The GP Essay – Writing the essay body
Compared to the introduction, the essay body is easier to develop because you only need to be straightforward and concise in your writing. Every paragraph in an essay body is structured as follows:
- Topic sentence
- Supporting examples
- Concluding statement
1. The topic sentence
The topic sentence tells readers what your paragraph is going to be about. If you have planned your essay beforehand, the topic sentence should be a breeze to write. Do not bother with a fancy topic sentence if your language is not strong enough; just get straight to the point.
A few common mistakes committed in this area include:
- insufficient explanation
- incomplete explanation à students fail to convince the reader of their point
- explaining the example instead of using the example to support your explanation
3. Supporting examples
Give specific examples. A lot of times students think they can get away with giving an everyday example or a personal experience. However these are not as credible or convincing as real facts, hence please start reading up for content knowledge.
4. Concluding statement
After all that explanation, your reader might have forgotten the point you are trying to put across so a concluding sentence really helps them to refocus. A concluding statement should reiterate your stand and the point discussed in the paragraph.
Now if we put them altogether, a paragraph in an essay body might read something like this:
A picture is always more powerful than mere words. What is your view? (2006)
Stand: Agree to a large extent
Firstly, people respond to pictures quicker than they respond to words (topic sentence). When one views a picture, a signal is immediately relayed from our eyes to the brain, where we process the information. We can respond to images as easily and as quickly as how we respond to hot and cold; or loud and soft because our basic sense of sight is stimulated. Words however, require a higher level of mental processing because it entails the interpretation of language, which is highly complex. This therefore slows down the response people have towards words vis-à-vis colours (explanation). For example, traffic lights and danger signs –things that require a fast response or are meant to catch people’s attention— are often depicted with colours and/or pictures rather than words. Moreover, bright and bold colours are often chosen because these deliver the strongest stimulation and hence a longer lasting impression. (example). Therefore, I agree to a large extent that pictures are more powerful than words because pictures trigger an immediate response in people and are likely to have a greater impact on our consciousness (concluding statement).
Lastly, remember to use lots of transition signal words and connectors to improve your essay’s cohesiveness. Transition signal words tell you the sequence of points presented in your essay. These include firstly, secondly, finally etc. On the other hand, connectors add information and these include however, but, in contrast, so, therefore, hence, thus, moreover, in addition etc.
Now that you know how to write an essay body, what are you waiting for? Get practising!