A good essay or term paper
1. Answers the question
No matter how interesting or well-written an essay, you will not be given any credit for your efforts unless it answers the question that was set. Your argument and evidence must be relevant to the question. This is the most important feature of what makes a good essay. It must deal with the subject or the topic(s) posed in the question rubric. Your answer should demonstrate that you have understood what the question is asking for, that you have grasped its key terms, and that you have followed all its instructions. 2. Clear structure
An essay should be like a good piece of architecture – built on firm foundations to carefully made plans. The points of your argument should be arranged in some structure which is logical and persuasive. If you are dealing with a number of issues, the relation between them should be clearly explained. The connections between each stage of your argument and the original question should be evident throughout the essay. 3. Appropriate style
For an academic essay the third person (‘he’, ‘she’, or ‘it’) rather than the first person (‘I’) is a more preferable style. Occasional use of ‘I’ may be acceptable if a personal opinion has been specifically requested. You should keep your audience in mind. Try to imagine that you are addressing someone who is intelligent and reasonably, but not necessarily well-informed in the subject. Remember that your writing should be grammatically accurate. Poor punctuation and weak sentence construction will create a bad impression. Mixed tenses and metaphors should be avoided. Spelling mistakes should be corrected. 4. Arguments supported by evidence
Essays should not be just a series of unsupported assertions. You need to provide some evidence to support them – either in the form of factual details, your own reasoning, or the arguments of others. In this latter case, you should always reveal the fact that you are using someone else’s ideas. Provide...
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