Does this happen to you?
You have to write an essay but your mind is blank. You look at the computer monitor or white piece of paper. There are no words. You start to panic. You ask yourself, “How can I write this essay?” This is how many students start to write an essay. When the words don’t come out, writing can be difficult and a little scary.
How to start an essay
In this lesson, you will learn how to start an essay – quickly – by using a paragraph format. A format tells you what sentences you need and how to write your ideas. I call this the 1-2-3 Paragraph Format. This format is useful for writing projects where you have to say why you like one thing more than another thing. This is called expressing a preference. The 1-2-3 Paragraph Format has three benefits for you:
- It gives you a starting point. So, you will always know how to begin a new writing project.
- It’s flexible. You change the words the way you like them. Make your story and make it great.
- You don’t copy my ideas, you learn how to create. The 1-2-3 Paragraph Format teaches you the structure of the first paragraph.
1-2-3 Paragraph Format
Here is the first paragraph of an essay using the 1-2-3 Paragraph Format.
In my country, there is a long and serious debate about the best place to grow up as a kid. Some people say it is better for children to grow up in the countryside because rural areas provide safe streets to play and a clean environment. Other people argue that the city is a better place to raise a family because urban centers have more choices for entertainment and education. Both places have advantages and disadvantages to be sure. In my opinion, the city is a better place to raise a child because of personal, academic and professional reasons.
The paragraph has three parts.
- Part 1: The first sentence tells the reader the topic. This sentence says there are two different opinions about the best place to raise children.
- Part 2: The second and third sentences briefly explain the two different points of view. There is no detail. It’s just a summary.
- Part 3: This is the last sentence of the paragraph. This sentence explains your opinion. This is your thesis.
Now you try
Download the worksheet here and practice writing paragraphs using this format. The worksheet has three topic questions. I have also included three samples that show you how the 1-2-3- Paragraph Format can be changed to answer all kinds of questions. Your answers may be different from mine. That’s good. Good luck.
How to Write a 3 Paragraph Essay Outline
There are a number of important elements to any successful high school or college essay. This article will define those elements and provide you with a good strategy for crafting a great 3-paragraph essay outline that keep your thoughts organized and make writing your paper much easier.
Introduction and Thesis:Because you have a limited amount of space to present your position, you absolutely need to get straight to the point. Your first sentence in your introduction needs to be a precise thesis statement that sets the topic for the rest of your paper.
For example: “Yellowstone National Park is one of the U.S.’s most visited national parks for numerous reasons.”
This thesis sencent should be followed with some extra information that expands on your claim. For example: “Because Yellowstone National Park is one of the world’s most breathtaking sights, it is visited by thousands each year.”
Your third sentence should list your major points in the same order you will present them in the paper. The best way to do this is with a simple, clear sentence such as: “Three reasons for the park’s popularity are its history, location, and size.”
Body Paragraph:Unlike the standard 5-paragraph essay where you will have 3-paragraphs for your body, you are limited to just 1 paragraph in this short type of essay. This means you start immediately with your first point, followed by one or two supporting sentences.
For example: “Yellowstone National is popular for its history.”
The above is your first point and needs to be followed by one or two precise supporting sentences that show the reader why your first point is true.
For example: “There are a several great stories about the park’s exploration by Theodore Roosevelt.”
Immediately after your supporting sentences, you should add your second point and follow that with one or two supporting sentences. Depending on your assignment requirements you will usually not need to present more than two or three points to support your thesis statement, so be sure you choose only your best arguments.
Conclusion:Your conclusion will sum up your entire paper and should include a re-vision of you topic sentence. It might help to start this paragraph with a simple phrase that lets the reader know you’ve come to the end, such as: “In conclusion,” or “In summation,”
Revise your enumeration sentence over and re-write using different words. For example, “Yellowstone’s National Park ‘s history, location, and size make it the most magnificent national park in the world.”