Extracts from: *_HOW TO ANSWER LITERATURE QUESTIONS_* (A work in progress)
A standard essay should have three parts namely: the introduction; the body; and the conclusion. This is applicable to every essay in every discipline. These three parts must be present when one is drafting one’s outline. Hence, ensuring that one’s essay is properly divided into paragraphs.
For an essay to be considered as standard at this level, the essay should have at least five paragraphs — that is, one paragraph for the introduction; three paragraphs for the body; and the last paragraph will be for the conclusion. It is important to note that only one idea should be discussed in a paragraph. For example, in an essay titled “The Effects of Drug Abuse”, you may outline at least three effects and discuss them in different paragraphs.
The different parts of an essay perform different functions. The introductory part, just as the name implies, introduces the essay. It contains the thesis (What the essay aims to accomplish.) and perhaps, the definition of the concepts. An essay should have a good introduction that is catchy enough to attract the reader. The body of the essay is the point where you discuss your points while the conclusion is the point where you summarise and round off your essay.
Aside having the proper form, a standard essay should also show one’s authority in the use of language — that is, the grammatical construction of words and the correct employment of punctuation are keys to writing good essays. On this note, it is advisable for students writing literature exams to master topics such as: The Rules of Concord and The Correct Ways to Use Punctuation Marks.
Knowing the aforementioned topics is important because most literature teachers usually assume that these things have been taught in English so they do not waste precious time trying to teach the students basic things like subject-verb agreement and where to put the punctuation symbols when writing.
Another important skill to have while writing is the ability to ensure the smooth flow of thoughts from one sentence to another or from one paragraph to another. This is otherwise known as cohesion. Cohesion can be achieved in an essay through the use of connective such as: firstly, lastly, in conclusion, however, furthermore, nevertheless, conclusively, etc.
To summarise all that has been said, one needs the following in order to write a good essay:
1. An outline.
2. Proper paragraphing.
3. The correct application of grammatical rules.
4. Mechanical accuracy — the correct use of punctuation marks.
5. Cohesion between sentences and paragraphs.
Below is an example of an outline and essay on the topic: “Why Youth Empowerment is Important for National Development.”
Paragraph 1: Define the concept and list out some points that will be discussed in the body. State your thesis.
Paragraph 2. Youth empowerment reduces the dependency on the government.
Paragraph 3. Youth empowerment reduces poverty.
Paragraph 4. Youth empowerment reduces crime.
Paragraph 5. Restate your thesis. Comment on what your essay has been able to achieve.
Why Youth Empowerment is Important for National Development.
Many of the developed countries of the world today are where they are because of the efforts the governments of these countries have made in terms of empowering their young citizens to be self-reliant. Self-reliance simply means the state of being able to provide for oneself the basic needs of life — water, food, housing, clothing and pleasure. Because the youths in the developed countries of the world are self-reliant, there is less dependency on the government, less poverty, and of course less crime. The word “less” is used before all the aforementioned because it is impossible to have a country whereby there is zero crime and no poor citizens etc. On this note, this essay will discuss the importance of youth empowerment to national development.
As mentioned in the preamble, if the government of Nigeria decides to invest in its youths by teaching them various skills that will make them to be able to fend for themselves, there will be less dependency on the government. If this is done in Nigeria, there will be an upsurge in the economy because the people must have learnt the skills needed to produce some of the things which are usually imported and subsidised by the government; thus, providing more funds for the government to carryout other tasks. It is no news that when people are happy and healthy, the government of the country will not have much problems; hence, doing this provides an opportunity to the government to pursue other pressing needs that will also aid national development.
Empowering the youth of Nigeria is surely going to reduce poverty. Due to lack of any official data at hand to back up claims that many Nigerians are poor, I will be giving a subjective description of poverty in Nigeria. Going through the slums of Ajegunle, I cannot help but feel nauseous when I see the poor living conditions of the people. Their houses are often old and dilapidated, usually without running water and proper toilets. To summarise, the places many a Nigerian lives is not worth living. Sadly these unhealthy environments and accommodations are what most can afford due to the high rate of poverty in the country, and in fact the ones who can afford these houses are often considered as lucky when compared to those who sleep on the streets. The high rate of poverty in the country will easily be reduced if only the government can train the youth to be self-reliant by conducting different workshops that will provide a platform for people to develop their skills and make money from it. If this is done, the standard of living of the people will increase significantly.
Finally, training the youth in skill acquisition will surely reduce crime in the country. In Nigeria today, crime — both high-profile and low-profile crimes — is the order of the day. Many youths involve in different vices in order to cater for themselves. The adage — “An idle hand is the devils workshop.” — is, everyday, proven to be correct in Nigeria because it is only those who are not gainfully employed that can find the time to involve in vices such as stealing and prostitution etc. All these will definitely reduce if only the government could provide a genuine means of making money for the youth in the country.
Youth empowerment is important for national development because the youths are the future leaders of the country. If those who will lead the country in the nearest future are responsible and self-reliant citizens, we can rest assured that the country will continue to grow and will soon be at par with the “Japans”, the “Germanies” and the “Chinas” of this world. In conclusion, this essay has discussed the importance of youth empowerment to national development.
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*UDE, Chiedozie Orji (Atomic)*