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Your heart is pounding so hard that you’re positive everyone in the room can hear it. Beads of sweat form on your brow as you try to load your presentation. You pause and breathe deeply. It does nothing to calm you.

The presentation finally loads … but it’s the draft you started days ago. The version you spent 12 hours on yesterday is gone. You’re left with four miserable slides and a smeared, bent note card to help you through a 10-minute presentation.

You scream silently to yourself, but thankfully, the screams are enough to wake you from your nightmare.

Presentation anxiety has gotten the best of you. You’re more than a little freaked out because you have a killer paper but have absolutely no idea how to stand in front of your class and talk about it.

Don’t sweat it. I’m here to help you learn how to take that awesome research paper and turn it into an (even more) awesome presentation.

How to Present a Research Paper the Easy Way

Presenting a paper isn’t as difficult as you might imagine, but it does take planning and practice.

Follow these three steps to learn how to present a research paper the easy way.

Step #1: Decide what to present

Once you have a finished research paper, start by looking at the main ideas.

You might do this by reviewing any outlines you created before writing the actual paper.

(If you’re one of those people who ends up writing a paper that looks completely different from your initial outlines, try creating a reverse outline by listing your thesis, main arguments, and supporting evidence.)

Need some inspiration? Check out these speech outlines to see how other students have handled presentations:

After you’ve written a solid outline of your paper, consider the time limit of your presentation.

If you have a seven-page paper but your presentation can be no more than four minutes, you’ll likely have to hit only the most basic of points.

On the other hand, if you have to give a 10-minute presentation on a seven-page paper, you’ll need to elaborate on the details of your research.

As you decide what to include in your presentation, you’ll quickly realize that, in some cases, each key argument might be quite lengthy.

That means you can’t fit every example or piece of evidence into your presentation. If that’s the case, summarize the information and limit the examples you use.

Not sure what to include or what to cut?

The essential elements

As you work, keep the following in mind: your finished presentation should include enough information to clearly address each of the main points of your paper. (It’s better to briefly touch on each key argument than it is to skip entire sections of your research.)

Don’t forget: When figuring out how to present a research paper effectively, the introduction and conclusion are just as important in the presentation as they are in your actual paper. So remember to include a catchy opening to make your audience take notice and a smooth conclusion to neatly wrap up your ideas.

See how one student handled all of the above in the text of this speech: A Persuasive Speech on Limiting the Production and Use of Plastic.

Step #2: Create visual aids

For most presentations, you’ll want to create (or bring in) visual aids. What type of visual aids you use will, of course, depend on your assignment requirements.

In some cases, you’ll be required to bring in visual aids that correspond with your presentation. For instance, if your research focuses on how long you can leave fast food fries laying around before they become moldy, you might bring in a few orders of fries that vary in freshness.

In other cases, your presentation will rely on visuals you create—most likely a slideshow.

When creating this type of visual, you’ll want to make sure your slides are appropriate for your presentation and topic.

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Here are a few quick tips:

  • The slideshow is an aid, not the focus. I know you might want to use the visuals to draw attention to the slides and away from you, but the visuals should support your presentation, not be the focus of the presentation.
  • Keep text to a minimum. Don’t try to cram in everything that you say onto your slides. Slides should contain only the main talking points of your presentation. (Refer back to your essay outlines to identify the most important points.)
  • Use bullet points as necessary. Bullet points can be a great way to include supporting points or examples to support your main points.
  • Choose appropriate fonts and backgrounds. Don’t use extremely small fonts. Keep them large enough for your audience to read. Choose easy-to-read styles, and avoid script fonts. Be sure that your color schemes and backgrounds are appropriate to your topic. For instance, if your paper is about poverty, then bright, colorful circus-themed backgrounds aren’t exactly appropriate.
  • Choose appropriate images. A few high-quality, well-placed images go a long way, so don’t feel as though you need to include images on every slide.

Looking for a few more design tips? Check out this article or these PowerPoint tips.

Step #3: Stay organized while presenting

Once again, the number and style of notes allowed during your presentation might be predetermined by your assignment. But no matter what type of notes you use, you need to stay organized.

If you’re allowed to use a few note cards, then by all means, use them. (Don’t try to wing it and rely solely on your slideshow presentation.)

Follow the same rules as you did when creating slides by limiting the number of words on each note card. I know it can be tempting to try to cram your entire speech on three tiny cards, but don’t do it.

Including too much information on a card means it’s easy to lose your place while you talk. It also means that it’s more tempting to stand in front of the class and read note cards. Remember, you’re presenting, not reading.

Instead of trying to cram everything on one tiny card, include the following basics on note cards:

  • A few reminders of topics you’ll discuss in your opening
  • The main talking points of the presentation (and maybe a few words to remind you of the supporting ideas)
  • A few reminders of what you’ll say to conclude your presentation

NOTE CARD TIP: If you’re allowed to use several note cards, number them. There’s nothing worse than dropping your cards and shuffling through them for 30 seconds (that feel more like three hours) just because you can’t find your place in your presentation.

And that’s how to present a research paper the easy way. Well, almost…

After Planning—But Before Presenting

After you’ve planned your presentation, don’t think that your work is done and that you’re prepared to give the best presentation. Sure, the content may be in place, but now it’s time to work on the delivery.

Grab some friends, family members, or even your cat, and practice your presentation. By actually presenting your paper to an audience, you’ll get used to talking about your topic, and you’ll see how well your presentation actually fits together.

These practice runs are also a good way to work on your timing. If your presentation is supposed to be five minutes but you end up only speaking for three, you can return to the planning stages.

Of course, if your five-minute presentation turns into a 10-minute speech, you’ll still need return to the planning stages—this time to trim some content.

Now that you know how to present a research paper, take a few deep breaths, stand up straight, and wow your audience with your amazing presentation.

Paper not quite presentation-ready yet? No problem. Let the editors at Kibin polish it to perfection.

Did we miss anything? Share your favorite presentation tips in the comments!

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Most people run into some form of satire in their day-to-day lives—from comedians talking about politics to online comics criticizing the education system. But somehow, when students have to read or write satire for class, they tend to get a little lost.

Most of the time, the lost feeling comes from making the topic way too academic. It doesn’t have to be serious. In fact, satire is one of the most fun types of essays you can write because it explains or criticizes serious topics in a non-serious way.

There’s a difference between satire and outright criticism, however, and it’s important to find the right balance. I’m here to help you do just that. So if you’re stuck on your satirical essay or just want a few pointers to improve, read on.

What Is Satire, Anyway?

Put simply, satire is when someone uses sarcasm or wit to criticize or poke fun at something. But that definition is a bit broad, isn’t it? I like to think of it as long-form sarcasm, but there’s way more to satire than sarcasm.

Let’s get into the details a little more.

Elements of satire

There are several literary devices that can go into satire. You don’t have to use all of them in your essay. Just pick a few that work for your subject and writing style.

  • Irony: Many times, using irony simply means saying the opposite of what is meant (verbal irony). In literature, authors may also make a character do or say something that’s understood by the audience but not the character (dramatic irony). And then there’s what Alanis Morissette was trying to get at—when actions have results that are the opposite of what is expected (situational irony).
  • Sarcasm: Sarcasm often uses verbal irony in a biting or mocking comment. It’s a bit harsher than irony.
  • Parody: Parody is when something is rewritten or refashioned in a more nonsensical way. Think Weird Al.
  • Exaggeration: Exaggeration means making something seem bigger or more important than it actually is.
  • Understatement: The opposite of exaggeration—understatement means making something seem smaller or less important than it actually is.

I know—all these definitions can get a little confusing, especially when there’s no real context for them. So let’s get more specific and talk about your satirical essay.

Selecting a Subject That Sticks

Your satirical essay isn’t going to be as straightforward as the rest of the essays you write in class. There are a lot of different paths you can take, and there’s no one way to write it.

Because satire is subverting a topic by using the elements I talked about above, you don’t even need a thesis statement or the other traditional structural elements of analytical and argumentative essays.

But you do need to make it interesting and entertaining. So the first thing you need for an interesting essay is an interesting topic.

The first thing you need for an interesting essay is an interesting topic.
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Sometimes teachers give students a topic, and sometimes they don’t. Even if you’re provided with a topic, however, it’s usually pretty general—something like “education” or “capitalism.”

Whether you’re given a general topic or no topic at all, you’ll need to get a bit more specific.

For instance, if you’re writing your satirical essay about education, you may write about social cliques that you see in your school.

