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What makes an essay a good essay

Sue Gench


Check your essay against the following benchmarks. A good essay demonstrates these elements:

1. The essay has a title. The title highlights the main topic of the essay in a concise phrase.

2. The essay begins with a main topic statement in one or few sentences.

3. Supporting ideas follow the main topic statement in the introduction paragraph. In other words, the introduction paragraph lays out supporting ideas that will be discussed in the forthcoming body paragraphs.

4. The essay is divided into paragraphs. Each paragraph begins with a topic sentence for one supporting idea given in the introduction paragraph.

5. In explaining a supporting idea, these elements stand out:

6. Each paragraph ends with either a conclusion or transitional sentence. The conclusion sentence signals the ending of the supporting argument for the paragraph. The transitional sentence leads the reader to the supporting topic the next paragraph will discuss.

7. The essay ends with a conclusion paragraph, summing up or reinforcing the main topic for the essay stated in the introduction paragraph.

8. The essay demonstrates cohesion. Supporting ideas help to develop the main topic and are easy to follow. Examples clearly illustrate the author's view point and back it up.

9. The essay is written in an easy-to-read style.

10. The essay demonstrates a good use of language tools for grammar, word choice and sentence construction. It is free of grammatical errors, pompous English or jargons.




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