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Unit 2

WUC 203/03
Writing Skills for
University Studies
Different Types of Texts

Unit Overview
In this unit, you will have ample opportunity to practise writing different
types of texts i.e., persuasive, compare/contrast, definition, problemsolution, evaluation, cause-and-effect, narrative and classification.
For instance YOU WILL LEARN:
in persuasive writing how to use the language of persuasion to convince
people into action with what you say.
how to analyse, organise and also state similarities and differences
in comparison and contrast type of essays
to use the definitive essay to your advantage and much more.
how to write classification and narrative essays.

Unit Objectives
By the end of Unit 2, you should be
able to:
1. Recognise the characteristics and
keywords in different types of texts.
2. Communicate ideas effectively and
coherently in a variety of texts.
3. Write ideas effectively in the
various types of essays.

2.1 Discussion Essays


Objectives
By the end of this section, you should
be able to:
1. Identify the features of discussion
essays.
2. Prepare an outline for discussion
essays.
3. Write thesis statements and topic
sentences for discussion essays.
4. Write a discussion essay.

Introduction
It is important to know the features of
these different essays and how to go
about writing them if you are to
progress in your studies.

Do you think it is better to have a


small family or a large family?

It is better to live in
the country than in
the city. Discuss.

In Unit 1, you learnt about the writing process


from choosing a topic, writing your first
draft, to submitting your essay.
In this section, you learn to write the first
of your many essays " the discussion essay.
In class, as well as away from the classroom,
you have often engaged in oral discussions
on certain issues with friends, coursemates,
tutors, and even family members.
Eventually some of these discussions will take
a written form

One of the most common academic essays you will


be writing will be the discussion essay.
Before you proceed to write such essays you need to
be able to recognise their features.
In this section, you will learn about the
characteristics of discussion essays and how to write
them.

As far as working people are


concerned, the benefits of
distance learning far outweigh
studying full-time. What do you
think?

Features of discussion essays


What is a discussion essay?
it is a written discussion
a discussion where you decide what information to
present.
a discussion essay is more organised
only the ideas related to the topic find their
way into the essay, and the various ideas are put into
their respective paragraph

What do you write in a discussion essay?


you write about the varying views on a particular topic.

So whose views should we accept for inclusion


in such essays?
In the discussion essay, you may discuss:
1. A single view.
2. Two views " one view for, and the other view against.
3. Your view.
It is preferable that you discuss the two different views, and then give your
opinion.

Here is an example of a topic for a discussion essay:


Some people believe that advertising is useful and informative.
Others believe it gives false information and increases the
prices of goods. Discuss both these views and give your opinion.

The above question clearly states that you have to:


1. Discuss the first view.
2. Discuss the second view.
3. Give your opinion.

Here is another example of a topic for a discussion essay:


Do professional athletes deserve their million-dollar salaries? Discuss.

When a question requires you to discuss, you write as much as you


know about the topic. The question does not ask if you agree or
disagree with the statement.
Therefore, you discuss the views of both sides, and include your
opinion:
1. Yes: Professional athletes deserve their million-dollar salaries.
2. No: Professional athletes do not deserve their million-dollar salaries.
3. Give your opinion (optional).

Writing the discussion essay


Planning the essay
before you begin writing your discussion essay, plan
the three parts of your essay " i.e., the introduction, the
body, and the conclusion.
Begin by brainstorming for ideas or researching for
information.
Next, organise your ideas and supporting information
in the form of an essay outline.(refer to the blank outline
provided in Unit 1.)
As it is just an outline, you need not write in complete
sentences " just the points or main ideas will do.
your outline will also let you check to see if you have
answered the question, or if you are off-topic.

In some discussion essays, you examine the two views of an issue


before giving your opinion. Of course, it is easier for you to plan
your essay if the question explicitly states exactly what you have to
do.
Here is an example of such a topic:
Some people believe that advertising is useful and informative. Others
believe itgives false information and increases the prices of goods. Discuss
both these viewsand give your opinion.
The above question clearly states that you have to:
1. Discuss the first view: Some people believe that advertising is useful
and informative.
2. Discuss the second view: Others believe it gives false information and
increases the prices of good.
3. Give your opinion: Give your opinion.

Reminder
Failing to plan is planning to
fail.
" Anon

Essay patterns
You need to plan how you are going to organise the essay for this topic.
Here is one possible pattern:
Pattern 1:
1. Body paragraph 1: First view
2. Body paragraph 2: Second view
3. Body paragraph 3: Your opinion
Alternatively, you may decide on two body paragraphs " with each
paragraph presenting each view together with your opinion:
Pattern 2:
1. Body paragraph 1: First view and your opinion
2. Body paragraph 2: Second view and your opinion

You may wish to discuss each view followed by your opinion in separate
paragraphs.
This plan requires four body paragraphs:
Pattern 3:
1. Body paragraph 1: First view
2. Body paragraph 2: Your opinion of the first view
3. Body paragraph 3: Second view
4. Body paragraph 4: Your opinion of the second view

The essay outline


Here is an outline, complete with an introduction and conclusion, based
on Pattern 1:

Introduction
Opening sentence/Hook:
It used to be that people needed products to survive. Now
products need people to
survive. (The hook makes use of a quotation.)
General/Background Information:
Information on advertising being useful and informative
(Background information on
the first view). Information on advertising giving false
information and increasing the
prices of goods (Background information on the second
view).
Thesis statement:
This essay will discuss the two views (as mentioned in the
background information)as well as my personal view on
advertising.

Body
Body Paragraph 1:
Topic sentence: Some people believe that advertising is useful and
informative.
Supporting sentence 1
Supporting sentence 2
Supporting sentence 3
Body Paragraph 2:
Topic sentence: Other people believe advertising gives false
information and increases
the prices of goods.
Supporting sentence 1
Supporting sentence 2
Supporting sentence 3
Body Paragraph 3:
Topic sentence: In my opinion, advertising
Supporting sentence 1
Supporting sentence 2
Supporting sentence 3

Conclusion
Restatement/Summary:
While some people think that advertising is helpful and
enlightening (the first view), others believe it misleads and raises
the prices of goods (the second view). As for me, I personally feel
that there is truth in the two opposing views.
Closing statement:
Whether we like it or not, advertising is here to stay.

Introduction
Opening sentence: Begin your outline by
drafting your opening sentence " will it be an
announcement, refutation, question, quotation,
or a definition?
Refer to Unit 1
for the various strategies on writing the hook.

Background information:

Next, decide what background information


you want to give on advertising.
Keep it short just enough so that your
readers know what advertising is.

Thesis statement:
Finally, you complete your introduction with a thesis
statement that tells your readers what you intend to
discuss in your essay.
You can simply state that you will discuss the two
opposing views followed by your own personal view "
three views in all.
You will need three body paragraphs for each of the
three different views.

Body
Body paragraph 1: In your first body
paragraph, your topic sentence will announce
what will be discussed:
Some people believe that advertising is useful
and informative.
Provide supporting details to support this
main idea. Provide facts, evidence, statistics,
or quotations to support the topic sentence.

Body paragraph 2:
In your second body paragraph, state in your topic
sentence that you will discuss the other view, i.e.
Other people believe advertising gives false
information and increases the prices of goods.
Similarly, you provide supporting
sentences to back up why this group of people are of
this second view.

Body paragraph 3:
In your third body paragraph, you give your opinion.
You can choose to support one of the two views
discussed, or agree with both views that advertising
is useful, increases the prices of goods, and
informative as well as gives false
information.

Conclusion
The conclusion is almost similar to the introduction.
However, you should avoid repeating the exact words.
Restatement: Restate the thesis statement with
different words " consult your dictionary or thesaurus
for synonyms. Your restatement need not be in a
single sentence. It is basically a summary of the thesis
statement, or a brief summary of what were discussed
in the body paragraphs.

Summary:
Provide a very brief summary of what was discussed, but do not introduce
any new ideas. Any ideas should be in the body paragraphs, not the
conclusion.
If your restatement provides a sufficient summary of what your essay is
about, it is not necessary to add any further sentences. The restatement
below uses two sentences:

While some people think that advertising is helpful and enlightening,


others believe it misleads and raises the prices of goods. As for me, I
personally feel that there is truth in the two opposing views.

Closing statement: In your final statement, you


make a prediction on what advertising
is going to be like in future, or offer advice on how
advertising can be improved.
You may even ask a question to get your readers
thinking. You can close it with a
thought-provoking quotation if you like.
If you need more ideas on how you can write this
last sentence, revisit Unit 1 on the topic Strategies
for writing the closing
statement.

Activity 2.1
Complete this essay outline on advertising by
adding three supporting sentences to the three
body paragraphs.

Feedback
Activity 2.1
Possible outline:
Body Paragraph 1:
Topic sentence:
Some people believe that advertising is useful and
informative.
Supporting sentence 1:
Advertisements and commercials provide information
on products and services.
Supporting sentence 2:
Informs consumers of features, how to use, and prices
of products.
Supporting sentence 3:
Help consumers to make decisions

Body Paragraph 2:
Topic sentence:
Other people believe advertising gives false
information and increases
the prices of goods.
Supporting sentence 1:
Aim of advertising to sell ! may make deceptive claims
to lure consumers.
Supporting sentence 2:
Advertising costs money ! costs passed to consumers.
Supporting sentence 3:
Consumers end up with flawed and costly products

Body Paragraph 3:
Topic sentence:
I am all for advertising for the information it provides, but I am aware
that it can be misleading.
Supporting sentence 1:
I agree with both views.
Supporting sentence 2:
Informed of the latest products through advertising.
Supporting sentence 3:
I am aware of its negative side, so careful not to be misled, or overpay.
[Submit your outline to your tutor for evaluation and comments.]

Activity 2.2
Based on the above outline, write out the essay in
500 600 words.
Activity 2.2
[Submit your essay to your tutor for evaluation and
comments.]

Activity 2.3
Prepare an outline for a discussion essay based on the following
topic:
As far as working people are concerned, the benefits of
distance learning far outweigh full-time study. Discuss.

As far as working people are concerned, the benefits of distance


learning far outweigh full-time study. Discuss.

Introduction
Opening sentence/Hook:
_______________________________________________________
General/Background information:
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
Thesis statement:
_______________________________________________________

Body
Body Paragraph 1:
Topic sentence:
_______________________________________________________
Supporting sentences:
1. ____________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________

Body Paragraph 2:
Topic sentence:
_______________________________________________________
Supporting sentences:
1. ____________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________
Body Paragraph 3:
Topic sentence:
_______________________________________________________
Supporting sentences:
1. ____________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________

Conclusion
Restatement:
_______________________________________________________
Summary:
_______________________________________________________
Closing statement:
_______________________________________________________

Activity 2.4
Based on the outline above, write out the essay in 500 600
words.