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that’s important to you. Satire is a great way to vent your frustrations without it coming across as angry rantings.

Finding the Balance: Too Far or Not Far Enough?

Writing a satirical essay, especially the first time around, isn’t easy. You feel passionate about the subject you’re writing about, but you can’t write about it in a straightforward way with statistics, anecdotes, or support from literature.

For some students, this makes taking it too far very easy. Other students can’t seem to take it far enough. Finding the balance is the key to making your satire resonate with your readers.

If you don’t take it far enough, your satirical essay may read just like a short story. But if you take it too far, you will turn off your readers.

How to avoid taking it too far “Offensive” by Nick Youngson, Alpha Stock Images (CC BY-SA 3.0)

One thing that beginning satire writers often get wrong is that they go past witty satire into outright criticism, which can just come off as being mean or ranting. But if you look at some examples of great satire, you can figure out how to dial it back a bit.

When you’re writing a satirical essay, it might be tempting to call out authoritative figures, the government, or “the man” in general. And that’s completely fine to do.

However, you have to be delicate in your approach. One way to do this is to use symbolism.

George Orwell, for example, uses a ton of symbolism in his satirical work Animal Farm. The pigs symbolize Russia’s elite class, while hardworking Boxer and Clover represent the working class. Napoleon symbolizes Stalin, while Old Major symbolizes Marx.

Orwell uses the ideologies and characteristics of Stalin, Marx, and the different social classes in Russia as a basis for the personalities of his characters.

It’s a smart move because it gives readers the opportunity to figure out the symbolism for themselves and makes the satire a little subtler.

When you read any of Orwell’s stuff, you’ll probably notice how drab it is. While this makes sense for the topics he writes about and the time in which he was writing, you might want your satirical essay to be a little more humorous.

And there are plenty of sources you can draw on for inspiration here.

The Daily Show, for example, is a fantastic form of satire. It uses a couple of techniques to throw some hard (but not too hard) punches. Take this clip for example:

The Daily Show - Rage Against the Rage Against the Machine - YouTube

It’s a serious topic that Jon Stewart still manages to bring humor to by using satire. He does this using several methods you can incorporate into your satirical essay:

  • Jon uses some claims that the Fox News anchors make—”Who wants to go shopping at Macy’s while this is going on?”—and shows us how ridiculous they are when put in context.
  • He draws comparisons to show how some criticisms are biased, such as pointing out all the parades that block traffic.
  • He uses sarcasm to imitate the news anchors and point out the strangeness of their argument that football players shouldn’t have opinions.
Stuck on Your Essay?
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How to take it past “not far enough”

You might be on the other end of the spectrum where you don’t take your satire far enough. Typically, this happens for one of two reasons: not being assertive enough or trying to please everyone.

When you write a satirical essay, you have to take a stand on some sort of issue. This is no time to flip flop on your decisions about whether there should be tighter gun control laws or less standardized testing.

While you might want to add symbolism or exaggeration to help make your point more palatable to your readers, you need to have a point (and stick to it) in the first place.

Since you’re taking a possibly controversial position about a topic, there will be other people who have a different opinion than you. Some of those people won’t like what you have to say no matter how much symbolism or humor you use

And that’s okay.

Trying to please everyone will make your writing look weak and may confuse your readers about what you’re trying to say.

Tackling Your Own Satirical Essay

If you need inspiration while writing your satirical essay, there are many examples out there you can use to help you shape your own ideas. Here are a few:

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Ever wake up and say to yourself, “I need to make some changes in my life”?

Maybe you want a new job, a new college major, a new significant other, or even a new haircut. Whatever it happens to be, you know that something has to change.

If you’ve ever felt this way, you can relate to The Awakening and its protagonist, Edna Pontellier. Edna is need of some serious changes in her life, and not just the “I hate my haircut” kind of changes, either. She wants to make some serious, life-altering transformations.

It’s these transformations that are the basis for many of The Awakening themes. Interested in learning more? Keep reading to learn about three important themes in the novel.

A Little About Edna (and the Plot)

Edna truly is a woman ahead of her (Victorian) time.

She realizes she doesn’t have a strong connection with her husband and maybe doesn’t even love him. Instead of suffering in silence, which is what would be expected of her during the Victorian Era, Edna yearns to break free of the gender roles that have kept her oppressed.

The plot of The Awakening

While on vacation, she ends up falling in love with Robert, but she’s pretty bummed when he leaves town. It’s after her vacation (and after Robert is absent from her life) that she turns to hobbies, such as painting and playing the piano, to pass the time and mend her broken heart.

Edna isn’t the type of gal to sit around moping, though.

Another man, Alcee, flirts with her, and while her husband is in New York for work, she begins an affair with Alcee. There really isn’t a love connection this time, however. It’s more of a friends-with-benefits relationship as Edna is still in love with Robert.

All of these new feelings surrounding passion, love, and independence leave Edna more than confused, and she ultimately decides to move into a home by herself in order to be fully independent.

But Robert throws a wrench in all of this when he returns from Mexico. You’d think Edna would be head over heels and ready to say yes to his marriage proposal, but she turns him down. She doesn’t want to belong to anyone—not to her husband and not to Robert.

Robert and Edna’s conversation about their future together is cut short, however, because she gets called away because her friend is in labor. Edna asks Robert to wait, but he doesn’t.

Again heartbroken, she returns home feeling lonely and isolated. She knows all of this is a result of her choices, of her expressing her independence, and of her straying from societal norms.

At the end of the novel, Edna goes for a swim and drowns, but the reader can’t be sure whether the drowning is accidental or if she has committed suicide.

In essence, Edna is a rebel who pays the ultimate price for her individuality.

3 Important The Awakening Themes

The Awakening is rich with themes, but the themes I’ve included here all focus on Edna and how her character establishes three key themes of the book.

I’ve also included a few example essays along the way, so make sure to check them out to see what other writers have to say about The Awakening themes.

Identity

As you mature and begin to form your own identity, you realize your likes, dislikes, and who you are as a person.

These discoveries may be as simple as the day you announce to your parents that you no longer want to be called “Andy.” You want to be called by your full name: Andrew.

Or your discovery may be an entire lifestyle change as you declare that you’ve become a vegetarian.

Like most of us, Edna Pontellier is still trying to figure out her own identity, but she’s experiencing an identity crisis.

She’s not so worried about whether she eats a burger or a salad for dinner, but she is concerned about what she’s called. No, she’s not worried about being called “Edna” or “Eddie.” She’s struggling with the labels of “wife” and “mother.”

She longs for independence and doesn’t want to be tied to these labels and lifestyles as Victorian standards require. It’s this identity crisis that causes her to explore her sexual desires through affairs, explore hobbies (such as painting and playing the piano), and assert her independence by living alone.

Her identity crisis may have also led to her death as she likely committed suicide because she simply didn’t feel as though she belonged within the current constraints of society.

Stuck on Your Analytical Essay?
Check Out These Example Analytical Essays
How to write about the theme of identity

If you decide to write about identity as a theme, you can approach the essay in a few ways.

You might decide to write a literary analysis about the theme itself and provide examples from the novel (like those I’ve mentioned above) that illustrate Edna’s quest for her own identity.

Check out compare and contrast essay. After all, Edna isn’t the first female character to search for her own identity.

You might, for instance, compare Edna’s journey to that of Nora Helmer in A Doll’s House. Nora, too, is unhappy in her relationship and leaves her husband and children in an attempt to find herself.

Here is an example essay that explores both characters’ search for identity and the turmoil they suffer throughout the stories.

You might also compare Edna’s journey to a current or classic film.

Ever see the classic movie Thelma and Louise? The movie is about two best friends (named, of course, Thelma and Louise) who long to escape their ordinary lives. They want a chance to experience greater independence and leave the men in their lives behind, which means that they’ve definitely got something in common with Edna.

Gender Roles

The role of a Victorian woman was pretty much set in stone: obey your husband, be a dutiful mother, and be a respectable lady.

Edna’s BFF, Adele, is by most accounts the quintessential example of the Victorian woman who does anything and everything to make her family happy and make her home pleasant and cheerful. She is the wife and mother that society feels Edna should emulate.

Edna, however, can’t seem to make that happen.

She doesn’t fit the mold as she wants more for herself and doesn’t want to (or can’t) live her life for someone else. She longs for the kind of independence that society does not afford women of the Victorian era.

