Types of Essays: End the Confusion
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Effectively writing different types essays has become critical to academic success. Essay writing is a common school assignment, a part of standardized tests, and a requirement on college applications. Often on tests, choosing the correct type of essay to write in response to a writing prompt is key to getting the question right. Clearly, students can’t afford to remain confused about types of essays. There are over a dozen types of essays, so it’s easy to get confused. However, rest assured, the number is actually more manageable. Essentially there are four major types of essays, with the variations making up the remainder. Four Major Types of Essays
Distinguishing between types of essays is simply a matter of determining the writer’s goal. Does the writer want to tell about a personal experience, describe something, explain an issue, or convince the reader to accept a certain viewpoint? The four major types of essays address these purposes: 1. Narrative Essays: Telling a Story
In a narrative essay, the writer tells a story about a real-life experience. While telling a story may sound easy to do, the narrative essay challenges students to think and write about themselves. When writing a narrative essay, writers should try to involve the reader by making the story as vivid as possible. The fact that narrative essays are usually written in the first person helps engage the reader. “I” sentences give readers a feeling of being part of the story. A well-crafted narrative essay will also build towards drawing a conclusion or making a personal statement. 2. Descriptive Essays: Painting a Picture
A cousin of the narrative essay, a descriptive essay paints a picture with words. A writer might describe a person, place, object, or even memory of special significance. However, this type of essay is not description for description’s sake. The descriptive essay strives to communicate a deeper meaning through the description. In a descriptive essay, the writer should show, not tell, through the use of colorful words and sensory details. The best descriptive essays appeal to the reader’s emotions, with a result that is highly evocative. 3. Expository Essays: Just the Facts
The expository essay is an informative piece of writing that presents a balanced analysis of a topic. In an expository essay, the writer explains or defines a topic, using facts, statistics, and examples. Expository writing encompasses a wide range of essay variations, such as the comparison and contrast essay, the cause and effect essay, and the “how to” or process essay. Because expository essays are based on facts and not personal feelings, writers don’t reveal their emotions or write in the first person. 4. Persuasive Essays: Convince Me
While like an expository essay in its presentation of facts, the goal of the persuasive essay is to convince the reader to accept the writer’s point of view or recommendation. The writer must build a case using facts and logic, as well as examples, expert opinion, and sound reasoning. The writer should present all sides of the argument, but must be able to communicate clearly and without equivocation why a certain position is correct.
Avg. score 4.15 based on 27 opinions / 16942 views total (6 today) Writing a critical essay doesn’t necessarily mean you need to criticize something; it’s rather your feedback on an article/book you have read or a movie you have seen. Critical Essay: No, It’s Not About Just Criticizing!
Many students mistakenly think that critical essay writing is a task where they need to criticize a given subject (novel, poem, piece of art etc). In the meantime, criticizing the subject is not entirely the purpose of this essay type. As a matter of fact, you can write a critical essay that entirely supports and praises the subject of analysis. But this is not the purpose of this essay either – the true goal of the critical essay is objective analysis of the subject and exposure of its strong and weak sides. What is a Critical Essay?
A critical essay is a kind of writing that requires its author to explore the strong and weak sides within a given subject. This type of essay retains all the formal features of a classical 5 paragraph essay and consists of an introduction, several body paragraphs and a conclusion. The introduction should contain a thesis statement as well as catch the readers’ attention and provide some background on the problem. Body paragraphs expand ideas expressed in the introduction and provide more information to the reader on the writer’s stance. Finally, conclusion reiterates all the main ideas and shows how the introduction and the body paragraphs relate to the main topic of the essay. For a more detailed explanation of an essay structure, please see this article. Why the ‘Critical Essay’ is Called ‘Critical’??
Critical essay has received its name because it requires its author to apply and demonstrate critical analysis while writing on a given topic. Critical analysis means that the author needs not only to make a claim, but also to back it up with a judgment from a reputable source or, better, scientific research. Putting it differently, the essay is not highlighting criticism, but rather emphasizing critical thinking and critical analysis in the paper. Educational Purpose
Critical essay writing is one of the important prerequisites for writing research papers. These two kinds of assignments are highly similar because both require research and preparation. Both of them need to be objective and back up all claims with arguments from reliable sources. Furthermore, research papers require that a theory should be analyzed from all aspects, including strengths and weaknesses (which is exactly the purpose of the critical essay). Therefore critical essay writing can be viewed as ‘training grounds’ for writing bigger project like research papers and dissertations. The most critical differences in them are scope and sphere. Most typically, critical essays consist of 5 paragraphs, while a typical research paper often gets over 2 pages in length (10+ paragraphs). Another aspect to consider is that a critical essay is generally written on subjects like art, music, literature, while a research paper is written on a ‘hard-core’ research subject and requires scholastic approach to writing, including language and formatting.
