Types of essay: overview

This section includes an overview of a range of different essay and assignment types that you may be asked to write. For a more in depth description of different types of essay, try our types of essay guide.

Contents:

The 5-Paragraph Essay

The 5-Paragraph Essay is the most basic form of academic essay, its structure being capable of being adapted to accommodate a wide variety of topics. It consists of:

  • The introduction (one paragraph)
  • The main body (three paragraphs)
  • The conclusion (one paragraph).

In addition, you will need to provide a bibliography and/or reference list to accompany your work. (Do not leave this to the last minute, allow it to evolve as your reading/research does and ensure you adhere to the required referencing style.)

The Introduction

The introduction to the 5-Paragraph Essay should be succinct, like most introductions in academic work, and should include the ‘thesis statement’ i.e. the writer’s response to the question or thesis posed; an introduction should not normally contain quotations. When you are given a question to address, you need to isolate the ‘key words’ - such as ‘describe’, ‘compare’, ‘contrast’ etc. - these will give you the key to what the essay is asking you to do and enable you to formulate a thesis statement, upon which your essay is to be based. You should also briefly describe the methodology you intend to adopt and provide a link at the end of the introduction to enable you to lead into the first paragraph of the main body.

The Main Body

The main body of a 5-Paragraph Essay is usually divided into three paragraphs, though this can be varied if the topic suggests a different number. The first paragraph should introduce the main idea that you intend to develop and pick up the ‘hook’ from the introduction so that the central theme is established smoothly. This introductory paragraph should concentrate on establishing the thesis statement and methodology and begin to introduce evidentiary support which will be used to support points made throughout (remember this must be referenced in the style required by your academic institution). The second paragraph should continue and extend the central theme, developing the argument by means of balanced evidence and further evidentiary support, either to challenge the argument or to agree with it. Again, a hook should be picked up from the end of the first paragraph of the main body and a further hook provided at the end to link into the final paragraph of the main body which needs to begin to conclude the argument.

The Conclusion

The conclusion of the 5-Paragraph Essay should provide both a summation of the argument developed in the main body of the essay and also a synthesis of the thoughts expressed on the topic. It is also a good idea to indicate possible future areas of study in the conclusion which might have been precluded in this essay for reasons of time and space; acknowledging these makes your essay appear more rounded, as you are showing the reader that you understand the limitations of your 5-Paragraph Essay. However, it is not a good idea to introduce new evidence in the conclusion as there is insufficient space to develop it here.

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Academic essays

Start at the beginning - or the end - or somewhere in the middle.

It may not be as where you start as long as you start somewhere in the process of academic essay writing.

The importance of academic writing is to supply a thesis or an arguable point.

Academic writing cannot stand on its own by simply presenting the observations of others.

As a writer, you must present your own argument and then supply points of support that assist in furthering your argument.

You should be fully aware of what questions you are seeking to answer in your work.

Frankly, many academic essays might not even be correct in their argument, however, the purpose of an academic essay is to present a reasonable arguments to assist in attempting to prove a point.

Interestingly, it is rarely possible to write an academic essay from start to finish without belaboring a point.

One of the best methods seems to be starting somewhere in the middle and allowing everything to simply unfold in a logical manner.

In the end you find the several key threads that are germane to your original thesis and you write the complete essay with a much better view of the big picture.

Always be willing to review your arguments in a role of 'devil's advocate'.

Ask yourself if there are strong arguments against any of your assumptions and either bolster your argument or seek a better argument.

Transitions are another key to successful academic writing.

Work at providing a sequence to your argument that allows the reader to visualize the chain that links the thoughts in a comprehensive manner.

If your essay came together easily there are likely two scenarios at work, 1) You understand the subject matter so completely the material simply fell together easily, or more likely 2) you haven't studied the subject matter well enough and are willing to accept something less comprehensive then should be evidence by your essay.

In the end, your academic essay should be clear and easy to follow.

The argument should be well articulated and supporting arguments should stay on task.

In so doing, the academic essay is much easier to read and is often viewed as more authoritative.

Finally, make sure your overall essay design and though process is well organized.

If it is not, the essay will read like a random bit of disjointed academic thought.

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The Admission Essay

The Admission Essay is usually requested to supplement information provided on an application form for a place at an academic institution or other vacancy on a course.

