The following paragraphs, not including the last one, are known as the body paragraphs . These paragraphs contain the details that support your thesis statement. These body paragraphs start with a topic sentence , which is one sentence that connects back to your thesis statement and outlines the paragraph. Next, you provide an example from your life, a common experience, or a source, and then you provide a few sentences of analysis or explanation of your example. Then you end with a concluding sentence that summarizes the paragraph and/or transitions into the next paragraph.
Sometimes, you need to be able to write a good essay in a short amount of time for a timed exam, such as the Advanced Placement exams in high school. At other times, you might find yourself in the uncomfortable situation of having to write an essay fast because you procrastinated or let it sneak up on you. Although an essay written at the last minute will almost never be as good as an essay you spent more time on, putting together a decent essay quickly is still feasible. With a little planning and a lot of hard work, you can write an essay that’s good (or good enough!) in just a short time.
The essay, which follows is an opinion piece that was written for The Globe and Mail. The style is therefore journalistic but aimed at a fairly sophisticated readership. Paragraphs are short, as is normal in a newspaper with its narrow columns, and the tone is more conversational than would be appropriate for a formal essay. Notice the clear statement of the thesis, the concrete illustrations in the body of the essay, and the way the conclusion leads to a more general statement of what is perhaps to come in the future. It is included here both because it is a good example of the essay form and because it explores the kind of problem you will come up against as you try to punctuate your essays correctly.