Have you been too long-winded or repetitive? Does your argument need to be clearer, and do the links between some of the main points need more emphasis? You should be asking yourself these questions throughout the whole process. A particularly distressing weakness in the past, but hopefully not the future, has been the absence of serious discussion of imagery and literary language. Some students have merely stated that the author uses imagery, illustrated this with an example, and then moved on to the next point on the list.
If you discuss images, metaphors and other literary devices, then say how and why they are being used in the piece of fiction, and maybe if you think the imagery works or not. If you do not say how and why an image is being used then don't mention it. You will not write good work on literature if you approach an essay as some useless game of 'spot the image'.
These quotations can obviously add much to the texture and quality of your work, but they are often handled very badly by students. Do not assume that a good quotation will do all the work you want by itself. Poor essays are often merely a patchwork of quotations stitched together by the briefest of comments, and it is a mistake to leave quotations hanging in mid-air, as it were, without comment or explanation. Quotations need to be framed. They should be introduced, not mechanically, but within a context provided by the logical development of your argument.
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See Example 1 at the end of this guide. This is often likely to be the case as there is really little point in including 'bland' quotations in your essay. You may want to gloss, explain, qualify or modify the quoted words, or you may have included quotations whose assumptions or arguments you strongly disagree with. The latter case can be useful, if handled well. Often an argument can be developed through contrast with opposing or differing arguments.
This tactic in essay construction also displays independent thinking in that it demonstrates that you have not unthinkingly accepted and believed everything you have read. One final point on quotations: do not plagiarise. Using other people's work without saying so is a serious crime.
Tutors have read widely on the subjects you will be writing on and are very likely to recognise when you are plagiarising.
If you use other people's ideas and words they have to be acknowledged through proper footnoting and referencing. See Example 2 at the end of this guide.
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Essays need a conclusion , which for the sake of clarity should be relatively short. It is generally best not to include new ideas or new material in your concluding comments, particularly since many people think that a conclusion should be a synthesis of the prior arguments. You may, however, point to alternative conclusions or arguments, or briefly suggest areas of interest that have not been dealt with directly by the essay.
People often get the wrong idea about conclusions and believe that this is the place to state firm convictions, and that a conclusion has to make a stand and come down on the side of one argument or another. This can be the case but it is not necessarily so. If an essay title comes in the form of a question, for example 'Is James Joyce seeking to distance himself from traditional forms of Irish culture? It is as much a sign of intelligence to state that you cannot decide as it is to sift through the evidence and decide one way or the other.
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Think about why you cannot decide. Perhaps the evidence is conflicting.
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Perhaps the literary text and its use of imagery is ambiguous, or even contradictory; as is often the case. If you cannot decide, then say so, outlining why you cannot decide. Alternatively, you may partly agree or partly disagree with the statements or questions raised by the title , or by questions raised directly in responding to the title. If so, say so.
Elements of an Essay
A forced conclusion to an essay can be as bad as the essay having no concluding remarks at all. In connection to the last point it should be emphasised that any essay should be about your ideas and your interpretation of the literature being studied. Of course your ideas may, and indeed should, develop through discussions with friends, fellow students, tutors and through the consultation of books and articles, but it is your ideas which should form the basis of the essay.
Whilst you will use material that is not your own, it is the way that you use, add to, adapt and modify this material that makes the argument your own and original. Your own voice should be heard. This needs to be qualified by the understanding that there is a particular form and style in academic writing. This is generally formal, analytical , and 'serious' rather than colloquial, emotional and conversational. Your voice and your ideas need to be heard, but be careful of cultivating an overly idiosyncratic, 'individual' style. Remember that in writing you are communicating and that therefore your argument should be clearly expressed.
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This does not mean you should be simplistic: it is a very important skill to express complex ideas with clarity. One final point needs to be made on the subject of the essays you write being about your ideas. Some of you may find this an extraordinary statement but it is a bad idea to tailor and construct your essay around what you believe your tutor or the head of the course thinks about the text, and what you think she or he wants to hear.
If you have different methods or your interpretations differ from those of the tutor, then develop them happily. Remember that essay writing is all about presenting an argument and using evidence from the text and elsewhere to back up your statements, and if you do this well you will be given credit for it whether or not the tutor agrees with the overall argument. It is not particularly interesting for tutors to read in essays only what they have said in class, particularly if this is reproduced in a flat, unconvincing, and unconvinced manner. Of course you may agree and be persuaded by arguments and interpretations outlined in class but if you do not believe the arguments you reproduce in the essay it will be obvious and the tutor will wonder why you bothered to include them.
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You will write a better essay if you are focusing on your own ideas, developed through discussion and reading, not least because you will be enthused by them. Eventually your ideas will be thought through, outlines planned and re-planned, main points developed, written down on paper, then rewritten, and finally given to your tutor. Nevertheless your work on the essay has not yet finished.
Once the essay has been graded and returned it is very important that you do not merely look at the grade you have received before putting it at the bottom of your files. Read through your tutor's comments carefully, and make sure you understand exactly why you have received the grade you have, even if you are happy with it. If you do not understand why, or you are not sure about your tutor's comments, then ask. If it is not possible to ask during class or you would prefer to talk privately go to your tutor during office hours, or make an appointment if these clash with other classes.
Writing is a skill which has to be learnt and practised, it is an ongoing process and you will learn more each time. Your essay level should be at the university or college level. You will need to use good essay structure, advanced grammar and vocabulary , and high level sentence constructions in your written composition.
However, not all students will need to write an essay as part of the English exam. Skip to content Essay Writing — Exam Information You will be asked to complete an essay writing task as part of the exam. The essay writing section consists of two topics. Which one do you prefer? Please give reasons and explanations to support your point of view. Writing Essays — Types of Questions The essays on the exams are usually one of the following kinds: 1 Personal experience or opinion essay — You will be given a statement and asked to write about your personal experience or give your point of view.
Remember to give reasons and examples to support the assertions you make in your essay.
She must be able to build the suspense and make the reader feel excited, or worried, or nervous in the climax of the story. She can vary sentence structures and use emotive words to put the readers on the edge. She must make the problem or conflict seem SO BAD that the reader loses all hope for a proper resolution. Yes, the conflict or problem must bring out that feeling of hopelessness in the reader. Writing this portion is fairly simple. All your child needs to do is to resolve the problem or conflict in a logical way. If possible, try to allow the main character to help resolve the conflict.
Also, consider solving the problem in other ways, rather than just turning to the police or complaining to the teacher. Could the problem or conflict be solved by a stroke of luck? Could the community get involved to solve the problem together? The key here is to be creative but logical at the same time. Most of my new students mess up this part of their composition rather badly. It is one of the common mistakes made by students during PSLE composition writing. Get your child to spend a bit more time in the conclusion segment.
Ensure that the story has a proper closure. This post just briefly covers the basics of primary school composition writing. It contains 80 Awesome Phrases to describe emotions! But before you read this post… you might want to download this ebook first. By Jerry Lee February 9, Primary School Composition Writing Tags: basic composition structure , basic essay structure , compos , composition , conclusion , conflict , essay , essay writing , introduction , primary school composition , problem , resolution , singapore.