The information you provide will be used by the admissions board of the school, college or university to which you are applying to help them assess your suitability for the place and how the board feels that you will contribute to academic life. There are two forms of admission essay:

  • Those that require a detailed exploration of your hobbies, interests and personality
  • Those that set a question such as ‘write about an important person in your life’.

Both basically fulfil the same function - i.e. to tell the board more about you as a person - but as the first of these is by far the more common, it will be the one concentrated on in this brief guide.

Getting started on an Admission Essay

One of the most difficult aspects of an Admission Essay for the majority of students is that it is so hard to break away from the modesty we are all used to adopting in life. From an early age we are taught to ‘play down’ our achievements, for fear of appearing boastful.

However, the whole point of the admission essay is to ‘sell yourself’ so you must sit down and list everything you can think of to convince the admissions board of your suitability. You may think that you have nothing to say but once you start to go over all your hobbies, activities and interests you will be very surprised just how much there is to say. Don’t be afraid to include non-academic topics in your admission essay as the board already has your academic achievements listed on the application form and/or on your curriculum vitae. What you need here is precisely the ‘non-academic’ part of your life to provide a picture of a fully rounded person.

Developing your Admission Essay

Once you have compiled your list, you should begin to organize your activities into sections dealing with different aspects of your life, structuring your writing to the best of your ability, with care paid to spelling, grammar and punctuation. Some ideas to focus on might be:

  • Team activities - these give the board an indication of how keen you are to work with others.
  • Leadership qualities - these give the board an idea of your character as if you have been elected or chosen to lead others it says a great deal about you as a person.
  • Hobbies/jobs which you have undertaken that relate to the course for which you are applying. This is important as it indicates that you have already begun to explore areas that your course might cover and shows commitment.

Remember that the most important thing about an admission essay is that it should assist the academic institution to see you as a valuable addition to their number and that you should present yourself as such: ‘good luck’!

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The Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay, as the name suggests, puts forward an argument, often controversial, that you then promote by reasoned argument supported by evidence. It is important that, whilst stating your central argument strongly, you display awareness of other views in an argumentative essay as this strengthens the validity of your view.

Structuring an Argumentative Essay

The argumentative essay uses the standard essay structure but relies more heavily on putting forward a central, perhaps idiosyncratic or controversial view supported by balanced argument. The entire structure is aimed at convincing the reader that the central argument is right and is building towards that conclusion from the first.
Instead of opening with a thesis statement, therefore, as with an ordinary academic essay, the argumentative essay would make a strong opening statement of a much more personal and subjective nature, often engaging in an ongoing debate.

You would then move on to expand your idea, supplementing it with evidence both challenging and supportive and build to a conclusion which is convincing.

Writing an Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay aims to convince the reader that although other ideas exist, the one proposed here is correct. In order to do this, you must write persuasively, using reasoned argument putting points ‘for and against’ in equal measure.

Your argument must be put forward as an undeniable fact, usually formed from opinion. Therefore, the evidence is selected in order to allow the writer of an argumentative essay to reinforce the central thesis as you need a balanced view.

This can be achieved either by choosing evidence which is supportive, providing you with the basis for verification and to help establish validity, or it can be achieved by presenting challenging evidence which you can contradict, again giving you further opportunity to restate the strength of your argument.

Concluding an Argumentative Essay

Throughout an argumentative essay the writer seeks to be convincing, using methodology as stated above. The conclusion needs to show that the thesis proposed has been proven. Unlike other essays, there is not so much room for manoeuvre in this type of essay as you are aiming to leave no room for doubt in your final conclusion.

If you are contributing to an ongoing debate, however, you will need to take this into account in your conclusion, stressing that you are offering a different perspective. Leading on from this, current thinking on the topic needs to be comprehensively and critically evaluated to show the superiority of the thesis proposed in your argumentative essay and give an indication of the way this conclusion was reached.

Finaly, you need to appraise your own thesis critically, using the same methodology which was applied to the other ideas you have put forward in support of or against your own. You should finish by thinking about possible future challenges to your ideas and attempting to anticipate them by pre-emptive responses which meet and address them without weakening your conclusion.

