Saturday 18 January 2014

Compare & Contrast, Descriptive, and Persuasive Essays

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Updated 20 January 2017

Writing essays are very popular assignments for university students. There are many different types of essays that teachers may ask students to write. Below you will find six common types of essays. In this post we're going to look at the first three types of essays and in the next post we'll look at the last three.
  • Compare and contrast
  • Descriptive
  • Persuasive
  • Reflective 
  • Expository
  • Narrative
Compare and Contrast Essays
One of the essay types that will help you hone your analytical, observational and critical thinking skills is called a compare and contrast essay. You can find a lot of free compare and contrast essay samples on! This type of essay shows similarities and differences between the subjects. You usually choose one side and explain why one of the ideas is better than the other.

There are two types of ways to write compare and contrast essays: subject and point by point. When you use the first way you compare and contrast each subject by itself. For example, if you're comparing apples and oranges, you'd first discuss apples and then oranges. Don't forget to discuss both subjects in the introduction and conclusion.

Remember to have balanced arguments. Even though you might clearly favor one of the subjects, you still have to present the other subject fairly. Many people have issues with this and it's helpful to ask other people for their opinions if you get stuck.

*Tip* It's useful to use a Venn Diagram when writing compare and contrast essays. By doing this you can easily see what the similarities and differences are between the two items. It will also show you if you have enough items to write an essay. If it's very difficult to find similarities or differences, you should consider choosing another topic. 

Descriptive Essays  
Another way to train your observation skills is to write descriptive essays. They teach you to notice small details and use 100% of your writing potential. A descriptive essay is similar to painting a picture with words. You should try to use a variety of different senses so that your reader can get a complete feel of what's happening. Try brainstorming and thinking of words for each of the five senses. When you finish you can pick and choose what you want to use in your essay. Although it's tempting to use a number of different sense words in a sentence, be careful not to go overboard as this can sound awkward.

Using adjectives and adverbs are also a great way to make your descriptive essay more interesting. You can find a variety of different words using a thesaurus. Try not to use the same words over and over again. Many people like using "very" and "extremely". Thinking outside the box will help your essay sound better.

*Tip* When writing descriptive essays is to have someone read your essay out loud to you while you close your eyes and listen. By doing this you will completely focus on what you've written. In addition, you will by able to see if your essay truly uses enough descriptive words.

Persuasive Essays 
Also known as argumentative essays, these essays are used to prove you're correct. In order to do this you will have to do research and cite your sources. Make sure you choose a topic that is worth arguing about. When in doubt, ask your teacher if your topic is ok. Some teachers will not allow you to have simple topics, such as school uniforms, nor will they allow you to discuss heavy topics, such as abortion.

When choosing a topic you must be sure that you have solid evidence to back your idea up. It helps to write a list stating what how you can support your main idea. If you find it difficult to find support for your idea you should change it. The evidence that you use to back your idea up should be taken from good sources. Nowadays it's very easy to find information about just about anything online, however, the source may not be reputable. Sites like the BBC and CNN are much better than personal blogs.

*Tip* While it's very tempting to hint that the opposite viewpoint is wrong you want to avoid doing this when writing persuasive essays. Instead you want to prove that you are correct using previous research that has done. It is ok to show that the other point of view does not have enough evidence or that their theories have been proven to be false, but it is not ok to point your finger and say that they're wrong.



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