Much as an understanding of addition and subtraction is essential if we hope to multiply and divide numbers successfully, we must have a solid understanding of (1) the sentence equation and (2) the paragraph equation before we can write an effective and meaningful essay. Writers who sit frozen before a blinking cursor, who struggle to keep their ideas from meandering in circles, and who wonder with frustration why their readers can’t pinpoint their purpose have forgotten the simple linguistic equation for an effective essay. Once you understand the math, there is no reason for writer’s block or misunderstood intentions: Simply apply the math. For those of you who balk at the restrictiveness of a mathematical essay structure, consider it this way: The essay equation provides the backbone that your readers will naturally seek. Once you have the backbone in place, be as creative as your purpose and audience will allow. Equation #3: an introduction + body paragraphs + a conclusion = an essay.