There are two main methods of presenting an argument, and in general the one you choose will depend on exactly how the essay title is worded. Give the arguments for and against Assess the importance of Examine the arguments for and against What are the advantages and disadvantages of? Critically examine the statement that To what extent is That is to say you should present both sides of an argument, without necessarily committing yourself to any points of view, which should always be based on evidence, until the final paragraph.
After summarising the two sides, state your own point of view, and explain why you think as you do. See: Academic Writing: Functions - Arguing and discussing ; - Expressing degrees of certainty ; - Generalising ; - Comparing and contrasting: similarities and differences ; - Giving examples. This second type of argumentative essay involves stating your own point of view immediately, and trying to convince the reader by reasoned argument that you are right.
Perhaps the essay title will begin with something like:. Give your views on What do you think about? Do you agree that? Consider whether Or perhaps the title itself will be so controversial that everyone will hold a definite opinion in one direction or another. In this type of essay the examiner is giving you a statement.
You must decide how true it is? Are there some areas where you disagree with the statement. If so, describe how far you agree, and your points of agreement and disagreement. Words used in the question are:. To what extent How true How far do you agree Contrast or distinguish between questions usually present you with two or more terms, instruments, concepts or procedures that are closely connected, and sometimes confused.
The purpose of the essay is to explain the differences between them. The question may be of the form:. Distinguish between What is the difference between What are the differences between How are See: Academic Writing: Functions - Comparing and contrasting: similarities and differences ; - Defining ; - Generalising ; - Giving examples. Compare questions usually present you with two or more terms, instruments, concepts or procedures that are closely connected, and sometimes confused.
The purpose of the essay is to explain the similarities between them. Words used are:. What features do Write your first body paragraph, starting with restating your thesis and focusing on your first piece of supporting evidence. End your first paragraph with a transitional sentence that leads to the next body paragraph. Write paragraph two of the body focussing on your second piece of evidence. Once again make the connection between your thesis and this piece of evidence. End your second paragraph with a transitional sentence that leads to paragraph number three.
Repeat step 6 using your third piece of evidence. Begin your concluding paragraph by restating your thesis. Include the three points you've used to prove your thesis. End with a punch, a question, an anecdote, or an entertaining thought that will stay with the reader. Detractors feel, however, that writing to rule in this way is more likely to discourage imaginative writing and thinking than enable it.
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Although students sometimes complain that the lengths demanded of essays are too long, most of the essays you will write are really relatively short. Part of the skill of writing is to write concisely and economically, without wasting material or 'padding' the work with irrelevant diversions and repetition. Once the points have been chosen they should be presented logically and coherently, so do not leap about from point to point. Each point generally will have some connection to the preceding one and the one which follows.
If you do leave one part of the essay to move onto another, but intend later to go back to the point you have left and show, for example, how the points may be connected or related, then it can be useful to say so by ' signposting ', e. After each draft of the essay check that each point is presented in a logical and coherent order.
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Read each draft carefully and critically. Is there a significant idea you have not included in the essay? Do you need to expand some of the points you have chosen to write about? Are some of the points, after due consideration, not really relevant? Have you been too long-winded or repetitive? Does your argument need to be clearer, and do the links between some of the main points need more emphasis?
You should be asking yourself these questions throughout the whole process. Strong sentences are essential in terms of the flow of your essay. When signalling the fact that they now want to begin a discussion about the imagery of the text in question, students often begin paragraphs with a sentence such as the following: 'I will now go on to discuss the imagery, which plays an important role in this story.
What is wrong with this particular sentence? To start with there is no real need to introduce the subject so mechanically: as you are writing about literature it will come as no great surprise to the reader that imagery is to be discussed at some point. Secondly, as the student has chosen to write about the imagery there is no need to state that it is important. If it was not important then the student should not have chosen to write about it.
Please note that there would be no objection to a sentence such as 'I will now go on to discuss the imagery, which is fundamental to a full understanding of the story', although it would be even better if the type of imagery was identified. This says something different. Do not repeat these phrases mechanically in your essays - the imagery will not always be absolutely key to understanding the story. Use your common sense. You can introduce the subject of imagery in a strong sentence, at the beginning of a paragraph, by simply starting to discuss it straightaway. If you have identified a number of images, metaphors, etc.
As an example, here is a paragraph which starts to deal with the literary language in Graham Greene's ' The Destructors '. This paragraph would ideally come about a third or half way into the essay, as it comes after the introduction and signals the fact that some analysis has already been carried out. A discussion of the imagery can reinforce the general points made above; broadly speaking there are two main sets of images and metaphors, dealing firstly with the tensions between the individual and the community, to which I will turn later, and secondly focusing on Christian symbolism.
A number of the images have religious connotations. It is significant that Old Misery's house was designed by Christopher Wren, who was the seventeenth century architect of St. Paul's cathedral. By mentioning Wren Greene is attempting to show the presence of the past in the present and how irrelevant it seems to the boys: 'Who's Wren?
Their experience of massive destruction has eroded references and deprived them of values. Instead of the integration and shared common values illustrated by, among others, the fact that Wren designed both a public place of worship and a private home, the post-war period leaves them with fragmentation and mutual distrust: the gang are aware of rival gangs, there is distrust between the generations - shown by the gang's suspicion of Old Misery's gift of sweets - and T.
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For him 'All this hate and love [is]soft, it's hooey. There's only things. Furthermore, the passage describing the destruction of the house is an ironic parody of the opening chapter of Genesis. The vocabulary is similar: Blackie notices that 'chaos had advanced', an ironic reversal of God's imposing of form on a void. Furthermore, the phrase 'streaks of light came in through the closed shutters where they worked with the seriousness of creators', used in the context of destruction, also parodies the creation of light and darkness in the early passages of the Biblical book.
There might be another paragraph, or two, on religious metaphors, or the next paragraph might begin:. Images and metaphors concerning the individual and community are centred on Trevor, and are also linked to the theme of leadership. What are the advantages of such a sequence of paragraphs? Notice that the opening sentence in each paragraph is a strong one.
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There are several strong points about the first paragraph:. The main extended images are mentioned in the first sentence, which is preferable to 'I am now going to discuss the imagery of Graham Greene's story. Importantly, whilst it is obvious that there is to be some reference to ideas already mentioned, it is also clear that there is to be no repetition.
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Instead, the analysis is to be deepened and extended. The anxious reader, who might be wondering why the important theme of the individual and the community has not been mentioned, can relax and enjoy the analysis of the religious symbolism in the full knowledge that the former theme has not been neglected. In other words the writer is actively engaging with Greene's story. What of the second paragraph? Firstly one might ask why a second paragraph is needed, given that the theme is still that of religion.