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When asked to write a descriptive essay, what are you being asked? What is expected of you? These and related questions are what we will answer in this article?
Whether middle school, high school, or college getting assignments on the descriptive essay is a common thing in school. Though the assignment's magnitude at each educational level may be different, it all follows the same criteria.
what is a descriptive essay
A descriptive essay is a piece of writing that requires a student to describe something. It could be a person, an emotion, an opinion, an object, to name a few. It is meant to create a mental picture for the reader. By using the right writing style, the writer is able to achieve this. It helps one utilize their creative side by painting a person using words.
Features and structure of a descriptive essay
An essay has various aspects that make it up. These are;
- The structure used
It follows a simple pattern. That is, it has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
- The Senses
A descriptive essay aims to capture the reader’s attention. The writer ensures that the reader’s senses of smell, touch, hear, taste, and see are involved. Through the senses, the reader is able to visualize what the writer is describing.
- Use of figurative language
A descriptive essay relies on language to pass across its message. The writer uses different writing styles, such as imagery, metaphors, similes, and others, to make the article interesting. In the use of language, however, a writer should be keen not to confuse the reader by using complicated words.
The writer expresses his feelings and emotions in the essay. In doing so, he/she can connect with the reader. However, the writer should ensure they do not get too engrossed in their emotions and drift away from the main objective.
what is written in a descriptive essay?
As stated before, in a descriptive essay, different things are described. These include; a person, an object, an experience, a situation, a place, or places. The list is endless.
How to start a descriptive essay
In starting an essay, you first divide it into sections. You have an introduction, the body, and a conclusion. In the body, have at least three or more paragraphs
Write down your thesis statement. It is the main idea behind the essay. It is usually a one-sentence statement.
In the introduction, use a strong opening sentence to picture your reader’s attention. Use figurative language; ask a rhetorical question or an unusual statement. Write the thesis statement as the last line in your introduction.
structure of a descriptive essay
As mentioned, an essay has three parts.
it is the starting point of the essay. It is the head. Here one writes briefly mentions what is to be described. The thesis statement is also stated here.
- The body of essay
It elaborates more on the thesis statement. The body of the essay is the central part; it has three or more paragraphs. Each paragraph presents an independent point, which is supported by the shreds of evidence. Unlike the introduction, the body is highly detailed.
it is the final part of the essay. It is a final summary of the whole paper. The writer touches slightly on each point discussed and the thesis statement. The last sentence brings the piece to an end. It can be a question or even a quote. It is intended to give the readers something to think about.
How To Conclude A Descriptive Essay
In concluding, once you are done with writing the body, read everything from the introduction. Connect everything with the initial aim of the essay. Has it been delivered? If yes, they summarize everything. If not, revise the paper and make the necessary adjustments. Do not introduce new ideas in conclusion. End with a strong closing remark.
Writing a descriptive essay is easy. Once you have the discussion topic, go ahead, and write down every detail that describes your case. Have transitional words in your piece to connect everything into a single paper. Ensure the choice of words capture the readers' attention and have a strong closing remark.
How to Write an Argumentative Essay Step by step guide
While some essays are mainly based on opinions and emotions, others require irrefutable evidence. Going through various research materials helps one to come up with proof that their arguments are correct. Argumentative essays are some of those pieces of writing that are more objective than subjective. You have to take a side by providing credible reasons as to why your point of view is the right one. Argumentative essays are some of the most common ones that students encounter in the course of their studies. However, they still find it difficult to come up with a flawless paper without the use of outside help.
What is an argumentative essay and how to write it?
To start with, one has to understand what makes a perfect argumentative essay. It is a piece of academic writing where a writer uses supporting evidence to convince the reader about a stand they take. The writing skills are mandatory to ensure that there is a flow of the information provided. However, the writer must also conduct thorough research to come up with evidence that strengthens their point of view. The audience must feel that they have been provided with ideas that convince them to believe in the argument.
