Using Language To Persuade Essay Structure

Topic sentences clearly state the purpose of the paragraph.Each body paragraph should begin with a topic sentence.

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I keep a large poster with these thought stems in my classroom and I title it “The Elabor-8.” Making the connection is when the last sentence in a body paragraph connects the support back to the main point.

My students generally do pretty well at coming up with main points and creating support, but they often fail to connect the two.

That is to say, they put the support next to the main point but don’t clearly explain the relation between the two or they connect.

The analogy I use to explain this is that of the prosecutor in a criminal case: the attorney doesn’t just say, “There were some blood drops in the defendants car,” and then end his argument. The prosecutor must explain what the evidence shows.

The metaphor that comes to mind most often in describing this structure is the sandwich: the introductory and concluding paragraphs represent slices of bread while the body paragraphs are the meat and cheese of the essay, so to speak.

There are three body paragraphs in a five paragraph persuasive essay.

While it is generally not required, previewing the main points shows readers that the paper has been thoughtfully composed rather than free formed.

When I teach persuasive writing, we often devote the entire first week to the introductory paragraph because I believe that if a student can write a good introductory paragraph, then he or she can write a strong persuasive essay.

My students perennially struggle with properly supporting their main points.

In order to help them, I teach them to use thought stems to extend and develop their arguments.

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