General Topic For Essay Writing

General Essay Writing Tips


Despite the fact that, as Shakespeare said, "the pen is mightier than the sword," the pen itself is not enough to make an effective writer. In fact, though we may all like to think of ourselves as the next Shakespeare, inspiration alone is not the key to effective essay writing. You see, the conventions of English essays are more formulaic than you might think – and, in many ways, it can be as simple as counting to five.

The Five Paragraph Essay

Though more advanced academic papers are a category all their own, the basic high school or college essay has the following standardized, five paragraph structure:

Paragraph 1: Introduction
Paragraph 2: Body 1
Paragraph 3: Body 2
Paragraph 4: Body 3
Paragraph 5: Conclusion

Though it may seem formulaic – and, well, it is - the idea behind this structure is to make it easier for the reader to navigate the ideas put forth in an essay. You see, if your essay has the same structure as every other one, any reader should be able to quickly and easily find the information most relevant to them.

The Introduction

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The principle purpose of the introduction is to present your position (this is also known as the "thesis" or "argument") on the issue at hand but effective introductory paragraphs are so much more than that. Before you even get to this thesis statement, for example, the essay should begin with a "hook" that grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want to read on. Examples of effective hooks include relevant quotations ("no man is an island") or surprising statistics ("three out of four doctors report that…").

Only then, with the reader’s attention "hooked," should you move on to the thesis. The thesis should be a clear, one-sentence explanation of your position that leaves no doubt in the reader’s mind about which side you are on from the beginning of your essay.

Following the thesis, you should provide a mini-outline which previews the examples you will use to support your thesis in the rest of the essay. Not only does this tell the reader what to expect in the paragraphs to come but it also gives them a clearer understanding of what the essay is about.

Finally, designing the last sentence in this way has the added benefit of seamlessly moving the reader to the first paragraph of the body of the paper. In this way we can see that the basic introduction does not need to be much more than three or four sentences in length. If yours is much longer you might want to consider editing it down a bit!

Here, by way of example, is an introductory paragraph to an essay in response to the following question:

"Do we learn more from finding out that we have made mistakes or from our successful actions?"

"No man is an island" and, as such, he is constantly shaped and influenced by his experiences. People learn by doing and, accordingly, learn considerably more from their mistakes than their success. For proof of this, consider examples from both science and everyday experience.

DO – Pay Attention to Your Introductory Paragraph

Because this is the first paragraph of your essay it is your opportunity to give the reader the best first impression possible. The introductory paragraph not only gives the reader an idea of what you will talk about but also shows them how you will talk about it. Put a disproportionate amount of effort into this – more than the 20% a simple calculation would suggest – and you will be rewarded accordingly.

DO NOT – Use Passive Voice or I/My

Active voice, wherein the subjects direct actions rather than let the actions "happen to" them – "he scored a 97%" instead of "he was given a 97%" – is a much more powerful and attention-grabbing way to write. At the same time, unless it is a personal narrative, avoid personal pronouns like I, My, or Me. Try instead to be more general and you will have your reader hooked.

The Body Paragraphs

The middle paragraphs of the essay are collectively known as the body paragraphs and, as alluded to above, the main purpose of a body paragraph is to spell out in detail the examples that support your thesis.

For the first body paragraph you should use your strongest argument or most significant example unless some other more obvious beginning point (as in the case of chronological explanations) is required. The first sentence of this paragraph should be the topic sentence of the paragraph that directly relates to the examples listed in the mini-outline of introductory paragraph.

A one sentence body paragraph that simply cites the example of "George Washington" or "LeBron James" is not enough, however. No, following this an effective essay will follow up on this topic sentence by explaining to the reader, in detail, who or what an example is and, more importantly, why that example is relevant.

Even the most famous examples need context. For example, George Washington’s life was extremely complex – by using him as an example, do you intend to refer to his honesty, bravery, or maybe even his wooden teeth? The reader needs to know this and it is your job as the writer to paint the appropriate picture for them. To do this, it is a good idea to provide the reader with five or six relevant facts about the life (in general) or event (in particular) you believe most clearly illustrates your point.

