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How to Write an Essay

In: English and Literature

Submitted By bookiewordie
Words 3503
Pages 15
10 Kinds of Rhetorical Modes

(1) Description

Descriptive writing calls for close attention to details. Whether your subject is as small as a strawberry or as large as a football stadium, you should begin by observing your subject closely and deciding which details are most significant.

Topic Suggestions:

a basketball, baseball glove, or tennis racket a bowl of fruit a character from a book, film, or television programme a child's secret hiding place a city bus or subway train a closet a favourite restaurant a fridge or washing machine a Halloween costume a hospital emergency room a laptop computer a locker a mobile phone a painting a particular friend or family member a pet a photograph a pizza a rest room in a service station a small town cemetery a storefront window a street that leads to your home or school a treasured belonging a vase of flowers a waiting room a work table an accident scene an art exhibit an ideal apartment an inspiring view an item left too long in your refrigerator an unusual room backstage during a play or a concert the inside of a spaceship the scene at a concert or athletic event your dream house your favourite food your ideal roommate your memory of a place that you visited as a child your old neighbourhood

(2) Narration

At least one of the topics below may remind you of a particular incident that you can relate in a clearly organised narrative essay.

a brush with death a brush with greatness a dangerous experience a day when everything went right (or wrong) a disastrous date a frightening experience a historic event a memorable encounter with someone in authority a memorable journey a memorable wedding or funeral a moment of failure or success a rebellious act a significant misunderstanding a strange job interview a time that you took a stand on an important issue a traffic accident a trip that you would like to take a vacation trip from your childhood an account of a difficult decision that you had to make an account of a visit to a fictional place an act of heroism or cowardice an embarrassing experience an encounter that changed your life an encounter with someone or something you were afraid of an event that marked a turning point in your life an experience that altered your view of someone an experience that helped you grow up an experience that led to renewed faith an experience that left you disillusioned an experience that made you laugh until you cried an experience that showed how appearances can be deceiving an experience that showed how we should be careful of what we wish for an experience that taught you a lesson an eyewitness account of an important event an imaginary encounter with a real person an important discovery an occasion when you experienced rejection an unexpected encounter one minute of a football game (or other sporting event) surviving a hurricane or a tornado (or other natural disaster) the breakup of a friendship the day you decided to change your life the experience of being lost two different versions of the same event your first day at a new job your first day at a new school or college your first time away from home your first visit to the country (or to a large city) your last day on a job

(3) Process Analysis

When developing a paragraph or essay through process analysis, you should keep several points in mind:

Be sure to include all steps and arrange them in sequence.
Explain why each step is necessary, and include warnings where appropriate.
Define any terms that your readers may not be familiar with.
Offer clear descriptions of any tools or materials needed to carry out the process.
Provide your readers with a way of determining whether or not the process has been carried out successfully.

You shouldn't find it difficult to follow these guidelines if you've chosen a topic that you know quite well.

Topic Suggestions:

how a mobile takes pictures how a magician saws a woman in half how a particular accident occurred how a pocket calculator works how an iPod works how ice cream is made how parents (or children) make us feel guilty how teachers make up exams how to apply the Heimlich manoeuvre how to avoid a nervous breakdown during exams how to bathe a cat how to build a great sandcastle how to choose a major how to complain effectively how to develop self-confidence how to edit a video how to end a relationship how to enjoy the weekend for under £10 how to find the perfect roommate how to get along with an instructor without sucking up how to get rid of a roommate - without committing a crime how to give yourself a haircut how to housebreak your dog how to insert a contact lens how to keep peace with a spouse or a roommate how to kick a bad habit how to lose weight without losing your mind how to make (and keep) friends on Facebook how to make the perfect brownies how to make the perfect cup of tea how to overcome insomnia how to pitch a knuckleball how to pitch a tent in the rain how to plan the perfect class schedule how to plan the perfect party how to quit smoking how to rent your first apartment how to save money while saving the environment how to select the best portable media player how to stay sober on a Saturday night how to succeed in (or flunk out of) college how to survive a night of babysitting how to survive a recession how to survive without a car how to take decent photographs with your cell phone how to toilet train a baby how to use Twitter how to wash a sweater

(4) Examples

If you're asked to compose a paragraph, essay, or speech developed with examples, these topic suggestions should help you get started.

