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Essay writing: How to get your point across

To make a strong essay that gets your point across, it's useful to picture yourself as a lawyer.To make a strong essay that gets your point across, it's useful to picture yourself as a lawyer.

Imagine that your essay is a way of convincing a jury (your teacher) that your argument is valid.

As a lawyer, you look at an allegation (the essay question) and must decide on an overarching argument.

You then structure your speech (essay) to the jury as follows:

  • Introduction: What do you plan to prove?
  • Main argument: Expanding on the argument over several paragraphs. Each paragraph should contain a relevant point, backed up by appropriate quotations and some analysis of the quotation, which builds towards your overall argument. Quotations are crucial as they provide the “evidence” to back up your argument.
    For more advice on structure paragraphs see below.
  • Conclusion: Drawing your essay to a succinct conclusion. This should sum up what you have written and prove that you have answered the question.

burgerStructuring Paragraphs

Ideally, each paragraph of the main argument should include a quotation. It may help to think of the paragraph as like a burger:

  • The top layer of bread is where you introduce the quote. Explain how the quote illustrates your argument.
  • The burger’s contents, the meaty bit, are the quotation.
  • The bottom layer of bread is your comment on the quote. Why is it interesting? What does it reveal about the character, language or plot?