Writing Samples

clip art of an open print book

The essays below are examples to help you structure your writing and ideas. Notice how each paragraph is structured around a thesis point. You can learn more about thesis and paper structure in: Developing a Thesis

Expository Essay: Red Sox vs. Yankees

Below is a color-coded example of how you might want to structure your writing. Use the color keys to help you identify the thesis, topic sentences, and quotes. This sample uses MLA style citation.

chart showing the basic outline for writing project.

Argumentative Essay: Why Washington State is Great

This 2-page paper argues why Washington is the best state in the United States. Pay attention to how the topic sentences are clearly structured off of the thesis. This paper uses three sources and AMA citation style.

Washington State’s Ingenuity, Resources, and Potential

[Topic Sentence] Washington State is the best state to live in because of the livability and sustainability that its people and land provide. Washington State remains the best state to live in the United States because of its resources, thoughtful citizens, and committed institutions. Although plagued by the threat of volcanic eruptions and massive earthquakes, the geological and environmental make-up of Washington makes it an ideal location for developing renewable energy and adapting to a growing population. The variety of resources, the quantity of resources, and the abundance of creative and well-educated people, make it a hot-spot for future development. It is Washington’s rivers, seas, mountains, plains, and ocean that give it the context for energy production. And it is Washington’s city-centers and universities that make these resources viable for future use. [Thesis] Thus, Washington State remains the best state to live in the United States because of its resources, thoughtful citizens, and committed institutions.

[Topic Sentence] Resources are a key reason why Washington has so much potential as a great state to live and growth up in. The resources that make up Washington’s east, such as wheat, make it viable for new energies and ways of living. In fact, Washington is one of the world’s largest producers of wheat.2 Because of this, it has the potential to convert this staple crop into heat and energy that could warm homes and power transit vehicles.2 This conversion would allow Washington to sustain itself far into the future as well as give people access to cheaper utilities and ways of getting around. This potential makes the state a great place to live, a place where you can look brightly into the future and know that your family will be comfortable and taken care of for years to come.

[Topic Sentence] Washington is not only a livable state because it has an abundance of wheat for energy, but because it has so many other resources—such as water, wind, and solar—that could help its citizens in the future. In fact, it is estimated that with those three resources, Washington could produce “electricity and electrolytic hydrogen for 100% of its all-purposes energy (electricity, transportation, heating/cooling, industry) by 2050.”1 This would mean that Washingtonians would not have to worry about destroying the environment for future generations or fear where their heat, fuel, or industrial power would come from. This abundance makes Washington a perfect state for sustainability, lifestyle, and gives it potential for further growth.

[Topic Sentence] But what makes Washington a truly great state to live is not the fact that it has resources—as many states have just as much if not more of these—but that it has innovators, educators, and institutions that are devoted to using what the state does have for future investment. Washington State University, for example, is spearheading efforts to turn wheat crops into “heat, hydrogen, and power for the university campus.”2 The hydrogen produced at the university is “used for fueling transit and maintenance vehicles…[and]…the byproduct heat is used to warm nearby research greenhouses and the electricity to power an expanding campus.”2 The university’s quest to innovate and utilize resources for expansion and viability embodies the mentalities and ideals of the state as a whole. From biotech-centered Seattle to the wheat fields of the east, the state lays claim to pockets of innovators and intellectuals dedicated to using what is around them to benefit other Washingtonians.3 And it is this combination of thinkers, doers, and available resources that makes Washington’s future look bright and worthwhile.

The abundance of resources as well as those individuals and institutions willing to innovate them, makes Washington the best state to live in the United States. Its natural splendor gives way to outlets for water, wind, solar, and crop-based energies that would sustain and support generations to come. [Wrap-up thesis points] Not having to worry about cost, pollution, and access gives its citizens a level of comfort that no other state can provide. And, key to this potential are the individuals and institutions willing to invest and move forward with plans for sustainability and efficiency. All in all, it makes Washington great to live in because it shows its citizens that they have a viable future not only for themselves but for those who come after.


