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Brief Overview of the 10 Essay Writing Steps

( - Below are brief summaries of each of the ten steps to writing an essay. Select the links for more info on any particular step, or use the blue navigation bar on the left to proceed through the writing steps. How To Write an Essay can be viewed sequentially, as if going through ten sequential steps in an essay writing process, or can be explored by individual topic.

1. Research: Begin the essay writing process by researching your topic, making yourself an expert. Utilize the internet, the academic databases, and the library. Take notes and immerse yourself in the words of great thinkers.

2. Analysis: Now that you have a good knowledge base, start analyzing the arguments of the essays you're reading. Clearly define the claims, write out the reasons, the evidence. Look for weaknesses of logic, and also strengths. Learning how to write an essay begins by learning how to analyze essays written by others.

3. Brainstorming: Your essay will require insight of your own, genuine essay-writing brilliance. Ask yourself a dozen questions and answer them. Meditate with a pen in your hand. Take walks and think and think until you come up with original insights to write about.

4. Thesis: Pick your best idea and pin it down in a clear assertion that you can write your entire essay around. Your thesis is your main point, summed up in a concise sentence that lets the reader know where you're going, and why. It's practically impossible to write a good essay without a clear thesis.

5. Outline: Sketch out your essay before straightway writing it out. Use one-line sentences to describe paragraphs, and bullet points to describe what each paragraph will contain. Play with the essay's order. Map out the structure of your argument, and make sure each paragraph is unified.#

6. Introduction: Now sit down and write the essay. The introduction should grab the reader's attention, set up the issue, and lead in to your thesis. Your intro is merely a buildup of the issue, a stage of bringing your reader into the essay's argument.

(Note: The title and first paragraph are probably the most important elements in your essay. This is an essay-writing point that doesn't always sink in within the context of the classroom. In the first paragraph you either hook the reader's interest or lose it. Of course your teacher, who's getting paid to teach you how to write an essay, will read the essay you've written regardless, but in the real world, readers make up their minds about whether or not to read your essay by glancing at the title alone.)

7. Paragraphs: Each individual paragraph should be focused on a single idea that supports your thesis. Begin paragraphs with topic sentences, support assertions with evidence, and expound your ideas in the clearest, most sensible way you can. Speak to your reader as if he or she were sitting in front of you. In other words, instead of writing the essay, try talking the essay.

8. Conclusion: Gracefully exit your essay by making a quick wrap-up sentence, and then end on some memorable thought, perhaps a quotation, or an interesting twist of logic, or some call to action. Is there something you want the reader to walk away and do? Let him or her know exactly what.

9. MLA Style: Format your essay according to the correct guidelines for citation. All borrowed ideas and quotations should be correctly cited in the body of your text, followed up with a Works Cited (references) page listing the details of your sources.

10. Language: You're not done writing your essay until you've polished your language by correcting the grammar, making sentences flow, incoporating rhythm, emphasis, adjusting the formality, giving it a level-headed tone, and making other intuitive edits. Proofread until it reads just how you want it to sound. Writing an essay can be tedious, but you don't want to bungle the hours of conceptual work you've put into writing your essay by leaving a few slippy misppallings and pourly wordedd phrazies..

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The Collection of TOEFL Model Essays: Topic 7

How do movies or television influence people's behavior? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.


Essay 1

Do movies and television affect our behavior? I believe that movies and television do influence our behavior, both for the better and for the worse.

Movies and television influence our behavior because they make us less active. Looking at films is a passive activity. If we watch too much, we become unhealthy, both mentally and physically. We stop using our own imagination when we see things acted out for us. Mental laziness becomes physical laziness; we'd rather watch sports on TV than play sports ourselves. We'd rather visit with the characters on "Seinfeld" or "Friends" than go chat with our own neighbors. Imaginary people have exciting lives. Is it any wonder that some people would rather live a fantasy life than their own? Movies and television also can make people more violent. The more we see violent acts on television, the less sensitive we become to them: Eventually violence doesn't seem wrong. We may even commit violent acts ourselves. This is especially true because we don't always realize that violence has consequences. Actors can be killed and come back for another movie. Sometimes we confuse that with reality. We forget that killing someone is permanent.