What is the Difference Between a Critical Essay and an Argumentative Essay? Both critical and argumentative essays are all about finding arguments to support a claim. Both of them take the basic essay format and structure. Both of them are objective and require linking to reputable sources to look more convincing. The core difference between these essay types is that they have difference objectives: the critical essay is expected to expose strengths and weaknesses of a paper, while the argumentative essay is meant to convince the opposition. Their core differences stem from their different purposes: critical essay highlights both sides of a problem (philosophically speaking, it uses the dialectic analysis), as it is meant to reveal the subject in its complexity; while the argumentative essay is looking for just ‘positive’ arguments, i.e. those that are meant to persuade the opposition. Language and Tone
Critical analysis essay requires the author to remain impartial and objective in the paper. The reader is not expected to see any of the personal beliefs of the author; if the author wants to make a claim, he or she is expected to make a reference to a reputable source. With the tone of the critical essay being objective, the use of first person pronouns (I, we, you etc) is discouraged, if not prohibited. Objective nature and tone of the critical essay can change depending on the audience (depending on the case, it can get lighter or even humorous). While writing a critical essay, it is best to use the “claims and evidence” approach. The author should be specific about the points that are being made about a novel, play, poem or essay. Again, all claims need to be backed up with facts that your audience finds credible and appropriate. Writing
Always refer to the original requirements. If they have not been explicated, ask your instructor to provide more details on them. Make sure you fully understand the purpose of this assignment and the set requirements. It’s always a better idea to ask questions before starting the actual writing. This part is critical to the overall project success, so please do not ignore the initial instructions. This stage is called pre-writing, and can be compared to laying the foundation of a building. If it’s solid, the entire building will be strong and will last forever; if it’s shaky and unstable, it will ruin the entire undertaking. Once everything has been set and confirmed, proceed to the actual writing. Begin with the first draft and start a research in the background. Results of this research will then strengthen your argument and will make your critical essay effective. Once the backbone of your essay has been established, you can work on the wording. Ensure your essay flows and uses the language that is understandable to your target audience. In the end, run a spell checker to get rid of the typos and grammar mistakes. Finally, come back to read your paper again in a little while. If you like the final version and think you have expressed the ideas you were intending to express originally, – you are ready to submit your paper! Privatewriting.com – Expert in Critical Essay Writing
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TYPES OF ESSAYS
Essays are found in many kinds of print materials. Some common types of essays are the following:
• Short essays, which are found in well known magazines, such as The Economist; • Editorials, which appear on the editorial pages of most major newspapers: • Case studies, which are used in many areas such as medicine, business, and government. • Academic essays, which contain research on a topic. These may be written by students to fulfill course requirements. Others are written by researchers for publication in scholarly journals.
PURPOSES OF ESSAYS
Essays have many purposes. However, these purposes can be divided roughly into two main categories:
• Expository essays are essays that present factual information, • Argument or persuasion essays that argue in favour of a position. Many essays combine these two purposes.
For more information on argument, see the module on “Arguing a Point.” Both of these types of essays are common in university studies. Professors often ask students to combine the two types by researching a topic and then expressing a personal opinion based on what the student has learned. This latter type of essay is often called a comment paper. For more information about comment papers, see the module on “Writing a Comment or Reflection Paper.”
Checking Your Comprehension
Look back over the previous information to find the answers to these questions: 1. What are some of the main kinds of essays, and where can they be found? 2. What is an academic essay?
3. What are the common purposes of essays?
4. What is a comment paper or reflection paper?
Most essays begin with an introduction, which gives the background to the issue being discussed. A thesis, which expresses the main point or points of the essay, ends the introduction. Then, in the body of the essay, paragraphs deal with each element of the thesis and offer support. Support may be in the form of facts, statistics, or examples, among others. The following simple essay illustrates these parts:
This arrangement makes the reader’s job easier. The information is presented in an order that is clear and logical.
What are the parts of an introduction?
(1) General topic, (2) narrowing the focus, (3) thesis
Why does an introduction have these parts?
Organized in this way, an introduction gives background to the topic and then focuses more and more on the specific topic. This enables the reader to understand the thesis more easily and completely. The reader can then read the body of the essay while making predictions about the kinds of information that will be given in the body.
What kinds of information can be put into each part?
The general topic contains background information, locating the topic of the essay in a broader context. The next part narrows the focus by providing more specific information that the reader may need in order to understand the thesis. The thesis then appears, giving the main argument of the essay that follows. What are the main parts of a body paragraph?