Topic Suggestions:

(A) Drawing on your own experiences and observations, use examples to show that you agree or disagree with any one of the following principles:
(1) In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence. (The Peter Principle)
(2) Work expands to fill the time available. (Parkinson's Law)
(3) Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. (Murphy's Law)

(B) Drawing on your own experiences and observations, use examples to show that you agree or disagree with any one of the following proverbs and observations:
(4) ‘Adults are merely obsolete children.’ (Dr Seuss)
(5) Anticipation is often greater than realisation.
(6) ‘You don't know what you've got till it's gone.’ (Joni Mitchell)
(7) A friend walks in when everyone else walks out.
(8) ‘Punctuality is the virtue of the bored.’ (Evelyn Waugh)
(9) When life throws you lemons, make lemonade.
(10) ‘When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.’ (Steven Wright)

(C) Use specific examples to demonstrate your attitude towards any one of the following subjects:
(11) superstitions
(12) the best or worst film of all time
(13) contemporary slang
(14) Facebook friendships
(15) your favourite (or least favourite) television program
(16) your favourite (or least favourite) commercial
(17) tattoos
(18) Twitter
(19) violence in video games
(20) body piercings
(21) changing gender roles
(22) PowerPoint presentations
(23) the most useful (or useless) invention
(24) online high school or college courses
(25) best or worst job (real or imagined)
(26) your favourite (or least favourite) actor, singer, or musician
(27) your favourite (or least favourite) fictional character

(D) Use specific examples to examine any one of the following subjects:
(28) a parent's greatest responsibilities
(29) fad diets
(30) male or female stereotypes in popular culture
(31) superstitions
(32) the best (or worst) song lyrics
(33) true leaders
(34) good manners
(35) the value of pets
(36) best (or worse) fashions
(37) true heroism
(38) churchgoers
(5) Comparison and Contrast

To write an effective comparison and contrast, keep in mind that your subjects should be logically comparable and your composition should have a clear purpose. See these examples of comparison and contrast at work in paragraphs and essays:

Topic Suggestions:

a good boss and a bad boss a real vacation and a dream vacation a starting pitcher and a reliever an active student and a passive student an online class compared to a traditional class bulimia and anorexia
Harry Potter - on the page and on the screen infatuation versus love living on campus and living off campus
Microsoft’s Zune and Apple's iPod the car you own and the car you dream of owning the rules set for you as a child and the rules you have set (or plan to set) for your own children the Toyota Camry hybrid and the Camry sedan two candidates competing for public office two classes in the same subject: one in high school and the other in college two close friends two coffee shops two fast-food restaurants two hosts of late-night talk shows two memorable teachers or professors two neighbourhoods two perspectives on the same place: morning and night two perspectives on the same place: past and present two pets in the same household two places you have visited two professional athletes two sports fans two stages of a person's life two types of exercise two vampires two versions of the film invasion of the body snatchers two video games two views of your parents: before and after you left home two ways of downloading music or films two ways of losing weight: one healthy, the other dangerous two ways of studying for an exam two ways to break a bad habit two workplaces your experiences before and after giving up a bad habit your family home and the house of your dreams

(6) Analogy An analogy is a kind of comparison that explains the unknown in terms of the known, the unfamiliar in terms of the familiar.

A good analogy can help your readers understand a complicated subject or view a common experience in a new way. Analogies can be used with other methods of development to explain a process, define a concept, narrate an event, or describe a person or place.

