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Teaching Essay Writing

Teaching Essay Writing

Writing an essay is deceptively simple. It appears easy especially if the topic is one that you like. But, when you actually sit down to write the essay, you will realize the difficulty. You will have to get the structure right. You will have to choose the right words so that what you are saying matches your intent. You have to ensure you have followed your professor's instructions. And there are a lot more things to check for.

This article is written with the intention of teaching essay writing to college students. It includes the following details:

  • Elements of essays and their definitions

  • Types of essays

  • Tips to improve your essay writing skills

Elements of essays and their definitions

The four basics elements of an essay include:

  • Introduction

  • Paragraphs

  • Evidence

  • Conclusion

Introduction – This is the first paragraph of the essay and is like a signpost for your reader. It will illustrate the direction of the essay to the reader. It will tell the reader how you are planning to answer the topic question. In the introduction paragraph, you must demonstrate your understanding of the topic and give a brief sketch of the main points you will cover in your essay. Here are some guidelines for a good introduction

  • Start with a general idea of the topic, maybe a relevant quote or a related story

  • Pick up words from the given question to demonstrate your understanding of the topic

  • Illustrate briefly how the content of the essay will flow. An example illustrative sentence would be, "The first paragraph will examine…," "The second paragraph will examine…"

  • End the introductory paragraph with your thesis statement which will be the question that your essay will actually answer

Paragraphs – Each of the paragraphs in the main body of your essay should ideally deal with one point of evidence. Each paragraph should be written in such as a way that there is a cohesive flow of content across the entire essay. Start the first sentence of each paragraph with the details that the particular paragraph will discuss. Here is a little set of guidelines that will help you write your paragraph clearly and succinctly:

  • In the first sentence, introduce the point of the paragraph

  • Then present the relevant evidence

  • The last sentence should connect this paragraph to the next

Evidence or examples to prove your point – You must illustrate your points with proof or evidence. Use of evidence in your essay adds authority and credibility to your points and arguments while making the essay interesting to read. Evidence can be in the form of an expert's opinion or the results of an experiment or study. When you are using evidence from another work, you must necessarily acknowledge the source through referencing.

Conclusion – The concluding paragraph is another signpost for your reader. The conclusion helps you do the following:

  • Pick up and use words from the question to demonstrate that you have answered it in your essay

  • Summarize the points for the reader

  • Illustrate the overall evidence pointed out in the essay

  • Offer a conclusive assessment of arguments or theories

  • Summarize your own viewpoint

Here are the elements that a good conclusion should contain:

  • A brief and succinct recap of your points and arguments

  • A reference to the bigger picture

  • Evaluation of the primary points

  • Highlights of the most important aspects as per your point of view

Types of Essays

While there are many kinds of essays, they are primarily divided into 4 types including

  • Narrative Essays

  • Descriptive Essays

  • Expository Essays

  • Persuasive Essays

Narrative Essays – As the name suggests, a narrative essays tells the reader a story. It is usually based on a real-life experience. The most important aspect of a narrative essay is to hold the attention of the reader through vivid explanations of the narrative. Narrative essays are normally written in the first person. The use of "I" imparts a sense of ownership to the reader making him or her feel like a part of the story. A good narrative essay would usually have a very personal statement as part of drawing a conclusion in the concluding paragraph.

Descriptive Essays – Considered by many teachers to be a close cousin of the narrative essay, a descriptive essay paints a powerful picture for the reader with words. A descriptive essay could be used to describe a person, a place, an event, or a memory too. The descriptions in a descriptive essay should not only create a vivid picture in the mind of the reader but also convey a deeper meaning. A good essay writer "will not write" but "show" the picture to the reader through the choice of powerful words and descriptions. A good descriptive essay is highly evocative and will strike at the emotions of the reader.

Expository Essays – An expository essay provides information to the reader through the use of examples, facts, and statistics. It offers information in the form of a balanced analysis. Expository essays could include compare and contrast formats, cause and effect formats, a process essay, or "how to do" essays. As expository essays are meant to present facts, personal feelings and emotions are not used and it is not written in the first person.

Persuasive Essays – Again, as the name suggest, these essays are meant to "persuade" or convince the reader to see your viewpoint. A good persuasive essay will build up a case with facts, figures, statistics, and examples to persuade the reader to accept his or her recommendation. All sides of the argument should be presented in a persuasive essay. However, you should use expert opinion and examples along with sound reasoning to clearly explain to the reader why one particular argument (which you are in favor of) is correct.

Tips on how to improve your essay writing skills

You do not become a dazzling essay writer overnight. It takes a lot of effort and practice to write essays well and easily. Here are some tips to improve your essay writing skills:

Read essays written by other people – Reading essays will help you understand different styles of essay writing and the mechanics of a particular type will become more ingrained in your memory as you read more essays. The wider your reading repertoire is the larger number of techniques you will be able to learn and master. Do not read essays like you would read a novel. Read them critically and answer the following questions mentally:

  • What did you like about the essay?

  • Were the format and mechanics right?

  • Did you understand what type of essay was written?

  • Was the essay persuasive enough?

Build your vocabulary – You must strive to continuously build your vocabulary because there is no end to improving this aspect of your writing. A good vocabulary reflects intelligence and increases your persuasive skills. Again reading widely is an excellent way to improve vocabulary. You could subscribe to "word a day" emails from different websites. This will ensure that you are learning new words each day. Learn and master the various concept of word building in English such as roots, prefixes, and suffixes.

Planning is an essential aspect of essay writing – The chances that an unplanned essay can come out as brilliant are abysmally low. The more planning you do, the better you essay will turn out. After you get the topic, brainstorm ideas with yourself, make copious notes, make an outline plan, write the first draft, and edit it any number of times until you believe that you have got the perfect essay. I would say that writing an essay without planning is foolhardy.

Final Notes

Writing essays is an unavoidable aspect of college life. Essays are employed by professors to check the progress of your study, to check your understanding of a topic, and for many other purposes. So, you must learn to write a good essay. Keep practicing to achieve perfection.

At Prescott Papers, our writers are skilled and highly qualified to write all kinds of essays for your academic needs. During those times when you are overwhelmed with work and there does not seem to be ample time to get everything done, do not hesitate to contact us for help for all your academic writing needs. Call us for custom essays, dissertations, research papers, assignments, projects, and more.

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