Essay styles

This set of cards will help you to understand the way vocabulary is used to write a certain type of essay.

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Writing to Analyse

Analytical writing is the way you write when you WORK OUT why something has occurred or the results of something - a bit like an evaluation.

Which of the titles below are best suited to an analytical essay?

a) The explosion which finished the experiment was very loud.

b) As a result of mixing together the two chemicals, the final explosion was very dramatic.

c) The class were surprised by the noise caused by the explosion.

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Writing to Compare

Comparative writing is the sort you write when comparing two or more things from the point of view of SIMILARITIES or DIFFERENCES

Which of the following sentences are most likely to have come from a comparison essay:-

a) Rossetti wrote a lot of poetry for children.

b) I find Rossetti's poetry effective because it makes me feel as if I can see and feel what she is talking about.

c) Although both poets use a lot of figurative language, I think Rossetti's poetry is more effective than Stevenson's.

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Writing to Contrast

When writing to contrast one thing with another, you are concentrating specifically on DIFFERENCES and OPPOSITES between them.

Which of the following sentences best suits an essay in which you cite contrasts:-

a)Thomas Hardy was a novelist from Dorset who wrote a great deal about nature;Roger McGough, on the other hand, was a Scouser whose main topic when writing was city life.

b)I prefer Roger McGough's poetry because he writes about things which are familiar to me.

c) The topic of McGough's poetry is reflective of his childhood in the same way that Hardy's is of his early years.

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Writing to Instruct

When writing in this way, you are trying to help people accomplish something, possibly something which they have not done before.

Which of the following are most suitable for this type of essay:-

a) In order to be certain that your baking is successful, you must follow your recipes closely.

b) If I were you, I should prefer to use plain flour, rather than self-raising flour.

c) Recipes are written so that we know how to cook.

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Wriitng to Imagine

This style of essay gives way to creativity - we ae usually asked to write about something from our imagination, or to suggest that a character is thinking outside their normal boundaries of thought. The content of the essay is not usually 100% certain, and is sometimes unrealistic.

Which of these sentences is best suited to an imaginative essay:-

a) She sat down on the beach and watched the children playing, thinking all the while about how lucky she was to have such a wonderful family.

b) Dreaming idly as she relaxed in the warm, sunny garden, the woman thought longingly of the days when her house had been ringing with children's voices.

c) "Go and find the children!" my mother shouted impatiently, as she tried to cope with cooking the meal for us all.

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Writing to Inform

Writing of this style is to tell someone something, or relate a message, an event and so on.

Which of these sentences is best suited to this style of writing:-

a) In contrast, the young woman came along just as the bus turned the corner.

b) Even though the bus was running late, the fact that it ran at all was amazing!

c) She was sitting waiting for the bus.

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Writing to Explain

Writing in this style helps the reader to understand what is said, or the writer's reasons for thinking as s/he does.

Which sentence is best suited to this style of writing:-

a) The were no lessons that day and the girls were happy to stay at home.

b) Since there were no lessons in school that day, the girl didn't carry her usual heavy bag with her.

c) I think the lessons ought to have continued that day - what message does cancelling them give about the importance of education?

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Writing to Describe

Writing of this type enables the reader to feel that s/he can see/hear/feel/taste/smell the topic of the writing. The writer uses vocabulary to enable us to gain a real sense of what s/he is talking about.

Which sentence is best suited to this style of writing:-

a) The first light of dawn pierced brightly through the crack in the ill-fitting curtains.

b) He woke up because the light was bright.

c) "Oh no!" he groaned, "it's not time to get up already?"

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Writing to Persuade

Writing in this style is aiming at getting the reader to do or believe something which the writer thinks s/he should do or believe. The writing is quite powerful.

Which of these sentences is best suited to persuasive writing:-

a) All those girls who are good at Art should take it as an option subject.

b) Art is available for all those girls who want to choose it.

c) "You know you're good at Art, so go ahead and enter the competition!"

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Writing to Advise

This style of writing is similar to persuasive writing, but is less biased and the vocabulary is often less forceful.

Which of these sentences is best suited to this style of writing:-

a) It is always easier to make a good decision after giving the matter a lot of thought.

b) If I were you, I'd think about things a little more before making a decision.

c) Always think before you decide.

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Writing to Argue

Writing in this style is fairly forceful and has a bias, although the "other side of the coin" of a matter is always acknowledged, however briefly. The hope of the writer is the same as for persuasive writing - that the reader will come to agree.

Which of these sentences is best suited to this style of writing:-

a) I know many people make snappy decisions but, unfortunately, many come to regret the decision they made.

b) Thinking things over for a bit longer may well help you to make a decision you feel more confident with.

c) It's up to you to decide.

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Writing to Discuss

Discursive writing is what is used by writers who want to consider several viewpoints of a topic and they write, not necesssarily with bias, but with the purpose of examining the different viewpoints.

Which of these sentences best suits this style of writing:-

a) Shakespeare's audiences liked to be entertained and they were very knowlegeable about the history of Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece.

b) Audiences enjoyed the dramatic irony which Shakespeare included in his plays.

c) Whilst Shakespeare wrote about a true historical event in "Julius Caesar", he wrote about it in such a way as to entertain his audience without detracting from historical fact.

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