When writing an essay or any piece of writing, we often face the problem that, even though, we seem to know the topic of our work, we can not do one thing – put our thoughts on paper. It may sometimes seem that once you sit down and try to write an essay, all your thoughts go away and leave your head completely blank. At this point all you need is a good preparation. Preparation can be of many kinds – brainstorming, listing – but one of the most effective techniques is freewriting.
The 8-sentence paragraph structure that you learn in composition class is a useful tool. But once you understand what the essential function of each paragraph element is, there is no need to stick to 8 sentences. Good paragraphs, after all, can be 15 or 20 sentences. They can also be 2 or 4. This handout explains the elements of a paragraph for an argumentative essay and explains what each of the following elements is supposed to do: