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Your essay is taking your reader on a journey...


Introduction, part 1

Introduction, part 2

In every paragraph

When you are moving from one main section to another

If you MUST digress...

Frequently, at the start or end of a paragraph

Conclusion, part 1

Conclusion, part 2


In the introduction, it's absolutely essential that you tell your reader where you are going - what the overall thesis of the essay is.

You also need to tell your reader how you will get there - the structure of the essay, and the key points or themes that will be covered.

Starting every paragraph with a clear statement of the point you are making will help the reader to find their way through the paragraph.

Tell the reader that's what you are doing! "Incidentally", or "As a side issue". Then make sure you let them know when you're back on track.

Refer back to your main thesis, and/or to the essay title, showing how your points are contributing to your argument. This helps to reassure your reader that you know where you are going.

Tell your reader that you've arrived! Summarise briefly what you've shown them in the essay.

Now your reader is happy to have arrived at their destination, you can tell them a bit more about it. "So what?" "What are the wider implications?" "What are the new questions that arise?"

Tell the reader you are making a move! "I have discussed topic x and demonstrated y. I shall now move on to topic z".

Your reader is going to read this whole piece of writing through, once. They might not have a lot of time to spend thinking about it. If you make it easy for them to follow what you are saying, they are much more likely to respond positively.

It's a good idea to read your whole essay through from beginning to end without stopping, before handing it in - just to make sure that all the signposts are in place.