You are on page 1of 6

Essay/ Composition

Total Time: 1 hour OBJECTIVE: - writing an essay on a given topic. There is a general introduction on how to write a good essay, followed by how to proof and edit on essay. HOW TO WRITE AN ESSAY Some students are in the habit of reproducing essays and compositions written by tutors or some elders. They do so because they do not know the correct method of planning and writing it in their own style and language. It is essential that one must equip oneself with the knowledge and expertise to write your own material and not depend on borrowed stuff. In your professional life you will be required to draft official or commercial letters, prepare notes/speeches and present professional papers etc all by yourself. Other than official correspondences all other writings and in particular essays/compositions will fall under 4 categories as follows: 1. Expository : A piece of writing on the rules and regulations of games like football, Cricket etc. explanation and interpretation of some theory. 2. Descriptive: description of a historical building/monument in full details. Depiction of an event such as a street quarrel or a sports event. If you had witnessed a village cycle race and describe it in the order of importance as per your own assessment and without adding any imaginary points ,it would amount to a descriptive writing. 3. Narrative: One that deals with the details of a long train journey or a holiday. Or complete proceedings of a meeting of any kind. The details given must be in the same sequence as the happenings without any frills or imaginary additions to it 4. Argumentative- many subjects have two sides to them- for and against and the writer gives equal importance to both. He is expected to give a verdict in favor of either but supported by strong arguments. ORGANISATION Once you understand the essay topic and what you have to write, you need to think about the information that you already know on the subject and decide what is relevant to the topic. Then, you must decide which information you will use and where it will be most effective. Each main point will form a separate paragraph in the body. Your essay should have clearly designated paragraphs: 1st paragraph - Introduction - State the issue and your stand. 2nd paragraph - Support your stand with examples wherever possible. 3rd paragraph - Further support by giving examples and evidence.

1

4th paragraph - Conclusion. Here is an alternate way of organising your essay: 1st paragraph - Introduction - State the issue and your stand. 2nd paragraph - Support your stand with examples wherever possible. 3rd paragraph - Give support for the opposing viewpoint with examples wherever possible. 4th paragraph - Conclusion. Here is an alternate way of organising your essay: 1st paragraph - Introduction - State the issue and your stand. 2nd paragraph - Acknowledge the arguments in favour of the other side. 3rd paragraph - Rebut each of those arguments. 4th paragraph - Conclusion. COMPOSING THE ESSAY INTRODUCTION - The introduction, as is obvious from the word, basically introduces the topic and your stand on it. It should lay the foundation for the entire piece - the general outline and tone of the essay. It is necessary to make a strong impact. If the beginning of your essay is dull, you will lose your audience in the first minute itself. Use the introduction to define the terms of the question, outline your argument and indicate how you will respond to the essay topic. Your introduction should have a thesis statement. 1.) A thesis statement states the main idea of an essay. It usually appears toward the end of the introduction. It could also be the first sentence of the introduction. Keep your introduction brief. Only state your stand and provide a general overview of what is to follow. The actual defense will follow in the body paragraphs. The introduction and conclusion are linked. Both will basically state the main idea of your essay. BODY - This is the main part of the essay. The topic you have chosen must now be explained, described, or argued. It is here that you will elaborate your point of view. Present your arguments in a precise manner. Each main point will become a paragraph of the body. So, if you have three main ideas, you will have three body paragraphs. Your strongest point should come in the first body paragraph. Keep the general structure of the paragraphs constant. Each main idea will form the topic sentence of your paragraph. This will be the first sentence of the paragraph. The rest of the paragraph will elaborate on this idea (with relevant examples and evidence, if any). CONCLUSION - The conclusion is where all the loose ends are neatly tied up. Here, you need to once more lead the reader to your point of view, reaffirming the body of the essay. COHERENCE If you were to extract the first line of each paragraph from your essay, you should still be able to follow the argument. If you can’t, it probably means that your stand and ideas are not clear. Of course, not every argument is susceptible to this linear or chronological approach. Nevertheless, you should still be able to extract the main points of an argument from your essay’s opening sentences. CONTINUITY Your essay should have a smooth flow. Each paragraph should naturally follow from the previous one. This is aided by the use of transition words. Words like firstly, secondly, thirdly or first, next, lastly, demarcate your main points and structure your essay.

