This type of essay, also called a persuasive or illustration essay, is one of the most useful in the real world. It is your job to make a controversial claim about a particular issue and then support that claim with persuasive evidence. This evidence may take the form of personal experience, concrete examples, expert testimony, or really anything to get readers on your side.
Unlike most other essay types, which tend to focus on a single subject, this type of essay involves at least two subjects to be compared and/or contrasted. Strictly speaking, to compare two items, people, places, or situations is to discuss their similarities, and to contrast them is to focus on their differences. For the strongest effect, both techniques should be used together
This type of essay, also known as an evaluative or response essay, is not necessarily meant to be "critical" in a negative sense, but simply to analyze a particular work in terms of its author's intentions, techniques, and style. Your claims about the work may range from an analysis of its structure to an evaluation of its merit.
This type of essay is used to explain the meaning of a term in a certain context or from a particular perspective. The writer must go beyond the term's dictionary entry and use more in-depth methods of definition such as providing examples, making comparisons, showing contrasts, tracing the term's history, or illustrating through narration.
This type of essay relies heavily on vivid descriptive detail. Depending on the subject being described, this could include information about appearance, sound, feel, or even taste and smell. To use this organizational pattern effectively, it is helpful to focus on one overall impression that can be supported by sensory details.
This type of essay tells a story, which can come from your imagination, a personal experience, a historical event, an existing work of fiction, or some combination of these elements. Before you begin writing, it is important to determine the overall significance of your story so that you can frame the events you describe in a way that makes sense to your readers.
An outline is a logical arrangement of ideas with four main characteristics:
1. Division: Every major point should have at least two sub-points, which may be divided further
2. Coordination: Items on the same level (I, II, and III or A, B, and C) carry the same weight.
3. Subordination: Major headings should be general; minor headings should be more specific.
4. Parallel Structure: Items within a single list should be of the same type (e.g., all sentences)
This type of essay sometimes called a personal statement or autobiographical sketch is your chance to let the reader know who you are and what you're all about. The organization may be more descriptive, using narration only to prove certain points, or it may be a true narrative, with description added in only where needed.
This type of essay is used to explain a complex process in terms of simpler processes or steps. More often than not, this involves providing step-by-step instructions to the reader so that he or she has enough information to complete an unfamiliar task. In any case, clear organization and adequate detail are essential to this pattern.
A rhetorical analysis essay does not just summarize a piece of writing (usually non-fiction), but it will: Explore how rhetoric works. Rhetoric is the skill of using words to persuade or influence. Discern how ideas are argued and presented. Analyze how the strategies of ethos, pathos, and logos work to achieve the author’s purpose. o An analysis looks at the goals, the techniques used to achieve those goals, and examples of the tools used. The essay discusses how effective these techniques are employed.
A good summary essay will show the reader of the essay that you have grasped the major points, outlined the events, and understood the characters.
Purpose: to give the reader an overview and to condense material for usefulness
Perspective: third-person (he, she, it, one, they...)
Organization: in sections- chronological, by scene, or by point Common Structure
Transitions help writing flow like a river to a destination, or dance without abrupt or unanticipated moves.
1. Help your reader to anticipate, then bring fulfillment.
2. Know what you are trying to do: to build, redirect, contradict, illustrate, etc.
3. Transitions link ideas in sentences, sentences in paragraphs, and paragraphs in essays.
Conjunctions are words that join together other words or groups of words. They allow you to form sophisticated sentences and avoid the choppiness of multiple simple sentences strung together. The three primary types of conjunctions are coordinating conjunctions, subordinating conjunctions and conjunctive adverbs.
An embedded clause is sometimes referred to as an added element. It is a subordinate clause that is placed within another clause and is usually separated by commas. (e.g. Dr. Johnson, a physician in the pediatrics department,...) The embedded clause is nonessential and if removed, the main clause will stand alone as a complete sentence.
There are eight parts of speech in the English language: noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection. A part of speech indicates how the word functions in meaning as well as grammatically within the sentence, and an individual word can function as more than one part of speech when used in different circumstances.
A preposition is a word, usually a small common word that shows place, time or direction. Prepositions are typically followed by an object, which can be a noun (noon), a noun phrase (the table), or a pronoun (me). Prepositions are often used to create indirect objects or added elements in academic writing.