How to write about the theme of gender roles

Comparing Edna and Adele and their feelings toward expectations for their roles in society could be an excellent strategy for discussing gender roles in the novel. You might also complete a more detailed character analysis of one or both of the women to explore the theme of identity.

Of course, gender roles have been debated throughout history, so you could certainly discuss Edna’s thoughts of gender roles as they compare to historical or current roles of women.

Looking for an example of a finished paper about the theme of gender roles in The Awakening? Take a look at these three example essays:

Isolation

Throughout the novel, it’s apparent that Edna doesn’t feel like a part of her community.

At the start of the novel, she doesn’t feel comfortable telling her husband about her desire to find herself and to be independent. She feels lonely and isolated because of these feelings and thus seeks to find some comfort in her female friends.

The women, however, are almost exact opposites of Edna. They are doting wives and mothers who believe strongly in their assigned roles of the era. This clash of opinions and beliefs only serves to further isolate Edna as she doesn’t even fit in with her friends.

When Edna eventually asserts her independence and acts on her impulses, she has two affairs and moves into her own home. These actions further force her into isolation as the man she falls in love with, Robert, ends the affair, leaving her alone.

Edna’s rebellion from her traditional societal roles results in complete isolation and her eventual suicide.

How to write about the theme of isolation

If you’re writing about the theme of isolation, once again, you might write a standard literary analysis, a compare and contrast essay, or a character analysis.

You might also try a more personal approach (if your assignment permits) by writing a reflection of how your life parallels Edna’s feelings of isolation.

Take a look at these two example essays to see how writers compare their own lives to Edna’s.

Wake Up and Start Writing

Now that you have some ideas on The Awakening themes detailed above, If you’ve been putting off writing your essay, it’s time you get started.

Need a little help putting the wheels in motion? Here are a few quick tips:

Having trouble waking up and getting started? Struggling with any (or all) of the steps in the writing process? Have a finished draft but aren’t sure you’ve properly tackled The Awakening themes (or theme) you’ve selected?

If so, let a Kibin editor read what you have so far. We’re happy to help with any step—from putting your ideas into motion to adding the finishing touches.

Stuck on Your Analytical Essay?
Check Out These Example Analytical Essays
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I bet you’re no stranger to electronic communication. There’s a good chance that you and everyone you know are using Twitter, text messages, and Facebook Messenger almost daily.

And this is good news because it means that you’re practicing your communication skills every day.

But now you’ve entered college or the workforce and need to send a different kind of communication—an email—to someone important, be it a professor, a job recruiter, your boss, etc.

So what’s so different about emails? Purpose, tone, and style.

While your tweeting can come in handy as practice, it’s time to fine-tune your writing to a format that’s more formal than what you may be used to.

When we’re done here, you’ll know how to write a professional email. But you’ll also take away some great tips that can help your emails go the extra mile to impress your recipients with your newly sharpened communication skills.

(Need to write an actual professional letter in printed form? Head over to this post instead.)

A Time and Place

People might send professional emails for many reasons. Here are some common situations.

  • Inquiring about college application materials
  • Asking a professor for help with a particular assignment
  • Signing up for a study group or writing lab appointment
  • Requesting a reference letter from a colleague, former employer, or professor
  • Following up a reference letter with a thank-you email
  • Sending a cover letter to a potential employer
  • Resigning from a work or volunteer position
  • Reaching out to clients or vendors
  • Communicating with coworkers about work-related items

No matter which of the above you might be writing (or if you have another communication goal to accomplish), there are rules to follow in order to write a successful professional email.

How to Write a Professional Email: Looking the Part

First impressions are everything, and the same holds true for professional emails.

First impressions are everything, and the same holds true for professional emails.
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When others meet you for the first time in a professional setting, they first see the way you dress and act before you exchange any words. When you send an email, the first two things that your recipient sees are typically your name and email address.

For this reason, it’s extremely important that your email address doesn’t come anywhere close to resembling cheesyspaceshipcat5000@*****.com. Even if you’ve had a fun email address since middle school that you still really love, ditch it when writing as a professional.

Using key identifiers, such as elements of your first and last name, is typically the best way to go. This kind of email address will make the recipient equate it with your name, and you can use it for a long time for multiple purposes.

Here are some examples:

  • bobbelcher@*****.com
  • belcherbob@*****.com
  • bbelcher99@*****.com
  • robert_belcher_jr@*****.com

Note that while your name is probably already used in an email address in some fashion, there are some simple tricks you can do to keep your name in the mix. Try changing the order of first and last name or using initials or significant numbers. Special characters such as periods or underscores can also work.

If you’re already attending college or working at a business where you were assigned an email address, use this address for your professional communication.

One caveat

Keep in mind that your college email address will probably be disabled when you leave school. While it’s great for communicating with your professors and classmates, it isn’t the best choice for reaching out to future employers who may contact you after graduation.

When it comes to your name, this one should be pretty obvious, but double-check your email settings or preferences to make sure that your first and last names have been saved correctly in the program.

You don’t want your recipients to see your name misspelled when you reach out to them, and you want them to be able to identify you right away in future correspondence.

How to Write a Professional Email: Acting the Part

Your average tweet is made up of language that looks like it’s on vacation. There may be misspellings, emojis, hashtags, slang, incomplete sentences, improper capitalization of letters, and so on.

None of these should be included in a professional email if you want to be taken seriously.

Essentially, social media communication doesn’t care much about grammar and style, but the language in your professional emails should be much more sophisticated.

This doesn’t mean that your emails must be completely void of personality, but when you think about how to write a professional email, you should always ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will my language make the recipient take me seriously?
  • What is the purpose of this email, and have I made this clear?
  • Did I check my writing for grammar and logic mistakes?

In a nutshell, you want to write clear and concise sentences that get to the point. Be polite, not demanding, and be sure to say “please” and “thank you” if you’re asking something of the recipient. Make sure you keep it brief (nobody wants to read an email novel), and stay on topic.

If you think that what you’re writing about warrants deeper discussion than an email can accomplish, don’t be afraid to—politely—ask the recipient for a meeting or phone call.

Email Format: A to Z

Now it’s time to talk about the structure your email. Follow the steps for each of the items detailed below, and you’ll be well on your way to wowing your recipients with your professionalism.

Recipient line

What’s so difficult about this one, right? You just send your email to the desired address! While this is true, it’s a good practice to save this step for last. You never want to accidentally hit “Send” on an email that’s only half-finished.

You also want to double-check that you’re absolutely sending it to the right person every time. Email misdelivery is problematic not only because your recipient doesn’t receive your message in time but also because it creates security risks if you’re sending any sensitive information.

Always check the email address before sending—don’t always trust the saved names in your contacts as similar names can get mixed up easily.

Subject line

Short and sweet is the name of the game here. Your subject line should typically be just a few words long and be capitalized like a title. Here’s where you tell your recipient your specific purpose for writing:

  • Letter of Recommendation Request
  • Front Desk Position Application
  • Thank You
Greeting/Salutation

The greeting is an expected courtesy of professional writing. Just as in a letter, you should start this out with “Dear” and then the person’s title and last name. If you’re familiar with the recipient, using a first name is fine, but don’t use this otherwise.

Other greetings, such as “Good afternoon” and “Hello,” can work, but are best saved for those with whom you’ve previously corresponded. Avoid “Hi” and any other colloquial greetings.

“Whatup” is not an option.

If you don’t know the recipient personally, doing your research goes a long way and shows initiative. Make sure that you spell the person’s name correctly. You also don’t want to assume one’s gender or marital status, so sticking with a title, such as “Professor,” is best.

If you’ve done your research and are still not sure about the person’s title, using both a first and last name is fine.

  • Dear Professor Trelawney,
  • Good afternoon, Natalia Romanova,
The “human touch” (optional but nice)

If it’s the first time you’re emailing someone or if you haven’t communicated for an extended period, adding a quick pleasantry is often a nice touch before diving into the body of your email.

  • I hope this email finds you well.
  • Thank you for meeting with me last week.
  • I hope you had a pleasant weekend.
Email body

While this should be a brief message (no more than a paragraph or two), there are some things you will need to include to have a rock-solid email that uses formal language.

Include the details below in the following order:

Who you are/your connection to the recipient

This gives the recipient some immediate context as to why you’re writing. Your professor, for example, teaches multiple classes and students. This is when you tell the professor what specific class you’re in.

If you’ve never met the recipient, then skip to the next step.