Analogy isn't a single form of writing. Rather, it's a tool for thinking about a subject, as these brief examples demonstrate:

Do you ever feel that getting up in the morning is like pulling yourself out of quicksand?
Jean Betschart

Sailing a ship through a storm is . . . a good analogy for the conditions inside an organisation during turbulent times, since not only will there be the external turbulence to deal with, but internal turbulence as well.
Peter Lorange

[T]he world of particle physics is more like a crossword than a clockwork mechanism. Each new discovery is a clue, which finds its solution in some new mathematical linkage.
PCW Davies

For some people, reading a good book is like a Calgon bubble bath - it takes you away.
Kris Carr

Ants are so much like human beings as to be an embarrassment. They farm fungi, raise aphids as livestock, launch armies into wars, use chemical sprays to alarm and confuse enemies, capture slaves.
Lewis Thomas

To me, patching up a heart that'd had an attack was like changing out bald tires. They were worn and tired, just like an attack made the heart, but you couldn't just switch out one heart for another.
CE Murphy

Falling in love is like waking up with a cold--or more fittingly, like waking up with a fever.
William B Irvine

My favourite analogy to success in free markets is looking through a telescope at Saturn. It is a fascinating planet with those bright rings around it. But if you walk away from the telescope for a few minutes and then come back to look again, you'll find that Saturn is not there. It has moved on.
Warren D Miller

Quitting a job is like leaving a woman. It's like abandoning part of yourself.
Benjamin Cheever

Yes, a tree is an underground creature, with its tail in the air. All its intelligence is in its roots. Oliver Wendell Holmes

British author Dorothy Sayers observed that analogous thinking is a key aspect of the writing process. A composition professor explains:

Analogy illustrates easily and to almost everyone how an ‘event’ can become an ‘experience’ through the adoption of what Miss [Dorothy] Sayers called an ‘as if’ attitude. That is, by arbitrarily looking at an event in several different ways, ‘as if’ if it were this sort of thing, a student can actually experience transformation from the inside. . . . The analogy functions both as a focus and a catalyst for ‘conversion’ of event into experience. It also provides, in some instances not merely the heuristic for discovery but the actual pattern for the entire essay that follows.
D Gordon Rohman

To discover original analogies that can be explored in paragraphs and essays, apply the ‘as if’ attitude to any one of the topics listed below. In each case, ask yourself, ‘What is it like?’

Topic Suggestions:

attending a new place of worship becoming addicted to drugs being in a car accident dealing with failure dealing with success discovering a major in college experiencing grief experiencing joy falling in love falling out of love gaining a new friend getting married getting out of debt getting up in the morning going into debt learning a new skill leaving home for the first time losing a close friend making a speech moving to a new neighbourhood quitting a job reading a good book resisting peer pressure responding to bad news responding to good news starting a new job taking a difficult exam watching a friend destroy himself (or herself) watching an exciting film working at a fast-food restaurant

(7) Classification

Many subjects can be explored through classification: that is, identifying and illustrating different types, varieties, and methods. These topic suggestions should help you discover a subject that particularly interests you.

Topic Suggestions:

attitudes towards exercising attitudes towards money attitudes towards politics attitudes towards tipping in restaurants baseball pitchers, football quarterbacks, or soccer goalies cheaters churchgoers comedians customers at your work place dancing styles diets different uses of social networking sites (such as Facebook and MySpace) drivers first dates friends gardeners high school teachers or college professors hobbies methods of studying for a final examination music on your mp3 player note-taking strategies on-campus jobs for students online educational resources people waiting in line political activists portable music players reality shows on television reasons for attending (or not attending) college rides at an amusement park road trips roommates sales clerks self-centred people sports fans stand-up comedians stores in the mall study habits styles of eating in the cafeteria talk-show hosts television comedies television detectives vacations video games videos on YouTube visitors to a museum ways of boring people ways of coping with a cold ways of protecting the environment ways of quitting smoking ways of saving money

(8) Causes and Effects

Some of the following topic suggestions emphasise causes; others focus on effects. But keep in mind that these two approaches are closely related and sometimes not easily distinguished.

