A General Guide to Writing

General Introduction


Question 1

Why is writing important?


  1. Writing makes a special contribution to the way people think.
  2. Writing contributes uniquely to the way we learn.
  3. Writing contributes to personal development.


Question 2

How should we draft and plan an essay?


  1. Choose the best time and place.
  2. Make revision easy.
  3. Set reasonable goals.
  4. Lower your expectations.
  5. Do easy parts first.
  6. Write quickly


Question 3

How should we revise?


  1. View the draft objectively.
  2. Reconsider your purpose and audience.
  3. Revise in stages.
  4. Look at big problems first.
  5. Focus on clarity and coherence.
  6. Save stylistic changes and grammatical corrections for last.



I keep six honest serving men

(They taught me all I knew);

Their names are What and Why and When

And How and Where and Who.

~ ‘The Elephant’s Child’



Taking a position

  1. Convincing argument
  2. Sound reasoning
  3. Solid evidence

Explaining underlying concepts

  1. Classification & division
  2. Process narration
  3. Comparison & contrast
  4. Cause & effect

Proposing solutions

  1. Defining the problem
  2. Presentation of the solution
  3. Argument for the solution




The Beginning – Taking a position

  1. Specific purpose:
  2. Central idea:

Supporting Argument 1 – Concepts

Main points:

Supporting Argument 2 – Concepts

Main points:

Supporting Argument 3 – Solutions

Main points:

Supporting Argument 4 – Solutions

Main points:

The Ending – Implications

  1. Summary
  2. Conclusion


Strategic Order of Main Points

  1. Chronological order
  2. Spatial order
  3. Causal order
  4. Problem-solution order
  5. Topical order


  1. The title page
  2. Terms of reference
  3. Table of contents
  4. The preface
  5. Acknowledgements
  6. The abstract
  7. Footnotes, endnotes, and bibliography


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