Relative clauses are clauses that start with relative pronouns (e.g. who, which where, that) and they are used to add information about the noun that proceeds them. In fact, they are often used to define or identify the noun preceding them. Relative pronouns can be used as a subject modifier for a non-restrictive relative clause (non-essential to meaning) or as a subject of a restrictive relative clause (essential to meaning).
A sentence (independent clause) is a group of words that contains a subject and a verb that expresses a complete thought. The structure of the sentence is based on a subject and a predicate: The subject is the person, place, or thing that the sentence is about and the predicate is the verb clause that states something about the subject.
In most academic writing, corresponding subjects and verbs are expected to “agree” with each other in person and number (e.g. we run vs. he runs.) Many speakers of English do this instinctively, but there are often more complex situations that require knowledge of the rules. Agreement errors do not generally affect understanding, but multiple errors can cause readers to conclude that you are not a proficient writer.
In writing, there are four basic types of sentences: simple, compound, complex, and compound/complex sentences. Using a variety of these sentences adds style, fluidity, and sophistication to a person’s writing. Additionally, understanding the structure of the different types of sentences can help writers avoid common mistakes such as sentence fragments, run-ons, and comma splices.
Verbs can be said to have five forms in English: the base form, the present tense form (which may include the agreement ending -s), the past tense form, the present participle, and the past participle. Although the forms are predictable for most verbs in English, many common verbs have one or more unpredictable or irregular forms.
Verb tenses consist of six basic forms, but only two of them are conveyed through the verb alone, present and past. The rest of the tenses (around thirty) are expressed through auxiliaries which allow writers to shape the reality of time to their own making.
An abbreviation is a shorted form of a word or phrase. In order to save space and avoid repetition, many words and phrases can be abbreviated. Often, the full term should be introduced once, and an abbreviation can be used afterward.
The apostrophe forms possessives of noun show the omission of letters in contractions and indicates the plural form of certain letters. It is also used for omissions of information in contractions and to form quotation marks.
From a reader’s perspective, a comma may be considered a sort of written pause. Proper comma usage depends on a number of conventions. Be careful not to “over-comma.” If it is not needed as per the rules below, just leave it out. “When in doubt leave it out.” This handout contains examples of comma usage.
There are 14 punctuation marks that are used in the English language. They are the period, question mark, exclamation point, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, brackets, braces, parentheses, apostrophe, quotation mark, and ellipsis.
Quotation marks also known as quotes are punctuation marks used to indicate material that has been reproduced word for word, but they are also used to signal dialogue. In American English most punctuation is placed inside the quotes.
Chicago style is often used across the disciplines to make papers more consistent in appearance and help avoid plagiarism. The Chicago Manual of Style describes two distinct methods of citing sources: notes and bibliography and author-date. The notes and bibliography method shown here is preferred in the arts and humanities. For either style, attention to detail is key!
In academic writing, standard written English and correct grammar and spelling are very important. Your voice (the style of wording) should depend on your audience (the person or group that you are talking to or writing for). The standards for academic writing are a focus of this reference handout.
In public speaking and academic writing, an audience should be the focus of the argument or information.. Knowing your audience allows you to adjust your argumentative approach and to know what type of argument you are going to use to appeal to your audience.
The introduction and conclusion are important components of any academic essay. A good introduction and conclusion are essential to a well-written, complete argument. A good introduction not only allows the writer to build interest for the reader, it narrows the argument culminating with the thesis. By contrast, the conclusion provides closure for your reader by focusing on the significance of the argument and why it should be important to the reader’
Gender neutral language Is language that is designed not to be bias against a particular sex or gender. Nouns such as “stewardess” or “mankind” are gender specific nouns and no longer considered proper. More inclusive terms are “flight attendant” and “humankind.” Using gender specific pronouns for activities considered non-gender specific is also discouraged. It was once common to use the pronoun “he” in circumstances in which the person in question might be female.
Parallel structure is the repetition of the same form or structure within a sentence or paragraph. This makes items in a series easier to take together but can blur the distinctions. Parallel structure in writing is important at both the sentence level and paragraph level because it makes sentences easier to read and relationships easier to identify.