Having done that, you then need to explain exactly why this example proves your thesis. The importance of this step cannot be understated (although it clearly can be underlined); this is, after all, the whole reason you are providing the example in the first place. Seal the deal by directly stating why this example is relevant.

Here is an example of a body paragraph to continue the essay begun above:

Take, by way of example, Thomas Edison. The famed American inventor rose to prominence in the late 19th century because of his successes, yes, but even he felt that these successes were the result of his many failures. He did not succeed in his work on one of his most famous inventions, the lightbulb, on his first try nor even on his hundred and first try. In fact, it took him more than 1,000 attempts to make the first incandescent bulb but, along the way, he learned quite a deal. As he himself said, "I did not fail a thousand times but instead succeeded in finding a thousand ways it would not work." Thus Edison demonstrated both in thought and action how instructive mistakes can be.

DO – Tie Things Together

The first sentence – the topic sentence - of your body paragraphs needs to have a lot individual pieces to be truly effective. Not only should it open with a transition that signals the change from one idea to the next but also it should (ideally) also have a common thread which ties all of the body paragraphs together. For example, if you used "first" in the first body paragraph then you should used "secondly" in the second or "on the one hand" and "on the other hand" accordingly.

DO NOT – Be Too General

Examples should be relevant to the thesis and so should the explanatory details you provide for them. It can be hard to summarize the full richness of a given example in just a few lines so make them count. If you are trying to explain why George Washington is a great example of a strong leader, for instance, his childhood adventure with the cherry tree (though interesting in another essay) should probably be skipped over.

A Word on Transitions

You may have noticed that, though the above paragraph aligns pretty closely with the provided outline, there is one large exception: the first few words. These words are example of a transitional phrase – others include "furthermore," "moreover," but also "by contrast" and "on the other hand" – and are the hallmark of good writing.

Transitional phrases are useful for showing the reader where one section ends and another begins. It may be helpful to see them as the written equivalent of the kinds of spoken cues used in formal speeches that signal the end of one set of ideas and the beginning of another. In essence, they lead the reader from one section of the paragraph of another.

To further illustrate this, consider the second body paragraph of our example essay:

In a similar way, we are all like Edison in our own way. Whenever we learn a new skill - be it riding a bike, driving a car, or cooking a cake - we learn from our mistakes. Few, if any, are ready to go from training wheels to a marathon in a single day but these early experiences (these so-called mistakes) can help us improve our performance over time. You cannot make a cake without breaking a few eggs and, likewise, we learn by doing and doing inevitably means making mistakes.

Hopefully this example not only provides another example of an effective body paragraph but also illustrates how transitional phrases can be used to distinguish between them.

The Conclusion

Although the conclusion paragraph comes at the end of your essay it should not be seen as an afterthought. As the final paragraph is represents your last chance to make your case and, as such, should follow an extremely rigid format.

One way to think of the conclusion is, paradoxically, as a second introduction because it does in fact contain many of the same features. While it does not need to be too long – four well-crafted sentence should be enough – it can make or break and essay.

Effective conclusions open with a concluding transition ("in conclusion," "in the end," etc.) and an allusion to the "hook" used in the introductory paragraph. After that you should immediately provide a restatement of your thesis statement.

This should be the fourth or fifth time you have repeated your thesis so while you should use a variety of word choice in the body paragraphs it is a acceptable idea to use some (but not all) of the original language you used in the introduction. This echoing effect not only reinforces your argument but also ties it nicely to the second key element of the conclusion: a brief (two or three words is enough) review of the three main points from the body of the paper.

Having done all of that, the final element – and final sentence in your essay – should be a "global statement" or "call to action" that gives the reader signals that the discussion has come to an end.

In the end, then, one thing is clear: mistakes do far more to help us learn and improve than successes. As examples from both science and everyday experience can attest, if we treat each mistake not as a misstep but as a learning experience the possibilities for self-improvement are limitless.