Your purpose for writing

This part of the email is the most important. You should be able to convey your purpose within one or two sentences. Anything longer than that, and the purpose will probably become unclear.

So why are you writing the recipient?

  • I am interested in taking your Composition 201 class next semester.
  • I am writing to inquire about web developer opportunities within your company.
  • Please consider my application for the Staff Member position at Cloud City Ltd.

Notice how all of these examples state a specific action or goal. This is what you want to do when thinking about how to write a professional email, every time.

The details and justification

Why do you want to take that class or get that job? What part of the essay are you having trouble with and why?

This is the part where you explain this, but be careful not to go into too much detail. Limit this to one or two sentences to keep your recipient’s attention.

  • I have graduated from Hoth University with a BS in Web Development and have experience designing commercial websites.
  • The arguments I can find against my thesis don’t seem very valid, so I’m worried that the rebuttal section will be too weak.
Call to action

Follow the details/justification with a call to action. What results are you hoping to achieve, or what action would you like the person to take? Let your recipient know in a single sentence.

  • If you have any openings, please let me know.
  • Can you please help me understand what I should do to make my rebuttal section stronger?
Gratitude line

Express thanks for the recipient’s time before writing your closure. This shows that you respect and appreciate the recipient’s time and efforts in helping you with your call to action.

  • Thank you for your time and consideration.
  • I appreciate your help with this assignment.
Closing

Here is where you write a “sign-off” phrase and your name.

Best,

Brock Samson

Sincerely,

Patty Mayo

Avoid “cute” or informal sign-offs such as “Cheers,” especially if you don’t know the person.

The finished product

This is what it looks like when we put it all together:

Dear Professor Trelawney,

I hope you had a pleasant weekend.

I am in your English 201 Class, Section C. I am having trouble with the rebuttal section of the argument essay. The arguments I can find against my thesis don’t seem very valid, so I’m worried that the rebuttal section will be too weak. Can you please help me understand what I should do to make my rebuttal section stronger?

I appreciate your help with this assignment.

Sincerely,

Brock Samson

How to Write a Professional Email: Other Important Elements
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Now that you have the gist of how to write a professional email, there are some other important items to know about before moving forward.

Cc? Bcc?

You see these in your email app any time you want to compose a message, but maybe you’ve never had to use them. So what are they?

Cc means “carbon copy” and is used when you want to “copy” or add others to the message publicly. This is used a lot in the business world when you’re sending an email to someone, but other people need to be involved, such as when working on a collaborative project. It’s also useful when doing a group project for a class.

If you’re addressing just one person but need to keep others in the loop, use Cc. It’s also a good idea to let the recipient know the reason you’re copying the others.

Hello T’Challa,

I’m copying Tony, Steve, and Bruce as they will be involved on this project as well.

Bcc means “blind carbon copy” and is used when you want to add others to the message privately. This isn’t used very often unless you’re sending the same information, such as directions to an event, to many recipients who don’t necessarily know each other.

Unless absolutely necessary, avoid using Bcc at work because it’s rude to let recipients think they are the only recipient of a message that has been sent to multiple people.

Following up

Because most of us have smartphones that are constantly connected to the internet, we’re used to getting message replies very quickly. However, don’t expect this to always be the case with emails. It’s not uncommon for an email to go unanswered for hours or even a day or two.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out again, especially if your email was about something important like a job interview or a question on an assignment.

Wait a couple of days to send your follow-up. Any quicker, and you risk pestering the recipient. Any longer, and your window of opportunity to achieve your desired result shrinks.

Here’s a great guide on how to follow up after a job interview with etiquette tips that can work in most any follow-up situation.

Replying to emails

To appear professional, you also need to be timely. Even if other people take too long to answer emails, you don’t want to adopt this bad habit. But you definitely have other important things to accomplish during your day, so don’t feel obligated to immediately respond to all emails.

The best approach is to check your emails regularly and set aside a specific time each day to answer them as needed. This will help you stay on task while allowing you the time to craft thoughtful and carefully worded messages.

When responding, note the tone of the person who sent you the email. Is it as formal as the one you sent? If so, then maintain that tone. Either way, you’ll want to keep being straightforward and concise in your writing.

That said, email replies are just a continuation of the conversation, so you won’t need to include the greeting or “human touch” because this part of the conversation has already happened.

However, you should always include a closing with a sign-off and your name, just as a professional courtesy. That is, unless it’s just a quick exchange between colleagues that has already gone on for several messages—this doesn’t require so much formality.

Signature and contact info

You can make your email look even more professional by adding a signature. Here’s how.

When you start looking for job opportunities and enter the workforce, including your contact information is common and often expected. When job-hunting, use your personal contact information. When you’re already a part of an organization, use your business contact information.

Add this information after your closing and signature in the following format:

Printed First and Last Name

Job Title (If applicable)

Name of Company (If applicable)

Address

Phone number

Email address

Website (If applicable)

Forging Ahead

Now you know all about how to write a professional email, so get out there and get some practice! Here are some extra do’s and don’ts when it comes to email etiquette that can help you further.

Either way, those professional emails will help you when it comes to building positive relationships with professors, colleagues, bosses, and other professional contacts.

Well-written professional emails will help you build positive relationships.
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And this type of writing is also meant to help you..

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You’ve just finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale. You know the plot backward and forward. You know all about chemical spills, the oppression of women, declining fertility rates, and the story of a Handmaid (Offred) and her life in a totalitarian society.

The problem? You haven’t quite figured out what it all means.

If you’re struggling to understand The Handmaid’s Tale themes, keep reading to learn more about three key themes to analyze in your essay. (I’ve also included essay ideas to help you get started with your analysis and a few example essays to help inspire your writing.)

3 Key The Handmaid’s Tale Themes

As you consider The Handmaid’s Tale themes included in this list, keep in mind that a theme is different than the plot.

The plot is what happens in the story. In this case, the plot revolves around the tale of a Handmaid named Offred.

A theme is an underlying meaning (or message) of the story. In this case, The Handmaid’s Tale themes include the dangers of complacency, freedom (or lack thereof), and power in a dystopian society.

Theme #1: Dangers of complacency

People (especially women) who live in Gilead have seen their freedoms, including education and intimacy, stripped away in their now-totalitarian society. Women are no longer known by their own names, but as titles that reflect their roles in society (Handmaids, Wives, or Marthas).

Yet even though freedom has all but vanished, many simply do as they’re told. As long as they receive some concessions, something tangible that they see as a benefit, they’re happy.

Essentially, they become complacent, and this has allowed increasingly more freedom to be taken away.

The Guardians of the Faith and The Eyes are prime examples. They have little control over their own lives, but they’re essentially spies watching over others. Because they have this seemingly small amount of control, they’re more willing to accept their roles and the rules of society.

Their complacency continues as long as they’re given some amount of control (over something or someone). People become so accustomed to their lives that they don’t always see the true dangers of living in a society in which they’re under complete control of the government.

Essay idea:

Connect the theme of complacency to current political and social debates.

Many people today worry about freedoms being stripped away. Consider connecting The Handmaid’s Tale to current discussions of gun control, abortion, or freedom of speech.

Essay example

Looking for further inspiration? Check out this example essay that connects The Handmaid’s Tale to current society.

Theme #2: Freedom (or lack thereof)

The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in a society now called Gilead. It’s a dystopian society where freedom is virtually non-existent.

Gilead, though, is the new name of the society. It used to be called the United States.

Many citizens in Gilead still remember what life was like in the US before the rebellion. The narrator, Offred, for instance, often thinks back to her lost freedom, her separation from her family, and her inability to continue any form of education.

Stuck on Your Analytical Essay?
Check Out These Example Analytical Essays

In Gilead, both men and women are repressed sexually. They have no freedom to choose their own sexual partners or experience intimacy. Education is also prohibited. After all, keeping people uneducated means that the totalitarian government can maintain control over society.

As in many dystopian novels, most citizens of Gilead are content to accept their new lives and lack of freedoms. But there are some, such as Moira, who never accept the loss of freedom and continue fighting for independence.

Essay idea:

Examine how The Handmaid’s Tale fits into the dystopian genre and compares to other dystopian novels.

Oppression and lack of freedom is a common theme in dystopian novels. Consider examining how the theme of freedom in The Handmaid’s Tale fits into the dystopian genre.

You might also write a comparison and contrast essay to compare the theme of freedom in The Handmaid’s Tale to other dystopian novels, such as 1984 or Fahrenheit 451.