Rhetoric is the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques. There are various techniques and methods to increase the effectiveness of rhetoric, and this handout addresses several of them.
Writing needs to be unambiguous. Diction (word choice) and syntax (sentence structure) must not leave the reader guessing about what is written. Unity and cohesiveness are also important factors for achieving clarity at the sentence and paragraph level.
An annotated bibliography is a list of references for articles, books, and other sources followed by a brief summary and the annotation (i.e. a brief evaluative paragraph). The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.
A journal article review is a common assignment in college and graduate school. An article review begins with a brief summary of the article followed by an evaluation section, which addresses issues such as the quality of the research or any apparent biases that may be present. Articles should be from peer-reviewed or scholarly journals, and the writer should follow the guidelines of the preferred documentation style (e.g. APA, MLA or Chicago style formatting)
A book review is an analysis of a book that includes its subject, content, and strengths or weaknesses. A review may address elements such as the main point, theme, and the author’s purpose. A book review is typically two-thirds summary and one-third evaluation.
Storytelling describes the social and cultural activity of sharing stories, sometimes with improvisation or hyperbole, and every culture has its own narratives and tales. Important elements of stories and storytelling include the plot, characters, theme, and point-of-view.
An expository essay provides a clear, focused explanation of a particular topic, process, or set of ideas. It doesn’t set out to prove a point, it just provides a balanced view of the issue, requiring the student to investigate an idea, evaluate evidence, expound on the idea, and set forth an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner.
Diction is a style of writing or speaking that is dependent on the choice of words. In academic writing, the use of standard voice emphasizes formal tone and diction to avoid the use of informal language.
A media review is usually an analysis of a film, play, or TV show, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of media elements such as plot, theme, performances and directing. A media review is similar in many ways to a book review, but may look at many elements exclusive to performance art.
Plagiarism can be defined as the act of using another person’s writing or ideas as your own without giving them credit, and it can be inadvertent or intentional. Plagiarism can be avoided by properly acknowledging the original author, using references and citations.
Poetry conventions are the linguistic devices and structures associated with writing poetry, for example, rhyme, meter, stanza, and alliteration. Poetic devices differ greatly from linguistic devices and permit a broad “creative license” compared to formal academic writing.
A story has five basic but essential elements: the plot, the setting, the characters, the conflict, and the resolution. These components tend to be equally important, but the author may focus on a select few, depending on the style and genre the writer prefers.
Writing about poetry is challenging because it encompasses the careful analysis and interpretation of the author’s intent and use of poetic devices in the work. It typically involves the examination of all features of the poem to determine what message the author is trying to convey.
The setting is the time and place an author chooses for a story, which reveals the background for the action, theme and relationships. The setting is a crucial part of the story because it provides the framework and context for everything that occurs within the story.
In business, writing effectively is important, and business writing involves many configurations, ranging from simple memos to complicated proposals. Many of the rules in business writing are also slightly different than in academic writing, so reviewing these rules can be beneficial. This reference provides an overview of academic business writing.
Properly filling out a college application and writing an effective personal statement are important for being accepted into the college of your choice. A personal statement is an avenue for letting the college know who you are. In fact, they are not looking for a list of personal accomplishments; they are trying to discover the real you: your goals, your aspirations, and your passion.
Words help process life-- an arsenal of words can serve to make sense of what goes on around us. A strong vocabulary enhances your ability to write and speak effectively. Building vocabulary through reading is probably the most effective method, but certain other strategies and practices emphasized in this handout can also improve your vocabulary.
In writing and speaking, vocabulary is vital to communicating effectively. A comprehensive vocabulary improves not only your writing, but your speaking ability; however, many words are often confused, and this can lead to embarrassing misuse of otherwise common words. These words are usually homophones, words with the same pronunciation but different meanings.
Timed exams often have a written component, which can range from a short answer to a full essay. Students often have anxiety about writing an in-class essay. Keep the following tips in mind the next time you encounter this high-pressure situation.
The purpose of an interview is to elicit and record information, opinions, and experiences which are unique to the person interviewed. The individuality and personality of your subject should be evident in the written interview.
Whether for a job placement, consultation, or information gathering, an interview is a time to show interpersonal skill while being ready for questions that you can predict and having the confidence to answer questions that you can’t predict. Tell the truth, but there is no need to share everything.