DO – Be Powerful

The conclusion paragraph can be a difficult paragraph to write effectively but, as it is your last chance to convince or otherwise impress the reader, it is worth investing some time in. Take this opportunity to restate your thesis with confidence; if you present your argument as "obvious" then the reader might just do the same.

DO NOT – Copy the First Paragraph

Although you can reuse the same key words in the conclusion as you did in the introduction, try not to copy whole phrases word for word. Instead, try to use this last paragraph to really show your skills as a writer by being as artful in your rephrasing as possible.

Taken together, then, the overall structure of a five paragraph essay should look something like this:

Introduction Paragraph

  • An attention-grabbing "hook"
  • A thesis statement
  • A preview of the three subtopics you will discuss in the body paragraphs.

First Body Paragraph

  • Topic sentence which states the first subtopic and opens with a transition
  • Supporting details or examples
  • An explanation of how this example proves your thesis

Second Body Paragraph

  • Topic sentence which states the second subtopic and opens with a transition
  • Supporting details or examples
  • An explanation of how this example proves your thesis

Third Body Paragraph

  • Topic sentence which states the third subtopic and opens with a transition
  • Supporting details or examples
  • An explanation of how this example proves your thesis

Concluding Paragraph

  • Concluding Transition, Reverse "hook," and restatement of thesis.
  • Rephrasing main topic and subtopics.
  • Global statement or call to action.

More tips to make your essay shine

Planning Pays

Although it may seem like a waste of time – especially during exams where time is tight – it is almost always better to brainstorm a bit before beginning your essay. This should enable you to find the best supporting ideas – rather than simply the first ones that come to mind – and position them in your essay accordingly.

Your best supporting idea – the one that most strongly makes your case and, simultaneously, about which you have the most knowledge – should go first. Even the best-written essays can fail because of ineffectively placed arguments.

Aim for Variety

Sentences and vocabulary of varying complexity are one of the hallmarks of effective writing. When you are writing, try to avoid using the same words and phrases over and over again. You don’t have to be a walking thesaurus but a little variance can make the same idea sparkle.

If you are asked about "money," you could try "wealth" or "riches." At the same time, avoid beginning sentences the dull pattern of "subject + verb + direct object." Although examples of this are harder to give, consider our writing throughout this article as one big example of sentence structure variety.

Practice! Practice! Practice!

In the end, though, remember that good writing does not happen by accident. Although we have endeavored to explain everything that goes into effective essay writing in as clear and concise a way as possible, it is much easier in theory than it is in practice.

As a result, we recommend that you practice writing sample essays on various topics. Even if they are not masterpieces at first, a bit of regular practice will soon change that – and make you better prepared when it comes to the real thing.

Now that you’ve learned how to write an effective essay, check out our Sample Essays so you can see how they are done in practice.

Essay Writing Center

Related Content:

English language classes usually require a lot of writing. When you're a middle school student, you don't feel the pressure. But high school and college students are assigned complex topics. They are rarely free to choose their own idea, so it makes the situation even more complicated. An argumentative essay should be based on three major set of skills of any good student:

  1. Research skills
  2. Writing skills
  3. Analytical skills

If one of these is your weak point, you would probably need online academic writing assistance. Anyway, you should try writing a persuasive paper on one of the chosen topics on your own. This is a good practice for your communication and research skills. Argumentative essays are assigned to train your debating abilities. This assignment has a great influence on how a student will perform or give a public speech later.

HOW TO SELECT DEBATABLE ARGUMENTATIVE TOPICS TO DISCUSS

You might think that it's better when your teacher assigns a particular argumentative topic to you. Having a right to develop your own idea is always better. When working on the persuasive essay, a student has to collect all valuable and time-tested sources to prove his knowledge of the certain issue. You may be encouraged to use such primary sources as:

  • Textbooks
  • Books
  • Documentaries
  • Academic journals
  • Scientific magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Official reports

Even if you are an expert in a certain field, don't hesitate to use and cite external sources. It will point to your ability to collect and select only the most relevant sources. Besides, direct and indirect quotes are needed to support your knowledge of academic writing style. If you are not sure in your writing skills, turn to professional writing agency to buy a winning argumentative essay on a variety of topics for cheap.

