Essay writing has become an integral part of all kinds of examination systems not only in India but also in international education system. Main aim of this form of written composition is to examine the knowledge and ability to express personal ideas or opinions on a specified topic.
Though the word “Essay” is defined in “The Concise Oxford Dictionary” as “a literary composition - prose and short - on any subject” But the term usually covers any written composition, whether it expresses personal opinions or given information on any topic or details of a narrative. Here for us an essay is an exercise in composition to express one’s thought in good, simple upright English.
To write an impressive and easily comprehend able essay one has to take care of some basic characteristic so that the purpose of writing the composition get solved in an effective manner.
Types of Essay Writing
Depending upon the nature of the contents and way of writing the essays can classified in the following main types:-
Argumentative Essays or Persuasive Essays – These types of essays the writer attempts to persuade the reader to agree to the writer's point of view. The writer puts forth his views in an Argumentative or Persuasive format. This can be done either seriously or jokingly by using irony or sarcasm. A good essay of such type should not dismiss the opposing side all together but should be fair to them in the manner that reader is able to agree with the author. This can achieved by using evidence to back up your stance, refute alternative arguments and prove to the undecided reader that the opinion it presents is the best one.
Cause and Effect Essays – Such essays provide an explanation of why or how some event happened, and what resulted from the event. This essay is a study of the relationship between two or more events or experiences. The essay may discuss both causes and effects, or it could simply address one or the other. A good essay of such type should have good and reputed source of information for providing accurate information.
Classification Essay – These essays have material organized, or sorted into categories. Classification essay can deal with any type of classification. A good essay of such type should sort things into useful categories, categories which follow a single organizing principle and can have examples that fit into each category.
Compare and Contrast Essays – As the term goes, ‘Compare and Contrast Essays’ are those which take two subjects and identify their similarities and differences. The format of this type isn't fixed and can be approached through various different ways. One can discuss comparisons and contrasts point-by-point or one can compare/contrast items one at a time. A good essay of such type should possess a valid basis for comparison - a limited focus and catchy information.
Critical Essays – Critical essays also known as Critical Reviews praise and/or criticise anything which is worthy. Such essays are generally published in newspapers and popular magazines. These can be either formal or informal, depending on the context. The objective of such essays is to raise awareness about strong points, weaknesses, and/or methods of a concept, thing, or occurrence. A good essay of such type should have informed and personal opinion devoid of any partiality.
Definition Essays – In such essays, the writer provides a meaning of a term that goes beyond the objective definition offered in the dictionary. Such essays are more focussed than others and provide exact information. A good essay of such type should provide present, clear and basic information along with, examples, or anecdotes to make it easy to understand.
Expository Essays – Expository means Informative, therefore these essays provide information to the readers. This information can provide directions, instructions, or to Do-it-yourself Tutorials. Such essays are factual based and not opinion based and may have illustrations. A good essay of such type should be in simple plain language and facilitate a reader’s enquiry.
Informal Essays – Informal essays are those which are written mainly for enjoyment. The informal essay tends to be more personal than the formal, even though both may express subjective opinions. In a formal essay the writer is a silent presence behind the words, while in an informal essay the writer is speaking directly to the reader in a conversational style. A good of such type has a relaxed style with a strong structure, though that structure may be less rigid as compared to the formal.
Literary Essays – These type of essays explore the meaning and construction of a piece of literature. Literary Essays focus on such elements as structure, character, theme, style, tone and subtext rather than discussing the overall effect and validity of written work. For writing a good Literary Essay one must adopt a viewpoint on the work in question and show how the details of the work support one’s viewpoint.
Narrative Essays – These essays provide a story in a sequence of events. Such stories mostly depict author’s defined point of view. These can be actual memories or imaginative or both fused together. Narrative Essays can be serious or humorous and the ending of the essay may uplift, puzzle, or even challenge the reader. For writing a good Narrative Essay one should involve the reader in the story by providing vivid sensory details spiced with precise verbs.
Research Essay – These essays involve writing material either based on your research or based on others but in your own words. These are also known as Thesis or Research Paper. Such essays demonstrate what you have learned and what perspective do you have on the subject. For writing a good Research Essay one should be original or take an aspect of someone's thesis and develop it.
The Five-Paragraph Essay – These essays are the basic form of essays. These essays are widely used in school environment as they have very meagre usage in other areas. Such essays are merely functional and educational and nothing above it. For writing a good Five-Paragraph Essay, a thesis statement paragraph is followed by three supporting paragraphs and the whole piece is wrapped up neatly by a final concluding paragraph.
