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Are you unsure about how to write clear, well-structured paragraphs for your essay? Would you like to find out a way to show off your knowledge and writing skills? We’ve got you covered! If you are not already familiar with the term ‘PEE’, you will be after reading this article! We will begin by exploring the meaning of PEE paragraphs, why they are used and when to use them in an essay. We will also look at examples of how to structure a PEE paragraph and how to effectively respond to an essay question/brief.
PEE stands for:
PEE paragraphs can help you to create a structured argument and will help you to focus your ideas, ensuring your essays are coherent and easy to follow. This is important because it lets readers know that you understand the essay question and can use your knowledge to create a detailed response.
PEE paragraphs will be used in the main body of your essay, after the introduction. They will be used to build an argument and persuade the reader of your opinion. For example, you could write one PEE paragraph arguing against something, and another arguing for it.
Now that you have an understanding of why and when to use PEE paragraphs, let’s take a look at each part in more detail.
It is important to note that, when writing a PEE paragraph, you do not need to separate it into sections or write subheadings above each part of the paragraph.
Your PEE paragraph will begin with a:
Here is where you make a statement that relates to the question you are answering. This is something that you want to argue or prove, which you can develop further. Don’t forget, you should try to convince the reader of your opinion!
Making a point enables you to clearly state what you are going to say and lets the reader know the focus of the paragraph. A strong point will give the impression that you know what you are talking about and you have planned your answer well, which will be more likely to impress the reader! When choosing a point, think about the following questions:
If you are answering a question such as:
“How does the following text use language techniques to convey meaning?”
A point could look like this:
“Firstly, meaning is conveyed through the use of metaphors.”
This clearly shows the focus of the paragraph and lets the reader know of the direction you will be heading in throughout the rest of the paragraph.
Here are some examples of different sentence starters you could use when making a point:
Firstly… (secondly, thirdly, etc.)
It can be argued that…
One reason for… / Another reason for…
One idea is that… / Another idea is that…
One effect is… / Another effect is…
A key concept is…
An important point is…
If you are making an alternative point that argues against a previous point, you could use words or phrases such as:
On the other hand…
After making a point, this can then be developed through:
This is where you can put your knowledge to the test and show off what you have learned. Evidence is an example used to back up your point and provide proof to develop your point. This is usually in the form of a direct quote or a paraphrase.
A direct quote takes exact words from someone else. You should use quotation marks and it should be cited properly (stating the author, date, title of the book, etc.). You should ensure that the quote is not too long; instead, choose a quote that is concise and relevant to your point.
Alternatively, paraphrasing means taking what someone has said and putting it in your own words. Quotation marks are not needed, but any ideas you have taken from someone else still need to be referenced.
Providing evidence will let the reader know that you are capable of developing a strong argument and understanding of the topic, as you have included appropriate research that supports your point. It also proves that your argument is credible. When choosing evidence, think of the following questions:
You can use more than one example as evidence. It is impressive to show that you have read multiple sources and can provide different examples to back up your point!
If you state a point such as:
One reason that Robin Lakoff’s work is problematic is that it could be viewed as misogynistic.
You could develop this by adding a quote such as:
For example, Lakoff (1975) states that "women have a poorer sense of humour than men."
This example is concise, backs up your point, and enables you to develop your argument further.
Here are some examples of different sentence starters you could use when providing evidence:
An example of this is…
This is shown through…
This is evident by…
Evidence to support this is…
Finally, after you have provided evidence to back up your point, you need to:
This is where you go into more detail about what you have written so far; explain how your evidence backs up your point and consider what it suggests or implies. Explaining your quote shows that you understand what the quote means and how it relates to your point. It also gives you a chance to show your own opinion and be more creative! You can draw your own conclusions based on the evidence you have found and make your own connections. It is the place for you to develop your critical thinking skills and impress the reader!
But what does critical thinking mean?
Critical thinking is the process of analysing and evaluating information in a skilful way. You should show that you are able to question the information and arguments in your essay. This will let the reader know that you can view things from different perspectives and consider opinions outside of your own, whilst developing your own point of view.
When explaining your evidence, think about the following questions:
Here are some examples of different sentence starters you could use when explaining your evidence:
This shows that…
This implies that…
This means that…
This proves that…
This quote/example shows…
It can be seen that…
As a result…
This is because…
This points to the idea that…
It is important to link the explanation back to the question!
Doing so shows that you are sure of the argument you are making and can reflect on how your point answers the question. This can usually be done by rephrasing part of the question as a statement, at the end of your paragraph. For example:
If you are answering the question:
“Do you agree or disagree that the internet has positively impacted communication?”
You could link your paragraph back to the question by writing:
“This shows that the internet has/has not (depending on your argument) positively impacted communication because…”
PEE paragraphs are sometimes referred to as PEEL paragraphs (point, evidence, explain, link), Linking is important in showing that you understand the essay question and your argument clearly relates to it.
Linking can also be done between paragraphs to create a chain of PEE paragraphs! For example, you could link the final idea of one paragraph to the next idea of the following paragraph. This will help your argument flow well and will ensure that all of your ideas relate to one another.
This example is colour coded in the following way:
Example essay question: 'Explore the ways in which Fitzgerald uses language techniques in The Great Gatsby to portray the character of Gatsby.'
Fitzgerald uses extended metaphors throughout the novel to not only represent Gatsby's dreams for the future but also the unreachable American dream. This is shown towards the end of the novel through Nick's description of the green light, "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run farther, stretch out our arms farther…” (The Great Gatsby, 1925, p. 180). The use of this metaphor initially implies a feeling of hope, as Gatsby held on to the belief that the future would be bright (much like the green light itself). Further, the colour green has positive connotations of money/wealth, which Gatsby was fortunate enough to have a lot of. However, as the light is constantly out of reach, it also alludes to the idea that the dream for both Gatsby and the American people was unobtainable. This suggests that, although Gatsby was optimistic about his future, he was led astray by false hope and could never quite reach his dream. The colour green also carries the negative connotation of greed and envy; two emotions that got the best of Gatsby and led to his downfall. This ultimately portrays Gatsby as being tragic and delusional, as he was corrupted by his excessive wealth and fooled by a false dream.
A paragraph that consists of a point, evidence and an explanation.
Point, evidence, explain
PEE paragraphs can help you to create a structured argument and will help you to focus your ideas to ensure that your essay is coherent and easy to follow.
They are used in the main body of your essay, after the introduction.
PEE paragraphs can be used without a quote - you can paraphrase but you should ensure your evidence is relevant to the rest of the essay, from a reliable source and is cited correctly.
What does PEE stand for?
Point, evidence, explain.
What is a point?
A statement relating to the question you are answering.
What is evidence?
Examples used to back up your point.
What does 'explain' refer to?
Going into detail about how your quote backs up your point and considering what it suggests/implies.
Fill in the blank:
You should ____ your explanation back to the question.
A quote should be long.
True or false?
Try to keep quotes short and succinct!
PEE paragraphs can sometimes be referred to as PEEL paragraphs. What does the 'L' stand for?
You can use more than one example in a PEE paragraph.
True or false?
It is good to show that you have read from multiple sources and can use a range of evidence!
Fill in the blanks:
Critical _______ is the process of _______ and evaluating information in a skilful way.
Evidence can only be a quote.
True or false?
You can also paraphrase!
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