ESL Study Guide

Saturday, January 12, 2008

TOEFL Essays - Conclusions

Independent Essays - Conclusions

Independent essays require three things in the conclusion to be complete:
Restate the thesis
Restate the reasons
Add any final emphasis

Restating the thesis

Your conclusion is the last chance to reinforce your argument. You have stated your thesis in the introduction and developed it through out your essay. Your conclusion serves to reinforce the effort you have put in to persuade the reader to see your point of view.

Remember: you do not have to specifically state your belief or premise, but it MUST be clearly implied to the reader. For example:

The government of South Korea should build a new university in Suji since .

This does not involve you stating your opinion in the first person but is just as effective.

I think that the government of South Korea should build a new university in Suji since .

Both approaches can be used depending on your overall needs and preference. The main point is to be as clear as possible what your point of view is.

Restating your reasons

Reinforcing your argument by merely giving your thesis again will not allow you to complete your essay with a strong finish. To fully develop the strength of your argument you need to restate the reasons as well. The wording for both restating your thesis and reasons should not copy that of your introduction. When restating a reason, begin with a transition to let the reader know which reason it is. Be sure to be consistent with the ordering of restated reasons. They should be listed in the order they were presented in the essay. For example:

First, a new university in Suji would allow students to save money.

Final Emphasis

You can end your essay in a manner forcing the reader to consider your point of view. A common approach fort this is ending with a question. You can also close with a statement that supports your argument. However, you must always be sure to never introduce new information.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

TOEFL Essays - Body Paragraphs

Body Paragraphs

You will need to accomplish three things in your body paragraphs:
Topic sentences
Supporting detail
Examples (optional)

Topic sentences

A topic sentence is a sentence whose main idea dictates the rest of the paragraph. The body of a paragraph explains or develops the topic sentence's main idea. It is best to use a transition at the beginning of the topic sentence as a placeholder to let readers know the progress of the essay.

Supporting detail

After introducing what you will be discussing in your topic sentence, it is important to build and expand on your reason. Be sure that each body paragraph only discusses one main point (the one introduced in your topic sentence). Supporting detail should give enough information to show why each point is relevant to the reason at hand.


To further persuade the listener and show additional understanding of the topic, an example can be used. Examples must however be relevant and should be developed in such a way as to give the reader little choice but to see your point of view. For example:

First, students should be required to attend class. Students attending university classes are gain necessary skills for later in life. An example that clearly highlights the need for experience and skills is medical students. If medical students were allowed to optionally attend class they would not have the necessary skills to diagnose patients. You may go to the doctor and get antibiotics that rather than cure an infection, make it worse.

By using the example of medical students and the fact that people wanting medical treatment have to see a doctor, we can make the reader consider the possibility of an unqualified doctor. While they may get one that regularly attended class, would you want to take the chance that they did not?

As long as your example is clearly related to the topic at hand and easy to understand, your argument can become much more persuasive.

Good luck with your studies,
ESL Study Guide

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Toefl essay's - introducing your reasons

TOEFL Essays - Introducing Reasons

If you go back to the structure of your introductions you will remember that you are generally required to do three things.

1.) hook
2.) thesis
3.) introduce reasons

While the first two are mandatory for TOEFL essays, how you introduce your reasons in the introduction is subject to some leeway.

If you wish to directly give your reasons in the introduction you must be brief and directly to the point. For example, if your topic was whether the government should build a university in your area (assuming you argue the affirmative point of view)

First, a new university would save students money. Next, by not traveling so far away for school, students would be able to spend more time with their family. Finally, a new university would help develop the local area.

The direct approach is only one possible way. If you wish to concentrate on the develop of your ideas in the body paragraphs, another strategy is as follows.

Thesis + "for the following reasons."

By ending your thesis statement with a phrase such as "for the following reasons" or "for three main reasons" you can effectively connect your introduction to the body paragraphs of your essay. However, if you use this approach, do not forget to use transitions with your topic sentences.

Good luck with your studies,
ESL Study Guide

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