Types of arguments that can be adopted
Numerous arguments can help a writer produce a flawless argumentative essay. However, we will focus on three major ones: Classical, Rogerian and Toulmin arguments
This approach helps you when the reader has minimal information about your topic of discussion. It entails presenting a problem, stating your solution and trying to convince the reader why it is the right one. Since the reader has no strong opinion or adequate information, your task is to make them agree with you. This approach is also known as Aristotelian.
In this method, you present a problem and acknowledge its opposing arguments. You further state your opinion in the argument, explaining why your approach is the most suitable. This approach is used to polarize ideas where both sides do not seem to agree.
- Toulmin argument
This approach involves introducing your claim and backing it up. It also presents another claim that the opponent will also agree with, hence creating a neutral ground. This technique is also used in highly charged debates.
Structuring an argumentative essay
An argumentative essay takes the five-paragraph approach to present the ideas. However, others are longer than that especially when the writer has to present data from own research. The first paragraph is the introduction, the next three present the arguments while the least is the conclusion.
Your introduction plays a crucial role in determining the reader’s attitude towards your entire argumentative essay. It would be disappointing to be judged from a poor introduction while the rest of the essay is intriguing. Therefore, make a habit of grabbing the audience’s attention from the word go. You must introduce your topic, provide background information and introduce the main argument. The following techniques help in coming up with a perfect introduction;
- Use a hook to start your introduction
- Be concise
- Consider your readers’ emotions
- Have a clear thesis statement
How to write a thesis statement
A majority of students find it difficult to come up with a compelling thesis statement. This is the backbone of your essay and hence, should be carefully thought. The following tips can help you come up with an ideal thesis statement;
- Question/answer format
Come up with a question relevant to your topic and answer. This answer gives a perfect thesis statement.
- Refute objections
You can present two sides of an argument but refute one claim by using some proof to lean towards the other side. You can use words such as while, but, and nevertheless in such a thesis statement.
Use a statement that shows the ideas you intend to unveil in your arguments. This strategy states a claim, gives your opinion and the supporting points too.
Having grabbed your readers’ attention, you must keep them hooked throughout the entire essay. How you present and organize your arguments determines whether the audience remains interested in your work. The body paragraphs are the meat of your essay and need to be as spiced as possible. However, remember that this is an argumentative essay where credibility is essential. Divide your paragraphs according to the arguments you will present and conduct thorough research on each. Ensure that you cite other people’s work according to the required referencing styles.
In the first two paragraphs of the essay’s body paragraph, present the arguments that support your thesis statement. Provide facts, statistics, data and any other credible information to back up these arguments. Ensure that they are strong enough to sway the reader’s opinion and look at them from your point of view. In the third body paragraph, anticipate your rival’s opinion. Therefore, present the reader with a counterargument that differs from your prior arguments. Go further and explain why you stand against your rivals’ opinion. Again, ensure that you have credible evidence to help you do this.
Provide a summary of the arguments through the evidence presented. Do not restate the thesis statement, rather show how the evidence you give supports it. At this point, you should not introduce new ideas that were not covered in your arguments. However, you can use a personal experience to highlight a lesson you may have learned from such a topic. Ensure that your argumentative essay resembles a debate held with a friend or classmate. Your conclusion should, therefore, present the strongest opinion from the debate.
Argumentative Essay Post writing tips
Your essay remains a draft as long as you do not go through it after completion. Take time to proofread your work and identify any grammatical, punctuation, spelling or citation anomalies. Also, consider the flow of your work and if your arguments arrive at the intended point. Have you formulated your arguments appropriately? Can you easily identify the thesis statement and relate it to the entire essay? How strong are the arguments you have presented? You can also make use of a friend, classmate or professional to revise your work.
What is an analytical essay?
An analytical essay tries to come up with an in-depth understanding of a film, article, book or piece of research. Therefore, it goes beyond providing a summary of the entire piece. An analytical essay analyzes some concepts that have been adopted and why. As a writer, the content is more than meets the eye; you must provide evidence to every claim you make. When writing this type of essay, you must understand the author’s thoughts and intentions. This way, you can produce a complete analysis as to why the writer adopted the methods. You must thoroughly evaluate the pros and cons of the piece you are analyzing.
