Qualities of a good essay Given below is the process that should be followed for essay writing. 1Select the topic of your essay, be careful about its wording. 1. Choose the central idea, or thesis, of your essay. For example: Information technology has revolutionized the way we work. 2. Outline your essay into introductory, body and summary paragraphs. 3. The introductory paragraph begins with an interesting sentence. For example: Home workers have grown from 150,000 to over 12 million in the past 5 years thanks to the wonders of the computer. 4.
After this first sentence, add your thesis statement from above. 5. Use one sentence to introduce each body paragraph to follow. For example: The Internet has made this possible by extending the office into the home. 6. Finish the introductory paragraph with a short summary or goal statement. For example: Technological innovation has thus made the traditional workplace obsolete. 7. In each of the body paragraphs (usually two or three) the ideas first presented in the introductory paragraph are developed. 8. Develop your body paragraphs by giving detailed information and examples.
For example: When the Internet was first introduced it was used primarily by scientists, now it is common in every classroom. 9. Body paragraphs should develop the central idea and finish with a summary of that idea. There should be at least two examples or facts in each body paragraph to support the central idea. 10. The summary paragraph summarizes your essay and is often a reverse of the introductory paragraph. 11. Begin the summary paragraph by quickly restating the principal ideas of your body paragraphs. For example: The Internet in the home, benefits and ease of use of modern computer systems… 2. The penultimate sentence should restate your basic thesis of the essay. For example: We have now passed from the industrial revolution to the information revolution. 13. Your final statement can be a future prediction based on what you have shown in the essay. For example: The next step: The complete disappearance of the workplace. Tips: 1. Use strong verbs and avoid modals to state your opinion. It is better to write: The workplace has evolved than The workplace seems to have evolved 2. Do not apologize for what you are saying. An essay is about your pinion. 3. Do not translate from your mother tongue. It will quickly get you into trouble! What You Need: • Computer or Typewriter • Dictionary • Thesaurus Suggested Reading • Basic Essay Writing Style • Writing Lesson Plans • Writing Resources TYPES OF ESSAYS The following pages provide useful information regarding various types of English language essays. • argumentative essays • cause and effect essays • descriptive essays • definition essays • description essays • description of a process • compare and contrast essays • persuasive essays An Argumentative Essay
An argumentative essay is meant to gain your reader’s assent, not alienate them completely. The difficulty lies in gaining this assent while facing active opposition. It’s a fact that people don’t always agree on what is true or what is fair. Essays of argument provide an opportunity to examine not only our own, but others’ ideas very carefully. Just because we have an opinion about something doesn’t mean we can effectively argue for or against it. • In other words, opinions are not arguments! In essays of argument, we are forced to weigh conflicting claims and to make judgments about the nature of evidence posed by others.
We must examine the various methods of investigation and state our thoughts with clarity and accuracy. We must also learn to respectively consider and critique the arguments of others, particularly if we hope to sway someone to our opinion. To write a well-rounded argument essay, you need to become an expert in the opposing viewpoint. One of my friends maintains that the best advice her father ever gave her was to first learn everything about your opponent’s argument, before you develop and state your own. It turned out to be sound advice as my friend is very good at presenting her arguments.
What’s more, her father never lost a court case. He was 76-0 with law suits against him. Not too bad, eh? Below is an effective outline to use when you write your essay. Don’t forget to include as many of the points as possible to make yourargument essay even more effective. Argument Essay Outline: Paragraph 1: State Your Proposition – Requires a general introduction of the problem plus your opinion about said problem. Paragraph 2-3: Anticipate Opposition – State history of the problem including failed attempts at resolution of the problem (include sources) Paragraph 4-6: Expand Your Argument – Extent of the problem i. . , who is affected, how bad is it, etc (include sources) Paragraphs 7-8: Anticipate Consequences – Repercussions of the problem not being solved. (include sources) Paragraphs 9-10: Connect with the Facts – Anticipate objections and make concessions while connecting your arguments with the facts. Paragraph 11: Conclude – Restatement of thesis and summary of main ideas. Something found in all good argument essays are appeals to the following three areas. People are more likely to be persuaded when you touch upon all three of the following areas as opposed to just one or two of them. 1. Reason 2. Ethics 3.
Emotion Not all people are persuaded by logic. (My wife, for example 😉 Likewise, some require an appeal to the ethic to be persuaded while others won’t budge from their opinion unless you hit them where it hurts most; an appeal to their emotions. Cause and Effect Essays A cause and effect essay is all about why and what. That is, why things happen (cause) and what happens as a result (effect). These essays are typically found in advanced level exam situations. You can excel on this type of essay once you learn some of the basics of good essay writing. First, you need to recognize a cause and effect essay.
