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10 Great Essay Writing Tips
Knowing how to write a college essay is a useful skill for anyone who plans to go to college. Most colleges and universities ask you to submit a writing sample with your application. As a student, you’ll also write essays in your courses. Impress your professors with your knowledge and skill by using these great essay writing tips.
Prepare to Answer the Question
Most college essays ask you to answer a question or synthesize information you learned in class. Review notes you have from lectures, read the recommended texts and make sure you understand the topic. You should refer to these sources in your essay.
Plan Your Essay
Many students see planning as a waste of time, but it actually saves you time. Take a few minutes to think about the topic and what you want to say about it. You can write an outline, draw a chart or use a graphic organizer to arrange your ideas. This gives you a chance to spot problems in your ideas before you spend time writing out the paragraphs.
Choose a Writing Method That Feels Comfortable
You might have to type your essay before turning it in, but that doesn’t mean you have to write it that way. Some people find it easy to write out their ideas by hand. Others prefer typing in a word processor where they can erase and rewrite as needed. Find the one that works best for you and stick with it.
View It as a Conversation
Writing is a form of communication, so think of your essay as a conversation between you and the reader. Think about your response to the source material and the topic. Decide what you want to tell the reader about the topic. Then, stay focused on your response as you write.
Provide the Context in the Introduction
If you look at an example of an essay introduction, you’ll see that the best essays give the reader a context. Think of how you introduce two people to each other. You share the details you think they will find most interesting. Do this in your essay by stating what it’s about and then telling readers what the issue is.
Explain What Needs to be Explained
Sometimes you have to explain concepts or define words to help the reader understand your viewpoint. You also have to explain the reasoning behind your ideas. For example, it’s not enough to write that your greatest achievement is running an ultra marathon. You might need to define ultra marathon and explain why finishing the race is such an accomplishment.
Answer All the Questions
After you finish writing the first draft of your essay, make sure you’ve answered all the questions you were supposed to answer. For example, essays in compare and contrast format should show the similarities and differences between ideas, objects or events. If you’re writing about a significant achievement, describe what you did and how it affected you.
Stay Focused as You Write
Writing requires concentration. Find a place where you have few distractions and give yourself time to write without interruptions. Don’t wait until the night before the essay is due to start working on it.
Read the Essay Aloud to Proofread
When you finish writing your essay, read it aloud. You can do this by yourself or ask someone to listen to you read it. You’ll notice places where the ideas don’t make sense, and your listener can give you feedback about your ideas.
Avoid Filling the Page with Words
A great essay does more than follow an essay layout. It has something to say. Sometimes students panic and write everything they know about a topic or summarize everything in the source material. Your job as a writer is to show why this information is important.
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How to Write a Persuasive Letter Using Pros and Cons Charts
Last Updated: May 9, 2023 References
This article was co-authored by Celena Hathaway . Celena Hathaway is an English & Creative Writing Teacher at Cornerstone Schools of Alabama in Birmingham, Alabama. She specializes in entry-level creative writing, such as fundamental poetry and fiction short story techniques, and 8th-grade-level grammar and reading. She earned her B.S.E. in Secondary Education and B.A. in English from Samford University. This article has been viewed 266,082 times.
It can be tough to write a persuasive letter, whether it’s for a school assignment or for a personal interest. In a persuasive letter, you’ll need to try to convince a person or group of people to agree with your side of an argument. A pros and cons chart is a great way to break down points that you can use to persuade your readers. The chart will also allow you to incorporate the “cons” into your letter so you can disprove and dismiss them.
Persuasive Letter Help
Selecting a Letter Topic
- For example, if you’re passionate about the wellbeing of marine animals, you could choose to write about the ethics of using them for product testing and experimentation.
- It's difficult to write a convincing letter about something you don't care about.
- For example, the topic “murder should be legal” is not defensible, since there are no convincing arguments that support an answer of “yes.”
- So, a topic like: “Should the state pass legislation forbidding drivers to text while driving?” is much better.
- For example, there may be valid reasons that someone would object to the state passing legislation to prohibit in-car texting. But, you’ll never be able to account for and counter these reasons if you don’t put in the research to find them out in the first place.
- Maybe many people feel that that legislation wouldn’t go far enough, and that the state should ban cell phones in cars altogether, no matter what they’re being used for!
- When dealing with an older audience, you can use a more sophisticated vocabulary. The inverse applies when dealing with a young audience.  X Research source
- For example, for an older audience, write something like, “A lasting political commitment to phone-free driving will ensure the survival of many who otherwise could lose their lives to a distracted driver on the phone.”
- On the other hand, for a younger audience, write, “Not allowing people to use phones in the car will reduce accidents. This will help keep more people alive.”
