An essay is prose of small volume and free composition, expressing individual impressions and considerations on a specific subject or issue and obviously not claiming to be a defining or exhaustive interpretation of it. The purpose of it depends on types of essays that are to be written. In general, the aim is to develop such skills as independent creative thinking and a written statement of his own thoughts.
Writing an essay is extremely useful because it allows the author to learn how to clearly and correctly formulate thoughts, structure information, use basic concepts, distinguish cause-effect relationships, illustrate experience with relevant examples, and argue for their conclusions.
Characteristics of a Typical Essay
Some signs of an essay include:
- presence of a specific topic or question. The text is devoted to the analysis of a wide range of problems
- expression of separate considerations and impressions on a certain issue or subject.
- implies a new, subjectively colored word about something; it has philosophical, historical biographical, journalistic, literary-critical, popular science, or purely fiction character.
- author’s personality is first of all evaluated - his world view, thoughts and feelings.
4 Major Types of Essays
There exist many different types of writing but here are the most popular of them. Each student, whether they study at McGill University or University of Ottawa, at some point, has to write each type of essay. That is why it is important to know what to include in them and how to structure.
- Narrative essay. Narration is presentation of events in chronological order from the first or third-person point of view. This might be a brief biography or a story about some important event. The main components of it are plot, climax and denouement. Such a paper is written like a real story: it should have plot, setting, certain conflict, vivid characters and, of course, denouement. The more alive the language is, the more the reader is involved.
- Analytical essay. Regardless of whether you were asked to consider someone's work or some event, for an analytical essay you will need the ability to think critically, find common ground and highlight the differences in things and phenomena. The structure of such a paper implies familiarity with the subject matter and question that should be raised in the first paragraph. Thus form a thesis in which you can give the actual analysis of the phenomenon and its own perception. In conclusion, it is worth connecting all the arguments into conclusion.
- Persuasive essay should convince the audience of particular idea, most often the one you believe in. It is based on your viewpoint about anything. In the introduction, include the thesis that expresses your own belief. In the main body, provide arguments to support this belief. Choose convincing proof to support your points. Then, like in all types of writing, there is a conclusion that sums everything up.
- Descriptive essay is used to describe an object. Choose a flower, product, person or an animal, the work of an artist or film. In the description, it is important not only to convey the characteristics of the object - appearance, smell, texture but to reflect its feelings. In the essay-description there is no place for criticism and analysis, but subjectivity is still present - in the signs, to which you have paid attention, in the formulation or emotional color.
Other Popular Kinds of Essays
Here goes a list of other least popular essay types but equally important. Short description of which will help to understand and distinguish them.
Definition essay has goal that is to reveal particular concept. For it, you may use elements of narration, descriptions, illustrations, analytics. The purpose of this text is to clarify particular phenomenon, to provide complete and versatile information, without needing to convince the audience of any outlook. In such cases, introduction reveals the main essence, and in all subsequent ones the facts and information are cited with brief examples. It is necessary to complete such an essay with a short and succinct conclusion from all that has been said.
Compare and contrast essay aims to compare two or more subjects or objects based on their characteristics. It’s not appropriate to provide your own attitude, just present raw details without your feelings and emotions. In the thesis, state the main characteristics you’ll use for comparison and talk in detail in the body paragraphs.
Classification essay. The article you are reading may be called an essay classification. It’s necessary to take a broad concept and break it down into little concepts to create a hierarchy. Each category may be broken down even into smallest pieces. For example, talk about types of literature genres, what each genre includes.
Cause and effect essay. You do not just bring facts, but analyze and build them into a logical chain. This informational message from the author to the reader analyses and presents arguments or reasons that characterise particular incidents or topics. Here you can choose one cause and consider all consequences, or choose several, but which led to one effect.
Critical essay is created in order to evaluate someone's creation. To give a full assessment, you’ll need to specify strengths and weaknesses of either the topic in question (articles, books, films, etc.), or methods used to create it. Start such an essay with a brief description of the work itself, its meaning and what the author intended to convey to the public. Then usually follows a detailed analysis of all aspects of the creation, explaining how the author managed to achieve his goals.
Argumentative essay. It aims to prove the correctness of your opinion or theory and infidelity of opposing views. With the help of such a paper, student learns how to serve the arguments in a proper way to convince the reader. Accordingly, it is necessary to voice one's viewpoint, then give arguments, taking into account the audience that will read it.
As you see, text has different structure and different goals as there are different types of essays. After receiving an essay as a home assignment, make sure that you specify the genre. Each type should be structured in its own way and if done incorrectly, it may result in a failing grade.
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