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The Cause and Effect Essay

A cause and effect essay requires that you identify the cause of a situation or problem and examine possible effects of it. The principal directive in a cause and effect essay is clarity in both structure and expression. Basically, the structure is:

  • Identify the cause of a problem
  • Evaluate its effects.

However complex a problem you have to assess this is the generic methodology.

Beginning a Cause and Effect Essay

When you begin to write a cause and effect essay, you need to ask why something happened and go on to assess the result of the occurrence. For example, if it rains heavily and there is a hole in your roof then water will get in. This sounds very simplistic but it is the basic structure used in any cause and effect essay. You will also need to think about concurrent problems such as, in this case, damage to your property.

Developing a Cause and Effect Essay

After stating the initial problem clearly, you need to decide whether to concentrate on the ‘cause’ or the ‘effect’ in your essay. The angle you take will determine how your essay is written.

However, whichever stance you take you need to use evidence to support you ideas, as with any essay. With a cause and effect essay, however, the evidence needs to be very precise.

The main point to bear in mind when writing a cause and effect essay is purpose you need to think about whether you are going to inform or persuade your reader. This is linked to your earlier decision about whether to focus on ‘cause’ or ‘effect’. In order that your essay does not become confused or appear muddled and disconnected, you should limit the number of effects that you write about, making your work as detailed as possible. Back up your examination with factual evidence, such as statistics, whenever it seems appropriate as this will help to establish the strength of your argument. You should also ensure that you define any technical terms used as you must aim for clarity above all in a cause and effect essay.

Final tips on writing a Cause and effect Essay

To a much greater extent than most academic work, the cause and effect essay allows you space for personal opinion given directly as long as it is supported by evidence, so make use of this especially if you are writing to persuade.
When you conclude your cause and effect essay leave sufficient room for manoeuvre in your summation, as you might need to take account of the possibility of future evaluation that might be needed.

A cause and effect essay is almost entirely base upon the ability of the writer to present evidence clearly and make reasoned evaluation. Clear, concise English helps immeasurably with this so ensure that your writing is free from errors of spelling, grammar and punctuation and that the syntax is well constructed throughout. A good cause and effect essays identifies, elucidates and evaluates, keep this in mind as you write and you can’t go wrong.

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The Classification Essay

The classification essay seeks to categorize or, as the name suggests, classify, by means of a fundamental organisational principle which will be generically applied.

Getting started on a Classification Essay

The primary task in beginning a classification essay is to decide what organisational principle is to be applied; this is very important as the same principle must be adhered to throughout and it is vital that the correct method is selected from the first. Think about what you are hoping to classify as this will give you a strong idea of how to proceed.

Structuring a Classification Essay

The basic structure follows the format of most academic work, with the introduction providing the thesis statement and outlining the methodology. The difference with the classification essay is that the thesis statement will actually be the organisational principle.

You need, then, to state what the main topic to be categorised is and give an example of how you will be applying the organisational principle and an example of the methodology in action.
A simple statement of the topic and organisational principle will do at this stage, something like ‘people shopping for electrical goods can choose to buy online or from the High Street’. If you read this over, you will see that it is telling the reader both the topic (the purchase of electrical goods) and the way this is to be classified (by internet or in person).

Writing a Classification Essay

Following the basic structure of an academic essay as outlined above, the classification essay needs to develop the organisational principle and its application over the main body of the essay, building to a conclusion. However, having said that, there are certain specific requirements of the classification essay to which you would be wise to adhere in order to make your essay as successful as possible. The main specific is the organisational principle, outlined above, which should underpin the entire classification essay.

Further to this, you must ensure that your categorisation is comprehensive and does not omit important issues because this would diminish if not annihilate the validity of your categorisation. One means of doing this is by being very specific. Look back at the example given above; you will see that it needs further refining because there are other methods of purchasing electrical goods, both in person and from home, which do not involve either the internet or shops. You might, for example, purchase from a catalogue. Therefore, ensure that you include all possible categories to be covered in this organisation and to be governed by your organisational principle. Try to support your categorisation buy balancing categories appropriately throughout.

The conclusion of a classification essay needs to direct the reader much less towards a summation and synthesis, as with the average academic essay, than towards possible future variants of categorisation of the topic under discussion possibly by means of a quite different organisational principle or expansion of the one used in this classification essay.

