What Is an Essay and How Can I Start Writing?

September 7, 2018 | GradeMiners
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An essay is a piece of written information that gives an author’s personal argument about a topic. Essays can be classified into two main categories mostly depending on the tone of writing. These are formal and informal.

A formal essay usually has an intent to communicate a specific message to the reader. It is logically organised and carry some dignity in the use of language. Informal essays, on the other hand, have a great degree of personalisation elements. A writer has more freedom on the choice of words or the topic. One can write based on their tastes, creativity, and experiences. The writer can use colloquial language as well as humour.

Essays can be written by professionals, writing enthusiasts as well as students. They can be used to convey arguments, political opinions, social commentaries, and literary criticism. However, essay writing is an activity most common across learning institutions. Students are usually given essays based on various topics as assignments or as part of tests. Therefore, a student is the one most likely to ask “what is an essay?”

Find out What Are the Types of Essays

When it comes to a broader classification, essays can be classified into four major categories. These groupings are based on the purpose of writing the paper.  The types are narrative, expository, descriptive and persuasive essays.

Expository Essays

These are informative essays that give a detailed analysis of a topic. The writer has to provide statistics, facts, and examples during the entire writing process. Examples of such essays are compare and contrast where the writer explains similarities and differences. Cause and effect essays also fall into this category. Another example is the guide or “how to” essay whereby the writer describes the steps involved in accomplishing a specific task or the procedure for doing something.

Descriptive Essays

This type of writing is whereby the writer tries to give a visualisation of a person, an object, a place or event. The aim is to make the reader create visual imagery of the subject under description. However, the essay should not give a basal description. The writer must strive to create depth of detail and use words that can evoke specific emotions in the reader. The reader needs to feel as if he or she is interacting with the subject talked about in the essay.

Narrative Essays

Narrative essays aspire to give an account of an event that happened in real life. It is closely related to a descriptive essay, but here the writer only needs to explain the event and not give great details about it. As a writer, you need to enhance the engagement of the reader by trying to improve the vividness of your essay as high as possible. Many students cannot solve their “what is an essay” problems in narrating stories from their point of view. To write good essays in this category, a student needs to demonstrate a deeper meaning of the story. In the end, it is necessary to give a conclusion, or a lesson one can derive from the narrative.

Persuasive Essays

The goal of a persuasive essay is to convince the reader to take a certain stance or position regarding a particular issue or follow a specific recommendation. While writing you need to make use of solid facts, statistics, example and professional knowledge to persuade the reader. Ensure that you touch on both sides of the arguments which might include the pros and cons of taking a particular party. Finally, make a conclusion that clearly states your stance on the matter in a manner convincing the reader that your argument is correct.

How to Write an Essay

In all the essays mentioned above, the writing process is the same. The only thing that differs is the context and purpose of writing. To write a good essay of any type, you need to observe the below steps.

  • Select the topic and conduct research.

Once you grasp the concept of what is an essay, you first need to decide on a suitable topic to write about. In this case, the instructor might assign the topic, or you might have the freedom of choosing one. In case you have been given a topic, you need to determine whether it is a description, a discussion or a persuasion.

After that, you need to do thorough and comprehensive research to gather as many details as possible. You can obtain information from various sources such as libraries, newspapers, journals and the internet. The wider your information base, the more likely you are to write a good essay.

  • Make the outline

An outline is simply an organisation of how you intend to accomplish the paper. In this process, you decide on the structure of the essay and how you will arrange the main ideas of the essay. Write shorthand notes on each idea or subtopic. You can also represent this information visually through a flow chart.

  • Writing the essay

The essay will have three parts. That is the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. In the introduction, you can start with a hook and a thesis. The hook will capture the reader’s attention and arouse their curiosity while the thesis will give an overview of your topic and what the essay intends to achieve.

The body will then consist of the different ideas or arguments of your essay. Each argument needs to have its paragraph. Finally, the conclusion will give a small analysis of your main ideas and end with your remarks regarding the subject.

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If you have never written before you might ask yourself what is an essay? At GradeMiners.com you will receive expert tips on how to write remarkable essays of all kinds. What’s more, you will also get to purchase writing services at affordable prices.

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