As the name suggests, an essay is a short piece of writing in which the author communicates his or her thoughts and views. It’s often mistaken for a story, paper, or essay by those unfamiliar with the term. Essays might be formal or informal. The vast majority of formal essays are academic and focus on serious topics.
As a result, we’ll be emphasizing writing that is more informal, reflective, and prone to levity. This guide begins with an overview of essay writing and follows on to a discussion of the most common essay types students encounter in the classroom. It’s not uncommon in college writing courses to assign papers in the four types of essays (description, narration, exposition, and argument). The Purdue OWL acknowledges the widespread use of these genres, often known as modes of discourse, as well as students’ requirement to comprehend and produce these types of writings.
Essays, like all forms of writing, can be categorized in a variety of ways. In some cases, the form of the essay is dictated by the assignment, such as an admissions essay; in others, the thesis is the deciding factor. The following are a few of the most prevalent types of essays you may encounter:
- This is when the essay is being used to tell a story or recount an event. So these are written in first-person. Writing narrative essays has as its goal to make the reader feel as if they were in the room with the author at the time the event took place. As a result, you should create them as realistic as feasible. The show, don’t tell’ concept is one way to accomplish this. As a result, you must make the reader a part of the action.
- A place, an object, an event, or perhaps even memory will be described in this section. However, it’s not only a matter of describing things straightforwardly. The writer must use his words to create a picture. Invoking the reader’s senses is one effective strategy for accomplishing this. Be sure to engage all of your senses, rather than just sight. When a descriptive essay is done correctly, the reader will be able to experience the writer’s emotions.
- An essay of this type aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of a certain subject. An essay of this kind necessitates in-depth familiarity with the subject matter by the author. In an expository essay, there is no room for the author’s feelings or emotions. To help the reader better understand a subject, an expository essay thoroughly describes it. One significant difference is that explanatory essays do not have a bias, unlike argumentative and persuasive essays. It is based solely on facts, figures, instances, and so forth. ” Contrast essays, cause and effect essays, etc. are all subtypes here.
- When you write an argumentative essay, your goal is to persuade the reader to agree with your point of view on the subject. The goal of a persuasive essay is to persuade the reader of the author’s point of view rather than simply convey facts. These writings must include both sides of the debate. As the name suggests, a persuasive essay aims to persuade or persuade its readers. It’s a lot like an argumentative essay, but the distinction is that the goal is to persuade the reader to agree with you. Persuasive essays, on the other hand, must make their point and persuade the reader to accept it. Most important of all is to persuade your audience to accept your point of view as fact.
- A stance is defended or asserted in an argumentative essay. You should keep this in mind when you’re writing your first college essay.
- When applying to a college, you’ll often be asked to write an admissions essay about why you want to attend.
- A compare-and-contrast essay is better than an argumentative or persuasive essay if you wish to provide equal attention to two competing points of view.
- Personal essays, like those of David Sedaris, often contain anecdotes or first-person narratives from the writers themselves. The thesis can be open to interpretation or follow a narrative pattern.
- In the end, you have to think about who will read your essay – a professor or an admissions counselor or a group of your friends, or the entire internet.
If you’re writing for a specific audience, the language you choose should be tailored to their needs. It is important to keep in mind that your audience will have a significant impact on the essay’s vocabulary, word choice, and overall style. Emojis, for instance: While they may be acceptable in a more informal essay, they aren’t the best choice for official writing.
Having a clear notion of what you want to say and how to communicate it is essential before beginning to write. If you want to be prepared, there are a few simple measures you may take:
- What am I trying to accomplish here? What are the assignment’s length and due date? Please let me know if there is anything I can help you with.
- If you have the option to pick your topic, go with something you’re familiar with and find interesting.
- Take notes while you read primary and secondary materials to help you figure out your stance and approach to the subject. These will be used to support your arguments.
- What you want to get through in your thesis statement is what you’re trying to prove. For a focused essay, a clear thesis is essential—you should refer back to it frequently as you write.
- Make a preliminary outline of your essay’s structure. This helps you get started and keeps you on target as you proceed.
You’re ready to begin writing when you know exactly what you want to say, how you want to say it, and what proof you’ll utilize.
Three things to keep in mind when writing an essay: the argument, the kind, and the audience. Your thesis statement, or central idea of your paper, is the most critical of them.
The primary element of your argument is encapsulated in your thesis statement. For example, Bertrand Russell argues in his essay “In Praise of Idleness” that people are too preoccupied with their jobs and don’t appreciate the time they have to themselves. The central notion of the thesis is always the focus of an essay, even if it veers out on tangents.
Before you begin writing, you should have a clear idea of your thesis. As a last resort, ask yourself, “What is the one thing that I want my reader to take away from my essay?”
Your thesis should be included in the topic sentence if it is appropriate to do so. This is something you’ll want to keep in mind as you write the essay, especially in the end.
In other words, the rest of your essay backs up your main point. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to proving a point. It’s important to build on your initial argument rather than veer off into uncharted territory.
Most people have a soft spot for one sport. Basketball is the only sport in which I excel. Almost everyone at my high school, including myself, was enamoured with the game. In addition to other games, my teacher would require us to play basketball during every game period. I grew as a basketball player over the years, and I also learned a lot about myself in the process. How to work as part of a group has been one of the lessons I’ve learned. Playing in a group means you have to rely on your teammates to help you win.
I’ve always been a person who is full of life and energy. Making friends with me makes many people uncomfortable, yet I have no issue meeting new people. I’m able to converse with everyone and get to know them.
