1. What is the purpose of an essay?
Answer: To explore a question in depth and achieve a better understanding of it. Ideally, the question will be one that you are genuinely interested in. The questions explored in essays are not factual questions with definite answers; they are open-ended questions with several possible answers. Often they begin with words like why and how.
2. An essay must have a beginning, middle, and end.
Beginning: introduction, or opening. Middle: body, or body paragraphs. End: conclusion, or closing.
3. What is the purpose of an introduction?
Answer: The crucial purpose is to state your thesis.
4. What is a thesis?
Answer: All of your major assertions plus your conclusion.
5. What is an assertion?
Answer: A statement claiming that something is true. A good assertion is arguable. That is, people will probably disagree about it. A simple statement of fact is not a good assertion for a body paragraph: facts may, however, be part of the evidence needed to support an assertion.
6. What is a body paragraph?
Answer: One assertion plus all the evidence and argument needed to explain and defend it. The assertion should be stated at the beginning of the paragraph. (This is why the first sentence of a body paragraph is sometimes called the topic sentence.)
7. How is one body paragraph related to another?
Answer: Each of your assertions is a link in a logical chain of argument leading to your conclusion. Your body paragraphs, therefore, need to be in an order that makes this chain of reasoning clear to the reader. The particular logical order will vary from essay to essay, but the reasons for putting your body paragraphs in a particular order should be very clear, first to you, and then to your readers.
8. What are transitions or linking phrases?
Answer: Transitions are words or phrases placed typically at the beginning of each body paragraph to help the reader follow your movement from what you have said in the previous paragraph to what you will say in the new one. Simplest perhaps would be “First, . . . . Second, . . . . Third . . . . “, etc. More sophisticated transitions reveal more complicated relationships between paragraphs with words like moreover, on the other hand, similarly, even worse, and many others.
5 Paragraph Essay: Step 5: Body Paragraphs - Engrade
Paragraph Development and Topic Sentences - CommNet
and not all paragraphs need a topic sentence.