Essay idea:

Discuss how the novel The Handmaid’s Tale is similar to or different from other adaptations.

The Handmaid’s Tale was made into a film in 1990 and more recently adapted as a television series in 2017. You might compare the film and television versions. Alternatively, you could compare one or both video adaptations to the original novel.

Essay example

Want to read an example essay about oppression and lack of freedom in The Handmaid’s Tale? Take a look at The Oppression of Men and Women in The Handmaid’s Tale, a Science Fiction Novel by Margaret Atwood.

Theme #3: Power “Bateman’s Row, Big Brother Is Watching You” by James, Flickr.com (CC BY 2.0)

The government of Gilead exerts total control over its people. Through force and violence, the government obtained power. It uses the same force and intimidation to maintain power.

The government engages in war with surrounding countries and uses the same violence on its own citizens. Public hangings serve as torture to victims and as ominous warnings to others who may consider breaking laws.

Under totalitarian rule, people not only lose their identities and freedoms, but also must follow strict rules in public regarding how they speak to each other.

Citizens, for instance, are watched by military personnel and spies, known as Eyes. Handmaids are even kept in constant fear by the Aunts, who have the power to abuse and torture Handmaids.

The government continually uses this level of intimidation and violence to keep people fearful of consequences and thus subservient to those in power.

Essay idea:

Compare Gilead to one or more governments in history.

Examine the rise of authoritarian governments throughout history, such as communism in China or the rise of Nazism in Germany. Consider the methods used by the government to obtain power and maintain control over its citizens. Does the government of Gilead use any of the same techniques?

Essay example

Interested in reading an example essay about the theme of power in The Handmaid’s Tale? Check out Power and Control in the Republic of Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale, a Novel by Margaret Atwood.

Lost in Thought?

Sometimes writing means you’re simply stuck.

You might have a few vague ideas for your paper on The Handmaid’s Tale themes but have a massive case of writer’s block and simply can’t put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). If you’re feeling that way now, try these 4 proven ways to overcome writer’s block.

Sometimes writing means you have a ton of broad ideas for a paper but are still struggling to narrow a topic and find the perfect idea for your paper.

If you’re still working on just the right focus, check out these example essays for ideas:

Sometimes writing also means you have a bunch of ideas swirling around in your head but aren’t yet sure how to put them all together into an effective essay.

If you’re in need of a little more help with essay writing, use these additional resources to help you get started:

And of course, sometimes writing means you have a completed draft of paper that is supposed to analyze a theme but you aren’t sure whether you’re simply rehashing the plot or writing a thoughtful analysis.

If you’re in need of an expert’s opinion, send your paper to Kibin.

Stuck on Your Analytical Essay?
Check Out These Example Analytical Essays
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What is it about compare and contrast essays that makes them so difficult to get started?

Maybe it’s having to juggle two different subjects in one essay. Usually you set your sights on one topic and tackle it directly.

However, with a compare and contrast essay, you have to tackle two subjects. Plus, while addressing one of them, you have to constantly keep the other in mind.

It’s a juggling act of describing one thing in relation to another thing without losing sight of the main purpose for writing about those things in the first place.

This isn’t an easy thing to do. So if you’re having trouble, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

So let’s see if we can figure out how to start a compare and contrast essay on the right foot.

What Is a Compare and Contrast Essay?

First, let’s make sure we all understand what exactly this type of essay is before we begin dissecting how to start a compare and contrast essay with a good introduction.

There are already a couple of posts on the Kibin blog about this subject, so I won’t go into it too deeply here.

In the most general sense, the idea is to take an in-depth look at the differences and similarities between two subjects. But it doesn’t stop there, for obvious reasons.

I could easily write an essay about the similarities and differences between bushes and trees, but why would anyone care?

This question is the most important part of any compare and contrast essay: why should anyone care? There has to be a reason for looking closely at your two subjects. And as outlined in a previous post, that reason can take one of the following forms:

  • State something unknown
  • Clear up a misunderstanding
  • Show that one thing is superior to another
  • Lead to a new way of doing/seeing/understanding something
  • Argue a point with supported facts

The reason that you have for writing your particular essay will affect how exactly you approach your introduction. That means it’s important to identify that reason early in the research phase of your essay.

Stumped on picking the right topic? Try one of these 70 compare and contrast essay topics.

Need to compare and contrast two poems? We’ve got you covered there too. Double-covered even.

So It Begins: How to Start a Compare and Contrast Essay

I know you’re excited, but you can’t just jump straight into discussing the similarities and differences between your two subjects. You wouldn’t have a conversation with a stranger without first introducing yourself, would you?

So before we dive into exactly how to start a compare and contrast essay, let’s examine what goes into setting things up.

First, you must introduce the subjects in an introduction paragraph. There are three main objectives of your introduction paragraph:

  • Pique your readers’ interest
  • Give them some background information on the subjects
  • Present the main point of the essay

The first will be accomplished with a strong hook at the very beginning of your essay. This will be followed by the necessary background information needed to support your thesis.

And oh yeah, the third will be accomplished in your thesis, the most important sentence in your whole essay.

Hook your reader

The idea behind a hook is to make your readers want to continue reading. You want something that makes them interested in what you will write next. But it has to be relevant to the subject at hand. This isn’t a chain email.

This could come in the form of a question, a quotation, a statistic, or a funny anecdote. For 14 different ways to write a hook sentence, check out this post.

The way in which you decide to hook your readers in a C&C essay will depend on that reason you identified earlier for writing the essay in the first place.

Hook approaches for a compare and contrast essay

If you are…

  • …writing your essay with the purpose of stating something unknown about your subjects or their relationship, then your hook sentence could take the form of a question, pushing your readers to realize how little they know about the subject and therefore leave them wanting to know more.
  • …clearing up a misunderstanding, then you may hook your readers by questioning what they know about the subject or by presenting a statistic they might find surprising.
  • …writing your essay to show that one thing is superior to the other, then you may pique your readers’ interest by quoting a famous or respectable figure who shares your view on the subject.
  • …trying to inspire a new way of doing/seeing/understanding something, then a great way to get your readers’ attention may be to tell a humorous anecdote that helps them to see it in a new way.
  • …writing your C&C essay because you want to argue a point with supported facts, then you may want to use the first sentence of your introduction to present an interesting and convincing piece of evidence from your research that will immediately push your reader toward your view.

No matter which direction you choose to take with the beginning of your introduction, the goal is the same: motivate your readers to read what comes next.

No matter how you start your essay, the goal is the same: motivate readers to read what comes next.
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Introduce the subjects of your essay

And what, exactly, comes next? Well, it’s time to let your readers know what exactly your essay will be talking about.

After hooking your readers’ attention with a statistic, question, or interesting anecdote, it’s time to identify the two subjects that you will be comparing and contrasting. It can be tricky to balance the two subjects, but it can be done.

Think about what relevant background information will be beneficial to your readers as they start thinking about your reason for writing the paper.

Is there any history about the subjects that is relevant? Any new information that your reader may not have heard yet? Now would be a good time to mention it (you can expound on it later if need be).

Stuck on Your Essay?
Check Out These Example Compare and Contrast Essays

Use this time to present any questions or misconceptions related to the topic, and begin to explain the importance of the topic.

Although you should try to give both subjects an equal amount of time in the introduction and throughout your paper (as they should be equally important to proving your argument), sometimes one subject is just less known to the majority of people.

If this is the case, it’s better to speak about that one a bit more in the introduction than to present a bunch of obvious information to your reader just for the sake of balance.

However, don’t let it get too out of balance. If you really need to explain a lot about one subject, you may need to save it for the body paragraphs.

Don’t overthink this part. Just provide any history or general statistics that show that the subject you’re speaking to is worth reading about. Get your readers ready for your thesis!

And remember, the entire introduction serves as a hook for your paper, so keep your readers interested!

Nail the thesis

After writing an interesting hook sentence and providing your reader with a general overview of your subjects, along with any need-to-know history and statistics, you’re ready to lay the big one on them: your thesis.

This is the most important sentence in your whole paper. It is the reason for writing the essay. It is your argument. It is your guiding light. It is the backbone.

We’ve written a lot about the thesis here at Kibin, so I’m going to leave that horse alone.

However, don’t forget to place it at the end of the extremely interesting introduction paragraph you’ve just written for your compare and contrast essay.