Summary
Basically, a discussion essay is just that " a discussion.
in a written form, a discussion essay is more organised " only
the ideas related to the topic find their way into the essay, and
the various ideas expressed are put into the related
paragraphs.
To discuss is to write about differing perspectives of a
concept or an idea. In general, the questions for discussion
essays do not ask if you agree or disagree with a particular
statement. Therefore, you can discuss the views of both
sides, and include your opinion.
You learnt how to write appropriate thesis statements, topic
sentences and the related supporting sentences, and the
conclusion for discussion essays.

Self-test 2.1
Prepare an outline for this topic:
Should we send students abroad for further studies? Discuss.
Then write the essay based on the outline you have prepared.
Introduction
Opening sentence/Hook:
_______________________________________________________
General/Background Information:
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
Thesis statement:
_______________________________________________________

Body
Body Paragraph 1:
Topic sentence:
_______________________________________________________
Supporting sentences:
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
Body Paragraph 2:
Topic sentence:
_______________________________________________________
Supporting sentences:
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
Body Paragraph 3:
Topic sentence:
_______________________________________________________
Supporting sentences:
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________

Conclusion
Restatement:
_______________________________________________________
Summary:
_______________________________________________________
Closing statement:
_______________________________________________________

2.2 Argumentative Essays


Objectives
By the end of this section, you should be able to:
1. Identify the features of argumentative essays.
2. Prepare an outline for argumentative essays.
3. Write thesis statements and topic sentences
for argumentative essays.
4. Write an argumentative essay.

Introduction
In this section, you will learn about argumentative essays.
In argumentative writing,you take a stand either for or against
an issue, and convince other people with your
views.
Your objective in this type of essay is to win over your readers
by providing arguments to support your proposition.
Let us first look at what an argumentative
essay is.

Important: In order to convince the reader,


you need more than opinion; you need facts
and/or examples to back your opinion. So, be
sureto do your research.
In the next section, you will see how your
essay should be organised.

Features of argumentative essays


What is an argumentative essay?
when you write an argumentative essay you do just that " argue your case.
You state whether you agree or disagree with an issue.
you provide reasons, evidence, statistics, and proof to show that your point of
view is right.
It is also known as a persuasive essay because you are trying to persuade
your readers to see things your way.
It can also be described as an opinion essay because you express your opinion
on the topic under discussion.
For example, you express your opinions about almost everything " from the new
office policy, online distance learning, too many academic assignments, politics, to
the recent increase in the price of petrol.

What do you write in an argumentative essay?


The keyword in such essays is argue. Other related keywords are
opinion and persuade.
You take a stand and discuss your view " then back it up with reasons.
In an argumentative essay, you may discuss such topics:

1. Do you think euthanasia should be legalised?


2. The Malaysian government provides free primary and secondary
education. Do you think tertiary education should be free too?
3. I can write whatever I want on my personal Facebook page. Do
you agree with this statement?
4. Is the death penalty an effective deterrent to crime?
5. Should smartphones be allowed in the classroom?
6. Mathematics and Science should be taught in English. Do you
agree?
7. Paper books are better than digital books.
8. Should athletes who fail doping tests be banned for life?

In an argumentative essay, you have to:


1. Give your opinion: State whether you agree or
disagree with the topic.
2. Support your opinion with reasons.
3. Back up your reasons with supporting information.

Writing the argumentative essay


Planning the essay
By now you would be aware of the importance of planning your
essay. You need to know what you are going to write in the three
parts of your essay " i.e., the introduction, the body, and the
conclusion. Here is topic for an argumentative essay:
Do you think euthanasia should be legalised?

The above topic asks what you think about euthanasia " which
means you have to give your opinion. In tackling such as essay,
you have to do the following:
1. State your stand or opinion in your thesis statement:
I think that euthanasia should be legalised for three reasons
(The above statement does not state what the three reasons are.)
I think that euthanasia should be legalised to fulfil the patients wish, to cut
the financial costs, and to end the familys suffering.
(The second thesis statement specifies the three reasons.)
2. Support your stand by elaborating the three main reasons in three separate
body paragraphs. Remember that each paragraph discusses one main idea.
3. Back up your three main reasons by writing supporting sentences. These
supporting sentences can be in the form of facts, statistics, examples,
evidence, and other additional information.

Facts / Examples
Main Reason #1

Facts / Examples
Facts / Examples

Goal or
Thesis
Statement

Main Reason #2#1

Facts / Examples
Facts / Examples
Facts / Examples

Main Reason #3#1

Facts / Examples
Facts / Examples
Facts / Examples

Essay patterns
Before you write your argumentative essay, you need to plan how you are
going to organise the information.
you explain what the issue is about and what your stand is.
n the body paragraphs, you give your reasons for taking the stance "
devoting each paragraph to a single point:

Pattern 1:
Introduction
Hook
Background information: Explain the issue and your
opinion on the issue.
Thesis statement
Body
1. Body paragraph 1: First point on the issue
2. Body paragraph 2: Second point on the issue
3. Body paragraph 3: Third point on the issue
Conclusion

In the second pattern, you discuss the other view, and explain its weaknesses
(we call this a rebuttal). After that, you counter the other view with your own
arguments (we call this counterargument). This pattern is known as a pointby point pattern because you explain a single point first. Then you rebut its
weakness (rebuttal), and end with your opinion (counterargument).
Pattern 2 (Point-by-Point):
Introduction
Hook
Background information: Explain the issue. Summarise the other view. Your
opinion on the issue.
Thesis statement
Body
1. Body paragraph 1: Discuss the other views first point. Rebut. Your
counterargument.
2. Body paragraph 2: Discuss the other views second point. Rebut. Your
counterargument.
3. Body paragraph 3: Discuss the other views third point. Rebut. Your
counterargument.
Conclusion

In the third pattern, you first discuss the other view in one block Then
you discuss and your view in another block. This is known as the
block pattern.
Pattern 3 (Block pattern):
Introduction
Hook
Background information: Explain the issue.
Thesis statement
Body
Block 1: The other view
1. Body paragraph 1: Discuss the other views first point. Your rebuttal.
2. Body paragraph 2: Discuss the other views second point. Your rebuttal.
3. Body paragraph 3: Discuss the other views third point. Rebut. Your rebuttal.
Block 2: Your view
1. Body paragraph 1: Your first counterargument.
2. Body paragraph 2: Your second counterargument.
3. Body paragraph 3: Your third counterargument.
Conclusion

Reminder
A goal without a plan is just a
wish.
" Antoine de Saint-Exupry

The essay outline


Here is an outline based on Pattern 1:
Introduction
Opening sentence/Hook:
Should a terminally ill person be allowed to die? (The hook makes use of a
question.)
General/Background information:
Information on euthanasia.
Thesis statement:
I feel that euthanasia should be legalised for three reasons.
(The three reasons are not specified in this thesis statement.)
I feel that euthanasia should be legalised because.
(State the three reasons in the thesis statement, and then elaborate on them in
three body paragraphs.)
Although many people insist that people should be kept alive as long as possible,
I personally feel that euthanasia should be legalised.
(This thesis statement gives both sides of the issue. Although the statement does
not usethe words three reasons as in the first thesis statement, or lists the three
reasons as in the second thesis statement, it is clear what the stand is ! i.e., that
euthanasia should be legalised.)

Body
Body Paragraph 1:
Topic sentence: The first reason why euthanasia should be legalised is
Supporting sentence 1
Supporting sentence 2
Supporting sentence 3
Body Paragraph 2:
Topic sentence: The second reason why euthanasia should be legalised is
Supporting sentence 1
Supporting sentence 2
Supporting sentence 3
Body Paragraph 3:
Topic sentence: Another reason why euthanasia should be legalised is
Supporting sentence 1
Supporting sentence 2
Supporting sentence 3

Conclusion
Restatement/Summary:
In summary, euthanasia should be legalised because (State
the three reasons here).
(This single restatement summarises the three reasons why
euthanasia should be
legalised. Therefore it may not be necessary to write a separate
summary.)
Closing statement:
and Jack Kevorkian once said that Dying is not a crime.
(The closing statement makes use of a quotation.)

Activity 2.5
Complete this essay outline on euthanasia by completing the three body
paragraphs. Write three topic sentences with three supporting sentences for each of
the paragraphs.

Feedback
Activity 2.5
Possible outline:
Body Paragraph 1
Topic sentence: Some people believe that advertising is useful and
informative.
Supporting sentence 1:
Advertisements and commercials provide information on products
and services.
Supporting sentence 2:
Informs consumers of features, how to use, and prices of products.
Supporting sentence 3:
Help consumers to make decisions

Body Paragraph 2
Topic sentence: Other people believe advertising gives false
information and increases the prices of goods.
Supporting sentence 1:
Aim of advertising to sell ! may make deceptive claims to lure
Consumers
Supporting sentence 2:
Advertising costs money ! costs passed to consumers
Supporting sentence 3:
Consumers end up with flawed and costly products

Body Paragraph 3
Topic sentence: I am all for advertising for the information it provides,
but I am aware that it can be misleading.
Supporting sentence 1:
I agree with both views
Supporting sentence 2:
Informed of the latest products through advertising
Supporting sentence 3:
I am aware of its negative side, so careful not to be misled, or overpay
[Submit your outline to your tutor for evaluation and comments.]

Activity 2.6
Based on the completed outline, write out the essay in 500-600 words.

Activity 2.6
[Submit your essay to your tutor for evaluation and comments.]

Activity 2.7
Prepare an outline for an argumentative essay using the point-bypoint
pattern on the following topic:
Some countries have introduced a law to limit the number of hours
that an employer can ask an employee to work. Do you agree or disagree
with such a law?
Introduction
Opening sentence/Hook:
_______________________________________________________
General/Background information:
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
Thesis statement:
_______________________________________________________

Body
Body Paragraph 1:
Topic sentence:
_______________________________________________________
Supporting sentences:
1. The other view:
____________________________________________________
2. Rebuttal:
____________________________________________________
3. Counterargument:
___________________________________________________
Body Paragraph 2:
Topic sentence:
_______________________________________________________
Supporting sentences:
1. The other view:
____________________________________________________
2. Rebuttal:
____________________________________________________
3. Counterargument:
____________________________________________________
Body Paragraph 3:
Topic sentence:
_______________________________________________________
Supporting sentences:
1. The other view:
____________________________________________________
2. Rebuttal:
____________________________________________________
3. Counterargument:
___________________________________________________

Conclusion

Restatement:
_______________________________________________________
Summary:
_______________________________________________________
Closing statement:
_______________________________________________________
Activity 2.8
Based on the above outline, write out the essay in 500600 words.

Activity 2.8
[Submit your essay to your tutor for evaluation and comments.]

