Essay Structure: Strong structure is the key to wonderful writing
Think of your essay as a house!
I†††††††††† The Introduction:† grab your readerís attention
Before your reader enters the house, he walks up the path to the front door.† This front path is your introduction.† Just as your shrubbery and flower beds do, introductions grab your readerís attention and let him know what to expect inside.† You give your reader background/history, anything he needs to prepare him for the wonderment within.† Once youíve brought your reader up to the front door, hang a welcome sign for him:† your Thesis Statement.† Thesis statements announce the main idea of your essay and are placed at the end of your introduction.
II†††††††† The Body Paragraphs:† each paragraph develops ONE MAIN IDEA
Every paragraph is a room where everything inside serves a main idea.† Each room serves its own purpose; you do not want bathroom toiletries in your kitchen pantry!† Before you invite your reader in, hang a welcome sign on the door:† the topic sentence.† The topic sentence is your contract with your readeróit states what the paragraph will be about and promises that youíll stick to that main idea.
††††††††††† Transitions:† alert your reader each time you shift to a new idea
If the paragraphs of a composition are like rooms in a house, transitions are the hallways.† Just as we have to connect each room to the others with hallways, we must connect our ideas with transitions so our reader does not get lost.†††††††††††
III††††††† The Conclusion:† echo key terms in your introduction to signal the end
At the end of your tour, lead your reader back out the front door, down the path and down to the street:† the street is the future.† Use your conclusion to repeat key words from the introduction, summarize what youíve said in the body, and make a final statement, give your opinion, or look to the future.
 Frank, Steven.† Building a Structure.† Writing Basics (May 2006) 20-21, 66.