Proper Essay Paragraph Structure

The following material is adapted from a handout prepared by Harry Livermore for his high school English classes at Cook High School in Adel, Georgia. See, first, Writing Introductory Paragraphs for different ways of getting your reader involved in your essay.The introductory paragraph should also include the thesis statement, a kind of mini-outline for the paper: it tells the reader what the essay is about.

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The second paragraph of the body should contain the second strongest argument, second most significant example, second cleverest illustration, or an obvious follow up the first paragraph in the body.

The first sentence of this paragraph should include the reverse hook which ties in with the transitional hook at the end of the first paragraph of the body.

This hook also leads into the last, or concluding, paragraph.

This paragraph should include the following: Stephen King, creator of such stories as Carrie and Pet Sematary, stated that the Edgar Allan Poe stories he read as a child gave him the inspiration and instruction he needed to become the writer that he is.

The last sentence in this paragraph should include a transitional hook to tie into the third paragraph of the body.

The third paragraph of the body should contain the weakest argument, weakest example, weakest illustration, or an obvious follow up to the second paragraph in the body.The last sentence of this paragraph uses the expressions "sense of feeling" and "sense of sight" as hooks for leading into the third paragraph.Poe writes: "So I opened it [the lantern opening]--you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily--until, at length, a single dim ray, like the thread of the spider, shot from out the crevice and fell full upon the vulture eye." By using the metaphor of the thread of the spider (which we all know is a creepy creature) and the word "shot," Poe almost makes the reader gasp, as surely did the old man whose one blind eye the young man describes as "the vulture eye." The first sentence of the third paragraph (second paragraph of the body) uses the words "sense of sight" and "sense of feeling" to hook back into the previous paragraph.Poe's short story "The Tell-Tale Heart" is a story about a young man who kills an old man who cares for him, dismembers the corpse, then goes mad when he thinks he hears the old man's heart beating beneath the floor boards under his feet as he sits and discusses the old man's absence with the police.The introductory paragraph includes a paraphrase of something said by a famous person in order to get the reader's attention.The last sentence of the paragraph uses the words "manipulation" and "senses" as transitional hooks.In "The Tell-Tale Heart," Poe uses the following image to describe a static scene: "His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness . ." Poe used the words "black," "pitch," and "thick darkness" not only to show the reader the condition of the old man's room, but also to make the reader feel the darkness." In the first sentence of the second paragraph (first paragraph of the body) the words "sense" and "manipulation" are used to hook into the end of the introductory paragraph.A classic format for compositions is the five-paragraph essay.It is not the only format for writing an essay, of course, but it is a useful model for you to keep in mind, especially as you begin to develop your composition skills.This first sentence also lets the reader know that this paragraph will deal with descriptions of people: ". This guide is for anyone looking to vastly improve their essay writing skills through better knowledge what is meant by good 'essay structure'.

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