In this section, you were introduced to your second type of essay


" the argumentative essay.
An argumentative essay is also known as a persuasive essay because
you are trying to persuade your readers to see things your way.
It can also be described as an opinion essay because you express your
opinion on the topic under discussion
In an argumentative essay, you have to always give your opinion " where you
usually state whether you agree or disagree with the topic. You then support your
opinion with reasons " which you back up with supporting information.
You also learnt how to plan your essay by organising the information by
selecting one of the three different patterns.

Activity 2.6
[Submit your essay to your tutor for evaluation and comments.]
Activity 2.7
[Submit your outline to your tutor for evaluation and comments.]
Activity 2.8
[Submit your essay to your tutor for evaluation and comments.]

2.3 Cause and Effect Essays


Objectives
By the end of this section, you should be able to:
1. Identify the features of cause and effect essays.
2. Prepare an outline for cause and effect essays.
3. Write thesis statements and topic sentences for
cause and effect essays.
4. Write a cause and effect essay.

Introduction
One type of essay that you may write at university level is the cause and
effect essay.
In such an essay, your task is to explain the causes (reasons), the effects
(results), or the causes and effects of a situation or event. Here are some
examples of causes that we encounter in our daily lives:
Situation (Effect)

Cause

The town was flooded this morning

It rained heavily last night.

The dog bit the boy.

The boy kicked the dog just now.

James had dengue fever.

He was bitten by an infected aedes


mosquito.

Marys writing had improved


tremendously.

She practised writing daily.

There was traffic chaos.

The traffic lights were not working.

Cause and effect are related. Study the effects below and see what caused
them:
Situation (Cause)

Effect (Result or consequence)

It rained heavily last night.

The town was flooded this morning.

The boy kicked the dog.

The dog then bit the boy.

An infected aedes mosquito bit James

He had dengue fever.

Mary practised writing daily.

Her writing improved tremendously.

The traffic lights were not working

There was traffic chaos.

You will notice in the five examples above that one event is the cause,
which resulted in the effect in the other column.

Features of cause and effect essays


What is cause and effect essay?
As mentioned earlier, in this type of essay you are required to explain the causes
and effects. There are four types of cause and effect essay that you may
write, depending on the nature of the question:
1. Write only about the causes of a situation or event.
2. Write only about the effects of a situation or event.
3. Write about both the causes and effects of a situation or event.
4. Write about the chain reaction or domino effect.

Here are some examples of cause and effect essays:


1. Discuss the causes and effects of the haze in Malaysia.
2. What are the effects of violence in computer games on children?
3. What do you think would be the effect of the implementation of the MUET
(Malaysian University English Test) requirement on for admission in
universities on students?
4. Explain why students cheat in examinations?
5. Discuss the causes of lifestyle diseases and its effects on people.
6. Why do young people take up the smoking habit even though they know it is
bad for their health?
7. Explain how Ebola is spread and what we can do about it.
8. How will the GST (Goods and Services Tax) affect you?

What do you write in a cause and effect essay?


It goes without saying that in a cause and effect essay you write about causes
and effects. In these types of essays you can organise your essay in two
ways:
1. Block organisation
In a block organisation, you discuss all your causes as a single block " i.e.
all your body paragraphs are about only the causes. Of course, all your body
paragraphs can also be about effects only. Your choice of what you write in
a block organisation depends on the question. Obviously, you can write about both
the causes and effects in your essay. You may write about the causes in several
paragraphs in the first block, and the effects in the following paragraphs in the second
block. You decide whether what you want to discuss first " the causes or the effects.
2. Chain organisation
In a chain organisation, all the causes and effects are linked or connected to
each other. You can have all the linked causes and effects in a single paragraph,
or you can discuss the individual links in separate paragraphs. For example,
you can do this:
Discuss all the five links in one single paragraph, or
Discuss all the five links in five separate paragraphs.
You make use of five separate paragraphs if you feel the cause or effect deserves
a lot of elaboration.
Reminder

Reminder
By failing to prepare, you are preparing
to fail.
" Benjamin Franklin

Writing the cause and effect essay


Planning the essay
Before you begin planning your essay, you need to study the question. Are you
required to write only about the causes, or just the effects, or both the causes and
effects? In this topic about the haze, it is stately clearly that you discuss the causes:
Discuss the causes of the haze in Malaysia.

In the topic below, you are required to discuss about the effects:
Discuss the effects of the haze in Malaysia.

The next topic requires you to discuss both the causes and effects:
Discuss the causes and effects of the haze in Malaysia.

This last topic requires more from you, as you not only have to
discuss both the causes and effects, but you have to offer
your thoughts on what the government should do to solve the
haze problem:
Discuss the causes and effects of the haze in Malaysia.
What do you think the government should do solve the haze problem?

Essay patterns
Before you write your essay, you need to study the question.
As you are aware by now, the type of organisation and essay
pattern depends largely on the nature of the question.
Pattern 1 (Block organisation):
You use this pattern for answering the first and second
question:
Discuss the causes of the haze in Malaysia.
Discuss the effects of the haze in Malaysia.

Discuss the causes of the haze


in Malaysia.

Discuss the effects of the haze


in Malaysia.

Introduction

Introduction

Hook
Background information:
What is the haze?
Thesis statement

Hook
Background information:
What is the haze?
Thesis statement

Body

Body

1. Body paragraph 1: 1st cause


2. Body paragraph 2: 2nd cause
3. Body paragraph 3: 3rd cause

1. Body paragraph 1: 1st effect


2. Body paragraph 2: 2nd effect
3. Body paragraph 3: 3rd effect

Conclusion

Conclusion

In the essay pattern on the left, all the causes are discussed in the body.
Although you may not discuss the effects in the body paragraphs, you
may include some background information about the effects of the haze
in the introduction.

As for the essay pattern on the right, all the effects are discussed in
the three body paragraphs. Similarly, in the introduction, you may
write something about the causes of the haze.

Pattern 2 (Block organisation):


Discuss the causes and effects of the haze in Malaysia.
Introduction
Hook
Background information: What is the haze?
Thesis statement
Body
1. Body paragraph 1: 1st cause
2. Body paragraph 2: 2nd cause
1. Body paragraph 1: 1st cause
2. Body paragraph 2: 2nd cause
Conclusion

First block
Second block

In this essay pattern, you discuss all the causes in one block of body
paragraphs, and all the effects in another block. Between these two blocks of
paragraphs (i.e., the cause block of paragraphs, and the effects block of
paragraphs), you may want to add a transition paragraph.
This transition paragraph concludes one block, and introduces the next block.
This transition paragraph is optional. However if you have a very lengthy essay of
many paragraphs, a transition paragraph will be helpful in separating the causes
and the effects. It prepares your readers for the new block.

Pattern 3 (Block organisation):


Discuss the causes and effects of the haze in Malaysia. What do you think the
government should do solve the haze problem?
This question requires you to discuss:
The causes
The effects
The solution (What you think the government should do to solve the haze
problem)
Therefore you would require three blocks in your essay. Here is a possible pattern:
Introduction
Hook
Background information: What is the haze?
Thesis statement
1. Body paragraph 1: 1st cause
2. Body paragraph 2: 2nd cause
3. Body paragraph 3: 1st effect
4. Body paragraph 4: 2nd effect
5. Body paragraph 5: 1st solution
6. Body paragraph 6: 2nd solution
Conclusion

First block
(The causes of the haze in Malaysia)
Second block
(The effects of the haze in Malaysia)

Third block
(What the government should do to solve the problem)

This essay pattern sees the organisation of three


blocks " one block for causes,
another block for effects, and the final block for
solution. Depending on the amount of information
you want to present, you may add or reduce the
number of paragraphs for the different blocks.

Pattern 4 (Chain organisation):


In a chain organisation, the causes and effects are linked together in a chain. An
event results in a new event, which in turn causes yet another event. A chain
organisation can be shown by the simple illustration below:
Causes

Effects (which become the cause


of a new event)

A man kicked a dog.

The dog bit the man

The dog bit the man.

The mans leg hurt and it bled.

The mans leg hurt and it bled.

The mans leg was infected.

The mans leg was infected.

The man went to the hospital

You can see the first event (A man kicked a dog) caused the second event (The dog
bit the man). The second event (The dog bit the man) caused the third event (The
mans leg hurt and it bled) which in turn caused another event, and so on.
The above cause-and-effect links can be written as a single paragraph. However, if
the individual links are complex, you may want to devote a paragraph discussing
an individual link.
If the causes and effects are closely related, use a chain organisation.

The essay outline


The outline below for a single paragraph is based on Pattern 4 which is a chain
organisation. Note how the causes and effects are connected for this topic:
The link between computer games and violence
Introduction
Hook : Is there a link between computer games and violence?
Thesis statement: Social scientists believe that there is a close connection between computer games and
violence.
Cause:
Effect:
Cause:
Effect:
Cause:
Effect:
Cause:
Effect:

Social scientists theorised that computer games that promote fighting and killing are very addictive.
This addiction causes many young people to be glued to the computer screen.
Young people are glued to the computer screen.
Being glued to the computer screen the young people focus their entire energies and thoughts onto
the violent content of the games
The young people focus their entire energies and thoughts onto the violent content of the games.
This strong focus may blur the boundary between reality (their real life environment) and fantasy
(the virtual world created by computer games).
The blurred boundary between reality and fantasy.
As a result of the blurred reality between reality and fantasy, violent behaviour may occur.

Conclusion
It is important to focus on games that are non-violent such as chess and monopoly.

Activity 2.9
Based on the above outline, write out the introduction, conclusion,
and the linked causes and effects as a single paragraph.

This outline based on Pattern 2 which is a block organisation answers


this question:
Discuss the causes and effects of the haze in Malaysia.

Feedback
Activity 2.9
Is there a link between computer games and violence? Social scientists
believe that there is a close connection between computer games
and violence. The scientists theorised that computer games that
promote fighting and killing are very addictive, and this addiction
causes many young people to be glued to the computer screen.
These people then focus their entire energies and thoughts onto the
violent content of the games, blurring the boundary between reality
(their real life environment) and fantasy (the virtual world created by
computer games). As a result, violent behaviour may occur. To avoid
such negative effects, it is important to focus on games that are nonviolent
such as chess and monopoly.

Introduction
Opening sentence/Hook:
General/Background information: Information on the haze
Thesis statement:
Body
Body Paragraph 1:
Topic sentence: The main cause of the haze is
Supporting sentence 1
Supporting sentence 2
Supporting sentence 3
Body Paragraph 2:
Topic sentence: Another major cause of the haze is
Supporting sentence 1
Supporting sentence 2
Supporting sentence 3
Body Paragraph 3:
Topic sentence: The most obvious effect of the haze is
Supporting sentence 1
Supporting sentence 2
Supporting sentence 3
Body Paragraph 4:
Topic sentence: Another effect of the haze is
Supporting sentence 1
Supporting sentence 2
Supporting sentence 3
Conclusion
Restatement/Summary:
Closing statement:

Activity 2.10
Complete the above outline on the causes and
effects of the haze.
Activity 2.11
Based on the completed outline, write out the
essay in 500 700 words.
Activity 2.10
[Submit your outline to your tutor for evaluation and comments.]
Activity 2.11
[Submit your essay to your tutor for evaluation and comments.]

