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An essay is a written text. It is usually about the personal point of view of the author who wrote it. The definition of an essay is vague. Articles and short stories can be quite similar. Almost all modern essays are written in prose, but works in verse have been called essays (e.g. Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism and An Essay on Man). People that write essays are called essayists.
Essays can have all sorts of purposes. For example, an essay can be very argumentative, it can talk about points for and against the essay question to give a balanced argument or opinion.
Types[change | change source]
There are two basic types of essays, they are Argument led and Thesis led.
Argument led approach[change | change source]
An argumentative essay is a critical piece of writing, aimed at presenting objective view of a subject matter. It is narrowed down to a single topic. The main idea of all the criticism is to provide an opinion on the subject, it could be either positive or negative. A typical argument led essay begins with an introduction stating topic's relevance and a thesis statement, then body paragraphs with arguments linking back to the main thesis, and finally conclusion. In addition, an argumentative essay may include a counter-argument section where conflicting ideas are acknowledged, described, and criticized. The internal logic could follow a compare and contrast method: The comparison highlights the similarities between two or more similar objects, while contrasting highlights the differences between two or more objects.
Thesis led approach[change | change source]
A thesis statement based essay follows a definable thesis uncritically. This essays state clear opinions about the subject matter. They are supported with evidences that are relevant to the point, and the conclusion would have a logical flow of the essay's body. Conclusions of this approach are without any new explanations and would not lead to new discsussions. The internal logic of the essay could follow a descriptive and reflective method: A description is usually arranged visually consistent or chronologically. Description uses tools such as denotative language, connotative language, figurative language, metaphor, or simile to arrive at a dominant impression. The essay could be extended beyond the description of the situation with subjective examination and reflective presentation of the subject in writer's own worldview.
Genres of other essays in these two approaches are cause and effect, problem and solution, comparison and contrast, description, classification, analysis, argument and evidence, procedural sequence, chronological ordering...etc.
References[change | change source]
- Chapter 6: Comparison and Contrast in Glenn, Cheryl. Making Sense: A Real-World Rhetorical Reader. Ed. Denise B. Wydra, et al. Second ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005.
- Jane Gallop (12 November 2012). Polemic: Critical Or Uncritical. Routledge. pp. 15+. ISBN 978-1-135-87348-6.
- Chapter 2: Description in Glenn, Cheryl. Making Sense: A Real-World Rhetorical Reader. Ed. Denise B. Wydra, et al. Second ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005.