Summarize in your last paragraph Restate your central idea and indicate why it is important.
Review: Complete questions left incomplete, but allow time to review all questions Review, edit, correctmisspellings, incomplete words and sentences, miswritten dates and numbers.
But your essay isn’t met with the lavish praise you expected. The grade your teacher has scrawled at the end is nowhere near what your essay deserves. And the comment at the bottom reads something like, ‘Some good ideas, but you didn’t answer the question! If this has ever happened to you (and it has happened to me, a lot), you’ll know how deeply frustrating it is – and how unfair it can seem.
When it’s tossed back onto your desk, there are huge chunks scored through with red pen, crawling with annotations like little red fire ants: ‘IRRELEVANT’; ‘A bit of a tangent! ’; and, right next to your best, most impressive killer point: ‘Right… This might just be me, but the exhausting process of researching, having ideas, planning, writing and re-reading makes me steadily more attached to the ideas I have, and the things I’ve managed to put on the page.
Treat your reader (whether it’s your class teacher or an external examiner) like a child who can’t do any interpretive work of their own; imagine yourself leading them through your essay by the hand, pointing out that you’ve answered the question here, and here, and here.
Now, this is all very well, I imagine you objecting, and much easier said than done. Structuring an essay that knocks a question on the head is something you can learn to do in a couple of easy steps.
The final paragraph sums up your main idea or position. Be sure you know what you are being asked to do before you begin writing.
It restates your topic sentence, this time with more feeling. Question: Many cities around the world are located near large rivers and lakes, or near an ocean. Provide three or more important advantages that waterways offer cities, and explain why each advantage is important.
You’re not totally convinced that what you’ve written is relevant to the title you were given – but it’s inventive, original and good.
In fact, it might be better than anything that would have responded to the question.