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Writing Better Essays

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Writing Better Essays, now in its second edition, is an authoritative but accessible guide to writing successful argumentative essays that combines classical approaches with practical advice tailored to contemporary students. Designed to be effective either in the classroom or for independent learning, the book will appeal students at all levels, ranging from advanced placement to post-graduate, its detailed explanations of key steps of the writing and editing process from conception through planning and execution ensuring that students will be able to create a coherent argumentative essay that features the classical circular and reiterative structure. The conversational style and tone of the book serves to give students much-needed confidence as they approach their writing, as does its extended explanation of the key skill of paragraphing and its commonsense advice on punctuation. Students should find that its extensive use of exercises, its well-chosen examples of good practice, and its emphasis on imitation makes it an ideal primary or secondary textbook for courses. Teachers of writing should appreciate the instructor’s guide at the beginning of the book as well as the consistent emphasis throughout on the need for students to commit themselves to practice and revision if they want to write effective argumentative essays.

Published: Feb 22, 2024


Section Chapter Authors
Acknowledgements David Rogers
Series Editor's Preface Martha Pennington
Instructor's Guide David Rogers
Developing a Trusted Process of Writing and Revision David Rogers
Chapter 1
Preparing, Creating, and Structuring Your First Draft David Rogers
Chapter 2
Developing Your Paragraphs David Rogers
Chapter 3
Bridging by Connectives: The Art of Creating Transitions David Rogers
Chapter 4
Bridging by Forms of Repetition David Rogers
Chapter 5
Bridging through Reference David Rogers
Chapter 6
Practicing Imitation and Revising Your Paragraphs David Rogers
Chapter 7
Looking More Closely at Your Thesis Statements David Rogers
Chapter 8
Adding Introductions David Rogers
Chapter 9
Reviewing Your Final Essays David Rogers
Chapter 10
Submitting Your Final Essays David Rogers
End Matter
References David Rogers
Appendix A: Bibliography of Authoritative Sources on Essay Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition David Rogers
Appendix B: Stages in Our Writing Process for Argumentative Essays David Rogers
Appendix C: Sample Topics for Further Practice David Rogers
Author Index David Rogers
Subject Index David Rogers


If you want to learn how to write better essays, look no further than David Rogers’ new book. He makes the process of writing concrete, interweaving the processes of planning, drafting, and revising with the skills high school and college students need to write thoughtful and effective essays. The activities in this book take you from the initial stages of conceptualizing an essay to the final stage of completing and submitting it. What makes this book especially powerful is its practicality and the incredible know-how that informs each and every recommended activity. Only a master teacher can write a guide as useful as this.
Steve Graham, Regents & Warner Professor, Arizona State University

David fundamentally changed my writing – and my attitude to writing – for the better. As this book details, the power of his teaching comes not only from an understanding of the strictures of essay writing (and how to circumvent them when needed), but also from the resources and processes he provides for writers to find their own voice. This is an astonishing thing to impart in such a rigid format as the essay, but David excels at making it easy and intelligible. Starting out as a science writer I had little idea how to find a flow, or how to move from one idea to another, paragraph to paragraph. David makes that bridging a focal point, no doubt to the relief and elation of any new writers fortunate enough to investigate this book. He also dispels the notion that one can be born a good writer: here he sets out a critical path to excellence in essay writing – via non-linear planning, revision, and other vital lessons – that anyone can follow. This is an essential read for anyone embarking on an academic course – and for anyone who wants to improve their essay writing, no matter their experience.
Dr. Emma L. Henderson, University of Surrey, UK

Writing Better Essays is the best book on paragraphing I have ever used. It is more useful than any other writing guide I have taught because it manages to be thorough and concise simultaneously. Every chapter contains evidence of Professor Rogers’ decades of experience guiding student writers. His discussions strike an impressive balance between the formal and informal, and his explanations ring true from start to finish. He provides interesting and varied examples for each step of the writing process as well as exercises which target each improvement being studied. The discussion of the process of composition and the ordering of the steps of writing and revising become immediately clear. Students should become increasingly confident in their ability to achieve greater success in their composition procedures and practices.
Martha C. McNair PhD (retired) Fayetteville (Arkansas) High School, Northwest Arkansas Community College, and University of Arkansas