The Write Advice - Hazardous Material Ahead: How to Avoid Common Writing Mistakes

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These types of examples give your reader something narrow to focus on, and if used properly, they leave little doubt about your claim. General examples, while they convey the necessary information, are not nearly as compelling or useful in writing because they are too obvious and typical. Be relevant to the thesis. Primary support is considered strong when it relates directly to the thesis. Primary support should show, explain, or prove your main argument without delving into irrelevant details.

When faced with a lot of information that could be used to prove your thesis, you may think you need to include it all in your body paragraphs. But effective writers resist the temptation to lose focus. Choose your examples wisely by making sure they directly connect to your thesis.

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Be detailed. Remember that your thesis, while specific, should not be very detailed.

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The body paragraphs are where you develop the discussion that a thorough essay requires. Using detailed support shows readers that you have considered all the facts and chosen only the most precise details to enhance your point of view. Recall that when you prewrite you essentially make a list of examples or reasons why you support your stance. Stemming from each point, you further provide details to support those reasons.

watch After prewriting, you are then able to look back at the information and choose the most compelling pieces you will use in your body paragraphs. After you have prewritten about your working thesis statement, you may have generated a lot of information, which may be edited out later.

Remember that your primary support must be relevant to your thesis. Remind yourself of your main argument, and delete any ideas that do not directly relate to it. Omitting unrelated ideas ensures that you will use only the most convincing information in your body paragraphs. Choose at least three of the most compelling points. These will serve as the topic sentences for your body paragraphs. When you support your thesis, you are revealing evidence. Evidence includes anything that can help support your stance.

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The following are the kinds of evidence you will encounter as you conduct your research:. They can support your stance by providing background information on or a solid foundation for your point of view. However, some facts may still need explanation. Judgments are more credible than opinions because they are founded upon careful reasoning and examination of a topic. An eyewitness is someone who has direct experience with a subject; the witness adds authenticity to an argument based on facts. An expert witness is a person who has extensive experience with a topic. This person studies the facts and provides commentary based on either facts or judgments, or both.

An expert witness adds authority and credibility to an argument. It reflects what you know to be true because you have experiences and have formed either opinions or judgments about them. In any job where you devise a plan, you will need to support the steps that you lay out. This is an area in which you would incorporate primary support into your writing.

Choosing only the most specific and relevant information to expand upon the steps will ensure that your plan appears well thought out and precise. You can consult a vast pool of resources to gather support for your stance. Citing relevant information from reliable sources ensures that your reader will take you seriously and consider your assertions.

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Use any of the following sources for your essay: newspapers or news organization websites, magazines, encyclopedias, and scholarly journals, which are periodicals that address topics in a specialized field. Like the thesis statement, each topic sentence should be specific and supported by concrete details, facts, or explanations. These sentences are vital to writing your body paragraphs because they always refer back to and support your thesis statement. Topic sentences are linked to the ideas you have introduced in your thesis, thus reminding readers what your essay is about.

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A paragraph without a clearly identified topic sentence may be unclear and scattered, just like an essay without a thesis statement. Unless your teacher instructs otherwise, you should include at least three body paragraphs in your essay. The following topic sentence is a primary support point for the thesis. The topic sentence states exactly what the controlling idea of the paragraph is. Later, you will see the writer immediately provide support for the sentence.

In Self — Practice Exercise 5. Now we are going to build onto the formal sentence outline you constructed in Self — Practice Exercise 5. Take each point and incorporate it into a topic sentence for each body paragraph. Collaboration : P lease share with a classmate and compare your answers. After deciding which primary support points you will use as your topic sentences, you must add details to clarify and demonstrate each of those points. These supporting details provide examples, facts, or evidence that support the topic sentence. The writer drafts possible supporting detail sentences for each primary support sentence based on the thesis statement:.

The following paragraph contains supporting detail sentences for the primary support sentence the topic sentence , which is underlined. You have the option of writing your topic sentences in one of three ways. You can state it at the beginning of the body paragraph, or at the end of the paragraph, or you do not have to write it at all. One that is not written at all is called an implied topic sentence. An implied topic sentence lets readers form the main idea for themselves.

For beginning writers, it is best to not use implied topic sentences because it makes it harder to focus your writing. Your instructor may also want to clearly identify the sentences that support your thesis. Print out the first draft of your essay and use a highlighter to mark your topic sentences in the body paragraphs.

Make sure they are clearly stated and accurately present your paragraphs, as well as accurately reflect your thesis. If your topic sentence contains information that does not exist in the rest of the paragraph, rewrite it to more accurately match the rest of the paragraph. Picture your introduction as a storefront window: you have a certain amount of space to attract your customers readers to your goods subject and bring them inside your store discussion. Once you have enticed them with something intriguing, you then point them in a specific direction and try to make the sale convince them to accept your thesis.

Your introduction is an invitation to your readers to consider what you have to say and then to follow your train of thought as you expand upon your thesis statement.

If your introductory paragraph is dull or disjointed, your reader probably will not have much interest in continuing with the essay. In the next few sentences, introduce them to your topic by stating general facts or ideas about the subject. As you move deeper into your introduction, you gradually narrow the focus, moving closer to your thesis. On a sheet of paper, jot down a few general remarks that you can make about the topic for which you formed a thesis in Self — Practice Exercise 5.

You can garner curiosity for your essay in a number of ways. Try to get your readers personally involved by doing any of the following:. Remember that your diction, or word choice, while always important, is most crucial in your introductory paragraph. Boring diction could extinguish any desire a person might have to read through your discussion.

Choose words that create images or express action. In this chapter, Mariah writes her introduction and conclusion for the same essay. Mariah incorporates some of the introductory elements into her introductory paragraph, which she previously outlined. Her thesis statement is underlined. If you have trouble coming up with a provocative statement for your opening, it is a good idea to use a relevant, attention-grabbing quote about your topic. Use a search engine to find statements made by historical or significant figures about your subject. In your job field, you may be required to write a speech for an event, such as an awards banquet or a dedication ceremony.

Using the same techniques, such as a provocative quote or an interesting statistic, is an effective way to engage your listeners. Using the funnel approach also introduces your audience to your topic and then presents your main idea in a logical manner. It is not unusual to want to rush when you approach your conclusion, and even experienced writers may fade by the time they get to the end.

But what good writers remember is that it is vital to put just as much attention into the conclusion as the rest of the essay. After all, a hasty ending can undermine an otherwise strong essay.

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A conclusion that does not correspond to the rest of your essay, has loose ends, or is unorganized can unsettle your readers and raise doubts about the entire essay. However, if you have worked hard to write the introduction and body, your conclusion can often be the most logical part to compose. Keep in mind that the ideas in your conclusion must conform to the rest of your essay.