Of course, watching movies and television can also be good for us. It can give us a broader
window on the world. For example, seeing movies can expose us to people of different races and cultures. We can then overcome some prejudices more easily. Recently there have been more handicapped people in films, and this also helps reduce prejudice.

The best influence on our behavior is that movies and television reduce stress. Watching films, we can escape our own problems for a little while. Also, sometime movies show positive ways to resolve problems we all face. While TV and movies shouldn't be a way to hide from life, sometimes they can help us cope.

It is true that movies and television can influence our behavior negatively. However, I also believe that they influence our behavior in positive ways. How they affect you depends on how much you watch, what you watch, and how you respond to what you watch.

Essay 2

Hesitating I enter my house, the light outside is dimming and the shadows make everything appear unfamiliar. I know that my husband has not returned from work yet, simply because his car is not in the garage. I am alone. I carefully check all the rooms, almost expecting something to happen suddenly. I hold my bag in my hand as if it were a weapon. After the whole house has been declared "clear," I start to breathe normally again and a smile appears on my face as I realize, once again, how a simple movie seen at the cinema a week earlier can modify my actions.

Sometimes I wonder if I should watch TV, with all its shows that make me wonder whether I exercise enough, whether I am slim enough, or whether I treat my pets with the care they deserve: am I really concerned about their mental health? Not to mention the hundreds of commercials that try to make me believe I need a water purifier to remain alive since the water I am currently drinking is heavily polluted! And countless are the times when I have heard people talking by quotations learned from movies. We need to watch shows and films to know what to say, how to be, how to act. We are so addicted to all this that it almost seems like we cannot think on our own.

I cannot help thinking about what happened to me some days ago, an example that clearly shows what kind of power TV has over people. My husband and I were in a restaurant when I heard my young neighbor pronouncing violent words in a low angry voice. Surprised, I turned to better understand the situation and I saw that he was holding a fake military device and was acting as if he were filming a war movie. I am sure that if I had been a little be more updated about this type of movie, I would have recognized what he was saying as a quotation. Now, I wonder if he uses such a language also with his friends and with his parents, if he is aggressive, and if so, whether his attitude has really nothing to do with what he watches on TV.

That same evening on the way home I saw two cars stopped one next to the other at a traffic light and as soon as the light turned green they started racing, in the middle of town. In this case not even a major knowledge of movies and TV programs would have helped me: there are just to many of them on the market showing the exact same thing: people racing with cars.

I am sure that everybody, if asked, could easily list many other examples of how TV and movies can modify our behavior and therefore our life but, I wonder, if we will always be able to draw the line between a TV show and real life, between what they make us think we want and what instead we really need and are and believe.
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The Collection of TOEFL Model Essays: Topic 6

If you could change one important thing about your hometown, what would you change? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.


Essay 1

Everything in the universe is in constant change. And everything needs continual improvement if the ever changing and increasing demands of humankind are to be met. If I am ever given the chance to change one important thing about my home town, it would be internet service.

Needless to say that nothing generally revolutionized the way we live as internet in the past decade. Thus, an improvement in this vital service would mean an even more, unheard betterment to the people in my home town.

It is said that information is power. True saying indeed! I can envision how everything in my home town could improve dramatically if the internet service in it were made free, fast and staying out there like electricity, telephone or water all the time. One thing, a fast free and reliable internet service could improve in my home town is the way people work. If there is a this said service people in my home town must not necessarily commute to a far place to do their job. This in turn would mean less traffic jams, spacious work place, more time for family and recreation and so on.

The way people learn would be another important thing that a fast, free and reliable internet
service could better in my home town. People will have the chance to go through tremendous and different information resources in a very small amount of time. They, apparently will also take less time to share it. This assures a more fulfilled life for my home town people.

Since its advent, internet touched every part of our life. It in a dazzling way improved the way we do business, learn and communicate. A change in internet service implies good way of living for every one in my home town.

Essay 2

If I could change one important thing about my hometown, it would be air pollution problem, and I will give the following reasons to explain why I want to solve the problem.

