The key ingredient to a formal essay is the thesis. A thesis is a statement that expresses the main idea of your paper. It explains the goal or purpose of your formal essay so that your readers know what to expect. A strong thesis should state the main idea of your essay and some points for discussion. For instance, if you were going to write a paper about why you like coffee, the main idea would be that you like coffee, while your discussion points would be your reasons for liking coffee. So your thesis might look like this: “I love coffee for many reasons, but most of all for its endless variety of flavors, comforting texture, and relaxing qualities.” This statement is effective as a thesis because it explains the main idea and lists a few sub-topics that will be discussed in the essay. If you begin writing by developing a clear thesis with these two components, you’ll have a great start to your formal essay.
Once you’ve written your thesis, you can use it to help you develop the body of your paper. The “body” of a formal essay is the discussion that comes in between the introduction and the conclusion. It consists of several paragraphs that work to support or explain the main idea by elaborating on the discussion points mentioned in the thesis. Each body paragraph should focus on a sub-topic. If we use the same example presented above, the sub-topics would be the various flavors, texture, and relaxing qualities of coffee. So you would need to write one body paragraph devoted to discussing each of these three topics. Always remember to keep your thesis in mind as you write the body of your essay.
A formal essay should begin with an introductory paragraph. This paragraph should provide readers with some background information about the thesis of your paper. An introduction is a little bit like a funnel; it starts out with some broad observations about your topic and gradually gets more specific, until it reaches your thesis. So if you’re writing a paper about why you love coffee, you might start with some basic information about coffee or some other things that you enjoy. Either way, the goal of the introduction is to gain your readers’ interest by giving them a context for your essay.
Much like the introduction, the conclusion of your formal essay should include a restatement of your thesis. However, the goal of the conclusion is to invite your readers to continue exploring the topic of your paper. So you might begin your conclusion by restating your thesis. Then, you can develop it by considering some future implications of your essay and how it might impact the reader. For instance, the conclusion of the coffee paper might be focused on encouraging readers to try different coffees for themselves or continue studying the subject of coffee. The point is to show readers how your paper affects them and how they can take action.