And that’s how to start a compare and contrast essay on the right foot! Need some help with the rest of your essay? Check out compare and contrast essay examples from other students to see how they’ve tackled both the introduction and everything else.

These posts can also help:

If you’re still unsure after writing your introduction (or your full essay), I suggest you send it to an editor at Kibin, who will read it and give you some great advice for the next draft.

Good luck, and happy writing!

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“You held me down, but I got up
Get ready ’cause I’ve had enough”
          —“Roar” by Katy Perry

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Find out what it means to me
R-E-S-P-E-C-T / Take care, TCB”
          —“Respect” by Aretha Franklin

“I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again”
          —”I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy

These lyrics, from three of the most quintessential female empowerment anthems in history, represent the strength and resilience of women.

A catchy tune and awesome lyrics drive home the message of empowerment, but how do you capture that same fierce message in an academic essay? How do you write an empowering essay on women without sounding dry and boring and without rehashing an encyclopedia version of a biography?

Try one of these 15 fierce topics.

15 Fierce Topics for an Empowering Essay on Women

Let me start by saying that one way to approach an essay on women is to pick a random woman from history and start writing. You can research all there is to know about her or perhaps focus on one key aspect of her accomplishments.

While this type of research paper can be effective, there are plenty of other, more original ways to approach this type of assignment.

Here are 15 topic ideas to get you started on an empowering essay on women. (I’ve linked to a few example essays too, so make sure to check them out for added inspiration.)

Compare and contrast essay topics

A compare and contrast essay requires you to identify similarities and/or differences between topics, such as comparing Taylor Swift to Ariana Grande.

But writing a compare and contrast essay doesn’t simply mean that you’ll list points of comparison. You need to have a central focus, something that ties your comparisons together.

Want to learn more about compare and contrast essay writing? Check out Compare and Contrast Essay Tips From a Kibin Editor.

#1: Leadership styles of women vs. leadership styles of men

Consider focusing on both strengths and weakness of each leadership style. If you don’t want to focus on a specific leadership style, you might focus on two female leaders, such as corporate CEOs, heads of countries, etc.

#2: Compare women’s roles in society through various time periods

You might focus on women’s roles in love, marriage, politics, films, or employment.

#3: Compare Olympic or professional female athletes

Try comparing female athletes on the basis of training styles, awards, or playing strategies.

#4: Compare directing styles of two female film directors

Consider Kathryn Bigelow, Sofia Coppola, and Nora Ephron to start.

#5: Compare and contrast female literary characters

Not sure where to start? Perhaps begin with Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter and Jane Eyre. (Need a refresher course on writing literary analysis essays? Read How to Write a Literary Analysis That Works.)

Reflective essay topics

The goal of a reflective essay is to consider how a person, event, or experience affected you. The goal isn’t to simply tell a story like you would in a narrative essay, but to examine the situation and explain how someone or some event shaped you.

#6: Reflect on one singular, yet simple moment with your mom

The event itself doesn’t have to be grand, but the impact it had on you should be evident in your essay. For instance, you might reflect on a childhood experience of seeing your mother help a stranger find her car in a parking lot. Examine how this one small act of kindness impacted your attitude toward helping others.

#7: Reflect on the influence of a female celebrity

Did Beyonce’s words strike a chord with you? Did Maya Angelou’s poems or speeches change you forever? If so, you might have the perfect angle for your essay.

Stuck on Your Essay?
Check out thousands of example essays.
#8: Explain how one chance meeting with a woman affected you

A chance meeting may only last a few moments, but it might change your life forever. For instance, did you strike up a conversation with a woman at the train station, and did her story inspire you to change your own life? Did you meet a woman in a shelter who changed your views of society?

#9: Write about a teacher who inspired you

A female teacher may have inspired you to great things, such as trying to save the world, or your teacher may have inspired you in other smaller, yet equally important ways. For example, maybe a teacher convinced you to try broccoli, and that one experience caused you to become a food critic, a chef, or maybe even a teacher yourself.

#10: Reflect on your own awesome self

If your assignment guidelines allow it, you might write about your own female empowerment story or how you work to inspire others. As Helen Reddy would sing, “I am woman, hear me roar.”

As Helen Reddy would sing, ‘I am woman, hear me roar’
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Argumentative/persuasive essay topics

Argumentative essays and persuasive essays have the same goal: to convince your audience. While a persuasive essay might allow you to write in first person point of view and use personal examples to support your claims, an argumentative essay is more likely to require you to use evidence from sources to support your assertions.

#11: Female heroines as role models

Consider how female heroines in films (either past or present) are role models for young girls. Are all heroines created equal? Do some roles still stereotype women?

#12: Girls run the world

Though it’s said to be a man’s world, you might argue that it is women who are actually in charge. Need evidence? Just ask Beyonce.

Beyoncé - Run the World (Girls) (Video - Main Version) - YouTube

#13: Female empowerment through fashion

Does your outfit ever make you feel sexy or empowered? How do men view that same outfit? Consider whether fashion choices—such as high heels, dresses, or hairstyles—empower or sexualize women.

#14: The influence of women’s suffrage

What was the most important outcome of women’s suffrage? Examine not only how it empowered women but also how it changed the course of history.

#15: Religion’s influence on female empowerment

How have various religions restricted females, preventing empowerment? Can you argue that a specific religion has encouraged female empowerment?

Hear Me Roar

With a few essay tips, some sample papers, and a topic for your empowering essay on women, you should be ready to roar and let your voice be heard.

If you’ve finished a draft but feel like your essay isn’t quite up to par, check out these posts to help make sure your paper stands out:

Still feel like your roar isn’t quite strong enough? Let the experts at Kibin help.

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Think you’re ready to write your synthesis essay outline?

That’s awesome! But I’m going to ask you for a favor: pump your brakes for a second, so you can ask yourself this question:

Have I ever written a synthesis essay before?

If the answer is no, then you’ll want to check out How to Write a Surprisingly Good Synthesis Essay so that you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Toe in the Water

Okay—now that you know what’s what, let’s get down to business.

By now, your teacher should have given you a synthesis essay topic and the sources. Sometimes you’re given a specific prompt or stance on a topic; sometimes your teacher will expect you to come up with your own stance to argue in the essay.

Whatever the case, the outline process will be the same. There are just a couple of steps you should take before you start on the outline that will ensure your success on this paper.

Read the material

Make sure you read through all of the sources and take notes on common themes or arguments being made. This will help you draw connections between the sources and give you material to quote when it’s time to defend your stance.

Brainstorm a bit

Going into an essay blind is like getting lost in the wilderness. Going into an outline without brainstorming is like having a poorly drawn map and forgetting your compass.

Brainstorming is a solid exercise that helps you figure out which direction your writing needs to take to reach a successful outcome. It also lowers the risk that you’ll get stuck mid-paper and want to start over.

Here are some other great prewriting strategies that can be super helpful to you before you dive into your essay.

The Layout of a Synthesis Essay Outline

The above is the basic layout of your synthesis essay outline. It should look pretty familiar if you’ve written an argument essay. If not, don’t worry—we’re going to break it down, piece by piece.

The best thing we can do is practice with a low-stakes assignment that will help you get started on your own outline.

The Topic at Hand

If you can’t tell where this is going, know that I’m a huge nerd (as if the above image wasn’t a dead giveaway), and we’re about to tackle a very controversial topic:

Are the Star Wars prequels good movies?

For the sake of this exercise (and because I like a challenge), we’ll be arguing the position that, yes, the Star Wars prequels are indeed cinematic achievements. We will also pretend we have been given several sources that help us make this argument:

“Pew Pew: The Not-So-Quiet Triumph of the Star Wars Prequels,” a 2016 article by J.J. Binks published in ARTOO Magazine.

“Studies in Sci-Fi Cinema,” a 2015 essay by Bob A. Fett published in Lando: A Journal of Swagger.

“Good Enough for Roger Ebert,” a 2018 blog post by Mo N. Mothma published on Some Like It Hoth.

Synthesis essays require that you argue a stance using your sources as evidence, so there’s a good chance you’ll also be required to find sound counterarguments within your sources. And then your goal will be to refute them … but we’ll get to that in a moment.

Also keep in mind that not all topics will be so cut-and-dry like this. Often, teachers will give you sources that are more complicated, and it’s up to you to find the arguments within, both those that agree and disagree with your position.

The Outline

Let’s take a look at how we can craft a synthesis essay outline using the above sources, step by step.

Intro

The essay introduction is where you first draw your reader in with a strong hook sentence.

