Explain Essay Form

First, you might want to look at my list of 150 topic ideas for essays that explain. Once you have a topic, you will need to decide what way you want to approach it. Most topics can be several types of essays. Here is an example:

Topic: Love

Types of Love (classification): Divide your concept into different categories or types (types of love, such as “Puppy Love,” “True Love,” or “Dangerous Love”). The body of the essay then discusses these categories one by one in separate paragraphs.

How to: Explain how something happens or how to do something. Divide it into parts or steps. Tell it in chronological order, use storytelling techniques and time transition words (example: “How to fall out of love or How to fall in love with your husband again.”)

Comparison and Contrast: Use something familiar to explain something unfamiliar. The body of this essay would use different aspects of the comparison for each paragraph. This uses similes, metaphors or analogies and vivid word pictures (examples: love is like a river, a basketball game, or a teeter-totter).

Cause and Effect: Show how one thing causes another to occur (example: falling in love causes you to seem more attractive to others).

Historical Overview: What is the history of this term and how did it come to have the meaning it has today? Or contrast the current meaning with a meaning from the past (example: love in the 18th century, the history of divorce, or history of the phrase “love at first sight”).

Reverse Expectations and Definition: In this sort of paper, you will compare your expectations of something, or what people usually think about this subject with what you think the reality is or the real definition of that term (example: Love is not a feeling; it is a chemical process. The body paragraphs would give the different chemicals and explain how they work to create the feelings of love).

7. A Good Thesis Statement avoids:

  • Broad statements will lead to vague and undeveloped essays
  • Factual statements deal on facts, there’s nothing to explain or develop as when you have a specific opinion on a brief subject.
  • Announcements

8.Shaping The Thesis

  • Avoid broad statements. A thesis that is too broad will cause the writer to present a superficial discussion that will never get beyond the obvious.

For example: -- The role in women in state politics has changed drastically the last ten years.—

  • Improved Thesis. Be specific and concise.

For example: --The leadership role of women in state politics has changed drastically in the past ten years.—

9. Avoid factual statements.

  • Factual statements leave the writer with nothing to say, with no way to develop it.

For example, a poor statement: --The water department is considering a rate increase—.

Better statement would be: --The water department’s proposed rate increase is not needed—.

10. Avoid the Announcement

  • Poor announcement example:

--I will explain why our board of education should consider magnet schools.—

--This essay will describe the best way to choose a major.—

--Our board of education should consider magnet schools.—

--Students who are unsure of how to choose a major should follow my advice.—

11, Avoid VagueTerms (stay concise and specific)

--It is interesting to consider the various meanings of love.—

--We apply the work love to a broad spectrum of emotions.—

12. Evaluating Thesis Statement

Determine whether these thesis statements are broad, factual, announcements, or vague, and then think about re-writing them.

-- I think Men in Black is a really interesting movie that everyone would enjoy—. This is a vague statement.

-- My essay will tell you how to apply for a college loan with the least amount of trouble—. This is an announcement.

-- Having a close friend to talk to is very important—. This is a broad statement.

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