Writing Tips

How to write an email to your teacher

  • Indicate a clear subject heading
  • Begin the email with: Dear, Hello, Good morning, Good afternoon (For instance: Dear Ms. Finlay, …)
  • Spell check
  • Be concise

Tips-> Be professional. Treat this like a business letter. Do not use emoticons or use slang or informal words (such as “hey”, etc). Do not expect an immediate response. Teachers will do their best to reply as quickly as possible.

How to write a thesis

  • A thesis statement tells your reader what your argument is
  • A thesis is a claim that needs to be proved/argued, not a statement about the general topic of your essay
  • It is included in the first introductory paragraph, and is stated concisely in one or two sentences
  • Your points stated in your thesis will help guide your writing and keep your argument focused

Tips-> Here is a checklist for writing a thesis:

  1. Does it address the terms or prompts of the assignment? Be sure to read through your rubric carefully to ensure you are meeting expectations
  2. Does it make a clear and specific claim about your topic
  3. Does it convey your position/stance on the subject?
  4. Is it limited to only one precise and strong claim?

How to write a paragraph

  1. Compose a topic sentence which summarizes the main idea
  2. Create supporting ideas that follow a logical order
  3. Expand on your supporting ideas by providing explanations, evidence, examples, etc
  4. Conclude your paragraph with a summary/emphasis of the main idea, and have a leading sentence to your next paragraph that follows

Tips -> Do not ramble. Be concise – keep your sentences relevant to the main idea.

How to write an essay

  • Title
    • A strong academic essay title will announce your topic, suggest or encompass your thesis, include the subject/author/work of literature your paper discusses, and grab your reader’s attention
  • Introduction
    • Introductions attract and orient the reader, offer a “map” of the paper’s structure, and summarize the argument/idea that the body of the paper will explore/prove
    • Although they appear first in the paper, they are often the last piece to be written because they encapsulate big ideas
    • The first sentence grabs your reader’s attention. This is a chance to be creative, yet still relevant
    • Then, there will be a topic sentence(s) -> What will you be discussing? What is your subject matter? This information orients your reader
    • State your discussion points (two-three). This will serve as a “build up” to your thesis statement
    • State your thesis
    • You could add a “so what?” statement after your thesis (or be a part of it), which explains what is significant about your position
  • Body
    • Your reader must be able to follow your ideas. There must be a logical flow from paragraph to paragraph, sentence to sentence, phrase to phrase.
    • Effective transitions and topic sentences
  • Conclusion
    • Your conclusion will summarize and make further explanations/explorations of what is particularly significant about your position/idea with regard to the bigger picture – how is your argument/idea significant historically, culturally, geographically, etc.
    • Prove to your reader that your thesis is important

Here is a graphic organizer from Ms. Schumann Johns and the English Department to assist you in writing an essay: comparison-essay-outline (Although it is an organizer to assist you in writing a comparative essay, you can still apply the means to organize your arguments/points with other types of essays).