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BEST ARGUMENTATIVE PAPER TOPICS

Easy argumentative essay topics

  1. Education should be free for everyone
  2. Why are the US citizens rapidly becoming more obese?
  3. Internet access must be limited to students
  4. Young people must have a right to choose when it comes to military
  5. Each student must have a right to pick only those disciplines he is interested in
  6. What are the advantages US educational system offers to international students?
  7. Which secondary languages are worth studying today?
  8. Is education too commercialised nowadays?
  9. Is current academic grading helpful in performance?
  10. Are tests like SAT and ACT effective?
  11. Advantages and disadvantages of MBA program.

Sports argumentative essay topics

  1. What can be done to assist teenagers in maintaining a healthy weight?
  2. Physical education in the school system.
  3. Does participation in NCAA negatively influence the academic performance?
  4. What is the top unbreakable record in sport?
  5. Is Michael Jordan still a basketball star?

Argumentative essay topics for middle school

  1. What is the real relationship between food, fitness, and weight?
  2. What are the negative effects of diets?
  3. Society should fight with anorexia
  4. To regulate health issues, people should think about their sleep more
  5. Is golf still demanded?
  6. Steroid takers must be banned from team sports activities.
  7. Is swimming really the best type of sport?
  8. Hockey and other dangerous sports.

Argumentative essay topics for college

  1. Production and sales of tobacco must be made illegal
  2. Death sentence should be activated in every country of the world
  3. Smoking in public places has to be banned
  4. Alcohol usage should be controlled
  5. They should not sell alcohol beverages after 11 P.M.
  6. Energetic drinks should be banned and made illegal
  7. Should court proceedings be documented for television?
  8. The most suitable age to have a right to vote.
  9. When can citizens start drinking and smoking (specific age)?
  10. On the whole, is there justice for all?
  11. Was the Industrial Revolution a Europe-wide phenomenon in the nineteenth century?

Classical argument topics

  1. It should be forbidden to use species of animals for research purposes and cruel experiments
  2. Should rainforests destructions be punished?
  3. To what extent are electric vehicles a solution to global pollution?
  4. Pros and cons of globalisation.
  5. Was Roosevelt right about building a Panama Canal?
  6. Are you on the side of King-Kong or militaries who interrupted his world to study it using violent measures?
  7. The risks the United States may face in terms of rapidly changing climate conditions.
  8. Earthquakes and their consequences.
  9. Tsunami: the death wave.
  10. Beautiful forests of Amazonia.
  11. Which species should be included in the Red Book (Liber Novus)?
  12. How can students add up to the social movement for nature's safety?

Controversial argumentative essay topics

  1. Third World War should be Prevented by Russian and US Governments
  2. Existing public school policies must be changed
  3. Is gun control an effective way to control the crime?
  4. Government should forbid same-sex marriages
  5. Society is turning over-regulated
  6. The countries with the highest levels of corruption.
  7. Are some political authorities engaged in illegal activities in the US?
  8. Should people with physical disabilities be accepted by the government?
  9. To be a politician: art or a born talent.
  10. Can anyone be above the law?
  11. Pros and cons of Monarchy.
  12. Is CIS a better alternative for the USSR?

Argumentative essay on technology

  1. Violent video games should be prohibited
  2. Does technology make people feel alone?
  3. YouTube Owners Should Check and Fix Comments That Involve Filthy Language
  4. Are people becoming technological zombies?
  5. Will humanity reach the time when there will be no more technological advancement?
  6. Influences of mobile phones: pros and cons
  7. Technology and education

Argumentative essay on social media

  1. Is technology limiting creativity?
  2. The role of communications in social networks for modern education.
  3. Are contemporary people too much reliant on technology?
  4. Are online friends more effective than imaginary?
  5. Is censorship of Internet necessary?

