Essay Writing 101

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Hiyaa there everyone! It's been quite some time since the last time I wrote, right? :p I'm so terribly sorry for my absence. This time, I would like to post something that is more academic; so...... this is my first post for Academic feature in Marsha-Go-Round, hurray! :D

To begin with, let's talk about something more basic. Can you guess what it is? Yep! It's 'essay writing'. (;

Essay writing is an activity that you will always stumble upon, whether you are in high school, or in college. It even will continue if you enter the academic work field, or journalistic, for an instance. However, not everyone is familiar with how best to write essays. What kind of essay will be most likely effective to deliver our points?

In this post, I would like to share something that I hope will be useful in term of essay writing.

First, an essay is always constructed of some parts. Each of these parts have their own names: Abstract, Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. I'm sure we are all familiar with those parts, but I will give you a distinctive point for each part, that hopefully will help make our essays better.

Abstract, of course, is a summary. In short essays, this should not be longer than 2-3 lines. While for the Introduction, keep it simple, and make sure to define your KEY POINTS. This is to limit your discussion, and is some kind of attempt to make your own 'safety net'. (;

In the Body, we will break up our points into different sections. It is imperative that we use logical and reasoned argument, and AVOID emotional words. And now, we've reached our Conclusion. Do NOT merely present a summary statement (read: copying and pasting some of your points in the Body to the Conclusion) or insert any new ideas. And in writing our conclusion, we need to be sure of the nature of our essay: is it Descriptive (only the general idea as conclusion), or is it Argumentative (emphasizing arguments and proposing solutions in the conclusion). And last, aim to make a LASTING IMPRESSION by using questions, etc..

Second,is the language considerations.
We need to make sure that the language we use is suitable to our readers, i.e. not to use too shallow vocabularies if our main readers are academics, or not to use too high vocabularies and terms if our main readers are only vaguely familiar with the topic. This will help keep our readers 'entertained', and they will be more comfortable reading our essay. (;

Last, I will share the linguistic guidelines I got from my lecturer. Here we go:
1. Limit every sentence: single statement, fact, idea.
2. Average sentence length: 20 words; but also make sure your sentences are varied in length.
3. Use properly linked sentences.
4. Check your pronouns; make sure they are all consistent.
5. Conscious choice between passive and active sentences: reason behind using them.
6. If you are not fully satisfied with the sentence, rewrite it completely rather than try to alter some parts.
7. Re-read everything you write, remove ambiguities.
8. Learn to identify and avoid the use/overuse of jargon, redundancies, slang, and cliches.
9. Check the word order on your sentences.
10. Check all tenses, prepositions, subject/verb agreement, spelling, and punctuations.

See? It can be pretty easy, right? (;
And now, let's write thousands of essays! :p


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