Coming up with analytical essay topic
Some professors and teachers will assign a specific topic while others will leave it to the students’ creativity. Choose an area that has not been explored from all angles. Look at the issues you have learned in class and write down essays that may arise from them. Take your time to go through books, websites and scholarly articles gathering information on that area. Which of all those fields can have enough material for a perfect analytical essay? As you narrow down the possible areas, you will finally settle on the most appropriate one. Choose it as your topic and create a suitable title for your work. Having started here, you will easily remain relevant throughout your analysis.
Understand what the requirements for your analytical essay writing prompt
Your professor may give instructions that you must follow as you write your essay. If it is a book analysis, you may be asked to focus on specific characters. If it is scientific research, you could be required to concentrate on a certain methodology. It is up to you to determine what exactly you will analyze regarding that particular issue. Before writing your essay, you must be sure that the instructions are crystal clear. You can use sample essays of similar nature to get a starting point.
Choose your path
You can analyze the same topic in a variety of ways and it will still be correct. Of all the possibilities available, choose one with which you are most comfortable. Since this essay requires an in-depth understanding, you must portray such ability in your essay. Ensure that your path is one that produces a strong and appealing essay.
Writing the thesis statement
Your thesis statement lets the reader know where you stand in the issue being discussed. Avoid an ambiguous thesis statement; make it as brief and concise as possible. Consider a statement like “from research conducted by Bella Communications, despite creating an avenue for cyberbullying, social media has created a great platform for friendships, marketing, and fast communication”.
Create an outline
Your draft creates the skeleton for your essay by helping you organize your thoughts. Conduct intense research on the area of focus and note down crucial points. Be keen to point out material from credible sources and if necessary, quote the author. With a proper outline, you will find the thoughts flowing effortlessly in the actual essay. Identify what you will include in each paragraph, starting from the introduction down to the conclusion.
Writing an analytical essay
Start writing your essay once you are satisfied with the research materials gathered.
The introduction of your essay is your one chance to grab the reader’s attention; do not waste it. You can use a hook statement for this purpose, considering the type of work being analyzed and the audience. Emotional stories can start with a personal experience that will move the reader’s emotions. You can ask a rhetorical question that will leave the reader looking for answers. A shocking statistic that reveals unknown research can also be a great way of starting your essay. Give some relevant background information and then end your introduction with a well-crafted thesis statement.
Each paragraph in the body of your essay should relate to the thesis statement. You can identify at least three points of discussion for your topic and adopt the CEE criteria.
C- Claim: in the first sentence of each paragraph, identify the main point of discussion.
E- Example analysis: after introducing a claim, you must provide evidence that backs it up.
E- Evidence explanation: having presented a piece of underlying evidence, provide supporting facts, statistics, quotes, and so on.
These three parts of your essay must flow freely and relate to the thesis statement. You can quote or paraphrase your evidence, depending on the length. When the supporting words are few, quote them using the appropriate referencing format. However, when there is a long piece trying to prove a certain point, you can paraphrase to create a summary. Avoid quoting too much work within your essay. Your body paragraph should be rich in relevant and credible sources since they determine the strength of your arguments.
Your conclusion is a reinforcement of your thesis statement. Provide a summary that shows the reader how well you supported your thesis statement. Let the reader experience a smooth transition from the paragraphs to the conclusion. If you have arranged your work properly, this should not be a problem. End your work with some concluding thoughts or a question to the reader. Your end thoughts may be specific to the topic or extend to wider, yet relatable issues. Do not introduce new ideas while concluding your work.
Review your analytical essay
Take some time off before you can read what you have written, to allow you to view it from the audience’s perspective. Watch out for any errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. How is the overall flow of your essay? Are the points as clear as you intended them to be? Also, ensure that you have used the proper styles for the in-text citations. Most professors will require students to use APA, MLA or Chicago. If you have mentioned characters, ascertain that you have correctly spelled their names. Ask someone else to read your essay and give their thoughts on the piece. Are they struggling to understand what points you are driving home?