  1. Jacobson M, Delucchi M, Srivastava C, et al. A 100% wind, water, sunlight (WWS) all-sector energy plan for Washington State. Renewable Energy: An International Journal. February 2016;86:75-88. Accessed January 3, 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2015.08.003
  1. Pecha B, Chambers E, Ha S, et al. Novel concept for the conversion of wheat straw into hydrogen, heat, and power: A preliminary design for the conditions of Washington State University. International Journal Of Hydrogen Energy. April 22, 2013;38(12):4967-4974. Accessed January 3, 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2013.02.005
  1. Gao D. C-9: Development of advanced technology and methods for cryopreservation: Seattle experience.  December 2014;69(3):505. Accessed January 3, 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.cryobiol.2014.09.296

Reflective Essay: Why Seattle?

In this essay, a student explains why she wants to move to Seattle and how she will contribute to the region.

Why I want to Move to Seattle

[Topic Sentence] I want to move to Seattle because it is a beautiful place with lots of jobs. Growing up in Northern Ohio, I’ve had to live in a community where opportunities were going away and the winters were cold and boring. When I visited Seattle last summer, I realized just how much I was missing. The mountains were so large and the city so lively. It made me rethink my life in Cleveland and wonder what else could be out there for me. I finally decided that I wanted to move to Seattle, so that I could explore its vast nature and get an entry level job in gamming technology. [Thesis] I think that my experience working for a Cleveland-based start-up as well as my energy, enthusiasm, and desire to explore will make me a valuable addition to the city’s economy and natural surroundings.

[Topic Sentence] Since Seattle has so many technology companies, I think I should be able to find a good job in IT here. This is one of the major reasons why I want to move to Seattle. The region is home to Microsoft, Amazon, and Nintendo of America, which means that my experience at CSC (Cleveland Start-up Company) will come in handy when looking for jobs. At CSC, I used to help with entry-level gaming and programming, so my hope is to use that experience to look for a gamming job at Nintendo or Microsoft. I would be a great fit at these companies because I have a deep passion for gamming and have spent many hours using Xbox and Nintendo Wii. My CSC experience has also given me a chance to understand how games are programed. My goal is to find a Seattle-area job to help improve these skills. This is why Seattle would be such a great fit. It is home to the companies I care about and this would give me the chance to achieve my dreams.

[Topic Sentence] Coming to Seattle would not only be about getting a job in gamming, but about being able to explore the nature that surrounds the city. Northern Ohio is very flat and boring. There are no mountains and the closest thing to an ocean is Lake Erie. One of my life goals has always been to surf a real ocean and climb a mountain with snow on top. In Seattle, I’d have the chance to climb the Cascades or the Olympic Mountains, and I could surf the Long Beach Peninsula. This would also give me a chance to become closer to other Seattleites. I could join a local hiking group, start donating to local conversation efforts, and post images/videos to social media to show people how important it is to protect nature. Because I’m from Cleveland, I can truly appreciate the beauty of the Seattle area and bring fresh eyes to things people have seen over and over again. I hope to get the chance to explore Seattle’s surroundings because I would bring with me the energy to connect with the local environment as well as the enthusiasm for people who do the same.

[Topic Sentence] I’d love nothing more than to be able to call the Seattle area my home. From the mountains to the oceans to the campuses of Microsoft and Nintendo, I hope to find my place here and be given the chance to explore and thrive. Living in the Cleveland area my whole life has given me a very small view of the world, but it has also given me a deep appreciation for the things that I don’t have. Most of my friends and loved ones are struggling to keep their jobs or find new ones. The winters here are tough and there’s not much to do. This is why I’m excited at the chance to move westward. I have so much energy and enthusiasm, but I feel that I need somewhere to put it. [Wrap-up thesis points] Being able to find a gamming job at Nintendo of America or Microsoft would be everything I could wish for. And even if that doesn’t work out, I would love to work near those places and be able to connect with locals about exploring the surrounding wilderness. Because of the type of work Seattle offers and the beautiful scenery that surrounds it, I want to a part of this community, this city, and this region.

Last Updated May 18, 2017