2

Words like because, for example, consequently, however, highlight your analysis of the point being made. When one paragraph contradicts the following one, there are some useful phrases that make this clear: On the one hand....on the other hand, The traditional view....the modern view Words like for example, to illustrate, for instance, because, highlight the examples and illustrations. Words like furthermore, in addition, similarly, just as, also, moreover, introduce sentences that provide further support to the main idea. Words like surely, truly, undoubtedly, clearly, certainly, indeed, most important, in fact, as a matter of fact, highlight important ideas. TIPS FOR WRITING AN ESSAY . • Organize your ideas - Once you have understood the given essay topic, you need to think about the main points and evidence that you will present to either support or contradict the topic. In your mind, think of all the main points, think of examples and evidence to support your points, and order them. If your essay is well organized, the examiner will find it easier to read and understand. You should spend not more than 5 minutes in understanding the topic and organizing your main points. Construct a simple structure for your essay. Your essay should have at least 4 paragraphs. Each paragraph should ideally discuss only one main point. . .• You essay should also look good. Write neatly, leave a line between paragraphs. Not only does this make the page look neat, but in case you have forgotten an important point, you also have space to write it down. The length of the paragraphs should be roughly the same. Generally, the introduction and conclusion are smaller paragraphs than the body paragraphs. Ensure that the body paragraphs do not vary greatly in length. EDITING, PROOFING, REVISING, AND FORMATTING Editing is much more than simply correcting errors of spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It is very important to have an infallible logic so that the examiner is drawn to the point that is made. It is imperative that the examiner is not bored by the use of dull and repetitive sentence structures, generalities, and imprecise word choices. Use the following checklist: Grammar and Spelling - These are the most obvious mistakes that you can fix right away - a misspelled or misused word, a seemingly endless sentence, or improper punctuation. Substance - This refers to the content of your essay and the message you are sending out. Does the essay address the topic given to you? Have you substantiated your main points with relevant information and evidence? Read your draft objectively, to check whether it actually says what you intended to. Structure - Are the thesis statement in the introduction and the main points of each body paragraph clear? The thesis statement generally comes at the end of the introduction. The main ideas should be the first sentence of each body paragraph. Is there a flow in your points? Interest - Other than the mechanics of writing, your essay should be interesting and

3

memorable. Some of the tricks to sound interesting are - use an active voice; use interesting (but relevant) verbs and adjectives; do not use clichés, common metaphors and common sayings; your examples should be interesting and relevant. EXERCISE I TIME: 40 MINUTES . 1] It is inhumane to carry out experiments on animals. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion? WHAT ARE THE KEY WORDS: WHAT ARE THE MAIN ISSUES THAT NEED TO BE ADDRESSED:

. INTRODUCTION: Give an introduction to the usage of animals in experiments (the different fields) Do you think this inhuman? State your view BODY: 1] For what kinds of experiments are animals used Reasons and effects of different experiments State examples of one or two fields. 2] What is the pro/con of this Why is this inhumane (if against using animals) CONCLUSION: Suggest an alternative (if against using animals) Reassert your view VOCABULARY: Structure: The main point against/for, Also, On the other hand

4

Use terms like: subject (someone on whom an experiment is carried out on), research, side effects, clinical trials (experiment) 2] Many schools encourage their students to learn non-academic subjects like music and theatre, whereas many schools have cut down funding on these extra curricular activities. What are your opinions on this. WHAT ARE THE KEY WORDS: WHAT ARE THE MAIN ISSUES THAT NEED TO BE ADDRESSED:

. INTRODUCTION: What is the role of a school. . State your stand. BODY: 1] Importance of academic and non academic topics. 2] How non academic activities help OR how non academic activities do not help CONCLUSION: What should schools do? Restate your opinion in different words. VOCABULARY: Structure: Firstly, Secondly, Also, On the other hand Use terms like: skills, lessons, education, knowledge, all round development, essential to survive. Home Assignment. 1]

5

Sometimes, war is the only option. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion? Use terms like: torment of war ideologies, extremist, implications, terrorism, sanctions -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

6