Next, you provide context (background information) on the history and importance of the issue.

You should finish this paragraph with your thesis.

Hook

The intro starts with your hook—a sentence that grabs the reader’s attention. Here’s what you might write as a hook for our Star Wars stance:

If fans fail to love the Star Wars prequels, then they are simply not true Star Wars fans.

Learn more about writing effective hooks.

Context

You’ll be discussing the issue at length in your body paragraphs, but your reader needs an introduction to the key elements of the issue. This is a good spot to briefly answer the following questions:

  • What is the history of the issue?
  • Why is it important now?
  • Who does the issue affect and why?
Thesis

The thesis is the main claim/argument that you’re making in the essay. It’s the official stance that you will support throughout the rest of the paper. It should be one to two sentences and should make a specific claim that introduces the topics of the other supporting claims you’ll write in the body paragraphs.

Ours might look something like this:

Despite the ongoing arguments over this trilogy, on the merits of cinematography, artistry, imagination, technological feats, and canonization, the Star Wars prequels are nevertheless great films.

Body: Defense of your thesis

Depending on the required length of your paper, this section should be about three to six paragraphs long.

That’s one to two paragraphs per claim.

Claims

A claim is a statement you make that supports your thesis. This is a great place to apply logos and pathos to your synthesis. Here’s an example of a claim for our paper:

Between practical set design and digital effects, The Phantom Menace is visually groundbreaking for a film made in 1999 when CGI was still in its infancy.

You should have at least three supporting claims in your synthesis essay outline. Devote one to two paragraphs to each claim in your essay.

Support

A claim is nothing without support, and there are two things you need to do here in order to successfully support your claims.

1. Use evidence from your sources

This is how you’ll support your claim while also showing your teacher how well you can draw connections between the sources and your stance on the issue.

Make use of direct quotes, paraphrasing, and summary, but make sure most of the paper is in your own words!

You should use your sources only to support what you’ve already said—your teacher wants to see what you have to say about the subject, not others.

Here’s an example of paraphrased evidence-based support for the above claim.

The special effects were extremely complex for the time—as much a marvel then as when the effects of the original trilogy were a cinematic marvel to behold (Binks, 2016).

Stuck on Your Essay?
Check out these example synthesis essays.

2. Back up the significance of your evidence with logic

It’s not enough to just show your evidence. You also need to explain how the evidence from your sources supports your claim and supports your thesis. Here’s what this might look like to reinforce the evidence above:

This approach to special effects requires a significant amount of hard work and artistic vision that cannot be duplicated to the same degree that George Lucas applies to this film. Each Star Wars film takes place in a galaxy far, far away, and with new technology and a larger budget available, Lucas is able to deliver this completely alien universe’s aesthetic the way it was always meant to be seen. This alone is a special achievement for any filmmakers who try to revisit their work and finish a story they longed to tell.

Body: Counterargument and rebuttal

A good argument is never one-sided, so as you’re working to synthesize your sources, showing your teacher that you’ve considered one or two other stances is especially important.

That said, you still need to demonstrate why the opposing viewpoint, while valid, is not as strong as yours. This is called the rebuttal or refutation.

Here’s how it’s done:

The question remains, are the Star Wars prequels perfect? The answer is no. “As films, they have many flaws, some forgivable, some less so” (Fett, 2015). No film is perfect, but each film should set out to accomplish certain goals. In this regard, the prequels excel at providing an entertaining science-fiction adventure experience that appeals to a wide audience.

Conclusion

The conclusion is where you wrap up your synthesis essay by doing two things.

First, restate the importance of your issue, guiding your reader back to your thesis.

Then, tell the reader what would happen if your argument is (or is not) accepted.

This section is a perfect opportunity to make your last stand and emphasize the importance of your issue and viewpoint.

The conclusion is your last stand, so emphasize the importance of your issue and viewpoint.
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What happens if the reader chooses to ignore your sound evidence? How do you put up a final defense against this? Check it out:

While film critics and audience members are entitled to their opinions about the films they watch and enjoy, the success of the Star Wars prequels cannot be ignored. These films succeeded at the box office and paved the way for new Star Wars stories to be told. They allowed audiences to revisit their favorite sci-fi universe and see it for the first time in the grand spectacle that Lucas had always wanted to portray. Without these films, Star Wars may have only existed as a classic trilogy, cherished and admired but ultimately lost to time. The success of the prequels ensures Star Wars’ continued and everlasting presence in cinema.

The Final Product

Below is how the outline for this topic would look when put together. Keep in mind that this is a guide—you’ll have to input your notes for each of these sections and build your paper from this framework.

1. Intro
a. Hook
b. Context
c. Thesis
2. Body: Defense of your thesis
a. Claim 1
i. Evidence from source(s)
ii. Support (show how evidence supports claim)
b. Claim 2
i. Evidence from source(s)
ii. Support (show how evidence supports claim)
c. Claim 3
i. Evidence from source(s)
ii. Support (show how evidence supports claim)
3. Body: Counterargument and Rebuttal
a. Counterargument 1
i. Evidence from source
ii. Refutation of argument and evidence
b. Counterargument 2
i. Evidence from source
ii. Refutation of argument and evidence
4. Conclusion
a. Restate the importance of your issue and thesis
b. Tell the reader what would happen if your argument is (or isn’t) accepted.

And that’s it in a nutshell!

I’ve even created a skeleton Synthesis Outline Template you can download to get started.

If you want to see how others have tackled the synthesis essay, check out these examples from our essay database.

Kibin editors can also help you edit your outline or your finished essay, so don’t hesitate to send us your work!

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Creative geniuses cannot create their masterpieces until they’re inspired. Perhaps you’re that creative genius who simply hasn’t been inspired to write a thesis statement to help focus your thoughts for your upcoming compare and contrast essay.

Perhaps you don’t fancy yourself a creative genius at all. Maybe you’re more of a major procrastinator who’s only now inspired to write a thesis statement because the clock is ticking and by this time tomorrow, you need a complete essay.

Whatever your reason(s) for looking for help, you’ve come to the right place. Before those 13 compare and contrast thesis examples that will (hopefully) inspire you to write your next essay, though, let’s do a quick recap on this essay type.

What Is a Compare and Contrast Essay?

If you have to write a compare and contrast essay and are struggling to figure out how turn a set of assignment guidelines into an actual essay, here are a few tips that can put you on the right track.

The name of the essay pretty much tells you what you’ll be doing: comparing and contrasting things or ideas. Sounds easy enough, right?

It can be fairly easy to construct a compare and contrast essay. The key to writing a successful essay is to choose the right points to compare and contrast and to tie them all together with a strong thesis statement.

Need a little help with the basics of the compare and contrast essay? Take a look at these two posts:

Now that you have a clear understanding of how to write a compare and contrast essay, let’s move on to those thesis statement examples.

13 Compare and Contrast Thesis Examples to Inspire You

The thesis statement provides a roadmap to the rest of your essay, so it’s important that you take the time to craft a thesis statement that tells readers the focus of your paper.

The thesis statement provides a roadmap to the rest of your essay.
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Remember: Readers should be able to read your thesis (without reading the rest of your paper) and understand the intended focus of your paper. If your thesis doesn’t do this, it’s time to revise.

Also, compare and contrast essays can take different approaches. Some require you to focus on primarily similarities (or differences). But others require you to focus on both. Check your assignment guidelines to see which type of compare and contrast essay you need to write.

With these points in mind, let’s take a look at 13 compare and contrast thesis statement examples to get you started with your essay.

I’ve included a broad topic for each thesis statement and divided the lists into general comparisons and literary comparisons. I’ve also linked each of the topics to a related example essay for extra inspiration.

Stuck on Your Essay?
Check Out These Example Compare and Contrast Essays
6 compare and contrast thesis examples (general comparisons) Topic #1 How does culture and tradition impact student achievement?

Example thesis: In both Japan and the United States, cultural expectations greatly influence academic achievement in high school students.

Topic #2 What are the differences between high school and college?

Example thesis: While there a number of differences between high school and college, one of the most important is the level of emotional maturity required for success.

Topic #3 Which parenting style is most effective?

Example thesis: While authoritative and permissive parenting are seemingly complete opposites, they have one key similarity: parents who practice both parenting styles encourage their children to make their own decisions.

Topic #4 How have gender roles changed throughout history?

Example thesis: On the surface, it may seem as though women’s roles have changed drastically throughout history; however, a comparison of various eras illustrates how women are still repressed and shamed, especially in sexual expression and behavior.

