The breadth of Georgetown’s core curriculum means that students are required to write for a wide variety of academic disciplines. Below, we provide some student samples that exhibit the key features the most popular genres. When reading through these essays, we recommend paying attention to their
1. Structure (How many paragraphs are there? Does the author use headers?)
2. Argument (Is the author pointing out a problem, and/or proposing a solution?)
3. Content (Does the argument principally rely on facts, theory, or logic?) and
4. Style (Does the writer use first person? What is the relationship with the audience?)
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- The four main types of essay | Quick guide with examples
The Four Main Types of Essay | Quick Guide with Examples
Published on September 4, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.
An essay is a focused piece of writing designed to inform or persuade. There are many different types of essay, but they are often defined in four categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays.
Argumentative and expository essays are focused on conveying information and making clear points, while narrative and descriptive essays are about exercising creativity and writing in an interesting way. At university level, argumentative essays are the most common type.
In high school and college, you will also often have to write textual analysis essays, which test your skills in close reading and interpretation.
Table of contents
Argumentative essays, expository essays, narrative essays, descriptive essays, textual analysis essays, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about types of essays.
An argumentative essay presents an extended, evidence-based argument. It requires a strong thesis statement —a clearly defined stance on your topic. Your aim is to convince the reader of your thesis using evidence (such as quotations ) and analysis.
Argumentative essays test your ability to research and present your own position on a topic. This is the most common type of essay at college level—most papers you write will involve some kind of argumentation.
The essay is divided into an introduction, body, and conclusion:
- The introduction provides your topic and thesis statement
- The body presents your evidence and arguments
- The conclusion summarizes your argument and emphasizes its importance
The example below is a paragraph from the body of an argumentative essay about the effects of the internet on education. Mouse over it to learn more.
A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.
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An expository essay provides a clear, focused explanation of a topic. It doesn’t require an original argument, just a balanced and well-organized view of the topic.
Expository essays test your familiarity with a topic and your ability to organize and convey information. They are commonly assigned at high school or in exam questions at college level.
The introduction of an expository essay states your topic and provides some general background, the body presents the details, and the conclusion summarizes the information presented.
A typical body paragraph from an expository essay about the invention of the printing press is shown below. Mouse over it to learn more.
The invention of the printing press in 1440 changed this situation dramatically. Johannes Gutenberg, who had worked as a goldsmith, used his knowledge of metals in the design of the press. He made his type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, whose durability allowed for the reliable production of high-quality books. This new technology allowed texts to be reproduced and disseminated on a much larger scale than was previously possible. The Gutenberg Bible appeared in the 1450s, and a large number of printing presses sprang up across the continent in the following decades. Gutenberg’s invention rapidly transformed cultural production in Europe; among other things, it would lead to the Protestant Reformation.
A narrative essay is one that tells a story. This is usually a story about a personal experience you had, but it may also be an imaginative exploration of something you have not experienced.
Narrative essays test your ability to build up a narrative in an engaging, well-structured way. They are much more personal and creative than other kinds of academic writing . Writing a personal statement for an application requires the same skills as a narrative essay.
A narrative essay isn’t strictly divided into introduction, body, and conclusion, but it should still begin by setting up the narrative and finish by expressing the point of the story—what you learned from your experience, or why it made an impression on you.
Mouse over the example below, a short narrative essay responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” to explore its structure.
Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.
Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.
A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.
The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.
A descriptive essay provides a detailed sensory description of something. Like narrative essays, they allow you to be more creative than most academic writing, but they are more tightly focused than narrative essays. You might describe a specific place or object, rather than telling a whole story.
Descriptive essays test your ability to use language creatively, making striking word choices to convey a memorable picture of what you’re describing.
A descriptive essay can be quite loosely structured, though it should usually begin by introducing the object of your description and end by drawing an overall picture of it. The important thing is to use careful word choices and figurative language to create an original description of your object.
Mouse over the example below, a response to the prompt “Describe a place you love to spend time in,” to learn more about descriptive essays.
On Sunday afternoons I like to spend my time in the garden behind my house. The garden is narrow but long, a corridor of green extending from the back of the house, and I sit on a lawn chair at the far end to read and relax. I am in my small peaceful paradise: the shade of the tree, the feel of the grass on my feet, the gentle activity of the fish in the pond beside me.
My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above. From his perch he can watch over his little kingdom and keep an eye on the neighbours. He does this until the barking of next door’s dog scares him from his post and he bolts for the cat flap to govern from the safety of the kitchen.
With that, I am left alone with the fish, whose whole world is the pond by my feet. The fish explore the pond every day as if for the first time, prodding and inspecting every stone. I sometimes feel the same about sitting here in the garden; I know the place better than anyone, but whenever I return I still feel compelled to pay attention to all its details and novelties—a new bird perched in the tree, the growth of the grass, and the movement of the insects it shelters…
Sitting out in the garden, I feel serene. I feel at home. And yet I always feel there is more to discover. The bounds of my garden may be small, but there is a whole world contained within it, and it is one I will never get tired of inhabiting.
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Though every essay type tests your writing skills, some essays also test your ability to read carefully and critically. In a textual analysis essay, you don’t just present information on a topic, but closely analyze a text to explain how it achieves certain effects.
A rhetorical analysis looks at a persuasive text (e.g. a speech, an essay, a political cartoon) in terms of the rhetorical devices it uses, and evaluates their effectiveness.
The goal is not to state whether you agree with the author’s argument but to look at how they have constructed it.
The introduction of a rhetorical analysis presents the text, some background information, and your thesis statement; the body comprises the analysis itself; and the conclusion wraps up your analysis of the text, emphasizing its relevance to broader concerns.
The example below is from a rhetorical analysis of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech . Mouse over it to learn more.
King’s speech is infused with prophetic language throughout. Even before the famous “dream” part of the speech, King’s language consistently strikes a prophetic tone. He refers to the Lincoln Memorial as a “hallowed spot” and speaks of rising “from the dark and desolate valley of segregation” to “make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” The assumption of this prophetic voice constitutes the text’s strongest ethical appeal; after linking himself with political figures like Lincoln and the Founding Fathers, King’s ethos adopts a distinctly religious tone, recalling Biblical prophets and preachers of change from across history. This adds significant force to his words; standing before an audience of hundreds of thousands, he states not just what the future should be, but what it will be: “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.” This warning is almost apocalyptic in tone, though it concludes with the positive image of the “bright day of justice.” The power of King’s rhetoric thus stems not only from the pathos of his vision of a brighter future, but from the ethos of the prophetic voice he adopts in expressing this vision.
A literary analysis essay presents a close reading of a work of literature—e.g. a poem or novel—to explore the choices made by the author and how they help to convey the text’s theme. It is not simply a book report or a review, but an in-depth interpretation of the text.
Literary analysis looks at things like setting, characters, themes, and figurative language. The goal is to closely analyze what the author conveys and how.
The introduction of a literary analysis essay presents the text and background, and provides your thesis statement; the body consists of close readings of the text with quotations and analysis in support of your argument; and the conclusion emphasizes what your approach tells us about the text.
Mouse over the example below, the introduction to a literary analysis essay on Frankenstein , to learn more.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, protagonist Victor Frankenstein is a stable representation of the callous ambition of modern science throughout the novel. This essay, however, argues that far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as. This essay begins by exploring the positive portrayal of Frankenstein in the first volume, then moves on to the creature’s perception of him, and finally discusses the third volume’s narrative shift toward viewing Frankenstein as the creature views him.
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At high school and in composition classes at university, you’ll often be told to write a specific type of essay , but you might also just be given prompts.
