How to write an essay: Week 2

Week2: Paragraphs and Topics


Coherence and Development


You can help create coherence in your paragraphs by using logical and verbal connections. You can develop logical connections by making sure that each sentence in a paragraph relates in some way to the topic sentence. You can also create these connections through the use of words (“verbal connections”). For example, you can:


  • Repeat key words
  • Use synonyms for key words
  • Use pronouns to link sentences together
  • Link sentences with transition words



Development refers to the support you have for your topic sentence. A well-developed paragraph should have an adequate number of sentences to support the main idea. What’s an “adequate number”? That depends on the idea, and how much development it needs. Here are some ways you can make sure your paragraphs are developed. You can:

  • Use examples
  • Give data (for example, statistics, data, information, examples)
  • Quote others, either directly or through paraphrasing
  • Tell a story
  • Define your key words
  • Compare or contrast ideas
  • Examine causes and effects


Signposts and Transitions


A signpost helps travelers find their way. In writing, a signpost helps readers find their way; it can be a phrase, sentence, or paragraph that explains to the reader where the writer has been, or where the writer is going. Here are some example signposts:

  • The purpose of this paper is….
  • The previous research has shown…
  • The next section will illustrate…



Common transitions include:


  • moreover
  • nevertheless
  • in addition
  • similarly
  • on the other hand
  • in conclusion



1. Write an essay.

2. Do exercise


How to write an essay: Week 1

Week 1. Good Grammar and Sentences

What Makes an Effective Sentences?

  • Strong verbs: The verb ‘be’ is a weaker choice of verb. Try to find a verb that shows the action.
  • Proper length: Simple idea- a short sentence. More complex ideas- longer sentences. Vary your sentence lengths- if it’s too short, it sounds “choppy”, if it’s too long, it’s overly complicated.


Six Steps to More Concise Writing

  • Step 1. Avoid redundancy. The words in parentheses aren’t necessary.
    • ten p.m. (at night)
    • our (final) conclusion
    • to combine (together)
    • to ask (a question)


  • Step 2. Watch out for wordy phrases.
Wordy (X) Concise (O)
based on the fact that because
despite the fact that although
in the event that if
at the present time now
until such a time as until
on a weekly basis weekly
it is often the case that often
have the ability to can
during the course of during
take under consideration consider
to be of the opinion to think
to make reference to to refer to
in the final analysis finally


  • Step3.
    • Make your subject clear and defined.
      • Unclear: The practice of revision would improve our writing.
      • Clear: Revision would improve our writing.
    • Avoid empty subjects it and there (called expletives) when possible.
      • Empty: There is no way to become a better writer than to practice.
      • Defined: We can become better writers if we practice.


  • Step 4. Use strong verbs. Avoid using ‘to be’ in combination with nouns or prepositions.
    • to be + nouns: What we found was a solution to the problem.
    • Strong verb: We solve the problem.


  • Step 5. Avoid vague words like “thing”, “stuff”, “people”, “get”, or “did”.
    • Vague: I needed to get some stuff at the store.
    • Clear: I needed to buy some groceries at the farmers market.


  • Step 6. Remove unnecessary modifiers like “many”, “really”, “quite”, or “in my opinion”.
    • Unnecessary: In my opinion, that movie was really quite good. I’m very glad we saw it.
    • Concise: That movie was fantastic! I’m glad we saw it.


If it sounds too simple, add information. You could say, “That movie was an interesting retelling of a familiar story,” for example. Adding words like “really” do not add information.



  1. Go to the exercises at the Purdue Online Writing Lab( and choose any other exercises you would like to do. Post your answers to the discussion area. Done!
  1. There are exercises on the English Grammar( Choose any  you would like to do. Post your answers to the discussion area.
  1. Write about a photo or a song. Look at this photo and write a paragraph about it. You can describe it, write a story about it, whatever you like.


Books to refer

  • How to Write an Essay (workbook 1) – Chapter 1
  • 50 Ways of Practice Writing