Study the question below and think about how you would plan your outline. Which
organisation would be most suitable for this question " block or chain organisation?
Recent surveys show that Malaysians are living longer. Why do you think that
Malaysians are living longer? What are the implications of a longer lifespan for the
individual and society?
1. The block organisation is most suitable for answering the above question.
2. The first block will discuss the causes (Why do you think that Malaysians are
living longer?).
3. The second part of the question will discuss the implications (What are the
implications of a longer lifespan for the individual and society?). Implications
here mean the effects and consequences that may take place in future.
4. You may want to discuss the implications in two different blocks:
The implications of a longer lifespan for the individual
The implications of a longer lifespan for society
The topic for the two blocks above is The implications of a longer lifespan.
The controlling idea (Do you still remember what a controlling idea is?) of
the topic sentence for the first block is the individual, while the controlling
idea for the next block is society.

In the first block, you write about the implications of a longer lifespan for the
individual.
You can write about several implications in a single paragraph, or devote the
different implications in several paragraphs " discussing each implication in
a different paragraph.
Example:
1. One implication of a longer lifespan for the individual who has stopped working is
financial. (The controlling idea is financial. Discuss only the financial aspect in
this paragraph.)
2. An aging individual suffers from deteriorating health. (The controlling idea is
deteriorating health. Discuss the deteriorating health aspect in this paragraph.)
3. Another implication of a longer lifespan for the senior citizen is loneliness. (The
controlling idea is loneliness. Discuss the loneliness aspect in this paragraph.)

Activity 2.12
Complete the outline for a cause and effect essay using the block
organisation for the following topic:
Recent surveys show that Malaysians are living longer. Why do you
think that Malaysians are living longer? What are the implications
of a longer lifespan for the individual and society?
Introduction
Opening sentence/Hook:
_______________________________________________________
General/Background information:
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
Thesis statement:
_______________________________________________________
Body
Body Paragraph 1:
Topic sentence: Malaysians are living longer because
Supporting sentences:
1.
2.
3.

Activity 2.12
[Submit your outline to your tutor for
evaluation and comments.]

Body Paragraph 2:
Topic sentence: An increased life span will definitely have some
effects on the individual.
Supporting sentences:
1.
2.
3.
Body Paragraph 3:
Topic sentence: An increased life span will also have some effects
on society.
Supporting sentences:
1.
2.
3.
Conclusion
Restatement:
_______________________________________________________
Summary:
_______________________________________________________
Closing statement:
_______________________________________________________

Activity 2.13
Based on the above outline, write out the essay in 500 600 words.

Activity2.13
[Submit your essay to your tutor for evaluation and
comments.]

Summary
In this section, you learnt how to write the cause and effect essay.
In such essays, your task is to explain the causes (reasons), the effects
(results), or the causes and effects of a situation or event.
You can organise a cause and effect essay in two ways: Block
organisation, or Chain organisation.
In a block organisation, you discuss all your causes as a single block
" i.e. all your body paragraphs are about only the causes. Of course,
all your body paragraphs can also be about effects only.
Obviously, you can write about both the causes and effects in your
essay. You may write about the causes in several paragraphs in the
first block, and the effects in the following paragraphs in the second
block. You decide whether what you want to discuss first " the
causes or the effects.
In a chain organisation, all the causes and effects are linked or
connected to each other. You can have all the linked causes and
effects in a single paragraph, or you can discuss the individual links
in separate paragraphs.
You also learn how to plan your essay by organising your ideas by
selecting one of the four possible essay patterns

Self-test 2.3
Prepare an outline for this topic:
Many people complain that the quality of life in large cities is
deteriorating. In your opinion, what are the causes of this problem?
What measures do you think the government could take to solve this
problem?

Then write the essay of 500 700 words based on the outline you
have prepared.

2.4 Compare and Contrast Essays


Objectives
By the end of this section, you should be able to:
1. Identify the features of compare and contrast essays.
2. Prepare an outline for compare and contrast essays.
3. Write thesis statements and topic sentences for compare
and contrast essays.
4. Write a compare and contrast essay.
Introduction

Introduction
Take a look at the picture below. How would you go about describing it? One easy
way of describing the picture is to look for the similarities (two hands belong to
the same child, same size, shape, etc.) and differences (colour of paint on each
hand).
For instance, you could describe the picture as follows:
1. The picture shows two hands belonging to a child.
2. On the palms, one hand has black paint while the other hand has coloured
paint.

What you have done in describing the picture is to


give a description that shows similarities and
differences. This is what you will learn in this
section " writing essays that describe similarities
and differences. These essays are also known as
compare and contrast essays.
Many of the courses you take at university level
require you to write compare and contrast essays.
Such essays are very common in examinations.

Contrast means looking


at the differences.

Compare means
looking at the
similarities.

You are expected to be able to write comparative essays in the courses that you
take so that you can describe common grounds and ideas in your analysis. For
instance, you will learn to describe similar best practices that are beneficial to all
in the field of business. In science, you should be able to write essays that show
similarities between Western and Eastern sciences.
Similarly, you are required to describe key differences between two ideas,
thoughts and elements. This means that you should be able to write texts that
show contrast between two things.

Features of compare and contrast essays


What is a compare and contrast essay?
When we compare things, we talk about what is similar
about them. When we contrast things, we talk about
what is different about them. So in a compare and
contrast essay, you are expected to discuss similarities
and differences between two or more items.

Here are some topics of compare and contrast essays:


1. Studying in a public government school or an international private
school.
2. Studying as a full-time university student or as a part-time ODL
student.
3. Marrying someone of your own race or another race.
4. Studying overseas or locally.
5. Would you prefer to live in a city or the countryside?
6. Which animal would make a better pet: a cat or a dog?
7. As a writer for a car magazine, you have been asked to write a
compare and contrast article on a Proton Iriz and a Perodua Myvi.
8. What advice would you give to someone who is still trying to decide
whether to study at a local university or an overseas university?

Activity 2.14
Look at the picture below of a mother and her son. Fill in the table
with similarities and differences:

Features
Age
Physical
Clothes
Roles

Similarities

Differences

What do you write in a compare and contrast essay?


Look at the picture of the mother and son again, and the table you have just
completed. After you have analysed the picture and categorised the similarities and
the differences into the appropriate columns, it is easier to describe them.
With the information on the similarities and differences, you can organise your
essay in two ways:
1. Block organisation
In a block organisation, you discuss all the similarities in one block, and all
the differences in another block.
2. Point-by-point organisation
In a point-by-point organisation, you devote a paragraph for each point or
feature.
Block organisation

Point-by-point organisation

1. Age (1st point)


Woman
Boy
2. Physical attributes (2nd point)
Woman
Boy
3. Role (3rd point)
Woman
Boy

1. Woman (1st block)


Age
Physical attributes
Role
2. Boy (2nd block)
Age
Physical attributes
Role

Remember, comparative essays could


be a comparison between:
1. Two things.
2. Different views.
3. Events.
4. People.

The block pattern allows you to


discuss points in greater detail. Be
sure to keep alternating between
points and ensure that you continue
discussing similar aspects of
each argument.

The advantage of the point-by-point


pattern is that it continually keeps the
comparison in the mind of the reader
and it helps you to pay equal attention
to both sides of the argument.

Writing the cause and effect essay


Planning the essay
Before you begin writing your compare-and-contrast piece, you need to think
about how you plan to present the information. For instance, if you are going
to write a comparison of two car models, you have a choice of two ways:
1. Write about all the features of the first car. Then write about all the features
of the second car. (Block organisation)
2. Write about a feature of the two cars. Then write about the next feature of
both cars, and so on. (Point-by-point organisation)

Essay patterns
Before you write your essay, you need to study the question. As
you are aware by now, the type of organisation and essay
pattern depends largely on the nature of the question. You may
want to write an article comparing and contrasting two different
car models:

As a writer for a car magazine, you have been asked to write a compare
and contrast article on a Proton Iriz and a Perodua Myvi.

Pattern 1 (Block organisation):


In this pattern, you discuss all the features of the
two car models in two different
blocks:
Discuss the features (engine, exterior, interior, and
price) of Proton Iriz in one
block.
Discuss the features (engine, exterior, interior, and
price) of Perodua Myvi in
another block.

Pattern 2 (Point-by-point organisation):


In this pattern, you discuss all the four features (engine,
exterior, interior, and price)
of the two car models in four body paragraphs:
Discuss the first feature (engine) of both cars in the first
body paragraph.
Discuss the second feature (exterior) of both cars in the
second body paragraph.
Discuss the third feature (interior) of both cars in the third
body paragraph.
Discuss the fourth feature (price) of both cars in the fourth
body paragraph.

The essay outline


The outline below for the article comparing the two different car models can be
presented using the two patterns " you decide on your choice of pattern.
As a writer for a car magazine, you have been asked to write a compare and contrast
article on a Proton Iriz and a Perodua Myvi.
As a writer for a car magazine, you have been asked to write a compare and contrast article
on a Proton Iriz and a Perodua Myvi.
Pattern 1: Block organisation

Pattern 2: Point-by-point organisation

Proton Iriz vs. Perodua Myvi:

Proton Iriz vs. Perodua Myvi:

Body para 1:
Body para 2:
Body para 3:
Body para 4:
Body para 5:
Body para 6:
Body para 7:
Body para 8:
Engine of Iriz
Exterior of Iriz
Interior of Iriz
Price of Iriz
Engine of Myvi
Exterior of Myvi
Interior of Myvi
Price of Myvi

1st block
(Iriz)

2nd block
(Myvi)

Body para 1: Engine of Iriz


Engine of Myvi

1st point
(Engine)

Body para 2: Exterior of Iriz


Exterior of Myvi

2nd point
(Exterior)

Body para 3: Interior of Iriz


Interior of Myvi
Body para 4: Price of Iriz
Price of Myvi

3rd point
(Interior)
4th point
(Price)

Reminder

If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up


someplace else. Yogi Berra

Graphic organisers to help you plan your essay


Graphic organisers are tools that can be used to visualise and organise your ideas
at the planning stage. These graphic organisers will guide you in the process of
generating ideas " all you have to do is fill in the blanks.
Here is the first graphic organiser which you used to compare and contrast the
picture of a mother and her son earlier:
Features/Aspects

Similarities

Differences

Here is another graphic organiser used for identifying similarities and


differences:

Activity 2.15
Complete the outline below using the block organisation for this
topic:
Studying as a full-time university student or as a part-time ODL student.
Introduction
Opening sentence/Hook:
_______________________________________________________
General/Background information: Information on the options available for university studies
Thesis statement: Studying in the university as a part-time ODL student or as a full-time student has its advantages and
disadvantages.