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College essays

Submitting a good college essay is another aspect that has to be considered by the high school student who wishes to attend a competitive school.

This essay, together with the SAT, are two key aspects that must be satisfactorily completed by the college-bound student.

Sometimes the college essay is what makes or breaks a student's chances of getting into the school of his or her choice.

The college essay gives the admissions board a chance to sneak a peek inside the head of the prospective enrollee.

Given comparable grades and other "good" qualities, the student with the better essay - the one which is coherent, well thought out, and captivating - will almost certainly get the nod.

Why so? Because the ability to write a good essay shows the admissions board that these students have a number of desirable qualities: that they can communicate effectively in written form; that they can express their thoughts clearly and capture an audience; and that they can infuse their personalities into a written vehicle which becomes an extension of themselves.

Most people know that writing is not an easy thing to do.

Most high school students - indeed most college graduates - would be hard-pressed to write an effective essay on whatever topic.

For this reason, students who can generate a well written original college essay will certainly stand out amongst their peers.

Writing such an essay, however, is not such an easy task.

Even students who have good writing skills would be well served to have some expert assistance.

This assistance can be the difference between a ho-hum essay, and a home run.

Someone skilled in college essay preparation can spot banal areas inside the body of the student's writing, injecting life and color where only gray shades of hazy color abide.

Moreover, an appropriate essay mentor will be able to spot and correct faulty non sequiturs, thus smoothing out the overall texture of the essay so that the reader is segued down a winding, colorful valley of enticing scents and sights.

This accomplished, the essay is sure to get notice.

And why not? The admissions board will certainly see few that fit such stringent criteria of good expressive writing.

Keep such thoughts in mind as your son or daughter engages this terrain.

Remember.

Given two students of seemingly equal caliber, the essay can make or break the camel's back of college admission.

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The Comparison Essay

The comparison essay is exactly as its name suggests i.e. an academic essay where comparisons are made. It is really a simple variation on the classic academic essay structure with the addition of specific directives.

Structuring a Comparison Essay

As stated above, the structure of a comparison essay is as for most academic essays. Something like this:

  • Introduction
  • Main body
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography

This is the basic outline of the structure for a comparison essay but different emphasis will be placed on different areas according to the comparisons being made.

Writing a Comparison Essay

You need to prepare for writing your comparison essay by making a list of the differences and similarities of the texts or topics you have been asked to compare. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What am I being asked to compare?
  • What are the specific qualifiers influencing the comparison?
  • What are the differences between the texts/topics to be compared?
  • What are the similarities between the texts/topics to be compared?

If you look at these one by one, it might help you to make some decisions as to how you wish to approach the comparison essay that you have been asked to write.
Another decision you need to make is how you intend to make the comparison i.e. the methodology you are going to adopt. Basically, there are two standard ways to approach a comparative essay:

  • Taking each topic in turn, apply the methodology you have selected to each then summarise the comparison towards the end of the essay.
  • Adopt a thematic approach, whereby you subject each text/topic to examination by means of a definite term, for example, effectiveness, and skip back and forth between the texts.

The first approach is probably an easier method to use for comparison essays but will involve you in a certain amount of repetition. The second option is more complex but is ultimately liable to produce a better comparative essay. Decide on which you feel more comfortable with and/or will be the more effective for the purposes of your particular comparison essay and stick to it throughout: whatever you do, don’t attempt to combine the two, though, because you will end up with a confused essay.

Some final tips on writing a successful Comparison Essay

  • Ensure that you are directing your comparison exactly as specified.
  • Make sure that you use evidence effectively throughout, especially if you are comparing literary texts where style and language are so important.
  • Adhere rigorously to the referencing style required by your academic institution, in your essay and bibliography.
  • Try to balance your comparison comparing each text/topic equally as well as presenting a balanced argument.
  • Conclude with a strong summation and synthesis of your comparison.
  • Ensure that you employ good Standard English throughout.

If you adhere to these tips, as well as following the advice given earlier, then you should have the tools to build a successful comparison essay.

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The Deductive Essay

A deductive essay is a reasoned argument supported by the generic idea that if certain facts are known then the writer can make inferences or deductions based upon them leading to an informative conclusion.