How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay Step by Step Guide
To compare means to identify similarities between certain objects. On the other hand, contrasting entails looking at the differences between them. Therefore, when evaluating the similarities and differences between subjects, then you are writing a compare and contrast essay. An effective essay requires that while they may have distinct characteristics, the subjects should be of comparable categories. For instance, it would be easier to compare and contrast writers of different literary works as opposed to a writer and a politician. Professors use such essays to evaluate students’ understanding of a particular subject. Before you proceed to learn how to start off a compare and contrast essay, let's look at the compare and contrast essay definition.
What is a compare and contrast essay?
Probably this is the first time you have been assigned such a writing task and you are wondering: What is a compare and contrast essay?
Definition of a compare and contrast essay:
Like the name sounds, a compare and contrast essay is a kind of essay that allows you to pick two things, peoples, or any object and you analyze their similarities and differences. In writing compare and contrast essays for school, you may find that your instructor requires you to use tables and charges to show similarities and differences between the items being analyzed.
Now, can you start a compare and contrast essay?
How to start a compare and contrast essay step by step
Here are 5 core steps you need to read before you start writing a compare and contrast essay.
1. Identify the topic
Assuming that the professor requires that you write any compare and contrast essay, then you need a topic. However, in most instances, you will be assigned the areas, theories of personalities to analyze. Citing the similarities and differences can be a small part of your exam, meaning no need for a long essay. However, assignments are assumed to have been allocated ample time. Therefore, the instructor might specify the number of words required in such a task. At this point, you must evaluate the most appropriate topic to fit into that word limit. An ideal topic discusses two subjects that possess some differences, yet belong to a certain group. You can talk about different historical occurrences, authors, theories, inventions, and much more.
Having selected the most suitable subjects to compare and contrast, what do you know about them? What makes them similar or different? Write down all the similarities and differences that are there. Conducting thorough research will help you to come up with the most appropriate points. Your essay, however, may require only three of each which means you will eventually narrow them down. The use of visual aids is a perfect way to have a clear picture of what you will discuss. You can use a table that lists the similarities in one column and differences on the other. Another efficient strategy is to use Venn diagrams. In the overlapping region, list the similarities while on the outside of each circle will be the differences. With such a list, it is easy to examine each point at a glance. Identify the main arguments from the listed points.
3. Choose an organizational structure
You can organize your compare and contrast essay in various ways. Hence, you must choose the one that best suits your paper and stick to it. Some of the structures you can adopt include;
- Topic by topic
This format starts with one object, discusses all the points, and then moves to the next in the subsequent paragraphs. The shortcoming in using this method is that it does not clearly show the similarities and differences. It is an easy one to use but does not meet the purpose of a compare and contrast essay satisfactorily.
- Point by point
This method simultaneously evaluates the different features or characteristics of distinct items. For instance, you can assess the cost-effectiveness, speed, memory, and graphics of apple and mac computers. Therefore, the reader will see how the features differ or compare to one another.
- Common and different
In this method, you start with the similarities between the objects and the transition to the differences. This format clearly shows what makes the subjects of discussion similar and what distinguishes them.
4. Outline your work
Draft an outline that is in line with the organizational structure you have chosen. Arrange what points will take which paragraph. You can assume the popular introduction, body and conclusion format to organize your ideas. However, since you are comparing two items, the body can take four paragraphs to balance the objects. An outline involves only identifying the key points and placing them in their appropriate positions.
5. Write a compare and contrast essay
Before deciding to write your essay, you should have gathered all the relevant material. Having a list of the similarities and differences is one thing while supporting those ideas is another. Your points must have sufficient evidence to prove their correctness.
Writing the compare and contrast essay introduction
Writing an introduction for a compare and contrast essay is the most critical step as it allows the reader to quickly identify the topics that you wish to find their similarities and differences. It is the best part to grab the attention of your reader.