Body
Body Paragraph 1: (Part-time student: advantages)
Topic sentence:
Supporting sentence 1
Supporting sentence 2
Supporting sentence 3
Body Paragraph 2: (Part-time student: disadvantages)
Topic sentence:
Supporting sentence 1
Supporting sentence 2
Supporting sentence 3
Body Paragraph 3: (Full-time student: advantages)
Topic sentence:
Supporting sentence 1
Supporting sentence 2
Supporting sentence 3
Body Paragraph 4: (Full-time student: disadvantages)
Topic sentence:
Supporting sentence 1
Supporting sentence 2
Supporting sentence 3

Conclusion
Restatement/Summary:
_______________________________________________________
Closing statement:
_______________________________________________________

Activity 2.16
Based on the completed outline, write out the essay in 500 700
words.

Activity 2.17
Prepare an outline for a compare-and-contrast article using the
point-by-point organisation for the following task:
As a writer for a car magazine, you have been asked to write a
compare-and-contrast article on a Proton Iriz and a Perodua Myvi.
Make use of the Internet to gather information of both cars for your article.
Activity 2.18
Based on the completed outline, write out the essay in 500 700 words.

Summary

In this section, you learnt how to write the compare and contrast
essay. When you compare two items, you talk about what is similar
about them. When you contrast two items, you talk about what
is different about them. So in a compare and contrast essay, you
are expected to discuss similarities and differences between two or
more items.
You can organise a compare and contrast essay in two ways:
Block organisation, or Point-by-point organisation. In a block
organisation, you discuss all the similarities in one block, and all
the differences in another block. In a point-by-point organisation,
you devote a paragraph for each point or feature.
In compare and contrast essays, you discuss similarities and
differences between: two or more things, views, events, people,
and other items.
You also learnt how to visualise and organise your ideas at the
planning stage by using graphic organisers. These graphic organisers
can also help you in the process of generating ideas " all you have
to do is fill in the blanks.
Finally, you prepared and outline and wrote compare-and-contrast
essays using the block and point-by-point organisation.

Self-test 2.4
Prepare an outline for this topic:
Is it better to study in a public government school or an international
private school?
Then write the essay of 500 600 words based on the outline you
have prepared.

2.5 Definition Essays


Objectives
By the end of this section, you should be able to:
1. Identify the features of definition essays.
2. Prepare an outline for definition essays.
3. Write thesis statements and topic sentences for definition
essays.
4. Write a definition essay.

Introduction
Foreign students in Malaysia sometimes ask in what ways is a pantun
different from the poetry of their countries. Tourists might ask you to
explain what is unique about the Pasar Ramadhan that appears once a
year, or tell them about the Thaipusam or the Chinese Qingming festival.
In tests or exams, you might be asked to define sociolinguistics, Maslows
hierarchy of needs, opportunity cost, economy of scale, or some theories
in your academic studies. Perhaps you have been asked to explain what
love, patriotism, success, beauty, discipline, and other abstract and
controversial ideas mean to you.
Definition essays attempt to explain these events and ideas mentioned
above, as well as many other terms and theories from other fields. This
section will examine how you will go about writing such essays.

Features of definition essays


What is a definition essay?
As its name tells us, the purpose of a definition essay is to define. In other
words,
this type of essay explains in depth the meaning of a word, a term, a concept, an
idea, or a theory. Most of the time, we can define a word or term in a sentence or
two. However, if an idea is complex, an extended definition may be required. An
extended definition may take up several sentences, paragraphs " or even pages to
explain a concept. Such a lengthy definition of several paragraphs or pages would
be your definition essay.

Here are some topics of definition essays:

1.

Love

2. Respect
3. Racism
4. Procrastination
5. What is intelligence?
6. What does success means to you?
7. What are good parenting skills?
8. Winston Churchill, John Lennon, President Obama, and Elvis
Presley are considered to be very charismatic people. What exactly is
charisma?
9. Explain the law of diminishing returns.
10. Define behaviourism and how it works.

What do you write in a definition essay?


As mentioned earlier, you can write about the meaning of a
word, term, concept, idea, law, principle, or a theory. While
items such as cars, computers, and books
have definite and concrete meaning (i.e., they are tangible "
which you can see and touch), terms such as love,
commitment, and responsibility are abstract (i.e., they
are intangible) and depend more on a persons point of view.

Writing the definition essay


Planning the essay
Before you begin writing your definition paragraph or essay, you need to think
about
how you plan to present the information.
1. Let your reader know what term is being defined.
2. Let your reader know the category or group the term belongs to (Is it an
animal, object, quality, belief, theory, festival?).
3. Tell your reader about the special characteristics or distinctive traits of this
item you are defining.
4. Make the explanation interesting by using facts, examples, and stories that
will help your readers understand, as well as enjoy. You can add humour to
your writing if you like.

Essay pattern
Your topic sentence should identify your topic (the term being defined) and the
controlling idea (category of term, and its characteristic):

Choosing the term to define


An important consideration when you write a definition essay is in choosing the
definition. It is not as simple as copying the definition(s) from the dictionary. You
should try to understand the term and explain the term briefly in your own words.
It is also important to limit your term before you start defining it. Do you remember
the exercise you did on narrowing the topic in Unit 1? Proceed to do the same here.
For instance:

Web References
Some definition essays to read online:
1. A Definition of Happiness by Nikos Kazantzakis
http://grammar.about.com/od/shortpassagesforanalysis/a/
Kazantzakis.htm
2. Prettiness by Gore Vidal
http://grammar.about.com/od/shortpassagesforanalysis/a/
vidalprettiness.htm
3. The Meaning of Home by John Berger
http://grammar.about.com/od/shortpassagesforanalysis/a/
bergerhomepass.htm

Summary
The purpose of a definition essay is to define. In other words,
this type of essay explains in depth the meaning of a word, a term,
a concept, an idea, or a theory. Most of the time, we can define a
word or term in a sentence or two. However an extended definition
may take up several sentences, paragraphs, or even pages to explain
a concept. An extended definition of several paragraphs represents
your definition essay.
Some of the terms you have to define have definite and concrete
meaning (i.e., they are tangible " which you can see and touch),
while other terms such as love, commitment, and responsibility are
abstract (i.e., they are intangible).
In planning your definition essay, you need to let your readers know:
1. what term is being defined.
2. which category or group the term belongs to.
3. about the special characteristics or distinctive traits of this item
you are defining.
4. more about the item by using facts, examples, and stories.

2.6 Classification Essays


Objectives
By the end of this section, you should be able to:
1. Identify the features of classification essays.
2. Prepare an outline for classification essays.
3. Write thesis statements and topic sentences for
classification essays.
4. Write a classification essay.

Introduction
Do you sort and classify things in your life? We classify things and
objects into groups and categories in order to be organised, as well as
to keep track of things. You can see things being classified and
arranged in supermarkets and outlets of shopping complexes. In a
supermarket, similar foods are grouped together so that customers to
locate them easily. When different brands of canned food are placed
the same shelf, you can compare them and decide which you prefer.
In this section you will learn about writing classification essays. To
classify means to place items into groups or categories.

Features of definition essays


What is a classification essay?
In a classification essay, you sort items or events into certain categories
or classes.
Usually, a classification essay categorises them into more than two
categories. In comparison, a compare-and-contrast essay categorises
items into two main categories.

What do you write in a classification essay?


By now you are aware that in a classification essay you are
obviously required to classify items into categories, groups,
or classes.
So, when exactly should you write a classification essay?
You use a classification essay when you want to subdivide a
unit into smaller sub-units. For example, for a topic like
Leading a healthy lifestyle, you can subdivide it into three
ways that a person can lead a healthy lifestyle: A balanced
diet, exercise, and a positive attitude.

Here are some topics of classification essays. Some ideas on how they
can be classified are provided in the brackets:
1. Music young people listen to
(You classify the different categories of music ! rock, hip-hop, rap, dance, pop,
rhythm and blues, etc.)
2. Online educational resources available to ODL learners
(You classify the different educational resources.)
3. Bosses I have worked with
(This appears to be a very general topic, but you can classify the different types of
bosses.)
4. Teachers who have taught me
(You classify the teachers according to the subjects they teach, primary and
secondary school teachers, or their personalities. You decide.)
5. Smartphones
(You can classify them according to their prices, popularity, operating systems, and
other features.)
6. Social networking available to us today
(You can categorise them according to the services such as Facebook, Instagram,
Twitter, or according to special-interest groups such as classmates, schools,
universities, professions, etc.)
7. Annoying people I have met
(You should have an idea how to create your own classifications by now.)
8. How students prepare for their examinations

(How do you prepare for your examinations? How do your friends prepare for their
examinations? Can you classify them?)

Writing the classification essay


Planning the essay
As in any type of essay, you need to plan " and it is no
different for a classification essay. You need to know exactly
what you plan to write in your classification essay.
Ensure that the sub-categories are clearly given in the
introduction. In other words, the reader has to make sense of
what you are classifying and how you are classifying the
information.

Here is what you normally do in planning for a typical classification


essay:

1. In your introduction, explain what items are to be categorised. Explain


how the classification is done.
2. In the body paragraphs, tell your readers more about the various
categories.Give examples of the items that belong to those categories.
3. Conclude by giving an opinion, a recommendation, or an advice. Read
more about writing the closing remarks in Unit 1 (1.2 Planning the essay and
writing the first draft).

Read the following introduction:

People enjoy many kinds of music. The young, teenagers, adults and the
aged all enjoy listening to music. People of various ages enjoy different
kinds of music - classical, evergreens, rock, punk, and ballads. This is
because these kinds of music have been popular with different generations.

Here, we are given two classifications " age and music. However, we are not
informed which age group prefers what kind of music. This information is
not clearly stated.
Therefore, the paragraph can be improved as follows:

People of different ages enjoy different kinds of music because certain


kinds of music become popular at different times. Consequently, the young
enjoy ballads, teenagers like to listen to rock and punk, adults listen to
evergreens, and the aged prefer classical music.

In the improved version, we get a clearer understanding of how


classification works " various kinds of music are popular with different
generations. We are informed about genres of music that different
generations prefer.

Reminder
Your introduction must be clear so that your
readers know what and how the classification is
done.

Activity 2.23
Write a paragraph to describe the kinds of activities that you
engage in during your free time and weekends. Classify these
activities.
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________

Essay pattern
Before you write your classification essay, you need to plan how you are going
to organise and present the information.
Introduction
Hook: Write your opening line.
Background information: Introduce the subject to be categorised. Provide some
background information and the purpose of the essay.
Thesis statement: Tell your readers of categories you are going to write about.
Body
Body paragraph 1: First point on the issue stated in your topic sentence.
Body paragraph 2: Second point on the issue stated in your topic sentence.
Body paragraph 3: Third point on the issue stated in your topic sentence.
Conclusion
Restatement/Summary: Restate your thesis statement. If your restatement
summarises the thesis statement, you may choose not to write a summary.
Closing statement: Conclude by giving an opinion, a recommendation, an advice,
a prediction, a quotation, or ask a question.

