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What Is a Subpoint in an Essay?

by Sampson Quain, Demand Media

    Essays are often assigned in high school and college classes and require students to organize their thoughts in a clear, logical manner. A traditional essay begins with a strong introductory paragraph that includes a thesis statement, which explains the main point of the essay. It also touches on three subpoints that support the thesis. In the main body of the essay, a writer must develop the subpoints to support the thesis.

    Introductory Paragraph

    A good introduction sets up the subpoints in an orderly and logical manner. It provides a road map for the reader to follow that is clear and unambiguous. Introductions should begin with an item that grabs the reader, such as a statistic or bold statement. You then move directly into the introduction of the three subpoints that form the body of the essay. Often, a transition sentence leads into the first paragraph of the main body.

    Structure

    Subpoints are all structured in the same way. You must restate the subtopic from the introductory paragraph to establish the purpose of the paragraph. Then you provide supporting evidence or examples that bolster the subtopic. Though these examples may include opinions, your writing should flow logically and effectively. Some essays require outside sources, which add authority to your statements. Each subpoint concludes with a transition phrase or sentence that smoothly leads into the next subpoint, so that the main body is structured as if it's one long paragraph broken into three sections.

    Concluding Paragraph

    The concluding paragraph is essential because it restates the thesis and subpoints in a different way than the introductory paragraph. Strong conclusions should briefly summarize each subpoint and explain how those points have proved or supported the thesis. If you have written effective subpoints, the conclusion flows directly out of the examples and evidence you provided in the main body of the essay. The last sentence of the conclusion is a final definitive statement, which leaves no doubt in a reader's mind that the topic has been fully covered.

    Requirements

    Transitions are a key aspect of writing subpoints because they provide a logical bridge from one sentence to another, and from one topic to another. Effective transitions help you organize the essay into a coherent whole that doesn't feel disjointed. Some common transitional words and phrases include, "In addition," "furthermore," and "another example." To provide an easy reading experience, vary the way you begin sentences to demonstrate facility with language, which helps avoid repetitive sentence structure. It is also important that you use active verbs, which add urgency to the subpoints.

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    About the Author

    Sampson Quain is a screenwriter and filmmaker who began writing in 1996. He has sold feature and television scripts to a variety of studios and networks including Columbia, HBO, NBC, Paramount and Lionsgate. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting from the University of Southern California.

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