Your compare and contrast essay introduction for your compare and contrast essay should let the reader know what objects you will be analyzing. It is not enough to merely write them; capture the reader’s attention too. Make the reader want to read through the entire content and learn more. You can start with some statistics, anecdotes or personal experience, depending on the type of objects. A brief background and a clear and concise thesis statement will show the point you are driving at. Your thesis statement can tell a contrast that may make it reasonable to choose one object over the other. Do not give the juicy details at this point; only a taste.
Great ways on how to start a compare and contrast essay - examples
There are various ways on how to start off a compare and contrast essay. Here are four great ways to do this and win the attention of the reader:
Cite real facts and statistics: Show your reader that the content discussed in your essay is backed by research by citing facts and statistics. Remember to cite the sources.
Start with a question: Provoke the thoughts of your reader by engaging them using a question
Start with a joke: An appropriate joke goes a long way in preparing the mind of the reader.
Start your essay with a quote: Find a quote that is related to your compare and contrast essay topic. Avoid cliches.
Body: How to write a compare and contrast essay paragraphs
It is in the body section where you write compare and contrast essay arguments. As earlier mentioned, the body of your essay depends on the organizational structure you choose. If using the topic by topic, give all the information about the subject one and then two. In each of the subjects, support with the relevant facts, figures, quotes or examples. The ideas being compared or contrasted between the two items must be the same. If using the point by point approach, use common characteristics to distinguish each of the items in separate paragraphs. Again, ensure that all the points are backed up with irrefutable evidence. If you are using the strategy where you first compare and then distinguish, start with the similarities. What evidence shows that these items are indeed similar? If you are comparing literary works, you can quote the authors’ writings. Use signal words such as similarly, likewise, regardless, on the other hand, on the contrary, and compared to, among others.
How to Write a Conclusion for a Compare and Contrast Essay
The conclusion of a compare and contrast essay summarizes your discussion while strengthening the thesis statement. A proper conclusion leaves a lasting impression in the reader’s mind. You can end the essay in a question or challenge to the audience. Remember to review your work for any errors such as punctuation, grammar, typos and the like. Using a peer to look at your work helps identify the mistakes that might escape your eye. You will also learn whether your points are clear and convincing.
You are now ready to submit your essay for grading.
Further steps on how to end a compare and contrast essay effectively
Here are some of the things on how to conclude a compare and contrast essay and ensure a good grade after you write the conclusion paragraphs.
Proofread and edit your essay - Go through the essay and check for grammatical mistakes.
Verify that all information has been well cited.
Format your essay based on your instructor’s guidelines.
Additional Resources for writing good compare and contrast papers
How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay
Rhetorical analysis essays are common pieces of academic writing in English classes. They equip students with critical thinking, analytical and reading skills. In a bid to come up with a flawless rhetorical analytical essay, learners must combine those three skills. They must tear apart a piece of writing, movie, television shows, and the likes, and then closely look at them. The reader convinces the reader why and how the author uses certain styles or techniques to achieve a certain purpose. The student may analyze a piece whose aim was to entertain, educate, warn or instill some values. Other than providing a summary, the writer will establish whether the author met the desired objective or not.
Essential aspects in a rhetorical analysis essay
It is not easy to look at another person’s work in your perspective without having hands-on experience. However, by understanding some concepts and their use in written work, you can produce a masterpiece. Your essay must persuade the audience to look at things from your point of view. How can a student achieve this?
Use SOAPS tone when writing a rhetorical analysis paper
In rhetorical analysis paper writing, SOAPS form a critical point of analysis. SOAPS is an abbreviation of:
Identify the speaker, occasion, audience, purpose, and subject of your text or piece to be analyzed. Give the first and last name of the piece you are analyzing, together with any authoritative credentials. This is the speaker, who could also be the narrator of the specific text. The occasion tells the context under which the piece being analyzed was written. The audience refers to the people to whom the piece was written. You will also require to establish the purpose for which the writer wrote the piece. The subject refers to the topic being discussed by the author. You do not have to follow any order while analyzing a piece; the flow of the essay determines the order.
