Getting Started on Your Essay
Write a thesis statement. Your thesis should state the main point you are arguing in your essay and the main supporting arguments in the order you are going to make them. It should be from one to three sentences long.
Write your body paragraphs. Each body paragraph should discuss one argument you made in your thesis statement in detail. You should provide evidence such as quotations from the text or the opinions of scholars and experts. You may also want to address common counter-arguments and explain why they are incorrect.
Write transitions between your body paragraphs. A transition between two paragraphs takes place either in the last sentence of the first paragraph or the first sentence of the second. It should make the paper flow smoothly, showing how the different points you make are connected.
Write a conclusion. Your conclusion should succinctly summarize the arguments you made in your essay, and relate them to broader issues. For example, if you are analyzing themes in a particular piece of fiction, you can relate those themes to the author, his contemporaries, his time period, or even modern times. This makes the essay feel more significant, since it shows how your topic fits within a wider context.
Write the introduction. The introduction starts off broad and narrows down to the thesis statement, which forms the end of the intro. For example, if you were talking about the Illiad, you might start talking about Classical Greek literature, then talk about Greek epics, then discuss Homer and finally discuss the Illiad. The intro sets the tone of the essay, because it gives the reader context.
Edit the essay for language. A formal essay should use English that is formal, but not stiff. Eliminate slang, conversational tone and idiomatic sayings. Eliminate"you" phrases like "if you think about it." Also, eliminate I expressions like "I will show you," or "I believe that." If you...