Guide: types of essays in English and tips for writing them

Original author: Brett Johnson
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Writing an essay is a common task faced by those who study English. Often essays are used as homework, part of tests, and, of course, as one of the tests for admission to educational institutions.

I found an interesting post that talks about what types of essays are used most often, and gives tips for writing such texts. I present to your attention an adapted (and augmented) Russian-language version of this material.

What is an essay in English

In English, an essay is one of the genres of written works that resembles the “essay-reasoning” habitual in the post-Soviet space. When writing such a text, the author’s task is often to convey his opinion and justify it; in other cases, to investigate a question in order to provide the reader with space for his own conclusions.

This leaves a certain imprint on the narrative style. Often it is conducted in the first person singular, connective words are used extensively in the text, emotional vocabulary and metaphors are found.

There are quite a few essays of various types - in various sources they are distinguished from several main ones, up to ten or more. Today we will focus on the basic types of essays.

Narrative Essays

One of the most popular types of essays. When writing such a text, the author must tell a story based on experience from real life. Such stories are usually written in first-person format, and the narrative leads the reader to independent conclusions.

Descriptive Essays

In this case, the main goal is to draw a picture for the reader using words. Typically, the author describes situations, people or objects, laying in a simple description of a deeper meaning. Typically, such texts affect the emotions of readers, the task is also to bring them to some conclusions based on what they read.

Analytical Essays (Expository Essays)

Texts of this type usually include analysis of a certain topic, which is performed using facts, statistics, links to various studies and reports. That is, the facts are more important than emotions in descriptive essays. Therefore, even in a first-person presentation, the author should avoid expressing his own opinion or expressing his emotions.

Persuasive Essays

As the name implies, the main task of this type of essay is to convince the reader of something using facts, logic, and descriptions of situations related to the topic. In such texts it is good to use expert opinions, practical examples, etc.

As stated above, there are significantly more types of English-language essays, but these are the main ones. Now let's move on to tips for writing texts of these types.

Step # 1: formulate an idea

Writing at least a normal text is not as easy as it might seem, but without a clearly articulated idea, the task becomes practically impossible. Therefore, before you start writing, you need to clearly formulate the topic. To do this, you need to decide on pairs of thesis "argument-argument".

A thesis is a complete thought that you want to convey to the reader. Typically, an essay should include at least three abstracts. For example, you want to write an essay on the topic “What is jealousy dangerous”, theses to it may look like this:

  • an envious person becomes evil, it is difficult for him to enjoy the successes of others, he does not want to help anyone;
  • in the modern world of gloss and Instagram, it will be difficult for such people to communicate with others, envy provokes isolation and promotes loneliness;
  • an envious person rejoices in the failures of others; he will not seek to counter injustice.

There can be one thesis, common to the whole text. In support of each thesis, one needs to pick up arguments, that is, facts and examples that prove them. Depending on the type of essay, this may be some real-life situation, a quote, a link to a study, etc.

Step # 2: develop a basic structure

Simplicity is difficult. Among other things, this means that to create a good essay you do not need to stuff it with a huge amount of facts, sections, beautiful literary techniques. One of the main secrets of success is a well-thought-out structure.

When creating it, it is convenient to rely on the theses and arguments prescribed in the previous paragraph:

  • introduction - in this part the main theses of the text are mentioned;
  • the main part - here are paragraphs with arguments, facts in support of the thesis, which are presented in a form suitable for an essay of a certain type.
  • conclusion - in this section you do not repeat the main idea again, but draw conclusions based on the arguments put forward.

3. Step # 3: if necessary, use auxiliary tools

When you need to write something right now, a problem called “fear of the white sheet” may occur. Even if the author knows what he needs to write about, taking the first step can be the most difficult.

There can be many reasons for fear of a white sheet: from ephemeral ones like “no mood,” to very specific ones like a paralyzing fear of getting a bad mark for homework or excessive perfectionism. Of course, the lack of practice is also not reflected in the best way.

Experiments show that this problem can be solved by using text templates. The idea is simple - it’s hard for a person to write at least a sentence so that the page is no longer empty. If there is already some text on it that needs to be changed, it is much easier to do psychologically.

Bystatistics of the Ghost blog service, the use of content templates allows you to increase the speed of writing posts by 600%. And here are templates for various types of English essays.

Step # 4: Subtract Text

After you have overcome the fear of a white sheet and wrote a text, it is important to reread it a couple more times and correct the mistakes. If you write it online, it is a good idea to use specialized tools for proofreading and grammar checking.

Such tools will help to correct typos, get rid of grammatical errors and improve the style of the text. Comparisons of popular products in this field in terms of cost, user satisfaction and other parameters are presented, for example, on this site .

And what other recommendations for writing English-language essays should be applied in your opinion?

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