Does my instructor want me to compare AND contrast, or am I only being asked to do one of those things? Some instructors prefer that you only write about the differences between two things, while others want you to focus on explaining the similarities as well. Either way, you'll need to make sure that your thesis statement reflects your instructor's expectations.
Three pages provides authors enough space to construct and develop their arguments and write a short introduction and conclusion. Don't worry too much about the length while you are writing it. Follow the assignment and your paper should be just about the right length.
What is the topic? What requirements are there besides length? If your teacher wants three pages, find out what format you should use.
A three-page essay in 12 point font, double-spaced, is not much writing about words. A three-page essay in 11 point font, single-spaced, is more than twice as much. Most teachers want 12 point, double-spaced.
Do any required research. For a simple literary paper, you might just have to go through your notes and skim the book for quotes. If the paper requires original research, however, a trip to the library probably will be in order. Formulate a thesis statement. A thesis is an argument about the topic backed up by three arguments.
Usually, teachers want you to put the arguments in the actual thesis. This makes it easier to organize the paper and for the reader to follow it. Write the body paragraphs. Each paragraph should cover one of the topics from the thesis, along with several pieces of evidence.
Evidence can be a quote or piece of information from a book or a personal observation synthesizing several facts.
Generally, you should have at least one quote in each body paragraph. The introduction should lead catch the reader's attention and prepare him or her for the introduction. For example, if your essay is about a particular character in the book, you can begin by discussing something unique or unusual about him or her that ties into your thesis.
The conclusion should briefly restate the main points of the essay in a different way than did the thesis. It should then do something to leave an impression on your readers.
If this is a book report, you could end with a powerful quotation relating to your thesis, or an observation about the book as a whole.
Generally, a five-paragraph essay should be about three pages, but it might be a bit more or less. If your teacher is a stickler for length requirements, you may have to extend your paper slightly or cut it down a bit. One way to do this is by lengthening or shortening your quotes.
You may also be able to change the length of your introduction or conclusion.
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