The first and most important reason is that I hope that my hometown can become a beautiful city. As an old industrial city, my hometown has made a great deal of contribution for the country’s economic development. At a result, the natural environment of the city has been badly damaged. The forest has disappeared; the mountains have become bald, and the most awful thing is that the air quality becomes more and more worse. People seldom see the blue sky during most time of year.

Another reason why I want to change my hometown’s air pollution situation is that the city’s development needs clean and tidy environment to attract investors. Nowadays people have come to know that the city’s environment, which is so called “software facility of the city”, plays an important role in the city’s future. For example, due to the fact that the environment of the city is very poor, many local students who pursue their study out of the city would rather find themselves a job in other cities than coming back to their hometown after they graduated.

In addition, nowadays people have paid more and more attention to their health. If air pollution problem cannot be solved as quickly as possible, people’s requirement for a healthy body will never be realized.

In my mind, changing air pollution will apparently be my first choice if I can change one
important thing about my hometown. Fortunately people in my hometown are gradually aware of the serious problem.

Essay 3

If i could change one thing about my hometown, i would like to build up some useful and
advanced facilities for their use. A modern library, an advanced broad band system and an
integrated gym may bring a lot of changes to people living in my hometown and keep them up with the latest information and technology.

In my opionion, a modern library in my hometown can provide a good environment for the local people to study and upgrade themsevles. There are a lot of newspaper, magazines and reference books for their use. They can know what happened around the world and keep up with the fast- pace of this developing world. From lots of cultural books, they also can own a good habit of reading and learn to get knowledge from books. "Knowledge is strengh". Knowledge can give us guidance to overcome problems we meet in the daily life.

To popularize the broad band at home also is a quick access to Internet and movie channel, which can give people much more chances to choose their entertainment. Because of the Internet, our lives have been changed a lot no matter whether we accept or not. We can read news, buy items from e-commerce companies, send a free e-card to our friends, mail our beautiful photos to anyone we like or watch the movies online. Anyway, Internet brings us obvious changes. Additionally, broad band also can provide movie channel to users. Can you imagine that you can watch the movies you like just by cliking one button? It provide different types of movie for you to choose. People have more choice to enjoy the life and advanced technology at home.

Besides important information we need to know and advanced technology we use, we also need to do exercise to keep our healthy life. This is the reason why i want to set up an integrated gym in my hometown. Through doing many various exercises, such as, swimming, jogging, playing badminton or tennice, peopple can enhance their ability to resist the virus and enjoy the life happily. Furthermore, people who often do exercise have positive attitudes towards life although when facing difficulties. This is really what i hope to see.

In summary, i want my hometown to be a city equipped with a modern library, an advanced broad band system and filled with people liking exercise, loving life and possessing positive attitudes towards life. Thus, i want to build up above-mentioned facilities first.

Essay 4

With the developement of my hometown in the past few years, the population is expanding very fast. The city is expiriencing not only a higher birthrate than ever, but also waves of immigration. The streets in the city are crowed or even jamed during the rush hours. If I could change one thing about my hometown, I would develope an advanced public traffic system.

In order to hold such an exploding population, the city has extended miles by miles without much plan. It is common for people to travel from the southmost part to the northmost part of the city to go to work everyday. They have to spend three hours or more on the way they go to work and come home. Eight hours' work is a heavy burden, while people have to spend hours before and after the work. A subway running through or around the city can solve the problem. People could live further away from the downtown without worrying about spending too much time on the way.

Some people buy their own car or take a taxi to work everyday. It's really expensive for most of the people in the city. They can't afford paying so much on traffic fares. Many civil engineering experts advocate that sharing a public traffic system is the most efficient way. People could reduce their fares a lot by using the public traffic system, and they can spend the money on some other things.

Even there are more and more people who can afford buying a car or taking taxi everyday, It is still suggested to using the public traffic system. Because the road developement can never keep up with the demand of the increasing cars, the cars may jam on the roads during rush hours. Usually, the speed of the car in that time is no higher than a bycicle! And pollution is another concern. So many private cars running in the city will bring us an environmental problem. On the other hand, the pollution from the public traffic system is much lighter.

All in all, an advanced public traffic system time efficient, cost efficient, and pollution preventing. This is the trend of advanced cities.