Look for keywords in these prompts that suggest a certain approach: The word “explain” suggests you should write an expository essay , while the word “describe” implies a descriptive essay . An argumentative essay might be prompted with the word “assess” or “argue.”
The vast majority of essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Almost all academic writing involves building up an argument, though other types of essay might be assigned in composition classes.
Essays can present arguments about all kinds of different topics. For example:
- In a literary analysis essay, you might make an argument for a specific interpretation of a text
- In a history essay, you might present an argument for the importance of a particular event
- In a politics essay, you might argue for the validity of a certain political theory
An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.
An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.
The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.
Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.
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The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.
This resource begins with a general description of essay writing and moves to a discussion of common essay genres students may encounter across the curriculum. The four genres of essays (description, narration, exposition, and argumentation) are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres, also known as the modes of discourse, have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these genres and students’ need to understand and produce these types of essays. We hope these resources will help.
The essay is a commonly assigned form of writing that every student will encounter while in academia. Therefore, it is wise for the student to become capable and comfortable with this type of writing early on in her training.
Essays can be a rewarding and challenging type of writing and are often assigned either to be done in class, which requires previous planning and practice (and a bit of creativity) on the part of the student, or as homework, which likewise demands a certain amount of preparation. Many poorly crafted essays have been produced on account of a lack of preparation and confidence. However, students can avoid the discomfort often associated with essay writing by understanding some common genres.
Before delving into its various genres, let’s begin with a basic definition of the essay.
What is an essay?
Though the word essay has come to be understood as a type of writing in Modern English, its origins provide us with some useful insights. The word comes into the English language through the French influence on Middle English; tracing it back further, we find that the French form of the word comes from the Latin verb exigere , which means "to examine, test, or (literally) to drive out." Through the excavation of this ancient word, we are able to unearth the essence of the academic essay: to encourage students to test or examine their ideas concerning a particular topic.
Essays are shorter pieces of writing that often require the student to hone a number of skills such as close reading, analysis, comparison and contrast, persuasion, conciseness, clarity, and exposition. As is evidenced by this list of attributes, there is much to be gained by the student who strives to succeed at essay writing.
The purpose of an essay is to encourage students to develop ideas and concepts in their writing with the direction of little more than their own thoughts (it may be helpful to view the essay as the converse of a research paper). Therefore, essays are (by nature) concise and require clarity in purpose and direction. This means that there is no room for the student’s thoughts to wander or stray from his or her purpose; the writing must be deliberate and interesting.
This handout should help students become familiar and comfortable with the process of essay composition through the introduction of some common essay genres.
This handout includes a brief introduction to the following genres of essay writing:
- Expository essays
- Descriptive essays
- Narrative essays
- Argumentative (Persuasive) essays
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An essay is a common type of writing and assignment that high-school and college students have to deal with. Essay writing can be a pretty daunting task, especially when you lack creative writing skills or don’t enjoy writing at all, or both.
Most of the students are not aware of the essential steps to write an essay. Read on and master how to write an essay on any topic that is well-researched, detailed, and tailored for an A grade.
What is an Essay?
Let's begin by learning the definition of an essay. So, what is an essay? An essay is a brief composition based on a certain topic or subject that students do as part of their schoolwork or university coursework.
Essays are one of the most common assignments handed out by colleges and institutions since they are an excellent tool for improving many essential skills including analytical thinking, research, creative skills, and so on.
Let's look at writing strategies that can help you get an A in your essay. Let's start at the beginning and work our way through these steps to write a good essay:
- Choose the Essay Type
- Choose an Interesting Topic
- Create an Essay Outline
- Write Your First Draft
- Write an Essay Introduction
- Develop a Thesis Statement
- Compose Body Paragraphs
- Write a Strong Conclusion
- Review Your Essay
Let's take a look at each step of learning how to create an excellent essay in depth.
Steps to Write an Essay
Here is the basic structure that you need to follow for writing an academic essay:
1. Choose the Essay Type
The first step is to choose the type of essay that you are writing. Choosing the right type of essay also plays an important role in the overall success of your paper.
Here are the basic types of papers in which academic essays can be divided.
- Narrative essay
- Persuasive essay
- Descriptive essay
- Analytical essay
- Argumentative essay
- Expository essay
Knowing the type of essay will eventually help you decide on the topic and the overall structure of your essay in the best possible way.
2. Choose an Interesting Topic
If you are given the topic, skip to the next step, create an outline and start the writing process.
If you are not given a topic, you have a little more work to do and choose your topic first.
The key to choosing a good topic is to think of what interests you and what you can relate to, the most.
Also, make sure that the topic you choose has sufficient research material available. Search either on the internet or in books for the topic you have chosen to write on.
You can also find a list of interesting essay topics that you can explore and choose the one to write your essay on.
3. Create an Essay Outline
Creating an outline is very important if you want to compose an impressive piece of paper. By putting all the ideas on the paper, you can easily see connections and links between ideas in a more clear manner.
If you don’t know how to write an essay outline, here are the following steps that you need to follow for structuring your essay properly.
- Write your topic at the top of the page
- List down all the main ideas
- Leave space under each idea
- In this space, list down smaller ideas that relates to the main idea
Following these steps for writing an essay outline will give you a complete idea of the themes required to be discussed in your paper.
4. Write your First Draft
Your first writing draft will help you do the following;
- Set the framework and structure of your essay.
- The way you will answer the main question.
- The kind of examples and evidence you will use in the essay.
- The way you will structure your argument
The first draft is not your final essay. Consider it your essay’s raw material that you can edit and proofread later.
5. Write an Essay Introduction
The introductory paragraph of an essay should be both attention-grabbing and informative.
To learn how to write an essay introduction, you first need all the necessary information required to tell the reader about the main idea of your essay.
A vague or boring introduction will give off the wrong impression, and your reader might decide not to read it any further.
Here are the steps in which you can start your essay introduction that is both interesting and informative.
- Use a hook sentence and add informative or shocking revelations.
- Provide background information and context on your topic
- Define the objective of your essay
- Provide an overview of the whole essay structure
6. Develop a Thesis Statement
A thesis statement defines the main purpose and claims of your essay. It is typically defined in one or two sentences and is added at the end of your introductory paragraph.
A perfect thesis statement has two parts. The first part states the topic and the latter states the main point of the essay.
Let's have a look at examples of thesis statements and distinguish between strong and weak thesis statements.
A: “The technological advancement has revolutionized human interaction, medical progress, scientific invention, and economic ventures but also manifested insecurities and privacy issues.”
B: “The Internet has assisted humans in numerous ways but also affected them.”
Without any doubt, A is a perfectly crafted thesis statement.
7. Compose Body Paragraphs
The body of an essay describes or explains your topic. Each idea that you write in the outline will be a separate paragraph within the body of the essay.
Since the body is made up of multiple paragraphs, it is important that they are consistent with one another.
Each body paragraph starts with a topic sentence. For those who don’t know what is a topic sentence , it is the first sentence that describes the main purpose of each paragraph. The topic sentence forms a transition between the body paragraphs.
Use transitions to introduce new paragraphs such as “firstly.. secondly... thirdly…, finally, moreover, furthermore, in addition”, etc.
It is a good idea to refer to the transition words for essays to introduce new paragraphs in an impressive manner.
The main aim of body paragraphs is to support your thesis by presenting evidence, facts and figures, statistics, quotes, examples, and other strong evidence.
Here are the tips that you should follow for writing each body paragraph.