The purpose of a deductive essay is to facilitate the assessment of a student’s powers of deductive reasoning and the ability of said student to produce an essay based upon this. Most deductive essays are assessed according to specific criteria.

Evidence must be used throughout to support all suppositions in a deductive essay and the connections should be reasoned and coherent, as well as being correctly referenced in the style required by your college or university.

Structuring a Deductive Essay

The structure of a deductive essay provides an opening statement, a main body and a conclusion, as with all academic exercises. However, the structure of all deductive essays also follows three basic stages of development:

  • The premise - a fact or belief
  • The evidence - information available to you
  • The conclusion - the inference you draw or assumptions you make based on the evidence.

A very simple example of this might be:

  • Premise - Members of Parliament have the letters M.P. after their name.
  • Evidence - John Peters has M.P. after his name.
  • Conclusion - John Peters is a Member of Parliament.

The ethos underpinning the structure of a deductive essay is, as you can see, very straightforward. So much so, in fact, that most of us use it in everyday life - we just don’t usually write essays about it! The skills required for the completion of a successful deductive essay are, nevertheless, part of the daily routine for most people.

Writing a Deductive Essay

As you are constructing an essay based on reason, your syntax should reflect this with clarity of expression being of primary importance. You need to show from your argument that you are able to maker deductions and/or assessments on given situations founded on reasoned evaluation supplied by evidence.
You need to ensure, in a deductive essay, that each deduction you make can be clearly traced to a strong source, giving sufficient grounds for the assumptions you are making. Differentiate clearly throughout between fact and opinion as any confusion of this could fundamentally flaw the argument of your deductive essay. Also, ensure that your assumptions are not too wildly speculate but firmly rooted in the evidence given.

The conclusion, though succinct, of a deductive essay is important in that it needs to be a clear statement, or re-emphasis, of the inferences that have been drawn from the evidentiary support available. As with all academic work, it is essential that your deductive essay be presented in a clear, cogent and fluid style, free of errors of grammar, spelling and punctuation. In addition, pay particular attention to the syntax and paragraphing of a deductive essay because the reasoned argument that you are attempting to construct will be significantly reduced in impact if your writing is muddled, obscure and/or confusing.

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The Definition Essay

A definition essay uses a precise set of criteria and specific methodology in order to define a given topic or subject. The means of doing this may well be determined by the object of definition but whether or not this is the case, the first essential task in a definition essay is to decide upon the method to be employed.

Structuring a Definition Essay

You will again be following the basic structure of an academic essay within a definition essay. However, the basic outline will contain variants which are tailored to the specific requirements of the definition essay.

Four basic structural devices are often employed in the execution of a definition essay which will help to define the methodology, though there are numerous others:

  • Functional definition (which depends upon statements relating to construction and/or operation)
  • Structural definition (which depends upon organisational principles)
  • Analytical definition (which is depends upon comparative techniques)
  • Oppositional definition (which depends upon notation of absence in order to define presence).

You should decide which of these, or another, you are to employ in your definition essay and adhere to this throughout; if you combine your methods of definition make clear distinctions between them. It is important to choose the correct/appropriate methodology or blend for the particular subject or topic which you are attempting to define as this will form the basis of your definition essay.

Writing a Definition Essay

In the introduction to a definition essay, the thesis statement is modified so that instead of being formulated from reading and deduction, it is a clear and succinct statement of what is to be defined. The introduction must also state how this is to be done (i.e. by one of the four techniques outlined above or one of the many other means of definition).

Develop the main body of the essay by means of sequential linked paragraphs, as with the usual academic essay. However, you may feel that your clarity of definition will be enhanced by the inclusion of examples and additional means of explanation. Your aim is to make your definition essay easily comprehensible, from the opening statement, via the methodology applied in the definition and expanded in the main body by the central argument.

The conclusion to your definition essay needs to re-state very clearly what you have been attempting to define throughout. You should also offer further discussion of the methodology and how appropriate and effective you consider it to have been. It is important that a definition essay should achieve the goals set out in the introduction and that the conclusion be in the ‘QED’ style. It is never wise to introduce fresh evidence in a conclusion to any academic essay but it should be particularly avoided in the definition essay. This is because you have carefully structured your main body to provide a coherent definition which fully explains the reasons behind your choice of methodology and new ideas at this stage would disrupt what has gone before.

