Essay Essentials

There is no one correct way to write an essay. But, the better essays have certain things in common.

A good mnemonic device is "FOCS", standing for Focus, Organization, Conventions, Support.

Focus Decide on the topic of the essay and stick to it. During writing, re-visit the prompt to double-check that you haven't strayed.
Organization Pre-write to lay out a logical order. Include a beginning, middle, and end (AKA an introduction, body, and conclusion). Use transitional devices to prompt the reader that you're moving on.
Conventions Use correct grammar, syntax, punctuation, usage, etc.
Support Use examples to support whatever you're saying. It's one thing to simply make a statement. It's a whole other level to then back it up with an example or even two.

See The Good Essay for an example.

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