General Format – Titles:

Every essay must have a title. The rules for titles are that they use the same font and same font size as the rest of the essay. Capitalize the first, last, and important words in-between. This means you typically capitalize nouns and verbs. You do not capitalize (except if they are the first or last word in the title) articles (the, an, a), prepositions (of, below, near, above, etc.) or conjunctions (and, but, or, etc.). Typically you want the title to contain the main point in the essay, but that point needs to be reduced to three or four words. The title should be centered, but when submitting via email this is often hard to do.

When submitting an essay, the header should look like this:

  • Your Name
  • Course
  • Instructor’s Name
  • Due Date

A Title that Predicts Essay Development

First, every essay will have an introduction, Body and Conclusion. It is often said that the introduction tells the reader what the essay will tell the reader, the body of the essay tells the reader what the essay is about, and the conclusion tells the reader what the essay just told them.

For the narrative, it might be easier to think of the introduction as the beginning, the body as the middle, and the conclusion as the end.

With the introduction, I am the only reader, as are members of your peer groups, who are required to read your writing. Your job in the first paragraph is to persuade the reader to continue on.

Introduction Basics:

  • The Introduction is the first paragraph.
  • Begin with a statement, which interests and orients the reader, often referred to as the HOOK.
  • Should introduce topic right away.
  • Should contain thesis statement/controlling idea.

essay writing

Generalizations about Introductions and Conclusions

  • Need not be parts of the essay indicated by such phrases as “before we begin” or “in conclusion.”
  • Introductions and conclusions are more effective if they are thought of in matched pairs.
  • Introductions and conclusions, which work in one context, can fail in others.
  • Consider the audience when thinking about the type of introduction/conclusion you are going to use.
  • Introduction should give readers a preview of essay’s subject and/or framework. An introduction is not an introduction if it leaves readers clueless about either the subject or the framework.
  • Beginning of the essay introduces the interpreter [author] as well as the interpretation.
  • Present yourself as a person whose judgments and opinions are likely to be valuable.
  • Summarizing in a broad sense is one of the conclusion’s main functions. Do not simply restate what you have already said. Rather, place your topic within a larger context.

Introduction and Conclusion Strategies

  • Funnel shaped (inverted pyramid) introduction matched with “web” conclusion. This introduction begins with broad statement related to the topic. Provide background information, each bit more specific than the first – all of which lead to and set up the thesis statement. The Conclusion presents or restates original topic in the context of larger concerns. This is the standard format taught in many writing courses.
  • Build on a scene – show your reader where the narrative will be taking place. Make it interesting. Match with the conclusion built on a parallel scene. This is a particularly good strategy for the narrative essay.
  • Stress the author’s attitude in the Introduction, matching that with a conclusion that reflects a change in that attitude – can also deal with emotion, feelings, or ideas.
  • Develop a question in the Introduction matched with a Conclusion that discusses an answer.

General Format – Body

  • Develops issues and ideas broached in Introduction.
  • For narrative decide what the climax or high point of the story is and build towards it.