Whether you’re writing an essay, research paper, term paper, novel, short story, poem, screenplay, a blog post about essay writing—when writing anything, really—following an effective writing process is essential. To refine and polish your rough draught, you’ll still need an organized approach, even if you prefer to write in a free-form stream of consciousness.
The conventional five-step essay writing approach is what we suggest:
- You should always gather your thoughts before you sit down to write. Try to come up with as many ideas as you can for your essay based on your question or topic. Attempt to come up with as many ideas as possible, knowing that you’ll be able to discard the ones that don’t work in the future.
- Outlining your essay and gathering proof for it is part of the pre-writing process. Observe what emerged from your session on idea generation. To support your thesis, you first need to identify the most important points to include and then organize them in an orderly fashion. This is where you’ll put in the framework of your essay, which we’ll go over in more detail below. Now is the time to look for evidence or reference that support your claims.
- This is the most important part of the essay-writing process, during which you truly put on your writing shoes and compose the first draught. This is your first draught, not your final draught, so don’t worry if you make a few mistakes. You’ll miss the broader picture if you spend all your time making sure every phrase is perfect.
- Revisions might be made to your second, third, or even twelfth draughts during this phase. Identify all the nuances and intricacies that you omitted in the first draught and address them in the second.
- Use complex writing methods like avoiding the passive voice and careful word choice. To help you improve your writing, Grammarly offers sentence structure and word choice suggestions, as well as clarity edits while you’re in the middle of a phrase. Grammarly can help you avoid typical grammatical errors, such as run-on phrases, fragments, passive voice, and more. It’s time for the final polish after all the heavy-duty modifications are completed. Go over your essay and fix any mistakes in spelling, grammar, or layout. (You can also use Grammarly’s AI-powered writing assistant, which can help you detect these typical mistakes for you.)
When you are writing an essay, every sentence and every paragraph is important. But some introductions have a special significance. You want your introduction to be exactly right, almost perfect, just like your first date. You want to make a terrific first impression by putting your best foot forward.
When a professor or instructor begins reading your work, he or she will immediately begin grading it in his or her mind. They won’t score your essay, but they will categorize it as strong or weak, intriguing or boring, or effective or ineffectual. They will know where your essay stands on that scale before they’ve even read the introductory paragraphs. Those who wait till the end are the rarest of all markers. There’s no room for error when it comes to the introduction.
Always begin your writing with a clear statement of purpose and, if necessary, a reference to the topic at hand. Indicate the goal of the essay and quickly touch on some of the most important issues you plan to address in it. Give the marker an outline of your argument to demonstrate that you have thought through the question thoroughly and that your reasoning is clear and cogent. Don’t waste your first paragraph trying to cover all of your important topics; each one will have its paragraph later on. There are times when the issue is “either/or” or “how far do you agree?” in nature, and it is helpful to lay out both sides of the argument quickly in the introduction.
Consider your essay’s introduction as a teaser for what’s to come. You should be able to prove or disprove your essay’s topic by reading simply the introduction, and this includes the marker.
The essay’s body is the second section. The essay’s longest section is here. For the most part, a short essay has three complete paragraphs; for the most part, a lengthy essay has much, much, much more.
You want to make a point about the issue in each paragraph. When it comes to the “give me more money” example, each of your reasons for requesting a raise should be laid out in a different paragraph, and each paragraph should be an expansion of the claim you made in the first place.
Like the essay as a whole, paragraphs are expected to follow a set pattern. Each time you introduce a key new point in your essay, you should begin a new paragraph to demonstrate to the reader how your argument is organized. There should be a signpost sentence in the first line of each paragraph that outlines the major idea of the section. As a signpost sentence, it can be useful to allude to the essay’s title to remind the examiner of your point. Your essay writing will be a breeze from now on because you’ll be reminded of what you’re focusing on at each stage along the route.
Your argument will be further developed and supported with examples in the remaining sentences of this paragraph. The paragraph mustn’t include any sentences that aren’t immediately related to the signpost statement. A well-structured essay divides its content into several sections. In the wage-raise example, would you talk about how punctual you are in the middle of talking about how you are a wonderful coworker, then talk about that client you impressed, and then talk about your timeliness again? No, there isn’t. There are the same principles in place: each paragraph must focus on a single topic or theme.
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The final paragraph of your paper is known as the conclusion. As a general rule, this will be a single paragraph in shorter essays, but it can carry on to two or three paragraphs for slightly longer topics.
The conclusion of a well-structured essay is essential. Summarizing your argument and drawing a conclusion or judgment regarding the subjects you’ve discussed are the main goals of this section. There are occasions when concluding paragraphs are used as an opportunity for further exploration of the essay’s subject matter.
In the conclusion, you should not offer any new ideas – it is merely a reminder of what you have already covered. As a last touch, you might mention your title one more time in your conclusion to reassure the examiner that you have addressed the topic fully. Remind them of your position by briefly mentioning each important point. The conclusion is found in the final paragraph of the essay. Using a slightly different phrase, reiterate your thesis statement in this paragraph, as you did in your introduction. The concluding paragraph should summarise the essay’s main points. Ending your essay with the last sentence is an important part of the conclusion. Your concluding paragraph should reassure the reader that you have proved your thesis statement’s claim.
As you go through high school and into college, the ability to write successful essays will become increasingly vital. You’ll be able to produce clear and captivating essays if you follow the format outlined above.
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