Topic Suggestions:

the causes of noise pollution the effect of a parent, teacher, or friend on your life the effects of a coach or teammate on your life the effects of computers on our everyday lives the effects of cramming for an examination the effects of growing up with a personal computer the effects of moving to a new town or city the effects of music downloading on the music industry the effects of noise pollution the effects of not keeping a personal budget the effects of peer pressure the effects of poverty on an individual the effects of pressures on students to get good grades the effects of racial, sexual, or religious discrimination the effects of stress on students in high school or college the effects of the steady increase in the cost of going to college the environmental effects of bottled water the influence of a book or a film on your life the long-term effects of unemployment on a person why adults have more fun than children on Halloween why baseball is no longer the national pastime why college mathematics (or any other courses) is so difficult why growing numbers of people shop online why many adults enjoy animated films. why many children run away from home why many people don't bother to vote in local elections why more and more students are taking online classes why one college course is more rewarding than another why people exercise why people keep pets why reality shows are so popular why sales of DVDs are declining why so few students read newspapers why so many people eat junk food why some people choose not to carry a cell phone why some roommates don't get along why some students cheat why students drop out of high school or college why you selected your major

(9) Extended Definition

Abstract and controversial ideas can often be clarified through extended definitions. The concepts listed here can be defined in various ways and from different points of view.

Topic Suggestions:

a good (or bad) boss a good (or bad) coach a good (or bad) parent a good (or bad) roommate a good (or bad) teacher or professor a happy marriage ambition beauty charisma citizenship common sense conservative courage dedication feminism frustration generosity greed gumption healthy appetite heroism honour human rights humility integrity intelligence kindness laziness leadership liberal maturity modesty optimism peace of mind peer pressure persistence personality physical fitness political correctness pride progress racism respect responsibility right to privacy self-assurance self-respect sense of humour sensitivity sexism sloth sophistication sportsmanship success team player thrift true friendship trust vanity virtue (10) Argument and Persuasion

Any one of the statements below may be either defended or attacked in an argumentative essay or speech.

Topic Suggestions:

A student organisation should be formed to rescue and care for the feral cats on campus.
All citizens should be required by law to vote.
All citizens under the age of 21 should be required to pass a driving education course before receiving a license to drive.
All forms of government welfare should be abolished.
All students in high school and college should be required to take at least two years of a foreign language.
Any citizen who does not have a criminal record should be permitted to carry a concealed weapon.
Any student caught cheating on an examination should be automatically dismissed from college.
At the end of each term, student evaluations of faculty should be posted online.
Both parents should assume equal responsibility in raising a child.
Censorship is sometimes justified.
College athletes should be exempted from regular class-attendance policies.
College students in South Korea should be offered financial incentives to graduate in three years rather than four.
College students should have complete freedom to choose their own courses.
Dieting makes people fat.
Drunk drivers should be imprisoned on the first offense.
Financial incentives should be offered to high school students who perform well on standardised tests.
Freshmen should not be required to purchase a meal plan from the college.
Government and military personnel should have the right to strike.
Government financial aid for students should be based solely on merit.
High school graduates should take a year off before entering college.
Most study-abroad programmes should be renamed ‘party abroad’: they are a waste of time and money.
Non-traditional students should be exempted from regular class-attendance policies.
Participating in team sports helps to develop good character.
People have become overly dependent on technology.
People who contribute to social security should have the right to choose how their money is invested.
Privacy is not the most important right.
Professional baseball players convicted of using performance-enhancing drugs should not be considered for induction into the hall of fame.
Romantic love is a poor basis for marriage.
Students should not be required to take physical education courses.
The continuing decline of CD sales along with the rapid growth of music downloads signals a new era of innovation in popular music.
The lost art of letter-writing deserves to be revived.
The primary mission of colleges and universities should be preparing students for the workforce.
The production and sale of cigarettes should be made illegal.
The solution to the impending crisis in social security is the immediate elimination of this anachronistic government programme.
The war on terror has contributed to the growing abuse of human rights.
To conserve fuel and save lives, the 55 miles-per-hour national speed limit should be restored.
To encourage healthy eating, higher taxes should be imposed on soft drinks and junk food.
University students should not be penalised for illegally downloading music, films, or other protected content.
Zoos are internment camps for animals and should be shut down.

