Saturday, 18 January 2014

Reflective, Expository, and Narrative Essays

From http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Writing.svg
In the last post I mentioned that there are many different types of essays that teachers may ask students to write and discussed the first three type of essay mentioned below. In this post we're going to look at the last three types.
  • Compare and contrast
  • Descriptive
  • Persuasive
  • Reflective 
  • Expository
  • Narrative
Reflective Essays
One of the most popular tasks used in colleges and universities is reflective essay writing, where students are required to recollect and analyze a given event and then write about its impact on their personality. This allows students to use their previous knowledge and combine it with what they have learned in class. Reflective essays are on the opposite spectrum of expository essays.

While reflective essays often talk about past events and how they've impacted you, they also discuss future plans and goals. Make sure you have clear transitions between the past, present, and future. Since reflective essays are centered around your life, it's acceptable to use personal pronouns.

*Tip* Jot down a brief outline before writing your essay to help you organise the events that happened. Using time order makes it easier to follow. Transition words, such as "first, second, next" are very useful when trying to organise reflective essays.

Expository Essays
Expository writing requires that whatever claim is made in your essay, it should be backed up with facts. As matter of fact, expository essays comprise other essay types too, including compare and contrast essays, cause and effect essay, and so on. Since expository essays are an umbrella term for a variety of essays, most college students will come across these at some point during their college career.

As mentioned above, expository essays are on the opposite spectrum of reflective essays. Expository essays involved just the facts. As such you should avoid using personal pronouns and use the third person. Be direct and get to the point while presenting the facts in a logical manner.

*Tip* Be sure to cite your sources correctly. Different professors require different ways of giving credit for what you've read. APA and MLA are popular amongst colleges. These change often so be sure to read up on the latest guidelines before you hand your essay in. Double check your facts when you're writing a reflective essay. It's easy for fact and fiction to become blurred.

Narrative Essays
These types of essays tell a story. While often personal it can also be something that happened to someone else. Narrative essays allow for a lot more freedom that other types of essays, however, there are still some things that you should keep in mind. You should organise how you want your essay to be written. Many people use chronological order when writing narrative essays, but this isn't required.

In addition, you should add variety to your sentence structure. Although personal pronouns are permitted, you shouldn't start every sentence with one. Using compound, complex, and simple sentences will also help add variety. Don't forget to involve the five senses in your narrative essay as well.

*Tip* Remember that narrative essays are still essays and as such there should be a reason for writing. Make sure you have a point that is being made or a lesson that is being learnt. Don't just leave the reader hanging; they do need to have a clear beginning, middle, and end.

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