The essay outline


The outline below is for a five-paragraph essay for
this topic:

How to lead a healthy lifestyle.

How to lead a healthy lifestyle.


Introduction
Opening sentence/Hook:
General/Background information:
Thesis statement: This essay will discuss how we can lead a healthier lifestyle by having
a balanced diet, exercising, and having a positive attitude.
Body
Body Paragraph 1:
Topic sentence: A balanced diet is important to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Supporting sentence 1
Supporting sentence 2
Supporting sentence 3
Body Paragraph 2:
Topic sentence: Exercising is the next thing that one should do to live a healthy lifestyle.
Supporting sentence 1
Supporting sentence 2
Supporting sentence 3
Body Paragraph 3:
Topic sentence: Finally, it is important to have a positive attitude towards lifestyle.
Supporting sentence 1
Supporting sentence 2
Supporting sentence 3
(The controlling idea is underlined and in bold in all the topic sentences.)
Conclusion
Restatement/Summary:
Closing statement:

Activity 2.24
Complete the above essay outline on how to lead a healthy life.

Activity 2.25
Based on the above outline, write out the essay in
500600 words.

Reading classification essays online:


Samples of classification essays to read online:
1. The Geography of English 102 by Ima Ersatz
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/composition/classification.htm
2. Types of Computers by OyaOzagac
ht tp: / /www.buowl .boun.edu. t r / s tudent s / types%20of%20es says /
Classification%20Essay.htm
3. 10 Types Of Teachers Everyone Has At Least Once
(This is not an essay, but this site will give you an idea of a humorous way to classify
teachers.)
http://www.buzzfeed.com/dell/10-types-of-teachers-everyone-has-at-leastonce
4. The 6 Types of Social Media by Tim Grahl
(This is not an essay, but it will give you an idea of how social media is classified.)
http://outthinkgroup.com/tips/the-6-types-of-social-media
5. Types of Shoppers
(This is a draft classification essay written by a student. Read the discussion
questions, and then compare the draft to the students revised version.)
http://grammar.about.com/od/developingessays/a/draftclass07.htm

2.7 Problem-solution Essays


Objectives
By the end of this section, you should be able to:
1. Identify the features of problem-solution essays.
2. Prepare an outline for problem-solution essays.
3. Write thesis statements and topic sentences for problemsolution essays.
4. Write a problem-solution essay.

Introduction
What do you do when you find that you have a leaky bathroom tap? Do
you fix it immediately? And if you do not know how to fix it, what do you
do " call a friend to help you, or go online and search for a solution? Or
perhaps you can call a plumber. Do you have a computer that is running
too slowly? How do you solve the problem and get it to run faster?
These are some of the problems we face regularly " problems we would
like to solve.
In this section, you will look at another type of essays you may have to
write in your university studies, and even at the workplace " essays or
proposals that define problems and provide solutions.

Features of problem-solution essays


What is a problem-solution essay?
You would have guessed by now that a problem-solution
essay identifies a problem, and goes on to offer solution or
various ways to solve the problem. The types of solution
offered depend on the complexity of the problems.

Here are some topics of problem-solution essays:

1. What is the best way to get young people to stay away from drugs?
2. How can we prevent bullying in schools?
3. More and more marriages are ending in divorce. What can be done
to prevent this from happening?
4. Many students have problems submitting their assignments on
time. How can we solve this problem of procrastination?
5. Many Malaysian motorcyclists still do not wear helmets while
travelling on the road. How can we get them to wear helmets?
6. How can we encourage more Malaysians to take public
transportation?
7. What can all of us do to save water?
8. What can we do to prevent young people from becoming addicted
to computer games?

Learning how to write these types of essays will help you


in the working world in situations such as the following:
1. Writing a report to explain a problem that is
happening in the company that you are working for.
2. Providing business solutions and giving essential
explanation to a group of businessmen who consult you
on how to overcome a business problem.

What do you write in a problem-solution essay?


In this type of essay, you discuss the problem specified in the
essay question.
You explain what the problem is and why it matters to us.
Then you suggest some possible solutions to the problem.

Defining the problem


If a problem is not well-defined or explained, readers may have a vague
understanding of the problem. Consequently, your readers may
become confused and misunderstand a situation. Thus, it is important
to define and explain a problem well enough.
For a simple and common problem, a sentence or two may be
sufficient. For example, your readers already know about the existence
of the usual problems of traffic jams, texting and driving, visiting social
media sites instead of working, to mention a few.

However, certain unique problems require a more


detailed explanation. To adequately
describe a problem, you should:
1. Provide necessary background information.
2. Give an account with significant details on how
the problem started.

Read the following description of a problem:


This is an account of the fire that happened last week on the first floor of the
administration building. The fire occurred due to a poor management decision. To
overcome future occurrences, the decision needs to be rectified and substituted
with another plan.
From the above sample paragraph, you know the following:
1. A fire occurred.
2. It happened in a place that is specified.
3. It happened due to a decision that was made by the management.
From the above paragraph, we know that the fire occurred due to a poor
management decision. However, we do not know what the poor
management decision was. How could the decision have led to the
occurrence of the fire? Such details are not explained in the paragraph.
A better definition of the problem would require some necessary
background information, and an explanation of how the problem started.

The following improved description of the above paragraph:

This is an account of the fire that happened last week on the first floor of the
administration building. The fire occurred due to a poor management decision. Six
months prior to the fire, the management had decided that one way of saving costs
was to switch off all lights and air conditioners during lunch hours. This, however,
was misinterpreted by the security guards as an order to switch off the main power.
The management did not rectify the guards action as they thought that this may
save money for the company.
Unfortunately, by switching off the main power, the automatic sprinkler was also
turned off. On 23 July at around 1.15 p.m., there was heavy smoke from one of the
storerooms on the first floor. Initial investigation seemed to show that someone
had been smoking in the storeroom. Due to the carelessness of the person or people
concerned, the recycled paper in the storeroom caught fire. As the sprinklers were
not operational, the fire was not put out. Subsequently, the fire spread to the other
rooms on the same floor.

In the second version, the poor management decision has been elaborated
on. Background information (e.g., saving costs, switching off the lights and
the air conditioners, misinterpretation by the guards) and an explanation as
to how the problem started (e.g., the automatic sprinkler was also turned
off, smoking in the storeroom, carelessness) are given.
Remember to adequately describe a problem by providing necessary
background information. Do not give lengthy unnecessary details that will
clutter your explanation and make it difficult for your reader to read and
stay focused on the problem.

2.8 Evaluation Essays


Objectives
By the end of this section, you should be able to:
1. Identify the features of evaluation essays.
2. Prepare an outline for evaluation essays.
3. Write thesis statements and topic sentences for
evaluation essays.
4. Present your evaluation as informal report.
5. Write an evaluation essay.

Introduction
Have you ever read a book or movie review in a magazine or newspaper? That
review is actually an evaluation of a book a critic has read, or a movie
evaluated
by a reviewer. Similarly, have you ever told your friends about a movie you saw at
a Cineplex, and then recommended it to them because it was very good? Perhaps
you have read a novel and then told your friends not to waste their time reading it?
When you praise or criticise a movie you have seen, or a book you have read, or a
holiday destination you have been to, you have already evaluated them. You have
made an assessment or judgement. All evaluation involves an opinion.
This section will explore another type of essay you may be required to write in your
university studies " the evaluation essay. Knowing how to handle such essays
may prove to be useful eventually at your workplace. You may one day be required
by your management to write an evaluation of a product, a service, a place, or an
applicant from a shortlist for a vacancy for the company.

Features of evaluation essays


What is an evaluation essay?
In an evaluation essay, you are the judge, a critic, a reviewer
" you give your
opinion about something. You tell your readers whether it is
good or bad, practical or impractical, cheap or expensive,
useful or of little value, and so on. In short, you are
evaluating something.
You may not have written an evaluation essay before, but
you have carried out some form of evaluation more often
than you think.

Here is an example: Your younger brother walks into the


room holding a guidebook he had just bought to help him
with his Additional Mathematics for the SPM. He
shows it to you. You go through the book, and then you tell
him, This book is a waste of money! There are better books
available. Why did you buy choose this book? You should
not have bought this book!

Your comments were based on a quick evaluation of the


book: How did you arrive at that decision? When you
asked your brother to explain his choice, he explained,
It had a very nice cover. His evaluation of the book was
based on its cover " he literally judged the book by its
cover! Your evaluation of the book was different from
his " what criteria did you use to evaluate the guidebook?
Have you ever thought about the criteria you use to
evaluate things?

Meanwhile, your elder sister walks in hurriedly to show you


the new Apple iPhone 8 smartphone which she had just
bought. She shows it to you, and eagerly looks
at you to see your reaction. You examine it, play with it,
and then say in approval, This is fantastic! I am going to
get one too! So how much did you pay for it?

She tells you the price, and you respond in shock, Thats too much!
Its ridiculous! I would not buy it at that price. Your initial evaluation of
the smartphone was positive,
but your re-evaluation after you heard the price was negative. What
criteria did you use to say that the smartphone was fantastic at the
beginning, and what were the new criteria you used next to say that
you would not buy it? Obviously, in spite of the smartphone being
fantastic, you would not buy it based on the price criteria.
However, your sister bought it " what criteria did she use to make her
decision?

Evaluation essays make use of a criterion (singular) or a set of criteria (plural) to


make an evaluation. We will examine these criteria later.
Here are some topics of evaluation essays:

1. Evaluate a movie you have recently seen and explain why you liked it.
2. What is your all-time favourite song? Evaluate it to explain your choice.
3. Do you prefer to see your favourite band perform live or watch them on
television? Evaluate your preference.
4. Evaluate why home-cooked food is healthier than hawker food.
5. Evaluate the latest smartphone available today. Why is it better than the one
you are using now?
6. Your younger brother wants to buy a desktop computer. Evaluate the model
you would buy for him.
7. Your manager is looking for a venue where he can hold a one-day seminar for
sales staff. You have recently attended a workshop at one of the seminar rooms
in Wawasan Open University, so the manager has asked you to evaluate on the
suitability of this venue for his seminar.
8. Your department has recently bought new equipment. Your manager has asked
you to evaluate the equipment based on its benefits and the problems it caused.

What do you write in an evaluation essay?


When you evaluate something, you need to judge it by a set of criteria. A
criterion is a principle or standard by which something may be evaluated or
judged. For example, if you want to evaluate a restaurant your criteria could be
the quality of the food, the price, the variety, the service, the atmosphere, or the
cleanliness of the place.
After you have evaluated the restaurant, you give your verdict " is the place
worth a visit? For some people, the quality of the food is more important than its
price or atmosphere. For others, the price is the most important criteria " they
would not go to the place again if the food is too expensive, even if the food is
out of this world. So two persons evaluation of something would be worlds apart,
or may even be identical.

