Gr 12 English Essays

The type of thesis statement you need depends on the type of paper you are writing. Whether you are writing an informative or argumentative/persuasive paper, both of which are commonly required in twelfth grade, your thesis statement will succinctly state the over-arching theme of your paper, and it should appear as the final sentence of your introductory paragraph. Let's take a typical persuasive essay as an example. Think of a good thesis statement as having three parts: a concessions clause, a thesis, and a map (or sentence of division). In the concessions clause, you will acknowledge the opposing point of view; begin with the word although or while. For example, if you are arguing against school uniforms, your concessions clause would say:

Although many private schools and even some public schools require school uniforms, 

The next part of your thesis statement is your thesis. This is the core point you are arguing for or against. Clues that will show you whether you are being persuasive rather than merely informative are words that show value judgments, such as should, should not, better, best, and unacceptable. For example, writing to oppose school uniforms, you would say:

students should not be required to wear uniforms to school

The last part of your thesis statement is a map that lists the three (or whatever number) main points you have in support of your argument. Sometimes this is called the because clause since it often starts with the word because.

because they stifle students' creativity, they make students feel like robots, and they don't prepare students for the real world.

Putting those three parts together, you have a complete thesis statement for a persuasive paper:

Although many private schools and even some public schools require school uniforms, students should not be required to wear uniforms to school because they stifle students' creativity, they make students feel like robots, and they don't prepare students for the real world.

The same format can be used for an informative paper; the thesis would be a statement regarding the main fact your paper will be explaining; the map would be three main parts of your subject.

Topic sentences should be general in nature and should introduce the subject that the paragraph will deal with. In our example persuasive essay about uniforms, you would have a topic sentence for each body paragraph that relates to the part of the map you are covering. For example, the first paragraph might say:

Schools should not require their students to wear uniforms because dressing the same as everyone else stifles a student's ability to be creative. 

All the following sentences in that paragraph should revolve around the topic of student creativity and how uniforms inhibit it. 

Your conclusion (final) paragraph should begin by restating your three-part thesis statement in slightly different wording. Summarize your key points, then leave the reader with a meaningful observation about why this issue is important. Following this format, your introduction, three body paragraphs, and conclusion will make a well-structured essay.

Grade 12 English Provincial Exam: Approaches to Writing the Original Composition

Article Posted: June 12, 2012   |   Author: janet   |  

The grade 12 English provincial is divided into four sections, with Part D assessing writing skills though an original composition. Valued at 30 percent of the entire exam, students are required to write a multi-paragraph essay of at least 300 words in response to a one sentence prompt. Examples of past exam prompts include “Happiness can be found in unlikely circumstances,” “Our views of the past change as we mature,” and “Forming meaningful connections can enrich lives.”

The original composition may be written as an expository, persuasive, descriptive or narrative essay. Students generally seem to fare best responding in an expository or a narrative style. Below are some tips to approaching an essay in these formats.

Expository Essay

  • An expository essay is basically an explanatory essay. Expository essays provide students an opportunity to show off their knowledge in a well-organized format.
  • This type of essay should be structured in the standard 5 paragraph set-up: introduction, three supporting body paragraphs, and conclusion. Organization is key. The thesis should be clearly set out in the first paragraph. Each body paragraph should start with a strong topic sentence that supports the thesis statement, and there should be smooth transitions between the paragraphs. Students should take care to avoid passive voice.
  • It is important to take time to brainstorm and map out the evidence for the supporting body paragraphs prior to writing the composition. Supporting evidence for the thesis statement can be factual or anecdotal, and can come from history, literature, or personal life experiences. Students can draw upon knowledge covered in Social Studies, History, English, English Literature and even Science classes. The weakest supporting example should be sandwiched in the middle of the essay.
  • After writing the first draft, reread the work carefully and edit with an eye towards ensuring variations in sentence structure and sophisticated vocabulary. The select addition of adjectives and adverbs will enhance interest for the reader.

Narrative Essay

  • A narrative essay is a story. It can be told in first person or third person, and should follow a rough chronological order. This type of essay provides the student an opportunity to show off their creativity.
  • This type of essay does not have a standard paragraph structure, but students should ensure that each paragraph is well developed and contains only one main idea. Each paragraph should contribute to transporting the reader effectively through the story. The narrative prompt can be repeated or paraphrased in the conclusion to tie the essay together. Dialogue may be included if it assists the story line, but given its tendency to quickly become unwieldy, it should be kept to a few lines.
  • Again, it is important to map out a plan prior to writing the narrative. Mind maps work well for brainstorming ideas. It can be quite effective to base the narrative on events from  one’s personal life or the lives of friends or family members, as that can add authenticity to a student’s writing. However, students shouldn’t be afraid to expand or elaborate on an event for the sake of drama or interest.
  • Once students have finished the first draft, they should reread and edit to improve sentence structure variation and vocabulary. For a narrative essay, it is particularly important to engage the reader through description, so students should ensure their final draft contains at least a few examples of imagery and figurative language.

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