CoverObjectivesParagraphsShapeOrganizationParagraph TypesIntroduction to EssaysShapeOrganizationIntroduction ParagraphsBody ParagraphsConclusion ParagraphsExample EssayThe Writing ProcessPrewritingWritingRevisingNarrative EssaysExample Essay #1PrewritingWritingRevisingExample Essay #2Descriptive EssaysExample Essay #1PrewritingWritingRevisingExample Essay #2Classification EssaysExample Essay #1PrewritingWritingRevisingExample Essay #2Refining WritingDevelopmentUnityCohesionNuts and BoltsAudienceWord FormsPunctuation & CapitalizationGrammarVocabularySummariesWriting for the TOEFLIntegrated Writing TaskIndependent Writing TaskGlossaryTeachers' GuideTeacher NotesActivity IdeasAnswer KeyParagraphs AKIntroduction to Essays AKThe Writing Process AKNarrative Essays AKDescriptive Essays AKClassification Essays AKRefining Writing AKSummaries AKWriting for the TOEFL AK

Revising

REVIEW: Introduction

Remember that the introduction is like an inverted triangle. The beginning of your introduction paragraph is general (e.g., establishes setting, characters, and background knowledge). Then you narrow down the topic to a specific idea (e.g., why the story is important).

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Hook

Don't forget to catch your reader's interest by starting your introduction with a hook. There are many types of hooks: facts, questions, problems, descriptions, etc. There is not one perfect hook for each essay.

Type of Hook

Example

Fact

Everyone dreams of their wedding day.

Question

How would you feel on your wedding day?

Problem

Many people don't know how to feel on their wedding day.

Description

A wedding day can be a joyous occasion for all involved.

1 Exercise: Write and identify hooks.

Write a hook for each paragraph. Identify the type of hook you used and the general topic.

Example Where do you like to read? Some people like to read at home, while others like to read outside. Everyone has different reasons for where they like to read. People who like to read at home usually think it is easier to relax and focus there. However, it may also be too relaxing to read at home. Other places may be more effective. Reading outside is the most effective place for me because you can enjoy nature and not get too comfortable.

Type of hook: question

General topic of the paragraph: places to read

1. ______________________________________________________________________. Each person has a different method of study. It is important that you know which one works best for you, so you can improve your grades at school. Some people study best listening to music, in a noisy park or on public transport. Other people can only study in calm and quiet places. My perfect place to study is a place where you can have quiet, be comfortable, and avoid distractions.

Type of hook: __________________

General topic of the paragraph: _______________

2. ______________________________________________________________________. In our society, college is more and more important. Some people go right on to college after high school because they don't want to waste time doing something else. They want to finish school as soon as possible. In contrast, others take a year or more off to work or travel because they want to have a rest after a long time of studying at high school. In my opinion, taking a year or more off to work or travel is better because experience is more important than knowledge; also, it helps you to solve financial problems in college.

Type of hook: __________________

General topic of the paragraph: _______________

3. ______________________________________________________________________. Emotional moments are sometimes happy, surprising or sad. Some people have emotional moments when they get married, have a surprise party, graduate, when a son is born or when they see their love for the first time. No matter what your emotional moment is, the feeling will stay with you for the rest of your life. My most emotional moment was when I got married because I felt a lot of happiness.

Type of hook: __________________

General topic of the paragraph: _______________

Thesis

The thesis states the main idea, or focus, of the essay. The rest of the essay should give evidence and explanations that show why or how your thesis is true.

An effective thesis—

  • addresses the prompt if there is one* (i.e., answers the question).
  • is usually at the end of the introduction paragraph.
  • controls the content of all of the body paragraphs.
  • is a complete sentence.
  • does not announce the topic (e.g., “I’m going to talk about my wedding day.”).
  • should not simply be a fact (e.g., “Many people get married.”).
  • should not be too general (e.g., “Marriage is good.”).
  • ­should not be too specific (e.g., “Most people spend thousands of dollars on their wedding day to make it special.”).
  • may state main points (e.g., “My wedding day was the happiest day of my life because of my family, the ceremony, and my husband.”).
  • may imply main points (e.g., “My wedding day was the happiest day of my life.”).

2 Exercise: Evaluate thesis statements.

Discuss each thesis statement with a partner. Which sentences are effective thesis statements? Which sentences are not effective thesis statements? 

Prompt: Tell about an emotional experience and why it was emotional.

  1. Now I will tell you about an emotional moment in my life.
  2. I had an emotional experience in my life.
  3. My first day in the U.S.A. was an emotional experience due to my loneliness and culture shock.
  4. Being in the U.S.A. is an emotional experience because there are lots of people, about 580 million, who are busy with their own lives.
  5. Why do we have emotional experiences?
  6. Emotional experiences can be stressful.
  7. In this essay, we will see how my emotional experience was when I first came to the U.S.A.
  8. There are many reasons why my first day in the U.S.A. was an emotional experience for me.
  9. Is because coming to the U.S.A. was stressful and busy.
  10. 1Emotional experiences are important.

REVIEW: Body Paragraphs

Don't forget that the body paragraphs for your narrative essay need to contain the plot of the story you are telling. Divide the story into major events or emotions felt and tell about each in each of your body paragraphs. Also, make sure each body paragraph is complete with a topic sentence, supporting sentences, and a concluding sentence.

Topic sentence

A topic sentence is the first sentence of a paragraph. It states the main idea of the paragraph. The topic sentence will contain a topic and an idea about the topic, called a "controlling idea." The controlling idea controls, or limits, the amount of information you will write about the topic in your paragraph.

Supporting sentences

Your body paragraph needs to explain why or how your topic sen- tence is true. The sentences that explain your topic sentence are called supporting sentences. You can have many types of supporting sentences. Supporting sentences can give examples, explanations, details, descriptions, facts, reasons, etc.

Concluding sentences

The last sentence in a body paragraph is your concluding sen- tence. Your concluding sentence should end your paragraph logically. Concluding sentences can restate the main idea of your paragraph, state an opinion, make a prediction, give advice, etc. New ideas should not be presented in your concluding sentence.

3 Exercise: Re-order a paragraph

Revise the order of the sentences to make a better paragraph!

The first week of the ELC was very busy! When the ELC emailed me, I read the names of my teachers. I went to BYU campus on Thursday to get my student ID card. On Tuesday, I had an interview with one of the teachers. We also played a game together after lunch. On Monday, I spent several hours in the computer lab taking tests. On Wednesday, all of the new students met in the gym for more orientation and lunch. On Friday, I received the results of my tests in an email from the ELC. Monday afternoon, I attended the ELC orientation in my native language. I was very tired by the end of the week, but I was ready to start my first semester at the ELC.

4 Exercise: Check your essay

Now check the body paragraphs in your narrative essay to make sure you included all three types of sentences.

  • topic sentence
  • supporting sentences
  • concluding sentence

Teacher's Note

This would be a great time to review the revising section from the previous chapter (Writing Process). Depending on whether or not you choose to use the codes provided, you could use this time to review what the codes mean and how to revise accordingly. It would also be beneficial to take some time in class to go over common errors that you found in their first drafts and practice producing writing that is error free (e.g., word forms, punctuation, etc.).