Essay 5

I am from Arroz e Feijao, a small town in the northeast of Brazil. Building a factory in there will bring a lot of advantages and disadvantages, but I believe that Arroz e Feijao will mostly benefit from the building of a new factory because it is largely populated by poor people and the factory would bring many benefits to this small town. However, of course, a factory has disadvantages as well.

As you know, factories usually bring pollution. If this factory is not managed very effectively and efficiently according to specific rules, it's prone to polluting the local air and water. What's more, factories usually make noise. Beside clean drinkable water and fresh air, an ideal community should be quiet. If the factory cannot maintain this situation to the community, it will not last long. A factory that is too noisy or pollutes too much will eventually be relocated to a new area.

On the other hand, a factory could bring a lot of benefits to the community. So I would support the plan to build a factory to my community for all the reasons I will describe below.

First of all, the factory's construction will surely improve the local infrastructure. To run smoothly, the factory will have to have a steady, reliable supply of water and electricity. Some old pipes will be changed, and some facilities will be renovated. The residents' living standard get improved as a result of these widespread changes, an important benefit in Arroz e Feijao, where many people do not have access to clean water.

Secondly, to make the employee commute more convenient, the local roads will have to be rebuilt and broadened, resulting in improved public transportation. The town's residents can take a public bus to go shopping or go to work. As a result, air pollution and fuel consumption might be reduced.

Most important, a factory's establishment will bring up a lot of employment opportunities for the community. A factory need experts from various fields. The residents can take just a few minutes to go to the factory to work. So, the local residents can get great benefits from this factory.

Generally speaking, I agree with the plan to build a factory near my community. If the factory can be managed successfully, the factory and local residents can have mutual benefit.

Essay 6

Have you been waiting for buses at bus station for an hour in an extremely hot day? Have you been staying in a car waiting hours for the heavy traffic? Have you seen the scene that tons of people are crammed on a small bus? Maybe you think that’s incredible, but it’s true in my hometown. So the thing I want to change most about my hometown is the mass transportation system.

Mass transportation system is a very important part of a city. It influences people’s daily life,
work and entertainment. An effective mass transportation system can save people’s time so that people can do more work hence to increase the city’s efficiency. If you were the mayor, would you like the people in the city to sit in the cars or stand at bus stations wait for hours or would you like them to sit in the offices or stand in factories work for hours?

Moreover, a city with bad mass transportation system can’t be qualified as a good city, regardless how rich the city is and how big the city is. It’s essential for a city to have a good mass transportation system to be qualified a good city. For example, big cities such as Toronto, Tokyo, New York all have very good mass transportation systems which can bring people anywhere they want in a short time. A bad mass transportation system would limit the city to grow and it would be a handicap for the city to develop in the future.

Finally, as we can see, if my hometown can improve the mass transportation system, people will appreciate it a lot. It will be a great thing which benefits everyone in the city and makes our lifes more convenient.
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The Collection of TOEFL Model Essays: Topic 5

A company has announced that it wishes to build a large factory near your community. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this new influence on your community. Do you support or oppose the factory? Explain your position.


Essay 1

I have been living in a peace and quiet town for about 10 years. All people around here is so kind, and the landscape is so beautiful that I love this town very much. Recently I heard news that a company will set up a new factory near my community. I was shocked and I hold a negative opinion about this decision.

The main reason why I oppose this plan is that establishing a new factory will cause air pollution. As we know, a factory will give off a lot of waste air which is harmful to people's health. Even though the factory will take measurements to purify the air, it can not make the air as clean as before. It is no doubt that people's health will be affected by the air emitted from the factory. Another reason is that a factory makes too much noise. My community is always a quiet place and this is just what I like the most. A factory will cause the town to become too noisy. For example, every morning, we can be awake from our dreams by the noise of buses which take workers to the factory. The noise of engines will also influent our temper, and may cause us susceptible to anger, and easily lose temper.

Furthermore, a strong reason to oppose this idea is that building a factory will destroy the
landscape of this town. Most people living in this town make their living by cultivating and
harvesting crops. The factory is inappropriate with the landscape of the town and it will occupy the land that is used to farming.