(1) Topic sentence and (2) support
Why does a body paragraph have these parts?
The topic sentence gives the reader a clear idea of what kind of information is to follow. The support gives detailed information relating to the topic sentence. What kinds of information can be put into the parts of a body paragraph? Essays are open to all kinds of academic information and topics. What are the parts of a conclusion?
(1) Commitment to the thesis, (2) followed by expansion.
What kinds of information can be put into the parts of a conclusion? If the writer feels that he/she has proved the thesis, the thesis can simply be restated here, usually in a different way. In the expansion, the writer links the thesis with more general related ideas that are not contained in the thesis. One common expansion is to make predictions about the future. Another is to generalize to a larger domain.
What kinds of restrictions on vocabulary might occur in an essay? How might these restrictions vary from one part of an essay to another?
Vocabulary is topic related and academic (fairly formal). The main variation in language use in an essay is between general and specific, depending on what part of the essay contains it.
Note how the second body paragraph begins with the words “Unlike managerial accounting….” This is called a bridge. A bridge is a transition between body paragraphs. A good bridge connects two ideas so that the reader can easily move from one of them to the next. This bridge connects managerial accounting with the next topic, financial accounting, and indicates that there is a contrast between the two topics. WRITING A CONCLUSION
Many students of essay writing initially find that writing a conclusion is a challenge. Note that the conclusion has two parts: Commitment and Expansion.
Commitment is usually just a restatement of the thesis.
Expansion goes outside the thesis to connect it to a bigger issue. For example, in the simple accounting essay, above, the expansion briefly lists other more minor kinds of accounting that are not discussed in the body of the essay.
To take a few more examples: if your essay discussed the drug problem in Canada, the expansion might mention how this compares to the drug problem world‐wide. Or if your essay covered current problems of global warming, the expansion might make a prediction about what could happen if global warming continued at the present rate for the next 50 or 100 years.
It is important to make sure that nothing in the expansion belongs to the thesis. If it does, move it to the body of the essay. The expansion must be outside of the thesis but closely related to it. It answers the question, “How is the thesis important on a larger scale?” or “How does the thesis fit into a bigger picture?”
HOW LONG IS AN ESSAY?
The length of an essay depends on its thesis. An essay with the thesis “Chinese art developed greatly throughout the country’s history” would be hundreds of pages long! On the other hand, the thesis “The dyeing techniques used in Ming Dynasty vases were extremely advanced for that period” might result in a much shorter essay, say 10‐25 pages, depending on how much detail and how many relevant examples are given. The second thesis deals with a very restricted and specific element of Chinese art. In general, any kind of essay can range in length from a few paragraphs to many hundreds of pages. Most undergraduate university essays are between 5 and 15 pages in length. When you write such an essay, be sure that your thesis is appropriate for the length of the essay. Also, be sure that each of your body paragraphs contains specific supporting information, such as statistics, examples, facts, etc.
THE WRITER’S JOB
The writer’s job is to make the reader’s job as easy as possible. You can do this by presenting meaningful information in a clear and logical order. You can put in transitions and bridges wherever they are needed. Make sure that all of the parts of the essay are correctly written and are in the right
place. And edit your essay, preferably with the help of another reader.
Choose the best answer for each of the following ten questions. 1. The main parts of an essay are
(a) Introduction (b) body (c) conclusion (d) all of these
2. The introduction begins with
(a) the general topic (b) a thesis (c) support (d) none of these 3. The middle of the introduction contains
(a) a bridge. (c) information that narrows the focus
(b) the topic sentence. (d) information that supports the thesis. 4. The thesis statement is located
(a) in the beginning of the introduction. (c) at the middle of the introduction. (b) at the end of the introduction. (d) none of these.
5. Each body paragraph begins with
(a) support for the thesis. (c) a topic sentence.
(b) support for the topic sentence. (d) all of these.
6. Specific support may include
(a) facts. (b) statistics (c) examples (d) all of these.
7. An example of a bridge is
(a) “First of all…” (b) “In addition to…” (c) “In conclusion…” (d) all of these. 8. The conclusion normally begins with
(a) a restatement of the thesis. (c) a restatement of the topic sentence. (b) a restatement of the general topic. (d) none of these.
9. A short essay
(a) has a narrow and specific thesis. (c) is too general.
(b) is not interesting. (d) does not have the same parts as a long essay. 10. The writer’s job is
(a) to satisfy the professor. (b) to use complex and formal language. (c) more difficult than the reader’s job. (d) to make the reader’s job easier.