Essay Writing (from Smalley, Ruetten, and Kozyrev: Refining Composition Skills: Rhetoric and Grammar, 5th Edition Boston: Heinle & Heinle, 2001).

Essentials for Every Essay
  • Introduction: gives the topic and "thesis statement"*, in one or a few paragraphs
  • Developmental paragraphs: explain various aspects of the topic and thesis statement
  • Conclusion: restates the main points or thesis statement, but gives no new ideas

Types of Essays
  • Example: Uses a number of examples to give an idea
  • Compare and Contrast: Explains similarities and differences between characters, ideas or situations
  • Classification: Divides and subdivides into categories to give an idea
  • Process Analysis: Explains directionally (how to do something) or informationally (how something works, how something happened, or how something is/was done)
  • Cause-and-Effect: Analyzes the causes of something (the reasons before) or the effects of something (the outcomes after)
  • Argumentative: Tries to convince readers to agree with you

*Thesis Statement Examples

BAD Example GOOD Example
Use Complete Sentence My years living in Turkey. My years living in Turkey have changed the way in which I look at American culture.
Do Not Just Announce: Give Opinion or Idea I am going to write about the impact of recycling programs on Bilkent campus. The impact of recycling programs on Bilkent campus has been minimal.
Do Not State a Fact: Give Opinion or Idea The US government subsidizes its farmers. The decision by the US government to subsidize farmers is unsound.
There are many advantages and disadvantages for the US to subsidize farmers. The disadvantages for subsidizing farmers exceed the advantages.
Give Only One Topic
Moving to Turkey was a great idea, and speaking more than your native language is essential in finding a good job. Moving to Turkey was a great idea.