Many times students score poorly for lack of understanding as to what kind of essay is being asked for in the rubric. • Pay special attention to the instruction words! These essays needn’t be that difficult to spot once you learn the language they’re hiding behind. Examples: • What are the causes and principal effects of the increase in automobile traffic in the city center? • List the major reasons for, and results of, the increased literacy rate. NOTE: The instruction words clearly indicate the need for a cause and effect essay. Notice the following are not as clearly stated. Examine the reasons for the decline in production capacity at the xyz plant. • Discuss the consequences of the austerity measures introduced by the former government. NOTE: The first essay title asks you to concentrate on ’causes’ while the second is asking you to concentrate on ‘effects’. How to recognize a cause/effect essay using context clues: • Explain the gradual disappearance of what was once known as the family farm in the heartland of America. • Describe the process through which computers have gone from being used by a handful of techie types to being found in nearly every home worldwide.
NOTE: These essay situations require you to provide ‘reasons’ or ’causes. ‘ • Is there an essential relationship between the increase in violent crime and the increased incidence of divorce in our society? NOTE: The question asks whether there is a link between the cause and the effect. Here, you would identify which aspect is the cause, which aspect is the effect, and say to what extent you agree or disagree. To learn more about the cause and effect essay click on the preceding link. You will be taken to a page containing an outline with additional help plus step by step instructions.
First, distinguish between the cause and effect. To determine causes ask, “Why did this happen? ” To identify effects ask, “What happened because of this? ” The following example shows one cause producing one effect. • Cause You are very ill. • Effect You can’t go to school. This, of course, is extremely simplified as most situations are more complicated. But cause and effect essay writing techniques remain the same. The following is an example of what could be termed a chain reaction. In other words, there’s more than one cause producing the effect as is most often the case. Example:
You ate a whole bag of cookies and drank three sodas. You didn’t go to school because you had a stomach ache. You missed the physics “pop” quiz and failed the semester. After you have identified the main causes and effects proceed in the following manner. 1. Develop your thesis. – State what you will be discussing. Is it causes, effects, or both? Introduce your main idea with regards to both the cause and effect. 2. Support your thesis. – Back up your thesis with details that are both relevant and sufficient to support your thesis. Use one of the following manners to organize your support. • Order of importance.
Details arranged from least to most important or vice versa. • Chronological. Details arranged in the order they occur. • Categorical. Details arranged by part or category with relevance to the thesis statement. 3. Use appropriate transition language. – Details and support flow more readily with the following transitional language. For causes use words or phrases like: because, due to, one cause is, another is, since, for, first, second, in one respect, that is due to For effects use words or phrases like: consequently, as a result, thus, resulted in, one result is, another is, therefore, what’s more, moreover 4.
Limit your statements. – Use language that keeps you factual and professional. The following, or something similar, should be employed. “It would appear that the cause was” or “It’s likely that” or “Evidence indicates” or “Evidence suggests the likelihood of” or “Based on available evidence. ” The Descriptive Essay A descriptive essay should cause the reader to obtain a vivid mind picture of what, exactly, is being described. We can write descriptive essays about people, places, things, moments in time, and even theories. Imagine that we want to (or, we are asked to) write about a particular moment in time.
What if were asked to write something along the lines of the following… • Describe the most embarrassing moment of your life. Now, if you’re like me, you’ve probably had quite a few embarrassing moments so choosing one might be difficult. What are some of the elements that go into making up good descriptives? Ten Things to Consider as You Write Your Essay: 1. Think of the moment you want to describe. 2. Why was this moment so embarrassing? 3. What were you doing at the time? 4. What other things were happening around you? 5. Where were objects located in relation to you? . What sights, smells, sounds, and tastes were there? 7. Did the sights, smells, and sounds, remind you of anything? 8. How were you feeling at that time? 9. How should the reader feel after reading the essay? 10. Is there enough detail to create a mental image for the reader? Answering the above questions in the body of your essay should ensure a good effort. However, there is something that is equally important in a quality essay and shouldn’t be overlooked. • Cause the reader to see, smell, hear, taste, and feel what you were feeling at the time of the incident.