Topic #5 What are the differences between brands of soda?

Example thesis: Even though many people cannot tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi, there are distinct differences in taste, nutritional content, and advertising.

Topic #6 How do classic movie genres compare to current genres?

Example thesis: While classic musicals used musical numbers to showcase artists, current musicals rely on musical numbers to advance the plot.

Interested in a learning a few more tips for analyzing films? Read How to Analyze a Movie for Dramatic Effect.

7 compare and contrast thesis examples (literary comparisons) Topic #7 How is the theme of oppression portrayed in literature?

Example thesis: Though the plot lines in A Doll’s House and Animal Farm differ greatly, the two share a core theme: oppression.

Topic #8 How are the themes of political and social power struggles portrayed in literature?

Example thesis: The Kite Runner and The Handmaid’s Tale both utilize political and social power struggles to advance the plot and illustrate their core themes.

Looking for more help analyzing dystopian literature, such as The Handmaid’s Tale? Check out What 4 Popular Dystopian Novels Have in Common (and How To Write About Them).

Topic #9 How do characters define fate and free will in literature?

Example thesis: Harry Potter and Never Let Me Go both examine the notion of whether characters have free will or are destined to live out their fates.

Topic #10 How does poetry explore identity?

Example thesis: The poems “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks and “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke both explore the struggles young people face while developing their identities.

Want a little more assistance analyzing poetry? Read How to Analyze a Poem and Sound Smart Doing It.

Topic #11 What role to animals play in classic children’s stories and fables?

Example thesis: While many classic children’s stories include animal characters that are helpful to the protagonist, both Alice in Wonderland and Little Red Riding Hood portray animals that present a danger to the protagonist.

Topic #12 How does literature address the concept of The American Dream?

Example thesis: The failed pursuit of The American Dream is a prominent theme used to define the protagonists in both The Great Gatsby and Death of a Salesman.

Topic #13 In what ways is the theme of alienation portrayed in literature?

Example thesis: The negative effects of alienation are central themes of both Flowers for Algernon and Catcher in the Rye.

More Compare and Contrast Essay Help

Inspired by one of compare and contrast thesis examples to write a masterpiece but having a hard time writing your own thesis? Read How to Write a Compare and Contrast Thesis Statement.

Perhaps your muse has not yet inspired you with the perfect topic (or thesis) for your paper. That’s okay. One of these 70 compare and contrast essay topics might just spark your creative genius.

If you have a few ideas for your paper but would like to see a finished essay (complete with annotations explaining what the essays do well) check out 2 Compare and Contrast Essay Examples Worth Emulating.

Finally, have a bunch of ideas swirling around in your head but still don’t know what to do with them? Try this compare and contrast essay outline to help beat writer’s block.

Already drafted your paper and compared it to the example essays? Are you now questioning whether your writing is truly a masterpiece? Let a Kibin editor help make sure your paper reflects your true genius!

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If you’ve ever found yourself in a new romantic relationship, you probably know that there are three tiny words that can make or break it all: “I love you.”

Those three little words can wreak havoc on anyone.

Should you say, “I love you”? What if the person doesn’t love you back? What do you do if someone says “I love you”? Do you have to say the same? What if you’re in the friend zone and you want to tell the other person? Should you?

Will those simple words create a lifelong love affair, or will they ruin the friendship forever?

So many agonizing questions. So many emotions.

Thankfully, you don’t have to deal with any of that right now. Your only task is to write about love, not actually worry about the messy process of being in love.

Though writing about love can be just as messy (and sometimes just as painful) as being in love, I’m here to ease the pain by providing a few tips on how to write an essay about love.

I’ve also included topic ideas to get you started with an awesome essay (which will hopefully ensure you don’t end up broken-hearted when you get your essay back).

Tips for Writing an Essay About Love

If you’re writing an essay about love, it can be easy to just write gushing, flowery prose about someone you love, but these types of papers can turn into a long, rambling, cheesy mess.

To avoid this pitfall, follow the two important tips below.

Don’t be too sappy or too bitter

If you’re in love, everything can seem dreamy. It can feel like walking on air, like floating with the clouds, as sweet as strawberry cotton candy.

If you’ve just fallen out of love (or if someone has just fallen out of love with you), it can be quite the opposite. It’s more like wallowing in a muddy pit of self-pity, like you’re enveloped in despair, like you’ll never climb out of the abyss that is your broken heart.

Yeah. It can be pretty melodramatic.

But you’ll sound more than a little sappy or bitter if you write about love in this way.

So how can you write about love if you don’t write about every gut-wrenching feeling you’ve ever had? Try looking at things a little more objectively.

No matter how awesome your new love is, no one is perfect. Include, or even focus on, something a little less sappy and a little less positive, like how your love’s habit of always checking Instagram at lunch drives you insane.

Writing about these characteristics makes your love a little more human and your relationship a little more realistic.

If you absolutely can’t write about your love (or former love) without spilling out every emotion, you might consider another angle for your essay about love.

Write about something other than romantic love

If your assignment states that you absolutely must write about romantic love, well then you must. But if your assignment guidelines are a little more open, then consider writing about another type of love.

Think back to when you were a child and how much you loved your teddy bear, truck, or blanket. Think about how you loved a superhero so much that you actually wanted to become that superhero.

Did your favorite toy help you through some tough childhood days? Did your superhero teach you something or even help shape you as an adult?

Consider the love you have for your parents, grandparents, siblings, or friends. Sure, sometimes these relationships can be love-hate relationships, but they certainly impact you and shape your views on the world.

And of course, what about the love you have for your pets? Pets are often considered family members (and, let’s face it, are sometimes even more lovable than actual family members).

The point here is that the topic of love is wide-reaching, so look for unique ways to approach the subject.

Stuck? Can’t think of anything original? Keep reading for a few topic ideas organized by essay type.

Love is wide-reaching, so look for unique ways to approach the subject.
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Topic Ideas for an Essay About Love

This list includes three different essay types and topic ideas for each type of essay. Keep in mind that many of these topics can work for a number of different types of papers, so feel free to rework the ideas to fit your assignment.

If you’re in need of even more inspiration, I’ve also linked to a few example papers.

Stuck on Your Essay?
Check out thousands of example essays.
Argumentative/persuasive essay topic ideas

When writing an argumentative essay or persuasive essay, your goal is to convince your audience. You might convince them through use of personal examples or use evidence from sources (depending on assignment requirements).

Here are a few topics to consider:

Descriptive essay topic ideas

Descriptive essays, of course, describe something or someone. Descriptive essays usually don’t focus on visuals alone, though. They include additional senses, and if you’re describing a person, you’ll likely describe personality and character traits.

Read How to Write a Descriptive Essay That Is Expressive and What Is Descriptive Writing, and How Can It Improve Your Essay? to learn more about writing a great descriptive essay.

Here are few options for things you could describe:

  • The love of your life: Move beyond physical description. Consider describing traits like her generosity, her kindness, or her quirky sense of humor.
  • What it feels like to be in love.
  • Your ideal love: Does your ideal love meet a specific physical description? Should your ideal love have specific personality characteristics? Are there traits that he or she should definitely not possess?
  • Your first love: Here, you might consider writing about how much you loved a toy as a child, the time you were in love with a celebrity, or your actual first crush or relationship.
  • How you viewed love as a child: You might consider how media influenced your views or how your parents’ relationship affected your views or your own relationships.
Literary analysis essay topic ideas

When you write a literary analysis, you need to do more than write about the plot. You need to take apart the literature and analyze it, bit by bit, to see what it all means.

In need of a quick refresher on writing an effective literary analysis? Check out How to Write a Literary Analysis That Works and 15 Literary Terms You Need to Know to Write Better Essays.

Here are a few topic ideas:

Bonus tip: If you’re writing a compare and contrast essay, you might compare your love to someone in literature or compare your relationship to a famous literary couple.

An Everlasting Love

I’m sure there are at least of few of you who haven’t exactly fallen in love with writing essays and don’t love spending hours crafting the perfect phrase.

If you don’t, that’s quite all right.

Check out 5 Hacks to Make Writing an Essay Way More Fun. Hopefully, these tips will help get you through essay writing, so you can at least love the grade you get on your assignment.

Finished your essay but still aren’t in love with the finished product? Send your paper to the editors at Kibin. We love words, writing, and most of all, helping students craft the best essays possible.

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