Of course, building a factory also has advantages to some extent. For example, it will bring more working opportunity for local people, and also it will help developing the local economics. But comparing with the disadvantages, I strongly oppose the idea to build a factory near my community.

Essay 2

I support the idea that a factory to be built near our community. I list my reasons as follows.
Firstly, a new factory near our community helps to improve living standard of people in our
community. The factory will employ a lot of workers. As a consequence, the unemployment rate will drop significantly. Many people in our community will find a job in the factory. As people's income increases, they will be able to spend more money on their food, clothing and leisure time, and the quality of life will be increased.

Secondly, a new factory will bring prosperity to our community. The tax collected from a factory is an important source of revenue for our town. As people have higher income, income tax collected will also be increased. The town will be able to spend more money on infrastructures and other development. Moreover, in order to accommodate more workers, more homes and stores will be needed. This will boost real estate development in our community.

Some people say that a factory would bring smog and pollution, and destroy the quality of the air and water in town. This is not the truth. Modern technologies have made today's factories technology intensive and brought pollutions to the minimum. There are also worries that the social structure of this community will be changed and the traditional life will be affected. We should understand that society needs to evolve and we cannot always stay in the old time.

Of course, there will be some drawbacks of building a new factory here. But in my opinion, the benefits outweigh the dangers. I strongly support to build a factory here, and hope that others feel the same way.

Essay 3

If a large factory is going to be built near your community, is it good or bad? It’s a quite difficult question to answer. Because there are many aspects to take into your consideration, the advantages and the disadvantages. Let’s talk about that.

First, a large factory, especially a large chemical factory is quite harmful to our environment when it is built near our community. It will affect our daily life a lot. All the chemical factories will produce a lot of waste and most of the wastes are harmful to the environment, including poisonous gas and liquid. Some of them can not be entirely broken down. If they are released into the air or the river, it will affect our health. And also the factory may produce a lot of noise. The environment we want to live in is a quiet and peaceful one, so the noise will be quite boring. And yes, noise also affects our health.

Still one thing, a factory can be very dangerous. Because a fire or a explosion may break out in the factory. If it’s very near our home, it’s quite dangerous.

But in other hand , a factory may be a good news to us. It can provide more jobs for us, especially for the young people in our community. Since the factory is near, it’s so convenient to go to work.. and the factory will get more chances to our area. It will help to develop our area. So if the factory can bring us a lot of chances, we will agree to build one. But the most important things are:

1. Build the factory in a safe distance from our community, not too near.

2. Make sure that the factory can deal with the waste properly. Do not release the poisonous gas into the air, and not release the waste water into the river nearby.

3. Make sure the security guard in the factory works very well.

Essay 4

A company has announced that it wishes to build a large factory near our community. To be
frank, I have mixed emotions about this.

Obviously, there are some advantages having such a factory nearby. For example, it can provides more job opportunities and many people may work in the factory. What is more, it also gives a good chance for the development of other business in our community such as shops, theatres and restaurants. Furthermore, the products the factory manufactures will improve our quality of living.

On the other hand, there are some disadvantages building a factory here. First, it will disturb the quiescence of our community. Once the factory is set up, a lot of people will rush into our community to work, and the road will get crowded. To transfer the raw materials the factory needs, there will be many trucks coming and going through the streets, and the noise will disturb residents and it is unsafe for our children who always play freely in the streets before.

Second, the factory will produce many waste products each day, and there will be much waste water coming out from the factory and it will pollute our rivers. We do not want to have to see hundreds and thousands tons of waste piled near our houses, and we do not want to see our nearby rivers turning into black dishes either.

After weighing the advantages and disadvantages, I decide to oppose to set up such a factory near our community because we need quiet surrounding, blue sky and clean rivers.

Essay 5

Weather it is beneficial to build a large factory near our community is a prevalent topic
undergoing serious debate. Two different opinions obviously exist to support and to oppose. After pondering the opinions from several aspects, personally, I agree with the idea that it is beneficial to build a large factory near our community.

By comparing the advantage and disadvantage they will get, people judge which role they should hold. In my opinion, the advantage in this case is superior than the disadvantage. we can see it below.