Appealing to the senses is the best way to cause your reader to get the mental picture you are trying to create. EXAMPLE: Saying “the trail was dry and dusty making it difficult for both mules and man to breathe” is nowhere near as powerful as saying, “the trail was hell itself, as every step sent up clouds of dust so hot and thick that both man and beast wheezed and gasped for air that seemed to have been stolen from the very earth itself. ” In other words, when you write your essay, you should show, NOT tell the reader about the incident. Give your reader a mind picture.
The description essay may often be neglected by both teachers and students as it tends to be considered an easy essay to write. The fact is, a good descriptive essay shouldn’t be difficult at all once you’ve learned a couple of essay writing basics. In your essay, the following order should be applied. Let’s say we are asked to describe a location, our bedroom, for instance. First, we would start with the location. But before we describe where the bedroom is located, we need to describe where the house is located. It’s best in a description essay to start wide and then tighten the focus of the description as we progress.
In other words, our descriptions need to go from ‘a general’ to ‘a specific. ‘ The following example illustrates this concept. EXAMPLE: Our house was located on the north side of a small industrial town. We called it the suburbs but it was really just the city extended out a ways. If you turned right at the second stop light past the railroad tracks, our house was the second on the left. It had a small tidy yard as my father was keen on keeping it that way and a large garage filled with everything a family of five wasn’t using at the time. From the garage you could enter the back door into the kitchen.
My bedroom was located down the hall and it was the third door on the left. When you entered you couldn’t help noticing … See how the description and location of the house in general comes first? Then we have the beginnings of a description of my room in particular in the next paragraph. This general to specific pattern should be applied to all description essay writing. The next paragraph would include describing the actual physical set up of my room (i. e. , the location of things) followed by a paragraph including reasons why my room is special and how I felt when I was there.
The conclusion would reiterate those feelings and sum up the description. Of course, using the appropriate language and getting the description to paint a picture for the reader is the tricky part . Definition Essay A definition essay explains what a specific term means. Some terms are definite, and have concrete meanings such as book or chair. Other terms are more abstract and their meaning may depend more upon the person’s point of view. For example, terms such as love or bravery, may mean different things to different people at different times.
It goes without saying, then, that you need to understand the term before you can define it for others. Reading the dictionary helps – but don’t just copy the definition word for word. You should explain the term in your own words. Also, you might want to limit your term before defining it. Essential Steps to an Effective Essay of Definition: • Specify what term is being defined. • Give clear and basic information. • Use facts or examples that are clearly understood. • Use facts or examples that are not controversial. Example:
You could write for days about “bravery”. To limit your definition, you should be more specific and write about either “extraordinary bravery,” “everyday bravery,” or “bravery on the battle field”. Your Thesis Statement The thesis statement must identify the term being defined and provide a brief, general definition. Example: Bravery on the battlefield has been declared to be ordinary men – in extraordinary circumstances – doing extraordinary things. Sometimes, as in the battlefield bravery example above, the definition can be one that you make up yourself.
The simplest way to do this is to define a term by: • Function – Explain what something does or how something works. • Structure – Tell how something is organized. • Analysis – Compare the term to other members of its class. As always, facts and easily understood examples will give your essay an air of authority. When writing a definition essay, remember to tell readers what term is being defined and to use facts and examples that readers will clearly understand. Before you begin your definition essay plan, you should give some thought to the following seven questions.
In fact, before you begin to write a definition essay, you should answer all of the following. By answering the following seven questions, you will have a good plan to follow. Afterwards, your definition essay will practically write itself! 1. What term are you defining? 2. Who is the audience for the writing? 3. Do technical terms require further definition? 4. What purpose does the intended definition have? 5. What term, class and characteristics does it have? A Term – is the word to be defined. The Class – is the group or category of similar terms to which it belongs.
The Characteristics – are the essential qualities that set the term apart. Example: “Battlefield Bravery” Term: Battlefield bravery Class: Extraordinary acts of bravery Characteristics: Selflessness, duty, honor, courage 6. Are there other patterns to help you complete the definition? 7. Do they help to make the definition better-rounded or more complete? Is it a process? Can it be physically or emotionally described? Is it part of a story, legend or myth? Is it a cause and / or effect? To further define your term you may want to consider using the following techniques as well.
Make comparisons: show its likeness to something familiar (or its differences) Include unknown details: physical characteristics, distinguishing attributes etc. Narrate an illustration: clarify a group, theory, or object. Use negation: mention what it is not in order to help define what it is. Origins: Where did it come from? How is it used? By whom? Historical Results: what happened to those who used it? Why? As you can see, a good definition essay plan takes a little thought. By answering the above and applying it to any definition essay, you’ll be well on your way to writing a solid, passing paper.