- Write a clear topic sentence
- Provide solid evidence to support your argumen
- Provide examples
- Make sure the paragraph information is consistent
- Use transitions between paragraphs
- Conclude each paragraph by linking the evidence to your main point
8. Write a Strong Conclusion
The conclusion sums up the overall ideas and provides a final perspective on the topic. Concluding your essay holds the same importance as the introductory paragraph.
For writing a perfect essay conclusion , provide a futuristic overview, persuade your reader about your point of view and restate the thesis statement.
If you have no idea about how to write a conclusion for an essay, here are the key points that you should include.
- Draw connections between the arguments mentioned in the body section
- State the outcomes
- Show the relevance and significance of the thesis statement
- Mention the broader implications of the topic
Here is the information that you should avoid writing in a conclusion:
- Don’t introduce new ideas or arguments at this stage.
- Do not undermine your arguments
- Do not write phrases like 'in conclusion, or 'to conclude'
9. Review Your Essay
If you think that you are done with your essay after writing your conclusion, you are wrong. Before considering that your work is finished, you need to do some final touches.
Review your essay and make sure it follows the essay format properly. Double-check your essay instructions and make sure your essay is in the desired format.
Don’t forget to check your paper for grammar and spelling mistakes as well.
How to Structure an Essay Paragraph?
Here are the factors that are included in each body paragraph of the essay.
- A topic sentence is the first sentence of a paragraph. It sets the tone for the paragraph.
- Supporting sentences that help to explain the main idea and topic of the paragraph.
- Evidence that you have gathered with research, and supports your point of view.
- Analysis of the given evidence and a critical conclusion of the paragraph.
- A conclusion or a concluding sentence that sums up the entire paragraph.
All of these components make up a perfect paragraph for any essay.
The best practice is to learn from the essay examples written by expert writers to avoid common essay writing problems . The examples can help you know the purpose of each type of essay and how to write a perfect one.
Imitate their writing style, argument construction, and structure.
As you read, highlight the important parts of an essay to learn how they did it. Keep in mind that the length of an essay depends on the level and complexity of the topic.
Here is a well-written sample essay from one of our expert writers that you can have a look at.
Essay Writing Tips
Here are the expert tips that you should follow for writing a perfect essay.
- Start writing your essay early
- Remember the main question or idea in your mind.
- Brainstorm ideas
- Research your topic in-depth
- Break down the essay into different sections and do not try to finish it in a single sitting.
- Write and add the introduction and conclusion after finishing the essay.
- Use transition words to create a coherent flow between the paragraphs.
- Connect the evidence with the main idea carefully.
- Do not copy-paste the content.
- Ensure flawless grammar and punctuation.
- Cite the references properly.
- Edit and revise relentlessly.
- Put the essay away for a few days and check again.
Essay writing can be made easier if you follow a certain pattern and master the steps we have provided you with. Moreover, the tips given above will help you improve your essay-writing skills also.
Try practicing as much as you can and impress your teacher with a well-written essay.
Writing essays can be difficult but the fact is, you can’t escape academic writing no matter what.
This is where the best essay writing service like MyPerfectWords.com comes in to help students save their academic grades. We are an online essay and paper writing service that offers customer support to high school, college, and university students.
Here are the academic papers in which you can get help from expert writers here.
- College essays (narrative essays, persuasive essays, compare and contrast essays, etc.)
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- Book reviews/book report
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is an essay format.
The essay format is the set of guidelines that decide how your paper should be arranged. Formatting a paper includes following rules for its structure, title, and citations before you begin writing it.
When formatting this type of document there are certain things to focus on like making sure each paragraph has one main idea which leads into two more ideas in succession.
Remember not to let these paragraphs become too long because they can lose the reader's attention if they go over three pages long.
What are basic writing skills?
Here are the basic writing skills:
- Spelling and punctuation
- Good reading skills
- Knowledge of sentence and paragraph structure
- Understanding of different types of writing
- Great editing and rewriting skills
Other than these, there are a number of other writing skills.
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The Five Steps of Writing an Essay
Mastering these steps will make your words more compelling
- Tips For Adult Students
- Getting Your Ged
- B.A., English, St. Olaf College
Knowing how to write an essay is a skill that you can use throughout your life. The ability to organize ideas that you use in constructing an essay will help you write business letters, company memos, and marketing materials for your clubs and organizations.
Anything you write will benefit from learning these simple parts of an essay:
- Purpose and Thesis
Body of information.
Here are five steps to make it happen:
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Before you can start writing, you must have an idea to write about. If you haven't been assigned a topic, it's easier than you might think to come up with one of your own.
Your best essays will be about things that light your fire. What do you feel passionate about? What topics do you find yourself arguing for or against? Choose the side of the topic you are "for" rather than "against" and your essay will be stronger.
Do you love gardening? Sports? Photography? Volunteering? Are you an advocate for children? Domestic peace? The hungry or homeless? These are clues to your best essays.
Put your idea into a single sentence. This is your thesis statement , your main idea.
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Choose a title for your essay that expresses your primary idea. The strongest titles will include a verb. Take a look at any newspaper and you'll see that every title has a verb.
Your title should make someone want to read what you have to say. Make it provocative.
Here are a few ideas:
- America Needs Better Health Care Now
- The Use of the Mentor Archetype in _____
- Who Is the She-Conomy?
- Why DJ Is the Queen of Pedicures
- Melanoma: Is It or Isn't It?
- How to Achieve Natural Balance in Your Garden
- Expect to Be Changed by Reading _____
Some people will tell you to wait until you have finished writing to choose a title. Other people find that writing a title helps them stay focused. You can always review your title when you've finished the essay to ensure that it's as effective as it can be.
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Your introduction is one short paragraph, just a sentence or two, that states your thesis (your main idea) and introduces your reader to your topic. After your title, this is your next best chance to hook your reader. Here are some examples:
- Women are the chief buyers in 80 percent of America's households. If you're not marketing to them, you should be.
- Take another look at that spot on your arm. Is the shape irregular? Is it multicolored? You could have melanoma. Know the signs.
- Those tiny wasps flying around the blossoms in your garden can't sting you. Their stingers have evolved into egg-laying devices. The wasps, busying finding a place to lay their eggs, are participating in the balance of nature.
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The body of your essay is where you develop your story or argument. Once you have finished your research and produced several pages of notes, go through them with a highlighter and mark the most important ideas, the key points.
Choose the top three ideas and write each one at the top of a clean page. Now go through your notes again and pull out supporting ideas for each key point. You don't need a lot, just two or three for each one.
Write a paragraph about each of these key points, using the information you've pulled from your notes. If you don't have enough for one, you might need a stronger key point. Do more research to support your point of view. It's always better to have too many sources than too few.
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You've almost finished. The last paragraph of your essay is your conclusion. It, too, can be short, and it must tie back to your introduction.
In your introduction, you stated the reason for your paper. In your conclusion, you should summarize how your key points support your thesis. Here's an example:
- By observing the balance of nature in her gardens, listening to lectures, and reading everything she can get her hands on about insects and native plants, Lucinda has grown passionate about natural balance. "It's easy to get passionate if you just take time to look," she says.
If you're still worried about your essay after trying on your own, consider hiring an essay editing service. Reputable services will edit your work, not rewrite it. Choose carefully. One service to consider is Essay Edge .
Good luck! The next essay will be easier.
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What is a Descriptive Essay? How to Write It (with Examples)
A descriptive essay is a type of creative writing that uses specific language to depict a person, object, experience, or event. The idea is to use illustrative language to show readers what the writer wants to convey – it could be as simple as a peaceful view from the top of a hill or as horrific as living in a war zone. By using descriptive language, authors can evoke a mental image in the readers’ minds, engaging readers and leaving a lasting impression, instead of just providing a play-by-play narrative.
