Essay

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Description[edit]

Essay is a universal type of writing, normally with the authors’ opinion.

“A short piece of writing on a particular subject, often expressing personal views” (Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus)

They can be used to persuade the reader, e.g. Personal Statement, to be selected into a college; Critical Essay, a review of a book, or film with the writer`s evaluation. Essay comprises other different genres: Argumentative, Compare & Contrast, Cause & Effect, Expository, among others.

An essay is generally structured in introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion. A basic essay is composed by a minimum of three paragraphs. The introduction paragraph should contains the ‘hook’ to get the readers` attention and the thesis statement – one sentence that rather summarize the direction of the text. Secondly, each of your body paragraph may have a topic sentence, and different arguments to sustain it. These paragraphs partition can change in relation to the type of essay you are writing.

Furthermore, you will finish your essay with a conclusion paragraph, in which you should summarize your arguments and confirm or qualify your thesis. Pay attention: you must not give new information in the conclusion.

Why is writing an essay important[edit]

Essays are important because they allow your ideas and point of view to be known even in your absence. This characteristic may be verified through the uses of the distinct types of essays. A personal statement is usually used to apply for scholarships, universities and jobs. In general, a personal essay is used before personal contact between you and the institution of interest. Consequently, the essay represents you and should make you stand out from others by itself. Then, an argumentative essay is important to convince people of your point of view. As example, this essay is used for a research thesis or dissertation or to defend an ideology. This type of essay is one of the main forms which scientific advances can be spread among academicians. A compare and contrast essay may be use for advertisement, critics or a review. The characteristics of a product can be presented to their consumers without a salesman knocking door to door to sell it. As seen in these examples, the importance of writing essays can be resumed to communication in society – presenting yourself, developing science, selling products and so much more. Essays are powerful tools to spread our ideas and keep in touch with society.

Types of essays[edit]

There are different types of essay that will attend the writer's need. Here we have some examples of types of essay that are most used.

Personal Statement[edit]

The personal statement is a kind of text where you give the narrative about something very intimate of your life. One of your goals is to show to other people the intrinsic characteristics of your personality that set you apart from the most, and also describe activities that add value to your resume, such as a volunteer work. It is widely used in applications for students entering universities. In this case, the student describes their interest in entering a specific course and why that university would be their best choice.

Argumentative Essay[edit]

An argumentative essay is used to talk about a specific subject from your point of view and requires to conduct a research before so you can make stronger arguments or evidences. You need to persuade the other person through arguments about the stance you took about the subject chosen. While doing this essay, it’s better to find a good topic to talk about, consider both sides of the topic (the one you’re defending and one or more opposites sides), gather relevant evidence that support your thesis and use a good structure. Since you’re going to use sources to make stronger arguments, remember to cite properly.

Compare and Contrast[edit]

An essay of comparison and contrast consists of clarifying to the reader characteristics about two or more situations or objects. Usually it describes their positive and negative points on both sides. This type of text can focus on only compare, only contrast or both. You could make comparisons between two situations or objects without confronting them and saying that one is better than the other. On the other hand, you can only describe contrasts about the situation or object, being able to be specific about the positive or negative characteristics of both.

Cause and Effect[edit]

A cause and effect essay is a type of essay where the writer has to explain an effect or reaction that was a consequence of a specific action and why this cause resulted in that effect. Although it may sound simple, there are different structures that the writers can use on their text, consequently it’s better to look out for a good structure that will attend the author’s need.

Paraphrasing and Summarizing[edit]

Definition[edit]

Summarizing is a writing tool to rewrite someone’s idea into other words, focusing on the main points of that. It is usually a shorter phrase in comparison with the whole text where ideas are taken from because it gives an overview of that. When summarizing, the writer must be clear to restate all the supporting points and to omit the less important ones, like examples and details, being careful to do not lose the central purpose of the assignment.

Paraphrasing, in its turn, is a way to restate a phrase with other words without making it shorter. To paraphrase something, the writer has to modify the words and structure of a sentence without changing the meaning and providing the exact same information of the original phrase. Thus, the size of the original and the rewrited phrase is generally very similar.

In both tools, giving the phrases references is extremely important to avoid plagiarism. Therefore, even if the writer summarizes or paraphrases another writer’s idea, he has to restate it writing who is the author of the idea and where it can be found.

Uses and Importance[edit]

Academic intellectual production consists of two main skills: summarize and paraphrase. Both are extremely important in the process of acquiring knowledge and scientific writing. Thus, because they are processes that constitute textual production and interpretation, they are often used automatically without the author's perception.

During the scientific text production, the ability to summarize is important, since the author needs to read several texts and extract the main points in order to understand and apply them in the text. However, the author should be careful and avoid personal opinions that can affect the judgment about the relevant topics to be included in the summary, once this may misrepresent the original idea of the text to be summarized.

During academic textual production, paraphrasing is used to transcribe the main idea of an author without plagiarizing it. Commonly used in scientific articles introduction, paraphrasing allows the author to discuss the various subjects to be approached, creating a line of argument to introduce, justify and contextualize the text. Similarly, in the discussion, paraphrasing helps the author to compare, discuss, and conclude the subject by giving credit to the original authors.

Thus, summarize and paraphrase are essential in textual construction to demonstrate comprehension, interpretation and critical analysis of the theme, adding evidence to the text without using plagiarism.

Differences[edit]

Aware of definitions and the importance of knowing how to use summarizing and paraphrasing skills, some differences between them must be pointed. Those differences can help you use them correctly.

Despite both being writing tools that you have to practice using your own words to explain a point, whereas paraphrasing is kind of a rewrite, keeping all the details, translating the author’s idea in your own style, summarizing is cutting the details, focusing on the main idea to give an overview of most important information.

In addition, paraphrased texts are usually the same length of the original text, while a summary can be significantly shorter, once it aims to save reader’s time. Another important difference is that each paraphrase is based on just one specific source, and a summary can congregate many sources and different ideas, simplifying them to turn it into a support idea.

Therefore, both skills requires a deep understanding of the article, paper or book that you want to summarize or paraphrase, comprehension, and full attention to highlight what is more or less important, to identify what is an idea that the meaning can’t change and what is just the writer’s style. Check the table below with a summary of differences:

Points of difference: SUMMARIZE PARAPHRASE
Ideas Main ideas, keywords Translation of ideas
Length Shorter than original Same length
Sources Can have many sources Only a specific source
Details Cut less important or repetitive details Keep all the details

Examples[edit]

Original

“Academic programs in universities of Chile, in a similar manner to other countries, serve to prepare individuals for professional work. Therefore, an assessment of the current and projected state of geologic programs, including the quality of education, is considerably important. To date, such an evaluation has not been undertaken in Chile.”[1]

Summary

Chile’s geologic programs quality never were assessed even though it is extremely important.

Paraphrase

Despite the relevance of Chile’s geologic programs, an education condition evaluation of these programs was never performed even being the main bridge between students and the labor market.

Expository essay template[edit]

Sample #1[edit]

Source: Teacher Web

Sample #2[edit]

Source: Ace Writers

Sample #3[edit]

Source: MESA Community College

Descriptive essay template[edit]

Source: Fact Monster

Narrative essay template[edit]

Source: San Elijo Middle School

Persuasive essay template[edit]

Source: Time For Kids

References[edit]

  1. Tapia, J., Tolorza, V., Durán, P., Poblete, N., & Schneider, B. (2018). Assessment of geologic programs in higher educational institutions of Chile. International Journal of Educational Development, 59, 70–85. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2017.10.009