Compiling the Pros and Cons Chart
- For example, say you’re writing about banning cell phone use in cars. Under the pros column put “could help save lives.” You can also write, “helps drivers focus on driving,” and “reduces risk of accidents.”
- Under the cons column, you could write something like, “over-legislates private behavior” and “people may need to make emergency calls with their cell phone.”
- For example, when making a list of cons for any issues, writing something like, “I personally dislike it” or “It makes me unhappy” is a very weak reason.
- Or, if you don't believe that the "cons" need to be solved, you could find information that proves those arguments wrong.
- For example, if you're writing about the issue of texting while driving, you’ll need to address the con that it “over-legislates private behavior.” Write something like, “This argument is irrelevant. Texting while driving affects more than one individual since many people can be killed by a careless driver who is also texting.”
- You can then add this sentence directly to your letter once you’re writing it.
Writing Your Letter
- If you have more pros than cons, devote 2 paragraphs to the pros and whatever reasoning you have for supporting them.
- For example, you could write 1 paragraph describing the issue of cell phone use in cars and follow it up with an impassioned paragraph describing all of the pros and your reasons for supporting them. Next, write a paragraph describing the cons and your arguments for refuting them. Finally, conclude the letter with a call for action.
- For example, you could write something like: “Marine animals should not be captured for scientific studies since it’s unethical to perform experiments on living creatures.”
- This type of straightforward beginning will let your readers know exactly what you plan to persuade them of.
- For example, if you’re writing about the need for legislation against texting and driving, write something like, “A poll by the Pew Research Center suggests that over 75% of current drivers text while driving and plan to continue. This statistic is staggering, and indicates how badly we as a country are in need of a solution.”
- For example, if you’re writing about the issue of marine animal testing, write something like, “Dozens of animals are confused and in pain every day all because some unethical companies feel the need to unnecessarily test out products. I know because I once visited an animal testing center and was shocked by the unethical animal treatment that I observed.”
- If you’ve written the letter for a school assignment, you’re ready to turn it in.
- Or, if you’re using the letter to influence policy, look up the address of the person you're sending it to, then drop the letter in the mail!
- Once you've finished writing the letter, ask friends or family members to read your letter and give you feedback. They may find gaps in your reasoning or point out ways you can improve the pros and cons list. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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Thanks for reading our article! If you’d like to learn more about writing, check out our in-depth interview with Celena Hathaway .
- ↑ https://leandecisions.com/2012/09/10-tips-for-better-pro-con-lists.html
- ↑ https://www.grammarcheck.net/ten-important-triggers-for-persuasive-writing/
- ↑ https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_05.htm
- ↑ https://hbr.org/2017/01/the-pros-and-cons-of-pros-and-cons-lists
- ↑ https://www.kibin.com/essay-writing-blog/write-pros-and-cons-essay/
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Writing a Persuasive Letter
Discover how to write a persuasive letter.
The best way to improve your child’s writing skills is to expose them to many different types of writing. One of which is persuasive letter writing! The goal of this article is to teach your child how to write a persuasive letter. Writing persuasive letters is an important skill to have, so your child can learn how to convince their audience of something. This can also translate into other writing styles because writing in a convincing way is required in many different forms of writing. Let’s talk about how to write a persuasive letter!
What is persuasive writing?
Persuasive writing is used to try and convince your readers of something, like an opinion or idea. In order to be successful, this writing style often uses strategic word choice, compelling supporting ideas/evidence, and logic. Persuasive writing must employ several techniques to be convincing to readers. Learning to write persuasively can help improve a child's creative writing skills as well, as both creative and persuasive writing require a lot of detail and description.
Tips for writing persuasive letters
- Introduction: state your main point clearly.
- Provide supporting evidence/details for your main point.
- Convince your reader through other means: appeal to their emotions, prove your credibility, etc.
- Conclusion: restate your main point.
Dear Night Zookeeper Will,
Do you think the animals of the Night Zoo feel safe and happy? The Night Zoo is our home. It’s also home to over 5 million other animals. If the Lord of Nulth destroys the Night Zoo, then none of us will have a home. Did you know, forty acres of the Night Zoo have already been poisoned by the Lord of Nulth’s monsters? This is bad news for us! However, we can stop him if we work together. Finally, I believe with teamwork and creativity, we can save the Night Zoo!
The Penguin Professor
Activity & Resource
Now that we’ve reviewed what persuasive writing is and provided some tips for writing persuasive letters, we have an activity to help your child write their first persuasive letter! If they're having trouble introducing their topic, have them reference our introduction tips that you can find on the page. Happy persuading!
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- Credible Writing
- Persuasive Writing (overview)
- Creative Writing Prompts for Kids
- Elementary Writing Activities
- Elementary Writing Prompts
- Language Arts Resouces
- Elementary Language Arts
- Elementary Writing Curriculum