Note that a description and descriptive essay are not the same thing. A descriptive essay typically consists of five or more well-written paragraphs with vivid imagery that can help readers visualize the content, as opposed to a description, which is typically one or more plain paragraphs with no particular structure or appeal. If you are still unsure about how to write a compelling descriptive essay, continue reading!
Table of Contents
What is a descriptive essay, types of descriptive essay topics.
- Characteristics of descriptive essays
How to write a descriptive essay using a structured outline
Frequently asked questions.
A simple descriptive essay definition is that it is a piece of writing that gives a thorough and vivid description of an object, person, experience, or situation. It is sometimes focused more on the emotional aspect of the topic rather than the specifics. The author’s intention when writing a descriptive essay is to help readers visualize the subject at hand. Generally, students are asked to write a descriptive essay to test their ability to recreate a rich experience with artistic flair. Here are a few key points to consider when you begin writing these.
- Look for a fascinating subject
You might be assigned a topic for your descriptive essay, but if not, you must think of a subject that interests you and about which you know enough facts. It might be about an emotion, place, event, or situation that you might have experienced.
- Acquire specific details about the topic
The next task is to collect relevant information about the topic of your choice. You should focus on including details that make the descriptive essay stand out and have a long-lasting impression on the readers. To put it simply, your aim is to make the reader feel as though they were a part of the experience in the first place, rather than merely describing the subject.
- Be playful with your writing
To make the descriptive essay memorable, use figurative writing and imagery to lay emphasis on the specific aspect of the topic. The goal is to make sure that the reader experiences the content visually, so it must be captivating and colorful. Generally speaking, “don’t tell, show”! This can be accomplished by choosing phrases that evoke strong emotions and engage a variety of senses. Making use of metaphors and similes will enable you to compare different things. We will learn about them in the upcoming sections.
- Capture all the different senses
Unlike other academic articles, descriptive essay writing uses sensory elements in addition to the main idea. In this type of essay writing, the topic is described by using sensory details such as smell, taste, feel, and touch. Example “ Mahira feels most at home when the lavender scent fills her senses as she lays on her bed after a long, tiring day at work . As the candle melts , so do her worries” . It is crucial to provide sensory details to make the character more nuanced and build intrigue to keep the reader hooked. Metaphors can also be employed to explain abstract concepts; for instance, “ A small act of kindness creates ripples that transcend oceans .” Here the writer used a metaphor to convey the emotion that even the smallest act of kindness can have a larger impact.
- Maintain harmony between flavor and flow
The descriptive essay format is one that can be customized according to the topic. However, like other types of essays, it must have an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The number of body paragraphs can vary depending on the topic and available information.
It is crucial to remember that a descriptive essay should have a specific topic and goal, such as sharing personal experiences or expressing emotions like the satisfaction of a good meal. This is accomplished by employing exact language, imagery, and figurative language to illustrate concrete features. These language devices allow the writer to craft a descriptive essay that effectively transmits a particular mood, feeling, or incident to readers while also conjuring up strong mental imagery. A descriptive essay may be creative, or it may be based on the author’s own experiences. Below is a description of a few descriptive essay examples that fit into these categories.
- Personal descriptive essay example
A personal essay can look like a descriptive account of your favorite activity, a place in your neighborhood, or an object that you value. Example: “ As I step out of the front door, the crisp morning air greets me with a gentle embrace; the big chestnut tree in front, sways in the wind as if saying hello to me. The world unfolds in a symphony of awakening colors, promising a day filled with untold possibilities that make me feel alive and grateful to be born again”.
- Imaginative descriptive essay example
You may occasionally be required to write descriptive essays based on your imagination or on subjects unrelated to your own experiences. The prompts for these kinds of creative essays could be to describe the experience of someone going through heartbreak or to write about a day in the life of a barista. Imaginative descriptive essays also allow you to describe different emotions. Example, the feelings a parent experiences on holding their child for the first time.
Characteristics of descriptive essay s
The aim of a descriptive essay is to provide a detailed and vivid description of a person, place, object, event, or experience. The main goal is to create a sensory experience for the reader. Through a descriptive essay, the reader may be able to experience foods, locations, activities, or feelings that they might not otherwise be able to. Additionally, it gives the writer a way to relate to the readers by sharing a personal story. The following is a list of the essential elements of a descriptive essay:
- Sensory details
- Clear, succinct language
- Organized structure
- Thesis statement
- Appeal to emotion
How to write a descriptive essay, with examples
Writing an engaging descriptive essay is all about bringing the subject matter to life for the reader so they can experience it with their senses—smells, tastes, and textures. The upside of writing a descriptive essay is you don’t have to stick to the confinements of formal essay writing, rather you are free to use a figurative language, with sensory details, and clever word choices that can breathe life to your descriptive essay. Let’s take a closer look at how you can use these components to develop a descriptive essay that will stand out, using examples.
- Figurative language
Have you ever heard the expression “shooting for the stars”? It refers to pushing someone to strive higher or establish lofty goals, but it does not actually mean shooting for the stars. This is an example of using figurative language for conveying strong motivational emotions. In a descriptive essay, figurative language is employed to grab attention and emphasize points by creatively drawing comparisons and exaggerations. But why should descriptive essays use metaphorical language? One it adds to the topic’s interest and humor; two, it facilitates the reader’s increased connection to the subject.
These are the five most often used figurative language techniques: personification, metaphor, simile, hyperbole, and allusion.
- Simile: A simile is a figure of speech that is used to compare two things while emphasizing and enhancing the description using terms such as “like or as.”
Example: Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving – Albert Einstein
- Metaphor: A metaphor are also used to draw similarities, but without using direct or literal comparisons like done in similes.
Example: Books are the mirrors of the soul – Virginia Woolf, Between the acts
- Personification: This is the process of giving nonhuman or abstract objects human traits. Any human quality, including an emotional component, a physical attribute, or an action, can be personified.
Example: Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world – Louis Pasteur
- Hyperbole: This is an extreme form of exaggeration, frequently impractical, and usually employed to emphasize a point or idea. It gives the character more nuance and complexity.
Example: The force will be with you, always – Star Wars
- Allusion: This is when you reference a person, work, or event without specifically mentioning them; this leaves room for the reader’s creativity.
Example: In the text below, Robert Frost uses the biblical Garden of Eden as an example to highlight the idea that nothing, not even paradise, endures forever.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay
– Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost (1923)
Descriptive essays need a combination of figurative language and strong sensory details to make the essay more memorable. This is when authors describe the subject matter employing senses like smell, sound, touch, and taste so that the reader can relate to it better.
Example of a sensory-based descriptive essay: The earthy fragrance of freshly roasted chestnuts and the sight of bright pink, red, orange fallen leaves on the street reminded her that winter was around the corner.
- Word choice
Word choice is everything in a descriptive essay. For the description to be enchanting, it is essential to utilize the right adjectives and to carefully consider the verbs, nouns, and adverbs. Use unusual terms and phrases that offer a new viewpoint on your topic matter instead of overusing clichés like “fast as the wind” or “lost track of time,” which can make your descriptive essay seem uninteresting and unoriginal.
See the following examples:
Bad word choice: I was so happy because the sunset was really cool.
Good word choice: I experienced immense joy as the sunset captivated me with its remarkable colors and breathtaking beauty.
- Descriptive essay format and outline
Descriptive essay writing does not have to be disorganized, it is advisable to use a structured format to organize your thoughts and ensure coherent flow in your writing. Here is a list of components that should be a part of your descriptive essay outline:
- Opening/hook sentence
- Topic sentence
- Body paragraphs
- Concrete details
- Clincher statement
- Hook: An opening statement that captures attention while introducing the subject.
