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The 21 Sentence Essay
Home Reference & Education College & University
By: Patrick Alexander Email Article
Word Count: 555 Digg it | it | Google it | StumbleUpon it


The 21-sentence-essay is an incredibly useful format for formal essay writing. If you have trouble writing essays, or are simply interested in ways to organize thoughts efficiently, follow this easy to use rubric and you canít go wrong.

The idea is to write an essay in exactly 21 sentences. Three sentences for the Introduction, five sentences for each of the three Body paragraphs, and three sentences for the Conclusion. This amazing structure teaches concision and precision, and also gives a powerful feel for how "flow" works in essay writing.

Letís break it down. There are three parts to any formal essay: Introduction, body, and conclusion. The 21 sentence essay minimizes these parts down to their core essence.
The introduction starts with a broad statement, something attention grabbing. The second sentence introduces your topic and narrows it toward the final sentence: the thesis statement. The thesis statement is where you state the purpose of your paper, and give three points relating to this thesis. It is the final sentence in the introduction, and is the narrowest of the introduction sentences.

Example Introduction: "Writing essays can be one of the most challenging aspects of school. The 21-sentence-essay gives one an easy rubric to follow. Using this format improves oneís writing by providing structure, keeping relevant information prominent, and encouraging thoughtful word choice."

The body is where you support your thesis, with five sentences in each paragraph. Since you have already stated your three points in your introduction, it should be fairly apparent what your three body paragraphs are about. So what do the five sentences look like?

The first sentence introduces the point to be discussed. The next three sentences are supports for that point, explaining why and how they relate to your thesis. The final sentence is a wrap-up and transition to the next point.
The body paragraphs should follow the same order as they were introduced in the thesis statement, and they should be presented in ascending order of impact. In other words, leave your best points for last!

Example Body: "Providing iron-clad structure improves essay writing. Essays need structure in order for thoughts to flow logically. When readers canít follow a point, they are not persuaded by an argument. When a writer has a simple format to follow, it removes much of the anxiety surrounding outlining. This rubricís structure also allows a writer to keep relevant information prominent."

The conclusion is easy. It is simply your introduction in reverse. First comes a restatement of your thesis. Second comes a broader statement about your topic. End with a snappy final line.

Example Conclusion: The 21-sentence-essay makes writing easy by providing a simple structure, showcasing relevant information, and encouraging word choice. Once you master this format, youíll never worry about essays again! Writing doesnít have to be intimidating; it can also be fun!"

Remember that this format is useful even when writing longer papers. Adding extra body paragraphs, providing quotes and facts within the body, and dividing large research papers into sections are all good ways to expand on the 21-sentence-essay format.

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