While a resume is important, a good cover letter can be equally important because it may convince a potential employer to review your resume. A cover letter is designed to let a company know who you are as a person and as a potential employee. The cover letter should reveal details about your career history and goals that are not listed in your resume.
Multiple choice tests can be intimidating and challenging for many students. Approaching a test with a prepared strategy can reduce anxiety and improve test scores. If students learn to recognize context clues and make effective inferences, they can drastically improve their test-taking skills. Combining this with a strategy of the process of elimination will help students improve their overall scores.
The TSIA2 is a placement test used to determine a student’s skill level in at least one area. The score on this test helps place the student in the appropriate college courses. This reference handout lays out a strategy for improving scores on multiple choice tests and written essays
Resumes should be concise, easy to read, and error-free. A good resume is important for securing the job you want and moving up the career ladder. Resumes riddled with spelling errors and grammatical mistakes are a sure way to lose a job interview. This reference provides tips on content and formatting as well as a sample resume to help develop a basic resume.
In general, essays have a beginning (the introduction), a middle (the body), and an end (the conclusion). They also tend to have a single, unifying focus, which is usually expressed in a thesis statement near the end of the introduction. Practicing writing with essay prompts is a good way to improve your writing on tests which require you to write an essay in class without any reference materials.
An autobiography is an account of a person’s life written by that person. Biographies can take several forms. An autobiography can come from a collection of letters, diaries journals and memoirs, or it can be published formally as a book. There are four categories of autobiographies: intellectual, thematic religious and fictionalized. This reference handout covers the basics of writing an autobiography.
Biographical, Historical & Postmodern Criticism: Biographical criticism relates the authors’ lives and thoughts to their work. Historical criticism looks at the true nature of events from a historical perspective. Overall, Life and times criticisms analyze literature from a social and cultural perspective to bring a greater understanding of the work.
In everyday conversation, the word "critical" has a somewhat negative meaning attached to it. Critical thinking, however, is an extremely valuable skill for school, work, and life in general. It's all about thinking like an investigator. Question everything and pay attention to detail.
A literary analysis is not merely a summary of a literary work. Instead, it is an argument about the work that expresses a writer's personal interpretation, judgment, or critical evaluation of the work. A literary analysis essay is a type of essay which includes an argumentative analysis of a piece of literature. In this type of essay, the author examines the book, novel, play, etc. analyzing the idea, plot, characters, tone, or writing style.
Convention in poetry is a set of common rules which define how poetry should be structured, written, and articulated. The rules may be implied, or they may be explicit, commonly understood or announced. Poetic devices are a deliberate use of words, phrases, sounds, and even shapes to convey meaning. This reference handout addresses both poetic conventions and devices.
Reading literature exercises the imagination and improves vocabulary and writing skills. We enjoy stories for the characters and the experience of living in their imaginary realm. An active imagination helps us comprehend facts, make judgments, and deal with the intricacies of reality in creative ways. This handout covers how to read literature effectively.
Reading poetry well is part attitude and part technique. Curiosity is a useful attitude, especially when it’s free of preconceived ideas about what poetry is or should be. Effective technique directs your curiosity into asking questions, drawing you into a conversation with the poem.
Reading the textbook is an important key to academic success, and there are effective strategies for reading successfully. This reference addresses some of those strategies, detailing how to read and retain the information.
Research is the systematic examination of sources and materials in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions. Excellent research is the foundation for a quality research paper, and this handout explores the foundation of good research.
Good note taking helps you capture and prioritize ideas, projects and to-do lists, so nothing falls through the cracks. Listening carefully during a lecture, helps you remember important concepts emphasized in class, and good note taking enhances listening and processing information into memory.
The writing process involves several steps including brainstorming, outlining, research, and revision. Revision and creating multiple drafts are a key to expanding and improving on ideas. This reference handout outlines and provides an overview of this process
The thesis statement expresses the main idea of your essay, the central point that your essay develops and supports, providing a road map your writing. If it is not in the thesis statement, it should not be in your essay. A thesis statement is not a fact, it is a debatable claim that is usually a single sentence located at the end of the introductory paragraph.