- Background: Includes a brief overview of the topic the descriptive essay is based on.
- Thesis statement: Clearly states the main point or purpose of the descriptive essay.
Body paragraphs: Each paragraph should have
- Topic sentence: Introduce the first aspect or feature you will describe. It informs the reader about what is coming next.
- Sensory details: Use emphatic language to appeal to the reader’s senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell).
- Concrete details: These are actual details needed to understand the context of the descriptive essay.
- Supporting details: Include relevant information or examples to improve the description.
- Summarize key points: Here you revisit the main features or aspects of the subject.
- Restate thesis statement: Reinforce the central impression or emotion.
- Clincher statement: Conclude with a statement that summarizes the entire essay and serve as the last words with a powerful message.
Revision and editing:
- Go over your essay to make sure it is coherent, clear, and consistent.
- Check for logical paragraph transitions by proofreading the content.
- Examine text to ensure correct grammar, punctuation, and style.
- Use the thesaurus or AI paraphrasing tools to find the right words.
A descriptive essay often consists of three body paragraphs or more, an introduction that concludes with a thesis statement, and a conclusion that summarizes the subject and leaves a lasting impression on readers.
A descriptive essay’s primary goal is to captivate the reader by writing a thorough and vivid explanation of the subject matter, while appealing to their various senses. A list of additional goals is as follows: – Spark feeling and imagination – Create a vivid experience – Paint a mental picture – Pique curiosity – Convey a mood or atmosphere – Highlight specific details
Although they both fall within the creative writing category, narrative essays and descriptive essays have different storytelling focuses. While the main goal of a narrative essay is to tell a story based on a real-life experience or a made-up event, the main goal of a descriptive essay is to vividly describe a person, location, event, or emotion.
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How To Write An Essay: Beginner Tips And Tricks
Many students dread writing essays, but essay writing is an important skill to develop in high school, university, and even into your future career. By learning how to write an essay properly, the process can become more enjoyable and you’ll find you’re better able to organize and articulate your thoughts.
When writing an essay, it’s common to follow a specific pattern, no matter what the topic is. Once you’ve used the pattern a few times and you know how to structure an essay, it will become a lot more simple to apply your knowledge to every essay.
No matter which major you choose, you should know how to craft a good essay. Here, we’ll cover the basics of essay writing, along with some helpful tips to make the writing process go smoothly.
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Types of Essays
Think of an essay as a discussion. There are many types of discussions you can have with someone else. You can be describing a story that happened to you, you might explain to them how to do something, or you might even argue about a certain topic.
When it comes to different types of essays, it follows a similar pattern. Like a friendly discussion, each type of essay will come with its own set of expectations or goals.
For example, when arguing with a friend, your goal is to convince them that you’re right. The same goes for an argumentative essay.
Here are a few of the main essay types you can expect to come across during your time in school:
This type of essay is almost like telling a story, not in the traditional sense with dialogue and characters, but as if you’re writing out an event or series of events to relay information to the reader.
Here, your goal is to persuade the reader about your views on a specific topic.
This is the kind of essay where you go into a lot more specific details describing a topic such as a place or an event.
In this essay, you’re choosing a stance on a topic, usually controversial, and your goal is to present evidence that proves your point is correct.
Your purpose with this type of essay is to tell the reader how to complete a specific process, often including a step-by-step guide or something similar.
Compare and Contrast Essay
You might have done this in school with two different books or characters, but the ultimate goal is to draw similarities and differences between any two given subjects.
The Main Stages of Essay Writing
When it comes to writing an essay, many students think the only stage is getting all your ideas down on paper and submitting your work. However, that’s not quite the case.
There are three main stages of writing an essay, each one with its own purpose. Of course, writing the essay itself is the most substantial part, but the other two stages are equally as important.
So, what are these three stages of essay writing? They are:
Before you even write one word, it’s important to prepare the content and structure of your essay. If a topic wasn’t assigned to you, then the first thing you should do is settle on a topic. Next, you want to conduct your research on that topic and create a detailed outline based on your research. The preparation stage will make writing your essay that much easier since, with your outline and research, you should already have the skeleton of your essay.
Writing is the most time-consuming stage. In this stage, you will write out all your thoughts and ideas and craft your essay based on your outline. You’ll work on developing your ideas and fleshing them out throughout the introduction, body, and conclusion (more on these soon).
In the final stage, you’ll go over your essay and check for a few things. First, you’ll check if your essay is cohesive, if all the points make sense and are related to your topic, and that your facts are cited and backed up. You can also check for typos, grammar and punctuation mistakes, and formatting errors.
The Five-Paragraph Essay
We mentioned earlier that essay writing follows a specific structure, and for the most part in academic or college essays , the five-paragraph essay is the generally accepted structure you’ll be expected to use.
The five-paragraph essay is broken down into one introduction paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a closing paragraph. However, that doesn’t always mean that an essay is written strictly in five paragraphs, but rather that this structure can be used loosely and the three body paragraphs might become three sections instead.
Let’s take a closer look at each section and what it entails.
As the name implies, the purpose of your introduction paragraph is to introduce your idea. A good introduction begins with a “hook,” something that grabs your reader’s attention and makes them excited to read more.
Another key tenant of an introduction is a thesis statement, which usually comes towards the end of the introduction itself. Your thesis statement should be a phrase that explains your argument, position, or central idea that you plan on developing throughout the essay.
You can also include a short outline of what to expect in your introduction, including bringing up brief points that you plan on explaining more later on in the body paragraphs.
Here is where most of your essay happens. The body paragraphs are where you develop your ideas and bring up all the points related to your main topic.
In general, you’re meant to have three body paragraphs, or sections, and each one should bring up a different point. Think of it as bringing up evidence. Each paragraph is a different piece of evidence, and when the three pieces are taken together, it backs up your main point — your thesis statement — really well.
That being said, you still want each body paragraph to be tied together in some way so that the essay flows. The points should be distinct enough, but they should relate to each other, and definitely to your thesis statement. Each body paragraph works to advance your point, so when crafting your essay, it’s important to keep this in mind so that you avoid going off-track or writing things that are off-topic.
Many students aren’t sure how to write a conclusion for an essay and tend to see their conclusion as an afterthought, but this section is just as important as the rest of your work.
You shouldn’t be presenting any new ideas in your conclusion, but you should summarize your main points and show how they back up your thesis statement.
Essentially, the conclusion is similar in structure and content to the introduction, but instead of introducing your essay, it should be wrapping up the main thoughts and presenting them to the reader as a singular closed argument.
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Steps to Writing an Essay
Now that you have a better idea of an essay’s structure and all the elements that go into it, you might be wondering what the different steps are to actually write your essay.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Instead of going in blind, follow these steps on how to write your essay from start to finish.
Understand Your Assignment
When writing an essay for an assignment, the first critical step is to make sure you’ve read through your assignment carefully and understand it thoroughly. You want to check what type of essay is required, that you understand the topic, and that you pay attention to any formatting or structural requirements. You don’t want to lose marks just because you didn’t read the assignment carefully.
Research Your Topic
Once you understand your assignment, it’s time to do some research. In this step, you should start looking at different sources to get ideas for what points you want to bring up throughout your essay.
Search online or head to the library and get as many resources as possible. You don’t need to use them all, but it’s good to start with a lot and then narrow down your sources as you become more certain of your essay’s direction.