The main reason for my propensity for the choice is that the factory will supply lots of
employment opportunities for society, especially the people of the community nearby. The unemployment will decrease and the people’s standard of living will increase in some degree. so, no doubt, people will accept the factory willingly and rapidly.

Another reason why I prefer to the statement lies in the fact that with the developing of the
factory, many other establishments will be founded around it. These establishments will make the lives of the people of the community more convenient. For example, drugstores, restaurants, even hospital, new bus stop will be built up. People here will enjoy the convenience the factory brings. It is undeniable that the factory will bring some problems, such as the noise, air pollution. Whatever, these disadvantage will be limited into a low level so that they can not contaminate the environment of the community.

From what has been discussed above, we can safely draw the conclusion that it is beneficial to build a large factory near our community.
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The Collection of TOEFL Model Essays: Topic 4

It has been said, "Not everything that is learned is contained in books." Compare and contrast knowledge gained from experience with knowledge gained from books. In your opinion, which source is more important? Why?


Essay 1

There are two main channels for people to learn knowledge –from books and from experience. Generally, knowledge gained from books is theoretical, that gained from experience is practical. It is difficult to answer which is more important to we people. It depends on the phases and events of our learning.

Knowledge learned from books is instructive, which perhaps cannot learn directly from experience. We often hear thunders and see lightning in the sky, and we can easily find that lightning will be seen sooner than sound will be heard. According to our experience alone, we cannot tell why it had happened. But when we learn some physics in textbooks, we will find the answer clearly that because light travels faster than sound does, it takes less time for light to travel the same distance than for sound. Therefore, book knowledge can inform us some useful theories that can give us general ideas and help us understand the real phenomenon better.

In turn, practice knowledge check out the theories gained from books. There is an old Chinese saying that practice is the only criterion of inspecting the truth. So not all knowledge from books is credible, even false. When Aristotle wrote in his transcripts that the earth is the center of our planets, no one doubts this for centuries. However, when Galileo read about it, he did not suspect it at first, but when he made some observation and research, he found it is not the truth. Then comes the new theory—Sun center theory.

In our daily life, we can learn much information from practice. To learn swimming, it is useless to be absorbed in reading skills written in books. Only when you learn it in a swimming pool, can you make it. There are still a lot of things you must learn from your own experience, such as driving a car, riding a bicycle, operating a machine. And the most important is that it is often easier learn knowledge from practice than from books. As far as the average people are concerned, it is natural to learn from experience. Primitive people learned skills hand by hand which is the way they were handed down from one generation to another.

Modern people also learn things in practice. In workshops, leading workers teach apprentices
carefully; in activity clubs, teachers teach youngsters to be familiar with their hobbies. It is
obvious that all of things considered knowledge gained from practice is more close and direct than from the books.

Therefore, two kinds of knowledge has importance. For research people , knowledge from books is more important, while for our average people, knowledge from practice is more important. As students, we must first learn knowledge from books well, and at the same time we must have the good sense to tell from what is right and what is wrong.

Essay 2

We gain our knowledge about the world and our life from two sources: from experience and from books. These two resources are both important, but which of them is more important?

Knowledge from books forms a very important part of our knowledge structure. In schools and colleges, we learn knowledge which is fundamental to our future career. We learn knowledge from books in order to make our contributions to this society in the future. A student learns mathematic equations and other scientific knowledge and become a scientist or engineer. We will be illiterate and ignorant without learning knowledge from books. Moreover, we acquire knowledge about life and the world by reading books, magazines and newspapers. This is also very important as we cannot experience everything all by ourselves. Therefore books are a very important source of knowledge.

On the other hand, we can't learn everything from a book. “Experience is the best teacher” is an old cliché, but I agree with it. The most important, and sometimes the hardest, lessons we learn in life come from our participation in situations. We learn how to get along with others or how to have self-respect from our experience, not from books. We cannot learn emotional feelings, such as love and care, through books; they come from our real life experience. Knowledge from experience is also a very important supplement to knowledge from books.

Needless to say both learning sources, books and experience, are very important to us. But in my opinion knowledge from experience is more important, because without knowledge from
experience, it is impossible to get a real understanding of knowledge from books, and how to
apply this knowledge to real world situations.
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