6th-grade argumentative essay topics

  1. First aid and medical help, in general, should become free
  2. People are good at heart (download and use an example now)
  3. People must spend less time on official work without any effect on their salaries
  4. Social movements must be financed by governments
  5. Parents have no right to control the lives of their children above 16
  6. Cloning must be banned
  7. Global warming (Just download the sample you need for free!)
  8. Are abortions legal?
  9. Cross-cultural marriages add up to racial tolerance
  10. Is it OK to date a younger male?
  11. What us incest?
  12. What should be the role of partners in relationship and family?
  13. Is online dating safe and productive?
  14. Will people start marrying their computers soon?

Funny argument topics

  1. Would Batman be in law in a real world?
  2. 2D vs. 3D vs. 4D: What's Next?
  3. Can the chip control the human mind like they do in superhero movies?
  4. Does Griffins Family correspond to the typical American family?
  5. Graffiti is an illegal art. How should it be punished?
  6. Marijuana should be legal.
  7. Should parents be soft on their children?

Art, Music & Movie Ideas for Papers

  1. Does art pay?
  2. Can music and cinematography be called an art too?
  3. Is gothic art the most preferred and magnificent in history of mankind?
  4. Can you succeed in life working in the field of art?
  5. Are today's music tracks educational or meaningful at all?
  6. Is modern lyrics too explicit for a young audience?
  7. There is no plot in the majority of up-to-date movies.
  8. How long should a motion picture last?

DOWNLOAD MORE ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY SAMPLES

VALUABLE TIPS & SIGNS OF THE GREAT TOPIC IDEAS

If you wish everyone to read your piece with the bated breath, try to:

  1. Pick a topic that everyone is currently discussing. Pay attention to the rumours.
  2. Select a question an answer to which is still unknown to many people.
  3. Choose an audience that does not agree with your point.
  4. Decide on the problem on which everyone has a specific point of view.
  5. Choose an issue based on your own interests, but don't go too far!

Here we have shared some of the most effective tips:

  • No obvious argumentative paper topics!
  • Do not stop on those topics that do not arise any arguments. Topics that state scientific facts proved by centuries do not work.
  • A debatable essay must focus on the critical issue which leads to the global conflicts.
  • Almost every second problem related to politics is a good choice. You may also write something about your school, college or university policies that annoy you or make students argue with their teachers and principals.
  • Skip topics that people tend to agree on.
  • At the same time, it is better to pass by argumentative essay topics connected with religion, gender, race, and other sensitive episodes of human life. Otherwise, your subjective opinion may be graded subjectively.
  • It is better to write your essay following APA style. You may read how to format academic papers in APA here.
Remember: the world is not black-and-white. There are always two sides of the coin. So, even if you're pretty sure in your claim, and the majority of people tend to support it, consider the arguments of the opposing side. Only then your argumentative paper will be graded respectively high.

As you can see, the procedure is everywhere the same. But the idea is to choose the most exciting argumentative paper topics in order to impress both your audience and your teacher. It's like a competition, where the highest grade is your prize. Whenever you need immediate help with your assignment, turn to the professional writing service which can compose an argumentative essay on any topics in several hours.

A FEW WORDS ABOUT STRUCTURE

Just like any other academic paper, argumentative essay requires such steps as:

  • In-depth research
  • Gathering of information
  • Picking the most credible and up-to-date sources
  • Writing a draft
  • Writing compare and contrast essay itself
  • Editing
  • Revising (at least twice)

Speaking about the organisation and structure of the argumentative essay, we offer a five-paragraph paper outline. Let your original ideas flow in this manner:

A conclusion is, no doubt, the most important part of the argumentative essay as you can either support the good impression or destroy it entirely. If you want to avoid typical mistakes, find valuable recommendations in this article.

CONCLUSION

It all seems easy: just select, draft, write and revise. You may keep your argumentative essays for your future job portfolio in case they are highly graded. We recommend fixing them a bit once your teacher returns the checked version to you. The next time, the process would seem much easier to you.

If you have no desire to waste time on selecting the best topic and writing the whole argumentative essay from scratch, don't forget that you have a loyal team of professionals by your side. We are always ready to help for affordable prices - just contact us in the case of any questions or need for additional information. Expand your horizons by ordering an outstanding argumentative paper from expert US writers!

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