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The Descriptive Essay

The descriptive essay is essentially a creative exercise, relying much more upon the ability of the writer to instil in the reader a fully realised sensual connection with whatever is being described.

Getting started on a Creative Essay

You will have been learning to assimilate the basic skills required for writing a creative essay from your earliest schooldays, when you were encouraged to employ descriptive passages in your stories. That may seem a long time ago but like riding a bike once learnt it is never forgotten!

Before beginning to write you need to have a firm grasp of the audience for whom you are writing and the purpose behind it. This is obvious, if you think about it, because you would write very differently for, say, a teenage audience from how you would write for a retired person. This is not an ageist statement, it is a simple fact, since though possible, it would be unusual for both to respond to the same approach even if the topic is the same. For example, if you were to describe a busy shopping centre at Christmas, you would choose to emphasise different aspects depending on your audience, age being only on of the determining factors.

After you are sure for whom you are writing, you need to make a list of everything you can think of which might aid the description. After this, begin to organise your ideas into paragraphs each addressing a different aspect of the description.

Creating a Descriptive Essay

A descriptive essay needs to appeal to as many of the senses as possible in order to make the reader feel that they are actually involved in the scene. Employ linguistic devices such as semantic fields, structural and temporal variation and varying syntax to help capture and hold your reader’s interest.

You should also make comprehensive and effective use of literary devices such as metaphors and similes to aid your description: likening a scene or object to another can create an effective juxtaposition aiding the overall creative effect. For example, comparing shoppers hurrying about to bees in a hive would be appealing to several senses at once and help the reader realise the picture you are painting.

Remember, that the prime purpose of a descriptive essay is to make use of language, structure and technique in order to create a vibrant and emotive visualisation of a scene, whether it is part of a longer work or to be read in isolation. Often, the descriptive essay is used to asses the writer’s ability not only to describe a scene but also to involve the emotions of the reader, so give this additional aspect of the descriptive essay an equal amount of space and thought in writing the piece. A successful descriptive essay not only helps the reader to imagine they are present but actually makes them feel that they are there. This is a challenge, of course, but one which makes the writing of a descriptive essay an exciting and interesting academic exercise.

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Writing history essays

History essay writing is somewhat tricky for one very important reason - history is really not about dates and names and places. A good college history essay should take the issues of a history class and represent them in an interesting way. After all, history is all about telling stories and telling them in new and interesting ways.

I always tell my writing students that a good college essay should be argumentative or persuasive in nature. The job of a college writer is to present an issue in a new and interesting way - not to simply rehash information. This is the biggest mistake student writers make in history essay writing! You should never approach a historical essay as though the "facts" are most important to the reader. Facts alone are worthless. The question lurking for your audience (especially your professor - an expert in history writing) is, "what do the facts mean?" For example: you would never want to write what I like to call the George Washington essay. This is an essay that simply recounts the first G.W.'s life and times. We call this a biographical essay. Trust me: this is the last thing your instructor wants to see. Your job is to take the life of George Washington and make it interesting. In other words, you need to say something unique about the first president's existence and make an argument or take a new interpretation of the facts. Information on its own is very boring. The job of a good writer is to take everyday information and transform it into something unique.

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Persuasive essays

Persuasive essays require students to provide evidence in an attempt to influence readers to change their thinking a skill that even the best student writers find difficult.

Before writing a persuasive essay, students learn to be reflective by generating ideas to support each side of an issue before deciding what their position is.

As they develop their initial plans, students decide how to refute opposing viewpoints in the text of their paper.

In addition, students need to develop sophisticated essays that go beyond the most basic format of premise, supporting reasons, and conclusion.

The six stages to planning a persuasive essay are:

1. Discuss it.

Talk about the issues with others.

This opens up new arguments which you will have to counter in your writing

2. Develop it.

Research background knowledge.

Study your subject and ensure you are fully aware of all critique that may be levied at your point of view

3. Model it.

This means planning and composing the essay by writing down your main arguments, writing down the main points of critisism, and noting how you will deal with these

4. Support it.

It's all very well having a strong opinion but you need to support it with academic authority

5. Write it.

Use the structure below to help you.

6. Review it.

Give it to someone else.

Ask them to critisise it.

