What is an Essay? A discursive essay A discursive essay is a piece of formal writing which discusses a particular issue, situation or problem. There are three main types of discursive essays. For and against essays present both sides of an issue, discussing points in favour of a particular topic as well as those against, or the advantages and disadvantages of a particular question. Each point should be supported by justifications, examples, and/or reasons. The writer's own opinion should be presented only in the final paragraph ii Opinion essays present the writers personal opinion concerning the topic, clearly stated and supported by reasons and/or examples. The opposing viewpoint and reason should be included in a separate paragraph before the dosing one, together with an argument that shows it is an unconvincing viewpoint. The writer's opinion should be included in the introduction, and summarized/restated in the conclusion. iii Essays suggesting solutions to problems, in which the problem(s) associated with a particular issue or situation are analysed and possible solutions are put for-ward, together with any expected results/consequences. The writer's opinion may be mentioned, directly or indirectly, in the introduction and/or conclusion. A good discursive essay should consist of: a) an introductory paragraph in which you clearly state the topic to be discussed; b) a main body, in which points are clearly stated in separate paragraphs and exemplified or justified: and c) a closing paragraph summarising the main points of the essay, in which you stale/restate your opinion, and/or give a balanced consideration of the topic. Points to consider • Present each point in a separate paragraph. A welldeveloped paragraph contains a clear topic sentence, which summaries the contents of the paragraph, as well as a clear justification, explanation or example in support of the point presented. • Well-known quotations (e.g. As writer Somerset Maugham once said, 'It is bad enough to know the past; it would be intolerable to know the future."). rhetorical questions (e.g. It people today are not concerned enough about tomorrow, will the future still be there for man?) or thought-provoking statements (e.g. The fact is mat one's future is what one makes it. There Is no such thing as chance.) are useful devices to make your composition more interesting. • Before you begin writing, you should always make a list of the points you will present. • Do not use informal style (e.g. contracted forms, colloquial language, etc) or very strong language (e.g. I know. I am sure…) Use appropriate linking words/phrases to show the links between paragraph, as well as to link sentences within paragraphs. Topic sentence Many people, however, prefer living in flats because they feel safer. Justification With increasing crime rates, people are afraid to live in a house, as they feel more vulnerable to burglars and other criminals. Therefore, they prefer the feeing of security that the proximity of neighbouring flats offers them. Formal style • Discursive essays are written in formal style. This means you should use: -passive voice, impersonal constructions (e.g. It Is argued that It Is a common belief that…) - a range of advanced vocabulary (verbs, adjectives, abstract nouns, etc) (e.g. heated debate concerning the controversial issue…) -formal linking words/phrases (e.g. furthermore, however, nonetheless) - complex 1
sentences with a variety of links, dependent clauses, etc (e.g. Although it is widely accepted that compulsory military service, which provides an army with abundant manpower, is beneficial to a country's ability to defend itself, closer analysis of military efficiency suggests that it is advanced weaponry which plays a crucial role in…) - inversion, especially in conditionals (e.g. Were this true, we would…; Never has this been more obvious…) You should not use. -short forms (e.g. I'm, It’s) except when these are part of a quotation...
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