After research comes the brainstorming. There are a lot of different ways to start the brainstorming process . Here are a few you might find helpful:
- Think about what you found during your research that interested you the most
- Jot down all your ideas, even if they’re not yet fully formed
- Create word clouds or maps for similar terms or ideas that come up so you can group them together based on their similarities
- Try freewriting to get all your ideas out before arranging them
Create a Thesis
This is often the most tricky part of the whole process since you want to create a thesis that’s strong and that you’re about to develop throughout the entire essay. Therefore, you want to choose a thesis statement that’s broad enough that you’ll have enough to say about it, but not so broad that you can’t be precise.
Write Your Outline
Armed with your research, brainstorming sessions, and your thesis statement, the next step is to write an outline.
In the outline, you’ll want to put your thesis statement at the beginning and start creating the basic skeleton of how you want your essay to look.
A good way to tackle an essay is to use topic sentences . A topic sentence is like a mini-thesis statement that is usually the first sentence of a new paragraph. This sentence introduces the main idea that will be detailed throughout the paragraph.
If you create an outline with the topic sentences for your body paragraphs and then a few points of what you want to discuss, you’ll already have a strong starting point when it comes time to sit down and write. This brings us to our next step…
Write a First Draft
The first time you write your entire essay doesn’t need to be perfect, but you do need to get everything on the page so that you’re able to then write a second draft or review it afterward.
Everyone’s writing process is different. Some students like to write their essay in the standard order of intro, body, and conclusion, while others prefer to start with the “meat” of the essay and tackle the body, and then fill in the other sections afterward.
Make sure your essay follows your outline and that everything relates to your thesis statement and your points are backed up by the research you did.
Revise, Edit, and Proofread
The revision process is one of the three main stages of writing an essay, yet many people skip this step thinking their work is done after the first draft is complete.
However, proofreading, reviewing, and making edits on your essay can spell the difference between a B paper and an A.
After writing the first draft, try and set your essay aside for a few hours or even a day or two, and then come back to it with fresh eyes to review it. You might find mistakes or inconsistencies you missed or better ways to formulate your arguments.
Add the Finishing Touches
Finally, you’ll want to make sure everything that’s required is in your essay. Review your assignment again and see if all the requirements are there, such as formatting rules, citations, quotes, etc.
Go over the order of your paragraphs and make sure everything makes sense, flows well, and uses the same writing style .
Once everything is checked and all the last touches are added, give your essay a final read through just to ensure it’s as you want it before handing it in.
A good way to do this is to read your essay out loud since you’ll be able to hear if there are any mistakes or inaccuracies.
Essay Writing Tips
With the steps outlined above, you should be able to craft a great essay. Still, there are some other handy tips we’d recommend just to ensure that the essay writing process goes as smoothly as possible.
- Start your essay early. This is the first tip for a reason. It’s one of the most important things you can do to write a good essay. If you start it the night before, then you won’t have enough time to research, brainstorm, and outline — and you surely won’t have enough time to review.
- Don’t try and write it in one sitting. It’s ok if you need to take breaks or write it over a few days. It’s better to write it in multiple sittings so that you have a fresh mind each time and you’re able to focus.
- Always keep the essay question in mind. If you’re given an assigned question, then you should always keep it handy when writing your essay to make sure you’re always working to answer the question.
- Use transitions between paragraphs. In order to improve the readability of your essay, try and make clear transitions between paragraphs. This means trying to relate the end of one paragraph to the beginning of the next one so the shift doesn’t seem random.
- Integrate your research thoughtfully. Add in citations or quotes from your research materials to back up your thesis and main points. This will show that you did the research and that your thesis is backed up by it.
Writing an essay doesn’t need to be daunting if you know how to approach it. Using our essay writing steps and tips, you’ll have better knowledge on how to write an essay and you’ll be able to apply it to your next assignment. Once you do this a few times, it will become more natural to you and the essay writing process will become quicker and easier.
If you still need assistance with your essay, check with a student advisor to see if they offer help with writing. At University of the People(UoPeople), we always want our students to succeed, so our student advisors are ready to help with writing skills when necessary.
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Why Is Essay Writing Important?
What is an essay writing examples, how do you write an essay format.
- Hook: Start with a compelling hook or attention-grabbing statement to engage the reader’s interest.
- Background Information: Provide some context or background information related to the topic to help the reader understand the subject better.
- Thesis Statement: State your thesis, which is the main point or argument of your essay. This tells the reader what the essay is about and what your stance is.
- Topic Sentences: Begin each body paragraph with a clear and concise topic sentence that introduces the main point or idea of that paragraph.
- Supporting Details: In each paragraph, provide evidence, examples, data, or arguments that support the topic sentence.
- Transition Sentences: Use transition sentences to guide the reader smoothly from one paragraph to the next. These sentences help maintain the essay’s flow and coherence.
- Citations and References: If you’re using external sources, be sure to properly cite them according to the chosen citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago).
- Restate Thesis: Begin the conclusion by restating the thesis statement in a slightly different way to remind the reader of your main argument.
- Summarize Key Points: Provide a brief summary of the main points from the body paragraphs. Emphasize the most important evidence or ideas.
- Closing Thoughts: Offer some final thoughts on the topic and why it’s significant. You can also suggest potential implications or applications of your argument.
- Closing Statement: End with a strong and memorable closing statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader.
- After writing the essay, carefully review and edit it for clarity, coherence, grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors.
- Ensure that your ideas are well-organized and that your essay flows logically from one section to the next.
How to write an essay step by step?
- Start with a compelling hook to grab the reader’s attention.
- Provide background information and context to the topic.
- Present a clear thesis statement that outlines the main argument or purpose of the essay.
- Begin each body paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces the main point of that paragraph.
- Support the topic sentence with evidence, examples, data, or arguments.
- Ensure each paragraph flows logically to the next. Use transition sentences for coherence.
- Restate the thesis statement in different words to remind the reader of the main argument.
- Summarize the key points made in the body paragraphs.
- Offer final thoughts on the topic’s significance or potential implications.
- Review your essay for clarity, coherence, grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors.
- Check for logical flow and ensure each paragraph connects smoothly to the next.
- Verify that your ideas are well-organized and effectively presented.
- Format your essay according to the required style guide (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago). Ensure you follow guidelines for font size, margins, spacing, and any other specifications.
- Properly cite sources within the text and include a reference page or bibliography, if necessary.
What are the 5 parts of a essay?
- Provides background information and introduces the topic.
- Includes a thesis statement, stating the main argument or purpose of the essay.
- Each paragraph focuses on a specific point or argument related to the thesis.
- Presents evidence, examples, or analysis to support the topic sentence.
- Each paragraph contributes to the overall argument of the essay.
- Sentences or phrases that connect ideas between paragraphs and sections.
- Ensure a smooth flow of thoughts, guiding the reader through the essay.
- Summarizes the main points made in the essay’s body.
- Restates the thesis statement, emphasizing its importance.
- Provides a closing thought or suggests implications of the arguments presented.
- Lists all sources used in the essay, following a specific citation style (e.g., APA, MLA).
- Provides proper credit to the original authors and avoids plagiarism.
How do I start writing an essay?
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How to Write the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay (With Example)
November 27, 2023
Feeling intimidated by the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay? We’re here to help demystify. Whether you’re cramming for the AP Lang exam right now or planning to take the test down the road, we’ve got crucial rubric information, helpful tips, and an essay example to prepare you for the big day. This post will cover 1) What is the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay? 2) AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Rubric 3) AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis: Sample Prompt 4) AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example 5)AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example: Why It Works
What is the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay?
The AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay is one of three essays included in the written portion of the AP English Exam. The full AP English Exam is 3 hours and 15 minutes long, with the first 60 minutes dedicated to multiple-choice questions. Once you complete the multiple-choice section, you move on to three equally weighted essays that ask you to synthesize, analyze, and interpret texts and develop well-reasoned arguments. The three essays include:
Synthesis essay: You’ll review various pieces of evidence and then write an essay that synthesizes (aka combines and interprets) the evidence and presents a clear argument. Read our write up on How to Write the AP Lang Synthesis Essay here.
Argumentative essay: You’ll take a stance on a specific topic and argue your case.
Rhetorical essay: You’ll read a provided passage, then analyze the author’s rhetorical choices and develop an argument that explains why the author made those rhetorical choices.
AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Rubric
The AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay is graded on just 3 rubric categories: Thesis, Evidence and Commentary, and Sophistication . At a glance, the rubric categories may seem vague, but AP exam graders are actually looking for very particular things in each category. We’ll break it down with dos and don’ts for each rubric category:
Thesis (0-1 point)
There’s nothing nebulous when it comes to grading AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay thesis. You either have one or you don’t. Including a thesis gets you one point closer to a high score and leaving it out means you miss out on one crucial point. So, what makes a thesis that counts?
- Make sure your thesis argues something about the author’s rhetorical choices. Making an argument means taking a risk and offering your own interpretation of the provided text. This is an argument that someone else might disagree with.
- A good test to see if you have a thesis that makes an argument. In your head, add the phrase “I think that…” to the beginning of your thesis. If what follows doesn’t logically flow after that phrase (aka if what follows isn’t something you and only you think), it’s likely you’re not making an argument.
- Avoid a thesis that merely restates the prompt.
- Avoid a thesis that summarizes the text but does not make an argument.
Evidence and Commentary (0-4 points)
This rubric category is graded on a scale of 0-4 where 4 is the highest grade. Per the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis rubric, to get a 4, you’ll want to:
- Include lots of specific evidence from the text. There is no set golden number of quotes to include, but you’ll want to make sure you’re incorporating more than a couple pieces of evidence that support your argument about the author’s rhetorical choices.
- Make sure you include more than one type of evidence, too. Let’s say you’re working on your essay and have gathered examples of alliteration to include as supporting evidence. That’s just one type of rhetorical choice, and it’s hard to make a credible argument if you’re only looking at one type of evidence. To fix that issue, reread the text again looking for patterns in word choice and syntax, meaningful figurative language and imagery, literary devices, and other rhetorical choices, looking for additional types of evidence to support your argument.
- After you include evidence, offer your own interpretation and explain how this evidence proves the point you make in your thesis.
- Don’t summarize or speak generally about the author and the text. Everything you write must be backed up with evidence.
- Don’t let quotes speak for themselves. After every piece of evidence you include, make sure to explain your interpretation. Also, connect the evidence to your overarching argument.
Sophistication (0-1 point)
In this case, sophistication isn’t about how many fancy vocabulary words or how many semicolons you use. According to College Board , one point can be awarded to AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis essays that “demonstrate sophistication of thought and/or a complex understanding of the rhetorical situation” in any of these three ways:
- Explaining the significance or relevance of the writer’s rhetorical choices.
- Explaining the purpose or function of the passage’s complexities or tensions.
- Employing a style that is consistently vivid and persuasive.
Note that you don’t have to achieve all three to earn your sophistication point. A good way to think of this rubric category is to consider it a bonus point that you can earn for going above and beyond in depth of analysis or by writing an especially persuasive, clear, and well-structured essay. In order to earn this point, you’ll need to first do a good job with your thesis, evidence, and commentary.
- Focus on nailing an argumentative thesis and multiple types of evidence. Getting these fundamentals of your essay right will set you up for achieving depth of analysis.
- Explain how each piece of evidence connects to your thesis.
- Spend a minute outlining your essay before you begin to ensure your essay flows in a clear and cohesive way.
- Steer clear of generalizations about the author or text.
- Don’t include arguments you can’t prove with evidence from the text.
- Avoid complex sentences and fancy vocabulary words unless you use them often. Long, clunky sentences with imprecisely used words are hard to follow.
AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis: Sample Prompt
The sample prompt below is published online by College Board and is a real example from the 2021 AP Exam. The prompt provides background context, essay instructions, and the text you need to analyze. For sake of space, we’ve included the text as an image you can click to read. After the prompt, we provide a sample high scoring essay and then explain why this AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis essay example works.
Suggested time—40 minutes.
(This question counts as one-third of the total essay section score.)
On February 27, 2013, while in office, former president Barack Obama delivered the following address dedicating the Rosa Parks statue in the National Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol building. Rosa Parks was an African American civil rights activist who was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Read the passage carefully. Write an essay that analyzes the rhetorical choices Obama makes to convey his message.
In your response you should do the following:
- Respond to the prompt with a thesis that analyzes the writer’s rhetorical choices.
- Select and use evidence to support your line of reasoning.
- Explain how the evidence supports your line of reasoning.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the rhetorical situation.
- Use appropriate grammar and punctuation in communicating your argument.
AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example
In his speech delivered in 2013 at the dedication of Rosa Park’s statue, President Barack Obama acknowledges everything that Parks’ activism made possible in the United States. Telling the story of Parks’ life and achievements, Obama highlights the fact that Parks was a regular person whose actions accomplished enormous change during the civil rights era. Through the use of diction that portrays Parks as quiet and demure, long lists that emphasize the extent of her impacts, and Biblical references, Obama suggests that all of us are capable of achieving greater good, just as Parks did.
Although it might be a surprising way to start to his dedication, Obama begins his speech by telling us who Parks was not: “Rosa Parks held no elected office. She possessed no fortune” he explains in lines 1-2. Later, when he tells the story of the bus driver who threatened to have Parks arrested when she refused to get off the bus, he explains that Parks “simply replied, ‘You may do that’” (lines 22-23). Right away, he establishes that Parks was a regular person who did not hold a seat of power. Her protest on the bus was not part of a larger plan, it was a simple response. By emphasizing that Parks was not powerful, wealthy, or loud spoken, he implies that Parks’ style of activism is an everyday practice that all of us can aspire to.
AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example (Continued)
Even though Obama portrays Parks as a demure person whose protest came “simply” and naturally, he shows the importance of her activism through long lists of ripple effects. When Parks challenged her arrest, Obama explains, Martin Luther King, Jr. stood with her and “so did thousands of Montgomery, Alabama commuters” (lines 27-28). They began a boycott that included “teachers and laborers, clergy and domestics, through rain and cold and sweltering heat, day after day, week after week, month after month, walking miles if they had to…” (lines 28-31). In this section of the speech, Obama’s sentences grow longer and he uses lists to show that Parks’ small action impacted and inspired many others to fight for change. Further, listing out how many days, weeks, and months the boycott lasted shows how Parks’ single act of protest sparked a much longer push for change.
To further illustrate Parks’ impact, Obama incorporates Biblical references that emphasize the importance of “that single moment on the bus” (lines 57-58). In lines 33-35, Obama explains that Parks and the other protestors are “driven by a solemn determination to affirm their God-given dignity” and he also compares their victory to the fall the “ancient walls of Jericho” (line 43). By of including these Biblical references, Obama suggests that Parks’ action on the bus did more than correct personal or political wrongs; it also corrected moral and spiritual wrongs. Although Parks had no political power or fortune, she was able to restore a moral balance in our world.
