Writing Answers

Writing Answers to Short Answer/Essay Questions

  1. Answers must be COMPLETE. All parts of the question must be addressed.
  2. Answers must be FULLY EXPLAINED. Do not assume the reader understands things you have not explained. There must not be any gaps in your reasoning or explanation. Explanations must be clear and logically organized.
  3. Answers must be PROVEN AND DEFENDED. You must give evidence for your answer including SPECIFIC DETAILS AND EXAMPLES from the reading. Imagine you are trying to convince a jury your answer is right – prove it!
  4. When requested examples may need to include exact QUOTES from the text, and CITATIONS of the page number where the quotation was found in the text. Quotes must directly relate to the question and directly support your answer.



Reason  Explanation  Examples   Details


EXPLANATION – Explain your answer and your reasoning. Your answer should include some kind of “because” statement. This statement will transition you from explanation to examples by giving a reason for your answer. “Johnny is an admirable character in the story because he makes personal sacrifices to make his friends’ lives easier.”

EXAMPLES – Examples should be specific and include facts and details from the story. You should have a “for example” statement in your answer. “For example Johnny gave half of his lunch to Stewart when Stewart could not afford to buy his own.” Additional examples strengthen your case and your answer. “Johnny also gave up going to the baseball game with his father so he could help Ralph clean out his garage.”

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