5 Steps to Writing an Essay

Really, really, it’s not that hard!!

Now that we understand Unity and Coherence, we need to use those ideas to create an essay.

Here’s a Run Down of the 5 Steps (Remember CIRAC)

  • Capture the Audience’s Attention
  • Introduce the Author and the Title
  • Restate the Question as a Thesis
  • Answer the Question – Example and Explanation
  • Conclusion
1 capture the audience s attention
1. Capture the Audience’s Attention
  • It’s the same thing as a hook statement
  • Make sure it’s broad not specific
    • Gently lead into your topic

* This is NOT your thesis

    • Don’t speak specifically about the work in the first sentence – Keep it broad!

Example Broad(good) vs. Specific (not good)

-Sports - Football

-Movies - The Princess Bride

2 introduce the author and the title
2. Introduce the Author and the Title

It’s important to let your audience in on exactly what you are talking about. You don’t want to tell them in the first sentence – what if the topic is too specific to interest them. Here’s were we build in the specifics.

Note on Step 2

  • Make sure your sentence is coherent – that it relates to the sentences around it
3 restate the question as a thesis
3. Restate the Question as a Thesis

Even if you don’t have a question, your thesis is your main idea. If you are given a specific topic, this should be present in your thesis.

i.e. – Essay Question –

Which characters in the story changed as a result of the events?

A quality thesis to answer this question would be something like:

Bob changes as a result of the events in the story.

* Note – Steps 2 and 3 may be combined in the same sentence!

thesis formula just plug and chug baby
Thesis FormulaJust plug and chug baby!

And you thought writing a thesis statement was a hard thing to do! Really, it’s not. Just plug and chug into the following formula!

________________ + ___________,________,_________.

Belief Statement + reasons why you think so

(take out the “I believe part!!)

*Why take out the “I believe?”

It’s your paper – of course it’s what you believe!!

4 answer the question
4. Answer the Question

This is the body of your essay. Here is where you explain the reasons in your thesis and convince your audience to believe the way that you do.

Step 4 has two parts:

  • Example – use a specific example from the story – show me that you read it! (from the book)
  • Explanation – why did you choose this story? How does it fit with your thesis. (from your head)

*Note – a. and b. do not have to go in order – just make sure your paragraph is coherent!

5 conclusion
5. Conclusion

In your conclusion please do the following:

  • Tie your ideas together
  • Restate your thesis
  • Make conclusions based on your thesis

And that’s how easy it should be to write an essay! But wait – there’s a few things to remember!

general writing rules
General Writing Rules
  • As I mentioned earlier, one doesn’t use the word “I” in an essay. You are the one writing and we know it’s what you think!
  • Also, in formal writing one doesn’t use the word “you” or other common 1st or 2nd person pronouns (us, we, yours). Why? Because if you say, “You, you, you,” all the time, the reader feels like they’re being lectured to. You want to make sure that they don’t feel like they HAVE to agree with you! (See what I mean?)
  • In order to get around the pointing at or automatic inclusion that happens with the words, “us” and “we,” use the less pointing words such as “one,” “people,” “they.” These words allow the reader to identify with the text without feeling pushed.
  • If you are quoting material or using material that is not your own, make sure that you cite correctly and create a works cited page. Microsoft Office 2007 will do much of this for you – how cool is that!
  • If you quote a text in your writing, make sure that you don’t leave it hanging.
    • Ex.“I love reading.” - Who said it? In what context was the quote said? Your reader has no idea. Don’t leave them hanging. Give them some more info. As Dustin walked into class he heaved his book on the desk and said sarcastically, “I love reading!” See the different context?