Toward the end of the speech, Obama states that change happens “not mainly through the exploits of the famous and the powerful, but through the countless acts of often anonymous courage and kindness” (lines 78-81). Through carefully chosen diction that portrays her as a quiet, regular person and through lists and Biblical references that highlight the huge impacts of her action, Obama illustrates exactly this point. He wants us to see that, just like Parks, the small and meek can change the world for the better.
AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example: Why It Works
We would give the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis essay above a score of 6 out of 6 because it fully satisfies the essay’s 3 rubric categories: Thesis, Evidence and Commentary, and Sophistication . Let’s break down what this student did:
The thesis of this essay appears in the last line of the first paragraph:
“ Through the use of diction that portrays Parks as quiet and demure, long lists that emphasize the extent of her impacts, and Biblical references, Obama suggests that all of us are capable of achieving greater good, just as Parks did .”
This student’s thesis works because they make a clear argument about Obama’s rhetorical choices. They 1) list the rhetorical choices that will be analyzed in the rest of the essay (the italicized text above) and 2) include an argument someone else might disagree with (the bolded text above).
Evidence and Commentary:
This student includes substantial evidence and commentary. Things they do right, per the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis rubric:
- They include lots of specific evidence from the text in the form of quotes.
- They incorporate 3 different types of evidence (diction, long lists, Biblical references).
- After including evidence, they offer an interpretation of what the evidence means and explain how the evidence contributes to their overarching argument (aka their thesis).
This essay achieves sophistication according to the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis essay rubric in a few key ways:
- This student provides an introduction that flows naturally into the topic their essay will discuss. Before they get to their thesis, they tell us that Obama portrays Parks as a “regular person” setting up their main argument: Obama wants all regular people to aspire to do good in the world just as Rosa Parks did.
- They organize evidence and commentary in a clear and cohesive way. Each body paragraph focuses on just one type of evidence.
- They explain how their evidence is significant. In the final sentence of each body paragraph, they draw a connection back to the overarching argument presented in the thesis.
- All their evidence supports the argument presented in their thesis. There is no extraneous evidence or misleading detail.
- They consider nuances in the text. Rather than taking the text at face value, they consider what Obama’s rhetorical choices imply and offer their own unique interpretation of those implications.
- In their final paragraph, they come full circle, reiterate their thesis, and explain what Obama’s rhetorical choices communicate to readers.
- Their sentences are clear and easy to read. There are no grammar errors or misused words.
AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay—More Resources
Looking for more tips to help your master your AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay? Brush up on 20 Rhetorical Devices High School Students Should Know and read our Tips for Improving Reading Comprehension . If you’re ready to start studying for another part of the AP English Exam, find more expert tips in our How to Write the AP Lang Synthesis blog post.
Considering what other AP classes to take? Read up on the Hardest AP Classes .
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Christina Wood holds a BA in Literature & Writing from UC San Diego, an MFA in Creative Writing from Washington University in St. Louis, and is currently a Doctoral Candidate in English at the University of Georgia, where she teaches creative writing and first-year composition courses. Christina has published fiction and nonfiction in numerous publications, including The Paris Review , McSweeney’s , Granta , Virginia Quarterly Review , The Sewanee Review , Mississippi Review , and Puerto del Sol , among others. Her story “The Astronaut” won the 2018 Shirley Jackson Award for short fiction and received a “Distinguished Stories” mention in the 2019 Best American Short Stories anthology.
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The Importance of Short-term Scheduling in an Organization
Updated 24 November 2023
Subject Corporations , Management , Marketing , Finance
Category Business , Economics
According to Heizer and Barry (616), short-term scheduling is the allocation of the available limited resources and time in the occurrence of an event that may interrupt current processes. Short-term scheduling is of great strategic importance to corporations in both the internal and external environments.
First, Short-time scheduling creates an effective and fast work performance. It enables fast movement and delivery of goods and services (Heizer and Barry 616). For example, due to short-term scheduling, a means of transport may be changed to a more suitable and available one in case the initially planned fail. In this regard, the business rescues wastage and reduces the costs of production. Also, there is an increase in throughput.
Secondly, Short-term scheduling is of strategic importance because it adds capacity and flexibility to the company. Heizer and Barry affirm that this kind of scheduling gives the organization an advantage of making realistic commitments and being dependable (617). For instance, in a case where a plane has developed a mechanical problem the company should act quickly and provide a replacement. In return, this works well in creating customer satisfaction and sustaining a positive relationship.
In conclusion, it is evident that short-term scheduling is of strategic importance as it makes the organization more effective, flexible, fast, and reliable. These advantages keep the organization stable even in emergency situations.
Heizer, Jay, and Barry Render. Operations Management. 10th ed., Pearson, 2011.
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Effective and Persuasive Ways to Give an Example in an Essay
Last Updated: December 1, 2022 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Jake Adams . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 40,859 times.
Examples help you prove your point in an authoritative, informed way. There are many ways to include examples in an essay, such as using quotes, statistics, or other data. The key is to use multiple examples from the text that are directly related to your argument. We'll show you how to weave them into your essay seamlessly.
- Don’t write something like, “It seems like colors and lights in Gatsby mean important things.”
- Instead, try saying, “In Chapter 4 of The Great Gatsby , we again read about the green light on the end of Gatsby’s dock. This green light is a symbol of his hopes and dreams.”
- If you want to use wildfires in California as an example of damage from climate change, you could write something like, "The devastating fire season in 2020 indicates that the damage from climate change is increasing. One example that illustrates this is the fact that fires were more frequent than in past years."
- You could discuss 3 different times that the green light was mentioned in Gatsby and analyze each one.
- For instance
- In other words
- In particular
- Make sure to introduce or conclude your quote. For instance, write, "As Baker explains, 'Wildfires have increased significantly during the past year." Or, "'Wildfires have increased significantly during the past year,' according to Baker."
- Whether you use parenthetical documentation or endnotes or footnotes depends on which citation style you use. Ask your instructor for tips if you're not sure how to cite materials.
Types of Examples
- For example, if you are trying to describe the Valley of Ashes in Gatsby , you could use a quote from the author’s description to help illustrate your point.
- You might write, "In Chapter 2, Fitzgerald paints the picture he wants the reader to see by saying, 'This is a Valley of Ashes—a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens...'"
- Just make sure to cite any direct quotes or facts.
- Maybe you are reading a journal article about symbolism in The Great Gatsby and want to discuss an example from that article. You could write something like, “As Baker notes in her analysis, the green light is used most effectively in Chapter 4. She points out that it is here that readers truly begin to understand the significance of this symbol in the novel.”
- For example, you could write something like, “It’s clear that voter registration in Nebraska has increased since 2016. In that year, 200,000 new voters registered, compared to 275,000 new voters in 2020. This is an example of how more people are engaging in voting.”
- Make sure to cite any data that you use.
- Make sure to direct your reader to the figure and explain what you want them to see. Write something like, "Note the graph in Figure 4. It shows that the increase in voter turnout was significant in elections this year."
- Don't forget to cite the source of your figures.
- Make sure to carefully proofread your paper. Check for grammatical errors, make sure your points are clear, and look to see if you’ve included all of the necessary citations. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
- Ask a friend to look over your essay to see if your examples support your argument well. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ https://www.bccpa.ca/news-events/latest-news/2020/clear-concise-consistent-the-three-cs-of-effective-communication/
- ↑ Jake Adams. Academic Tutor & Test Prep Specialist. Expert Interview. 20 May 2020.
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/evidence/
- ↑ https://wts.indiana.edu/writing-guides/paragraphs-and-topic-sentences.html
- ↑ https://pitt.libguides.com/citationhelp
- ↑ https://www.abington.psu.edu/ice-introduce-cite-and-explain-your-evidence
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/figures-and-charts/
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