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...This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project to make the world’s books discoverable online. It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that’s often difficult to discover. Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book’s long journey from the publisher to a library and finally to you. Usage guidelines Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. We also ask that you: + Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes. + Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google’s system: If......

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How to Write an Argument Essay

...How to Write an Argument Essay Argument essay is also called persuasive essay. The purpose of argumentation is to convince or persuade the reader to believe or accept the certain view point. In order to make the reader agree with your point of view or approve a policy or a course of action that you propose, you should provide sufficient, powerful evidence to support your argument. To write a good argumentative essay, you should do your best to meet the following requirements. First of all, choose a debatable point. Any statements of facts, personal preference or religious beliefs are not arguable. You should choose something which can be viewed from more than one angle and is therefore open to dispute. Second, provide sufficient evidence. Sufficient evidence includes common knowledge, specific examples, statistics, expert and authoritative opinions, and quotations from authorities. Valid evidence is that which is clearly and directly connected with the point to be proved. Furthermore, good logic is very important because all the facts and evidence should be logically connected with the conclusion and with each other. You can use inductive or deductive way to organize your reasoning. What’s more, you should also pay more attention to the ways of argumentation. These ways include illustration, quotation, contrast, metaphor, cause-effect, and reduction to absurdity. You can also use these methods in a comprehensive way, for it is helpful to make your essay clearer and more......

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How to Write Great Essays

...HOW TO WRITE GREAT ESSAYS HOW TO WRITE GREAT ESSAYS Lauren Starkey ® NEW YORK Copyright © 2004 LearningExpress All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Learning Express, LLC, New York. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data: Starkey, Lauren B., 1962– How to write great essays / Lauren Starkey. —1st ed. p. cm. ISBN 1-57685-521-X 1. English language—Rhetoric—Problems, exercises, etc. 2. Essay—Authorship—Problems, exercises, etc. 3. Report writing—Problems, exercises, etc. I. Title. PE1471.S83 2004 808'.042—dc22 2004003384 Printed in the United States of America 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 First Edition ISBN 1-57685-521-X For more information or to place an order, contact LearningExpress at: 55 Broadway 8th Floor New York, NY 10006 Or visit us at: Contents Introduction 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 vii Organization 1 Clarity 11 Word Choice 21 Mechanics 39 Revising, Editing, and Proofreading 55 Untimed Essay Writing Strategies 67 Timed Essay Writing Strategies 85 Sample Essay Prompts and Essays 97 Resources 111 CONTENTS HOW TO WRITE GREAT ESSAYS v Introduction n your preparations for college, you may find yourself facing a handful of high-stakes essays. Your college application requires at least one, and the SAT requires another. Depending upon the......

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How 2 Write Essays

...How to write an essay 1. An essay is about a text and should not include a summary of the text. 2. An essay consists of an introduction, an exposition(see below) and a conclusion. 3. The introduction is either * A statement which catches the reader’s attention and elegantly states the main point in your essay. * Or : a ‘funnel’ (tragt) introduction in which the reader is guided towards the main theme of your essay. * Or : A really striking quotation from the text with your comment, which also points to the main theme of the essay. 4. The exposition is the part where you write about 3 to 5 points (‘pinde’) in which you interpret the text. A point could be a characterization of the main character and his/her relationship to the other characters, the themes of the text, the ending, the title, point of view, the language, the setting or other issues. 5. The conclusion rounds off the essay. You may relate it to the introduction, but it is not a rule. 6. In your essay you should bring two to four quotations from the text and state which page and line they are from. (It may be done in a footnote or in the text). Your quotations must be integrated into the text. 7. In your exposition you should strive to write elegant transitions (overgange) from one point to the other. 8. You are allowed to express your own opinion in an essay. However, you should not write ‘I’ more than a couple of times. Use instead a passive: ‘Other opinions have been...

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