Before you start writing you should think about what the purpose of the text is. Are you going to answer certain questions, are you just going to say your opinion about something or are you going to explain something?
If you get a task saying: Explain the pros and cons of learning English, you cannot simply state your own opinion. You have to explain pros and cons no matter what your own opinion might be. If the task says Give reasons for your views on compulsory English in upper secondary school, it’s going to be a completely different text about the same topic.
– Write down all the ideas that come to mind about your topic.
– Arrange your ideas in order of importance. Your first paragraph should contain your main topic or argument. Decide what ideas ought to go in your middle paragraphs. When you are sure about the purpose of the text, start to plan the outline of the text. Then you decide which of your ideas you are going to use. Be sure you only use correct information, and write down the sources you have used.
The first paragraph explains how you intend to deal with the issue. It should be clearly written and capture the reader’s interest. Do not begin with your arguments either for or against the issue in this first paragraph. These should be presented in the “body” of your text.
This is the longest section of your essay and may consist of several paragraphs. Each paragraph should deal with only one idea or argument. This is stated in the topic sentence of the paragraph. Additional sentences should add information to the topic of the paragraph. Vary the length of your sentences to avoid becoming boring. Link paragraphs with connecting phrases such as:
In addition, On the one hand … On the other, Equally important is/are … etc.
You may wish to present both sides of an issue in order to prove to the reader that your viewpoint is, nevertheless, the correct one for you.
In your final paragraph you should remind your reader briefly of your initial viewpoint and convince him/her that your reasoning is sound. Sum up strongly, perhaps beginning:
Therefore, Consequently, As a result, It would appear then, etc.