Sample Essay

806 words - 4 pages

How to write your assignment

Andrew Hardie

How to structure an essay
 Introduction: What is the essay about? What

is its question? How is it structured?

 Main body: methods of data collection,
data analysis, interpretation/discussion or
discussion of relevant literature
 Conclusion: summary, answer to essay
question, open questions

Introduction
 A “roadmap” to the essay

 Key phrases:
“In this essay, I will discuss…”
“This essay looks at/discusses/investigates…”
“This essay is structured as follows:…”

Main body: data analysis
 Introduce your data: Where did you get them? How

do they help you answer the question?
 Analyse your data: What in ...view middle of the document...

 Be logical

Watch out for logical gaps − do the facts you‟re citing
really back up the point you‟re making?

Essay style
 Be clear and concise
 Avoid

long, wordy sentences: don‟t ramble!
 Don‟t use ten words when two will do
 Don‟t use a “bookish” word when an
everyday word will do
E.g. “parsimonious” instead of “scarce”
 Exception: technical linguistics terminology
(e.g. “adjacency pair”, “morpheme”)

Be clear and concise
 Two short sentences are better than one long

sentence
 “Prescriptive grammarians have claimed that
Standard English is the best form of English
and regional dialects should be avoided, but
descriptive grammarians don‟t believe this,
and instead they believe that all different
varieties of English have equal value and so
from this point of view there is no „best‟
dialect of English.”

One idea, one sentence
“Prescriptive grammarians have claimed that
Standard English is the best form of English
and regional dialects should be avoided.
But descriptive grammarians don‟t believe
this.
Instead they believe that all different varieties
of English have equal value.
From this point of view, there is no „best‟
dialect of English.”

Backing up what you say
 Evidence (e.g. examples from a text)

 Citation / quotation
 Hedging: “This would seem to
suggest that…” rather than stating
something as a fact

Paraphrase or plagiarism?
To avoid plagiarism, you must give credit
whenever you use:
 another person's idea, opinion, or theory;
 any fact or information that is not common

knowledge;
 quotations...

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