When students choose universities for their tertiary education,


how do they evaluate their choice? Do they have some sort of
system to make their decisions? The Times Higher Education
World University Rankings 2013 2014 list of the best 400
global universities was evaluated based a set of criteria "
teaching, research, citations, academic staff, and
international outlook. You may read more about it here at its
website:
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-universityrankings/

Have you ever wondered how the many radio stations in Malaysia (or all over
the world) that play the weekly top songs in their countdown programmes
decide what to play? Their top or popular songs are based on several criteria
" the listeners votes, airplay frequency, streaming, or sales (American Top
40).
Do note that not everyone will agree with your evaluation. For example when
Rolling Stone magazine issue 963 (9 December 2004) published its list of
"500 Greatest Songs of All Time," many readers complained that their
favourite songs never made it to the list. Others complained that foreign
songs were not included. In spite of a lack of standard criteria for evaluating
what constitute a great song, publishers regularly produce such lists.

Here is the list of the top ten songs from the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" "
ranked by a point system based on the votes of 172 musicians, critics, and music
industry personnel:

How many of these greatest songs songs have you heard from the above
list? Do you agree with this list? If the songs are the greatest, why have
you not heard of them? What makes a song great " the meaningful lyrics,
the melody, the person singing it, the beat, or some indefinable criteria?
What is your personal favourite all-time number song? What criteria did
you use to rate this song of yours? Bear this in mind when you are writing
your evaluation essay " not everyone will agree with you. However, you
can try to convince your readers and explain how you evaluated the
subject.

Planning the essay


To be able to evaluate a problem or situation, you need to fully understand the
topic. While you are reading or researching the topic, keep in mind the criteria
you are using to evaluate it.
If you are evaluating a product such as a smartphone, a tablet, an app, or a
kitchen appliance, it is recommended that you test it. How can you truly evaluate
something you have not tried out? However, a lot of consumers do buy products
without going through the testing process " as evident by the long queues of
people lining up to buy an iPhone they have read about. In your case, how do
you normally decide what to buy " what criteria do you use?

Deciding the criteria


Before you begin your evaluation essay, you need some criteria to enable
you to evaluate the topic of you discussion. Different topics require different
sets of criteria:

What else do you evaluate?


You can evaluate a suggestion. If suggestions are provided for overcoming
a particular problem, you can evaluate how practical the suggestions are before
they can be implemented. Some questions you can ask when you evaluate the
suggestions are:
1. How effective are the suggestions in overcoming the problem?
2. What are risks that may be involved?
3. What are the costs involved?

You can also evaluate a problem. Some questions you can ask when
evaluating a problem are:
1. How serious is the problem?
2. What effect(s) has the problem on people and the environment?
3. How long will it take for the problem to dissipate?

Similarly, you can evaluate a situation. Some questions to ask when


evaluating situations are:
1. How much will the volatile share market affect a company or the economy?
2. How will the current political situation affect a country?
3. How serious is the use of performance-enhancing drugs in Malaysia?

Essay pattern
Before you write your evaluation essay, you need to plan how you are going to
organise and present the information.
Heres one possible way to organise your essay. Provide background
information about the subject in the introduction, and use the body paragraphs
to evaluate the topic using the selected criteria.
13. Body paragraph 1: Evaluation based on the 1st criteria
14. Body paragraph 2: Evaluation based on the 2nd criteria
15. Body paragraph 3: Evaluation based on the 3rd criteria

The essay outline


Here is an outline, complete with an introduction and conclusion for writing an
evaluation essay:

Some evaluation essays share some of the features of a compare-andcontrast essay like this one:
Topic 1:
As a writer for a car magazine, you have been asked to write a compare and
contrast article on a Proton Iriz and a Perodua Myvi.

Topic 1 requires you to compare and contrast the features of the two
car models. You do not have to evaluate which is the better car. However,
some writers do conclude by giving their evaluation as to which car gives
better value for money.

Look at Topic 2:
Topic 2:
You want to buy either a Proton Iriz or a Perodua Myvi. Evaluate both cars and
decide which car you would buy.

Topic 2 below is almost similar to Topic 1. The difference is that in this


topic, you are required to evaluate both cars, and then decide which car to buy.
To do that, you need to evaluate based on criteria that matters to you: price,
safety, comfort, and equipment. Another writer would have a different set of
criteria.

Report format
If the above evaluation is required at your workplace, you should not submit it as
an essay. An informal evaluation report for submission to your manager should be
in the memo format:

To:
From:
Date:
Subject: Evaluation of Cannon Multifunctional Laser Printer Model WOU203-03
Introduction
Findings
1. Benefits
2. Problems
Conclusion/Recommendation

Activity 2.32
Rewrite the above essay in Activity 2.31, this time present it as a
memo report.

Evaluating a suggestion
When you write an essay to evaluate a suggestion, a problem, or a situation,
you can follow the suggested pattern below:

Let us look at one sample essay based on the above pattern:


Many educationists have suggested that Gender Studies should be incorporated
into the secondary school curriculum. Evaluate this suggestion.

Many educationists have suggested that Gender Studies should be incorporated


into the secondary school curriculum. Evaluate this suggestion.

Learning more about writing evaluation essays online:


These sites will tell you more about how to write evaluation essays:

1. http://www.aims.edu/student/online-writinglab/assignments/evaluation
2. http://classroom.synonym.com/write-evaluation-essay-2480.html
3. http://hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Write-an-Evaluation-Review-essay
4. http://conservationcouncilnc.org/evaluation-essay-writing-guidelinesforcollege
5. http://hubpages.com/hub/100-Evaluation-Essay-Topic-Ideas

Summary
In this section, you learnt how to write the evaluation essay. In
an evaluation essay you give your opinion about something after
you have evaluated it. You tell your readers whether it is good or
bad, practical or impractical, cheap or expensive, useful or of little
value, and so on.
When you evaluate something, you need to judge it by a set of
criteria. A criterion (singular) is a principle or standard by which
something may be evaluated or judged. For example, if you want to
evaluate a restaurant, your criteria could be the quality of the food,
the price, the variety, the service, the atmosphere, or the cleanliness of
the place. After you have evaluated the restaurant, you give your
verdict or recommendation " is the place worth going to?

Do note that not everyone will agree with your evaluation. Different
people use different criteria to evaluate something.
To be able to evaluate a problem or situation, you need to fully
understand the topic. While you are reading or researching the
topic, keep in mind the criteria you are using to evaluate it. If you
are evaluating a product such as a smartphone, a tablet, an app, or
a kitchen appliance, it is recommended that you test it. However, a
lot of consumers do buy products without going through the testing
or evaluation process.
Before you begin your evaluation essay, you need some criteria to
enable you to evaluate the topic of you discussion. Different topics
require different sets of criteria. Besides evaluating products, food,
movies, music, or places, you can also evaluate a suggestion, a
problem, a situation, or an idea.
At the workplace, you may present your evaluation in the form of
an informal report using the memo format.
Just like the other essays you have learnt about, you need to plan
your evaluation essay. You need to decide how you are going to
organise and present the information

Self-test 2.8
Prepare an outline for this topic:
Your manager is looking for a venue where he can hold a one-day
seminar for sales staff. You have recently attended a workshop at one
of the seminar rooms in Wawasan Open University, so the manager has
asked you to evaluate on the suitability of this venue for his seminar.

Then write the essay based on the outline you have prepared.
Alternatively, you may write it as an informal report.

2.9 Narrative Essays


Objectives
By the end of this section, you should be able to:
1. Identify the features of narrative essays.
2. Prepare an outline for narrative essays.
3. State the various purposes for writing narrative essays.
4. List the other types of essays that require narratives.
5. List the various elements in a narrative essay.
6. Write a narrative essay.

Introduction
Do you love movies and animated cartoons on television? Do you read
comics, novels, short stories, and news stories in the newspaper? These
are various forms of narrative. A narrative can be a written, spoken, or
even drawn account of connected events and experiences which may be
true or imaginary. In this section we will learn about writing narrative
essays.

What is a narrative essay?


A narrative essay informs the reader about an incident or an event. A
narrative can be described as one that relates events in chronological
order from the first event that happened to the last event that happened
(Leonard 2002,132). This means the events are arranged in time order "
the first event told at the beginning, followed by the second, and so on
until the final event. However, according to Kane (2000), chronology is
sometimes complicated by presenting the events in another order:
for example, a story may open with the final episode and then flash back
to all that preceded it.
Besides the events that happen in the essay, there are characters, the
setting (the place the story takes place), the story, and of course, the
narrator (the one who tells the story).

Narratives found in other types of essays


Some of you may be taking up courses that do not require you to write
any narrative essays, and might feel this section may not be useful.
However, you need to know that narrative essays are not the only places
where you tell stories. Narratives do occur occasionally within other types
of essays.
For example, in discussion and argumentative essays, you may describe
an event to illustrate your point. You might narrate vividly a shocking story
of how a victim was disfigured for life and another blinded because
someone chose to text and drive. Such a narrative works better than a
two-sentence explanation why texting and driving is dangerous. Some
anecdotes would certainly make certain ideas clearer in a definition
essay.

In your management course, you might want to narrate an incident that


led to a full-blown crisis " followed by another narration that illustrates
how the crisis was solved by following certain principles. Textbooks are
fond of using narratives to illustrate a point.
Dale Carnegie who wrote books like How to Win Friends and Influence
People and How to Stop Worrying and Start Living tells several
interesting stories in every chapter to demonstrate his principles.
Similarly, Stephen Coveys 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is filled
with motivational stories of people to illustrate the habits under
discussion.

And if you recall, some of the hooks you learnt to introduce your
essay require some sort of narrative " the dialogue, anecdote, story,
or personal experience. If you have forgotten about these ways of
opening sentences, it is time for you to revisit them in Unit 1.
Learning how to write narrative essays will definitely be useful at the
workplace. The first four topics on the list are examples of narrative
writing you may be required to write at work.

Here are some narrative essay topics:

1. Write a report of an accident involving the company bus.


2. Describe an incident that occurred at the reception to your management
and
how you handled it.
3. Explain how your sales team managed to triple the sales volume for the
first
quarter of the year.
4. Narrate the effects of a new drug that your pharmaceutical company
conducted.
5. Write a story of a time when you had to stand up for something you
believed in.
6. Tell your tutor about a time you achieved your goal. Explain why the goal
was
very important to you and the difference it has made in your life.
7. Teaching someone else how to do something can be very rewarding.
Narrate
the events that led you successfully taught someone a skill.
8. Describe an incident you will never forget.

Feedback
Activity 2.33
Text A is a narrative text.

What do you write in a narrative essay?