Involve rhetorical stages in writing your essay
The appeals and writing style comprise the rhetorical stages that will lead to a flawless essay.
The appeals involve the ethos, logos, and pathos, which are effective in persuading your reader.
Ethos: These ethical appeals rely on the writer’s credibility and character for approval.
Pathos: The pathetic appeals invoke readers’ emotions to gain approval. These emotions may include anger, passion, sadness, and disappointment among others. An effective rhetoric will create these emotions in the audience even if they were non-existent before.
Logos: The writer uses logical appeals such as data, verifiable facts, and evidence to make an argument.
- Writing styles
The writer uses voice, tone, language, imagery, dialect, imagery, and more to persuade the reader. One can use figures of speech, repetition or a certain word choice to drive a point home. You can also create images in the readers’ mind to evoke certain emotions. Different texts attract distinct moods or attitudes, all relevant depending on the piece.
Build an analysis
The appeals, styles, and SOAPS provide you with information about the piece or text of analysis. Before you can dive into writing, identify what you have gathered from the strategies above. Do they work or not in achieving the writer’s objective? Why did the writer choose those strategies and not any other? Write the answers to these questions; they do not necessarily have to agree with the writer’s arguments. Use examples to unveil the various techniques or styles used by the writer to deliver a message. Having cited an example and the objective, evaluate whether the style has effectively achieved the purpose.
Write your rhetorical analysis essay
You have identified the various techniques that you can use in coming up with a great analysis. You can now put them into use in the introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion of your essay. These 3 sections below will help you learn the rhetorical analysis essay format and structure.
Rhetorical analysis essay structure
- Rhetorical Analysis Essay Introduction
The introduction is the face of your essay and, therefore, should be keenly crafted. It should give the reader your clear argument of the text while identifying the piece being analyzed using SOAPS. Background information regarding the writer’s stance can come in handy. You can start your introduction with a factual statement or statistical figure concerning the text. End your introduction with a brief and concise thesis statement. This statement can contain the techniques used by a writer, aspects, an original argument or the effectiveness of a style.
- Body paragraphs
Different paragraphs should begin with a separate topic sentence while maintaining a logical flow. Discuss each technique or design its paragraph and highlight the different rhetorical stages. Use the same order to discuss all the concepts. For instance, you can deal with the appeals and then their effectiveness later. You can also discuss each technique followed by its effectiveness in reaching the writer’s objective. The point is to remain consistent throughout the essay. Use relevant examples or illustrations for each technique discussed.
Also, ensure that you maintain an objective third-person tone as opposed to first-person words. Form your arguments based or evidence rather than personal opinions or emotions. Mention the various tools used by the writer, followed by tangible evidence of the same. Ensure that all the ideas you present are directly linked to your thesis statement.
- Conclusion - Write a conclusion for your rhetorical analysis essay paper.
As laughable as it might sound, very few students are know how to end a rhetorical analysis essay the way their instructure would like. This is the section where you will lose marks if you don't know how to do it right. Your conclusion should uniquely restate your thesis statement without following word for word. It should also highlight the main ideas uncovered and how they relate to bigger issues. Show the reader that you have adequately covered and supported your thesis statement. What is the significance of your argument on a broader perspective? You can cite the need for further research while pointing towards a certain direction, giving adequate significance. Your conclusion should transition smoothly from the previous body paragraphs, leaving no questions. Therefore, you must ensure that your essay flows smoothly from the introduction paragraph to the conclusion.
It is time to proofread and edit your rhetorical analysis paper
Students often forget to review their work, hence submitting essays that are full of mistakes. Your essay depends not only on your analytical skills but on writing ones too. Therefore, you should take some time to go through your essay before handing it in. Use any available tools to check for grammatical, punctuation or spelling errors. Having someone else look at your work helps you to establish any flows in the flow or analysis of the essay.