Remember, you're trying to persuade others of your point of view.

If it isn't convincing, you want to here why.

You should understand that good writers plan before composing and that planning leads to better persuasive essays.

A persuasive essay will take a structure that looks something like this: INTRODUCTION to your persuasive essay (Around 10% of your word count)

  • Set the scene.

    Start with an attention grabber or something to catch the reader's imagination and get them interested

  • State the issue
  • State your opinion
  • State the main arguments against your opinion
  • Let the reader know you'll be presenting material to support your opinion and deal with the arguments against it
BODY of your persuasive essay (Around 70-80% of your word count) Each idea, concept or belief takes this form:
  • This is my opinion/idea about this issue
  • Here's some evidence to support my opinion (make sure it's quality evidence and your opinion is well supported)
  • Here are the main arguments against the idea
  • Here's how I can deal with those arguments.

You can set out as many issues or arguments as you like but you should try and focus on the main arguments, and set them out in terms of importance - the most controversial issues come first.

CONCLUSION to your persuasive essay (Around 10-20% of your word count) This is where you review what you've done and basically, state that you're right, summarising how you've proved this.

You don't put any new material in this section.

Instead you will say something like:

  • We've looked at this issue
  • Recap - this was my belief/opinion
  • We've presented evidence to support the opinion
  • As we've seen, these critisisms were thrown against my opinion
  • We've showed how those were wrong
  • So-and-so agree that the critisisms were wrong too.

If you've followed this guide, you should have a great persuasive essay.

But remember, the best way to check it's convincing is to show it to others.

If they can see arguments against your work, then you should consider revising what you have written to meet these arguments.

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Standard essays

What is Essay? An essay is a short writing that topic is come from an author's personal point of view.

It can be political pronouncement, observations of daily life, literary criticism, learned arguments and etc.

An essay is made up of 3 basic components as followings:-

  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion

The first paragraph, introduction, will introduce the main topic of your essay and it ends with your main idea of the whole essay.

The next part is body; it provides detailed support of your main idea.

The last paragraph is the conclusion.

Normally, the last sentence of an introduction is the main idea of your essay.

The body part, you need to give the detail which supports your above main idea.

In order to give adequate information, you need to provide at least 2 to 3 paragraphs.

It is made up of your sub point to your main idea; each sub point has its own paragraph.

For example

Introduction

- General idea and ends with main idea of this essay

Body

- Detailed support main idea (A)

- Detailed support main idea (B)

Conclusion

- Repeat your main idea and summary

Simply speaking, the body paragraphs are longer than the introduction and conclusion.

Anyway, please be sure that each body paragraph contains only one main sub point.

All ideas of each paragraph must fall under broaden main idea sentence.

Conclusions are the most difficult part of an essay to write.

You need to keep in mind that the conclusion is often what a reader remembers the best.

Your conclusion should be the best part of your essay.

It should go straight to your main idea statement and give the sense of completeness.

The last thing is to leave final impression on the reader.

Essay Steps The steps for writing an essay are not always the same for every writer.

Still, a general system can be applied to most writing situations for extra help on those writing projects that you find especially difficult.

I always tell my college writing students that essay writing is a process.

I know the term "process" can be complicated but it is very important to understand it and think about how it applies to your writing strategy.

What is a writing process? Generally speaking, your process is the series of steps you take from brainstorming to drafting to finishing your essay.

Although many college writing textbooks and instructors will present the writing process as a linear model (a straight line), this is not always the best way to go about it.

Again, everyone's approach is different and you are no exception.

Some writers work well under pressure.

Some writers do good work outdoors.

Other writers need loud music.

Still other writers require library settings to complete their best compositions.

Whatever your needs, the most important thing is to determine what works well for you.

In general, most writing processes look like this: pre-writing, writing, and revising.

Pre-writing is the work you do to get started with an essay.

This includes brainstorming, researching, and those types of activities.

Writing is the actual process of composing your first draft.

I advise my students to complete this step in one sitting.

Once you have completed the brainstorming or pre-writing steps, you should be able to sit down and complete the bones of your essay for a general outline.

Revising is the last step.

It is also the most important step.

Unfortunately, most students overlook just how important revision is to the overall writing process and never really invest enough time in this last stage.

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