First of all, we need to know what types of narrative essays are not
required in academic setting: You are not required to novels or short
stories. Although they are known as short stories, they can be very
long.
The types of narratives
The types of narrative essays you are expected to write can range
from a single paragraph to several paragraphs. These narratives can
be:
1. A personal real-life experience
2. Someone elses experience
3. An imaginative experience
4. A fictitious story

The elements of a narrative essay


You need to know what the various elements of a narrative are before
you begin
writing. These are some of the elements found in a narrative essay:
Purpose
Narrator
Setting
Characters
Events
Conclusion
In a simple narrative, elements found in novels and short stories such as
exposition, plot, conflict, climax, and denouement are generally not
present. These elements will not be discussed here as they are not
required in your basic narrative writing.

Purpose
Every narrative essay has a purpose: To help you focus on what you are
writing in your narrative, you need a thesis statement, or a main or a
controlling idea. How do you create a statement for this topic?

Write a story of a time when you had to stand up for


something you believed in.

Here are some examples of statements that identify the main idea:

1. Everyone in my group decided to try smoking cigarettes one day, and I was the
only one who stood the ground by refusing to get involved.
(The controlling idea is smoking cigarettes.)
2. I believe in academic honesty, and during my primary schooldays, when I saw
some of my classmates cheating in an examination, I decided to report it to the
invigilator.
(The controlling idea is cheating in an examination.)
3. Stealing is a crime, and I will never get involved in it.
(The controlling idea is stealing.)
4. I remember in 2011 when I had to stand up for something I believed in.
(The controlling idea is not specifically stated. The readers will have to read on
to find out what that something is.)

In your narrative essay, you may decide to suggest the


main idea indirectly rather than state it explicitly as in
Statement 4 above.
However, it is still recommended that you think of a
statement to help you focus on the controlling idea. All your
supporting sentences in your narrative should be related to
that idea.

Narrator
You can choose to tell your story from your point of view " that is, you use the
first person singular I. Here are some other point of views common in stories
and narratives:

Setting
The setting is the time and place of the story. Where and when did the story take
place?
Characters
Who are the characters in your story? How many characters are there?
Events
In a simple narrative, you tell the story of a single event. This single event will
usually take place in a single time span and in one place.
A slightly more complex narrative may tell of a few events. Some narrative may
have a linked cause-and-effect chain where one incident leads to another incident.

There are several ways to narrate the events in your story:

Conclusion
There are several ways you may end your narrative
essay. You may end your narrative
with:
The final occurrence of the event
A twist or an unexpected ending
A message or a lesson learnt
An open and inconclusive ending

Writing the narrative essay


Planning the narrative
You can plan your narrative by filling in the graphic organiser below

Essay pattern
Different narrative essays may require different patterns from the one given
above.
Here is a topic you might get in your Communications or Management course:

A customer complained about alleged poor customer service that you provided.
Your management requires an explanation from you.

To answer the above question which requires you to write a narrative, you must
first decide which important or significant events need to be mentioned. Additional
details that are necessary can be included so that the text can be better understood.
You must also decide on the purpose of the narrative text.
By having an idea as to
what the purpose is, it is easier for you to decide what main events and additional
details need to be included in the writing piece.

For a narrative text that narrates past events, the tense that is used is the past
tense.

For a narration that narrates events that happen all the time (such as narrating a
ceremony that takes place regularly), the present tense is used.

Identifying significant events


Remember that the purpose of your text will determine the kind of important events
that need to be included in the text. Here is an example:

Here is an outline with two divisions " the problems and the solutions:

Based on the guiding questions, the following is a sample narrative essay. Keep
the purpose of your essay in mind which is: Give an account of the problems that
the customer had and the steps you took to help the customer.

Activity 2.35
Based on the outline you prepared above, write your narrative essay.
Songs that narrate a story
Visit WawasanLearn to view some narratives in a PowerPoint Show format. Do you
know that some songs are actually narratives that tell a story? One such song is
No Charge by Tammy Wynette. You can view the analysis of the various elements
on PowerPoint at WawasanLearn. The PowerPoint comes with the lyrics " and you
can hear the actual song being played along.
You can use Google to see the lyrics from the Internet. Make sure you locate the
Tammy Wynette versions, as there are different versions with slightly different
lyrics.
Here is an analysis of No Charge:

What are the elements in that story?


Characters: The mother (narrator), My little girl
Time: This evening
Place: In the kitchen
Sequence of events: Chronological order

Another analytical PowerPoint Show you can view on WawasanLearn is


Dont Cry Joni. This tells the story of Joni and Jimmy who have known each
other for ten years or more. When Jimmy had to leave their hometown to
work in the city, Joni wrote him a note telling him she will wait for him.
However, Jimmy told the girl, You're just fifteen, I'm twenty-two. Joni, I just
can't wait for you, When Joni heard that her teardrops fell like rain that
day.
Eventually, Jimmy left the hometown, found a job, and tried to settle down.
However, a few years later, he then realises that he actually misses and
loves her. So Jimmy caught a plane and flew home. He proposes to Joni,
and how do you think this love story ends? This story has an unexpected
ending " so what do you think happened?
Visit WawasanLearn for more.

Reading sample narrative essays online:


You may read samples of problem-solution essays to read online at the sites
listed below. Pay attention to how the thesis statements, topic sentences
(especially the controlling ideas), and the conclusion are written.

1. Uncle Lous Secret by David Bardsley


(This is a narrative with commentary)
https://www.irsc.edu/uploadedFiles/Students/AcademicSupportCenter/
WritingLab/E3-Narration-Essay-Guidelines.pdf
2. Holiday Warfare by Dennis Gardner
(This is a winning essay from a student)
http://www.roanestate.edu/owl/Holiday.html
3. "The Sacred Grove of Oshogbo" by Jeffrey Tayler
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/composition/narrative.htm
4. Granny from wikiHow
http://www.wikihow.com/Sample/Narrative-Essay
5. 16 Narrative Essays from Western Technical College
(The website provides links to 16 narrative essays)
http://www.westerntc.edu/writingcenter/narrative.asp

Learning more about narrative essays online:


These sites will tell you more about how to write problem-solution essays:

1. Narrative essays by Purdue University Writing Lab and Purdue Online


Writing
Lab (OWL)
https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/685/04/
2. How to Write a Narrative Essay by wikiHow
http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Narrative-Essay
3. Narrative Essay by EssayInfo
http://essayinfo.com/essays/narrative_essay.php
. Writing a Narrative Essay by Marla DeSoto,Glendale Community
College
http://web.gccaz.edu/~mdinchak/101online_new/assignment3writing.htm
5. How to Write a Narrative Essay by WriteExpress
http://www.writeexpress.com/narrative-essay.html

Summary
In this last section, you learnt how to write the narrative essay. A
narrative essay informs the reader about an incident or an event.
The narrative relates events in chronological order from the first
event that happened to the last event that happened.
Narratives are also found in other types of essays such as discussion
and argumentative essays. In your management course, you might
want to narrate an incident that led to a full-blown crisis " followed
by another narration that illustrates how the crisis was solved by
following certain principles. Textbooks are fond of using narratives
to illustrate a point.
And if you recall, some of the hooks you learnt to introduce your
essay require some sort of narrative " the dialogue, anecdote, story,
or personal experience. You can read about them again in Unit 1.

Some of the elements found in a narrative essay


are:
Purpose
Narrator
Setting
Characters
Events
Conclusion
You view analyses of two narratives, and you
learnt how to write a narrative essay.

Self-test 2.9
Prepare an outline for this topic:
Write about a time when you disagreed with a decision that had
been made at your workplace and you did something about
it. Narrate the events that occurred from the time the decision
was made to your response. Explain why you disagreed with the
decision and why you felt that your response was the right thing
to do at that point. Explain what happened in the end.
Then write the essay based on the outline you have prepared.

Summary of Unit 2

Summary
In the previous unit, you learnt about the writing process. In Unit 2,
you begin to write the various types of essays. In a discussion essay,
you write about the varying views on a particular topic, including
your own view. The keyword in such essays is discuss. You also
learnt about the various essay patterns to organise discussion essays.
Next, you learnt about argumentative essays. In argumentative
writing, you take a stand either for or against an issue, and convince
other people with your views. Your objective in this type of essay is
to win over your readers by providing arguments to support your
proposition. It is also known as a persuasive essay or an opinion essay.

Next, you learnt about argumentative essays. In argumentative


writing, you take a stand either for or against an issue, and convince
other people with your views. Your objective in this type of essay is
to win over your readers by providing arguments to support your
proposition. It is also known as a persuasive essay or an opinion essay.
In a cause and effect essay, your task is to explain the causes
(reasons), the effects (results), or both the causes and effects of a
situation or event. You can organise a cause and effect essay in two
ways: block organisation, or chain organisation.

Another common type of writing is the compare and contrast


essay. When you compare two items, you talk about what is similar
about them. When you contrast two items, you talk about what is
different about them. So in a compare and contrast essay, you are
expected to discuss similarities and differences between two or more
items. You can organise a compare and contrast essay in two ways:
block organisation, or point-by-point organisation.
In a definition essay, you explain in depth the meaning of a word,
a term, a concept, an idea, or a theory. Most of the time, you can
define a word or term in a sentence or two. However an extended
definition may take up several sentences, paragraphs, or even pages
to explain a concept. An extended definition of several paragraphs
represents your definition essay.

In a classification essay, you sort items or events into certain


categories or classes. Usually, a classification essay categorises them
into more than two categories. You use a classification essay when
you want to subdivide a unit into smaller sub-units. For example,
for a topic like Living a healthy lifestyle, you can subdivide it into
different ways that a person can live a healthy lifestyle.
The purpose of a problem-solution essay is to discuss a problem,
and then offer a solution or various ways to solve the problem. The
types of solution offered depend on the complexity of the problems.

In writing an evaluation essay, you give your opinion about


something after you have evaluated it. You tell your readers whether
it is good or bad, practical or impractical, cheap or expensive, useful
or of little value, and so on. When you evaluate something, you need
to judge it by a set of criteria. A criterion (singular) is a principle or
standard by which something may be evaluated or judged.
Finally, you learnt about the narrative essay, where you inform your
reader about an incident or an event. The narrative relates events in
chronological order from the first event that happened to the last
event that happened. Some of the elements found in a narrative
essay are purpose, narrator, setting, characters, events, and conclusion.

References
Brannan, B (2003) A Writers Workshop:Crafting Paragraphs,
Building Essays,
NewYork:McGraw Hill.
Butler, L (2007) Fundamentals of Acacdemic Writing, New York:
Pearson.
Leonhard, B H(2002) Discoveries in Academic Writing, Boston:
Heinle-Heinle.
Oshima, A and Hogue, A (2005) Writing Academic English, 4th edn,
New York:
Pearson Longman.

END OF TUTORIAL
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