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The MLA Essay Template: The Essay Title is Centered and Capitalized
The first paragraph of the essay introduces the reader to your topic with a "hook," which might be an interesting fact, a statistic, a lively quotation, or an anecdote that sheds light on your essay. The introduction then leads to the thesis statement, which is sometimes underlined, depending on your professor's preference. The thesis statement is the main idea of the essay, telling the reader in one sentence what the body of your essay will demonstrate or prove, and the rest of the essay supports the thesis with facts, evidence, and reasoning.
If You Have a Long Essay, Use Headings to Break Up the Body of the Essay
The first sentence of the first body paragraph should be the topic sentence, which tells the reader what the paragraph will discuss - this sentence should relate to the thesis and provide support for the claim made in the thesis statement. After the topic sentence, supporting details are used to back up the topic sentence and provide more information about it. Each detail should relate back to the topic sentence. Details can include analysis, explanation, quotations about the subject, and/or facts and figures that support the topic sentence. The paragraph should conclude with a sentence that sums up the paragraph and leads into the next body paragraph.
Transition words, such as "similarly," "however," "therefore," etc. can be helpful in linking paragraphs. You should show how your next paragraph connects to the one that came before. The paragraph should have its own topic sentence and follow the same format as the first body paragraph, with supporting details and a closing sentence. Each body paragraph should repeat the topic sentence, supporting details, and closing sentence format.