What Is an Essay? Definition and Tips

An essay is a sort of writing, which usually demonstrates author’s position, personal view, or a research of a certain topic. While being a non-fictional type of writing, sometimes essays include narrative and subjective thoughts. Essay varies from observations of daily life, literature critics, and author’s reflections to political analytic and scientific research.

Academic essays and their types

Academic essays are common for high schools, colleges, and universities. Despite its type essay structure remains unchanged. It begins with a summary of what have been already written on the topic, an introduction paragraph that introduces the topic, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Most colleges and universities require supporting arguments and quotations from reliable resources to be used in the essay and referenced at the end of the paper in a bibliography page.

Usually, essay writer’s aim is to make his/her arguments clear, straightforward, and interesting. In turn, teachers and professors assign students to write essays to evaluate their intellectual capabilities, critical thinking, and creative skills. The most common types of essays include:

  • Argumentative essays. As a rule, argumentative essays are used to evaluate and investigate disputable issues and questions. Argumentative essay topics are mostly controversial. Working on this kind of academic writing, the student should express certain position about the topic combined with arguments and supporting evidence. Moreover, the other side of the argument should also be present in the paper along with claims and reasons expressed by some other authors. It means that a reader should be aware of the information related to the issue as a whole. This makes argumentative essays a type of objective writing while the author is free to express the reasons why he/she believes that his/her claim is true.
  • Descriptive essays. The descriptive essay should provide a meaning of a subject through observation and description. This type of essay requires powerful language for the reader to imagine and understand the subject clearly. It means that a writer should build an emotional connection with the audience and let them realize how significant subject is.
  • Narrative essays. The narrative essay describes an event from the author’s point of view. As a rule, this type of academic writing allows writing from the first person perspective in present or past tense. These essays are not always chronological, but they do follow narrator’s experience or reflection.
  • Compare and contrast essays. Compare and contrast essays reflect a connection between two or more conceptions, events, or ideas. As a rule, the main aim of a compare and contrast essay is to present significant similarities and differences between contrasted subjects to show that they have much in common (or vice versa). Writer’s examination should demonstrate a close examination of things and show whether there are subtle and significant similarities or differences between them.

General essay writing tips

  • Write – read – write – read. It means that you should always go back and reread your text to keep all details in mind. This is not a waste of time but a strategy to gather your thoughts. This is a good practice to improve the coherence of your text.
  • Be clear. Instead of writing everything that comes to your mind, try to focus on the key ideas. Describing your best idea in detail is much better than writing everything you know and fail to cover the topic. You don’t have to worry about the quantity, instead – worry about being clear.
  • Include examples when it ‘s hard to explain. Sometimes it is more difficult to explain “why,” when the ideas are too complex. This can make your sentences too long and your thoughts too puzzling. On the other hand, if you focus on the examples, you can describe concepts and issues easier. Moreover, examples demonstrate your teacher that you do understand the topic. Just make sure that they are relevant!
  • Ask someone for help. If you have an important but complicated essay to write – try using an essay writing service. This will ensure that you turn in a good paper.

These definitions and tips will certainly help you with your paper writing. Use them as a guide. Good luck!