The method for writing a chronological essay can be summed up by a quotation from Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland." The King says to the White Rabbit, "Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop." In essence, that is all you need to do to write a chronological essay. Tell all the important facts, in the order they occurred. A well-written essay also includes interesting details to make the story more compelling.
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Write down all the important events relating to your subject and assign each a date or date range. For example, an essay on Marie Curie would include her birth in Warsaw on November 7, 1867, her death in Savoy, France on July 4, 1934, her Doctor of Science degree and her first Nobel Prize, both in 1903 and her second Nobel Prize in 1911.
List the events in order from first to last. Chronological essays about a person should begin with the subject's birth. Well-researched essays about a product should begin with the first attempts to invent the product. For example, an essay about the history of the aeroplane should begin in 1799, when Sir George Cayley presented the first scientific design for a fixed-wing aircraft, rather than in 1903 when the Wright brothers made their first flight.
Sort events into groups that can form the base for paragraphs or sections. For example, a student writing the aeroplane essay might group Sir George Cayley's 1799 design with the first manned glider flight in 1849 and the first attempt at powered flight in 1874 to create a paragraph about the beginning of flight.
Add interesting details to each fact to fill out your essay. For example, you might mention that Marie Curie's father was a teacher and that she shared her first Nobel Prize with her husband, Pierre.
Close your essay with a short paragraph that explains how the subject of your essay affects life today. For example, you could discuss how aeroplanes speed overseas deliveries or allow loved ones to visit more frequently.
Tips and warnings
- When doing your research, write each fact on an index card and write the date at the top. This will make events easier to sort later.
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