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Writing an essay obviously takes time, but there are some basic features of essay structure which can help you get started. Today we will study some of these features so you can feel more confident in your basic skills.

1. Make sure you have the 3 areas: introduction, main body and conclusion. 

Teachers sometimes use a picture of a hamburger to help students remember this! The introduction and conclusion are like the bread in a hamburger because they are similar and hold the hamburger together. The main body is like the meat in the hamburger and contains all the tasty bits – that is the ideas.

2. Work out the word count for each section.

In general the introduction should be 10 – 15%, the main body should be 75 – 80% and the conclusion should be  about 10%.

3. Organise the points you want to make from the most important to the least important.

Your first paragraph or section should be the main point or the most important idea/ argument. As you move through the essay you should add sections or paragraphs which add extra points or ideas but keep in mind the largest to smallest principle. Write a list of your points in an essay plan to help you get the order of information and structure right.

4. Make sure each paragraph contains only one point or idea.

A paragraph of an essay is like a chapter of a book because it contains one point or idea. You need to develop the idea in the paragraph by adding information until you have finished explaining your points or ideas. The space between each paragraph tells the reader that you are moving to a new idea.

You can work on any part of the essay at any time as you gradually build up the structure. The key thing is to make sure the structure is clear and logical.

Fiona

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