Essay Writing Tips
Unity: - A good essay must be like a cohesive unit developing one theme with a definite purpose. For this the subject must be clearly defined in the mind and kept in view throughout the composition. Nothing irrelevant to the main topic should be incorporated in the essay. On the other hand the subject may be treated in a variety of ways and from different point of views.
Order: - Another important character of a good essay should be order or sequence. The essay should follow a certain ordered line of thought and should come to a definite conclusion at the end. It should not only consist of unity of subject but also unity of treatment. Hence making it necessary to have a clear and lucid thought in mind before writing the essay
Brevity: - Although the length of the contents of the essay depends upon the topic yet essay should not be long. The limit of the essay should be nearly three hundred words to five hundred words. Whatever may be to theme or topic the essay should be a brief exercise, concisely expressed.
Style: - Unlike in letter where the style should be conversational – easy, natural- where we may use colloquial terms the style of an essay must be dignified and literary. Slang, colloquial terms and free easy constructions are not acceptable in a good essay. In fact language and sentence construction in an essay should be simple direct and natural. To write such a simple and clear composition the writing should have clear thinking. If one clearly understands what he has to expresses he will never mess up.
The Personal touch:-As has been accepted that an essay is a written composition giving expression to one’s personal ideas or opinions on a subject thus it should reveal in all earnestness the feelings and opinions of the writer. It should have writer’s individuality in it without there being any iota of its loss otherwise the composition will become colorless devoid of that personal touch or individuality.
In nut shell a good essay much be a unity, treating in an orderly manner of one subject; it should be concisely written in a simple, direct and lucid manner with a personal touch of the writer.
To write a good essay three features that one has to keep in mind are:-
Suitable subject – matter
Proper arrangement and
Adequate power of expression.
An essay consisting of three features in efficient manner can be a master piece in itself.
Essay Writing Skills
Essay Writing Skills can be acquired through various methods. These methods are:
Read often – ‘The more you read the more you can write’ is the simple mantra for writing essays. To be proficient at essay writing one should read any type of material to gain a good knowledge of subjects in general. Newspapers are one such source of varied reading material.
Question Yourself – Before you write an essay you should question yourself about the topic of the essay. These questions should answer what, why, or when, how etc. Read the essay title carefully to get an idea of its scope. Is it specific or is it broader? Write down a list of keywords or search terms which you think represent the scope of the topic. When you are able to find the answers then you are on a good start towards writing a good essay
Research your subject – When given a topic we need a lot of material to have an idea of what to write. Find as much material as seems fit to be able to write a good essay. Your references can be newspapers, journals, magazines, Internet, T.V. programme, cinema etc. Note down important things that you need for writing the essay. Sort them and used them in your own words.
Plan your essay – Before actually starting to write an essay, you need to plan it first. Planning involves building a structure around which all your research material will be used. Make an mental image of what should be written first (introduction), what should be written in the middle (body) and the end (conclusion). Also make sure you are within the word limit you have set for yourself or world limit which has been provided.
Revision – Revise your essay minutely. See that you have written what you had intended to and haven’t missed anything. Revision is very helpful in removing grammatical errors. Revision is also helpful in preventing mistakes which were made earlier.
Websites - Essay writing formats can be obtained from various websites. Online interactive exercises on websites guide users for pre-writing, writing, organizing, editing, rewriting, and publishing.
Essay Writing Software – There are a number of software’s which can be helpful in Essay Writing. Some of these are available Free of Cost, while others can be purchased online. These software help in organising thoughts and communicating ideas in writing.
Some of these are:
Hypnotic Writing Wizard.
Essay Writing Topics
A Space Adventure.
An Act of Kindness.
Cyberworld : Boon or Bane?
Does modern technology make life more convenient, or was life better when technology was simpler?
Education is the single most important factor in the development of a country. Do you agree?
How to avoid a nervous breakdown during exams.
If You Could Fly.
If You Could Be Invisible.
If you won a million rupees, what would you do?
My Favourite Game.
News editors decide what to broadcast on TV and what to print in newspapers. What factors do you think influence their decisions?
Parents are the best teachers. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
Should wealthy nations share their wealth among poorer nations by providing such things as food and education?
The time when you had the most fun.
What would you change, if you had the power to change the past?
Where there is a will, there is a way.
Which is your favourite hobby and how does it benefit you?