First of all, each paragraph in the body of a description of a process highlights a major stage of the procedure. Each stage may group several steps dependent upon the nature and complexity of the process being described. Specific steps are presented in chronological order. Definitions of specific terms and advice may be given by the author. • No step can be left out as every step must be included! As mentioned on the previous page, transitional words and phrases are necessary so that each step and each paragraph lead logically to the next. Transitional words hould not be repeated so often that they become tiring to the reader. A variety of transitional words should be used to keep your description of a process fresh and free flowing for the reader. In the essay below, the transition words are highlighted to give you a feel of how it’s done. Description of a process essays are frequently found in baking or cooking instructions when the individual needs to follow specific steps in a process to prepare a favourite dish or to try out the latest health food recipe. Comparative and Contrast Essay A compare and contrast essay is one of the most familiar of all essay types.
After all, to compare things, you simply show similarities; while to contrast things, you merely show their differences. We use these essays to describe things, to define things, to analyze things to make arguments. In fact, we use the elements of a compare/contrast essay in most other essay types as well. Any compare/contrast essay can be constructed in one of several ways. Such essays are also known as balanced essays due to the manner in which the information is presented. For our purposes, I’ve shown the most common methods below. • First compare, and then contrast. OR • First contrast, and then compare.
When using a compare/contrast structure we need to first show how things are similar and then how things are different. I. introduction II. how objects are similar. III. how objects are different. IV. how objects are similar and different V. conclusion It’s possible to write an essay that treats only the similarities or differences between ideas. Other adaptations of this structure would involve writing only the comparable elements of the object, or only the contrasting elements of the object. Organizing Your Essay: Your introduction should mention both subjects and end with a strong and clearly defined thesis statement.
That is, you should state what you hope to accomplish with your comparison. The following briefly outlines a typical compare and contrast essay structure. Introduction – mention both subjects to be compared and contrasted and end with your thesis 1st Body Paragraph Discuss and give supporting details for subject 1 2nd Body Paragraph Discuss and give supporting details for subject 2 3rd Body Paragraph Discuss and give further supporting details for subject 1 Discuss and give further supporting details for subject 2 Conclusion – include final correlations and restate your thesis.
Be sure as you write that you follow the organized structure for good essay writing. Give details and examples to support the similarities and differences you have chosen. Persuasive Essays In a persuasive essay, you must take a position either for or against something. No matter the issue, you are writing to convince your reader to believe or do something. In other words, there will be a call to action in a persuasive essay. Politicians use persuasion, often very effectively, to get their reader or listener to accept their point of view.
You will find that most advertisements use the persuasive essay technique to their full advantage. Opinions are not enough to persuade someone to your viewpoint. Therefore, the persuasive essay requires you to do research and present facts to support your opinions and statements. Without this additional support, you will write a poor essay. As with all good essay writing, the persuasive essay requires an introduction, a body and a conclusion. Your introduction, more than anything else, should capture your reader’s attention. Techniques to pique the interest of your reader include the following: • Introductions
Capture the reader’s attention! • Use something unusual: The town of Nice on the southern cost of France is said to be originally founded by the Greeks. • Use a Quotation: Thomas Edison once said; “most people miss opportunity because it’s wearing overalls and looks a lot like hard work” • Use a strong irrefutable statement: After heart disease, automobile accidents are the number one cause of fatalities in Greece. • Use an Anecdote: Be careful, an effective anecdote needs to be short and to the point if it’s going to work. • Use an irrefutable statistic or fact:
State your source as the authority and use your statistic to add emphasis to your introduction. • Use a rhetorical question: If a tree falls in the woods and there’s no one there to hear it fall, does it make a sound? • Use an Exaggeration: The audience held its breath as the movie star jumped off the steep cliff to get away from his pursuers. I. Topic / Title II. Introduction of Essay A. Write a few sentences that lead into the main point of your essay B. End the paragraph with your thesis statement (3 main points you are going to support) 1. First point in thesis 2.
Second point in thesis 3. Third point in thesis III. Body of Essay A. Topic One – First Point in Thesis 1. Support your point with either quotations or solid evidence 2. Have at least five sentences B. Topic Two – Second Point in Thesis 1. Support your point with either quotations or solid evidence 2. Have at least five sentences C. Topic Three – Third Point in Thesis 1. Support your point with either quotations or solid evidence 2. Have at least five sentences IV. Conclusion A. Write a few sentences summarizing your essay B. Restate your thesis and how you proved your point