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ID number:271489
Published: 07.11.2006.
Language: English
Level: College/University
Literature: 2 units
References: Not used
Table of contents
Nr. Chapter  Page.
1.  What Makes a Good Essay?   
1.1  Introduction   
1.2  Always Follow the Directions   
1.3  How to Instruct the Reader   
1.4  How to Delight the Reader   
1.5  Take Your Reader on a Trip   
1.6  How to Make the Reader Like You   
1.7  How to Show That You Did the Reading   
1.8  How to Show That You Thought About the Reading   
1.9  How to Show That You Did Additional Reading   
1.10  Other Ways to Make the Reader Like You   
1.11  Five Ways to Turn Off the Reader   
2.  Types of Essays   
2.1  Admission essay   
2.2  Cause and Effect   
2.3  Classification essay   
2.4  Comparison and contrast essay   
2.5  Definition essay   
2.6  Description essay   
2.7  Expository essay   
2.8  Informal essay   
2.9  Literary essay   
2.10  Narrative essay   
2.10  Persuasive essay   
2.11  Process essay   
2.13  Review essay   

1.1 Introduction
Other writing guides usually fail to emphasize a simple point: a great piece of writing is a meaningful activity between the writer and the reader. An essay is not simply a beautiful piece of finished prose. It is an ordered set of paragraphs that does something for the reader. A great essay is an action with a purpose.
Sometimes the choice is not yours: you might be required to show a single reader that you understand one thing in particular. But most of the time, even when you have strict guidelines to follow, you have a lot of choices. The main actions you can take are
(1) to instruct or teach the reader something;
(2) to delight the reader, or to give the reader something to appreciate or enjoy;
(3) to move the reader, which means to inspire the reader to feel a certain way or to go out and do something.
A good essay accomplishes one or more of these goals. A bad essay, even when it has a perfect structure, excellent spelling, and impeccable grammar, does not accomplish any of these goals. Great essays often but not always accomplish all three.
The advice in these pages is unique to Grade Saver. Here is where you will learn how to write a good essay. Every page reminds you to do something for the reader.
If you need to come up with an essay topic for a particular assignment, don't worry. Advice is here. And even if you don't really want to do something for the reader, you can find a topic that you like enough to share.

1.2 Always Follow the Directions

Before you start working on your topic or your specific interactions with the reader, make sure you understand the requirements for your essay. It might amaze you how many essays fail to follow simple directions. These directions normally come from your reader. Your reader will like you and have more patience with you if you follow the directions, not if you don't.
The directions include everything from the recommended number of pages or words to the manner, place, and time at which you should submit your essay.
Moreover, if you have been given a "prompt" or a specific essay topic, do not write about something else. Note that readers search for plagiarism more vigorously when they notice that an essay does not really answer the question or follow the prompt.
Remember that an essay is an action. A prompt often gives you a specific activity to complete. Look for the key verb in the prompt. If you do not know what the verb means, numerous web sites provide insight about how to interpret verbs such as analyze, comment, compare, define, describe, discuss, explain, identify, list, prove, summarize, and so on.
Note that if there is no prompt, you can use one of these key verbs to launch your essay. Can you think of something beautiful worth commenting on, something difficult or unusual that is worth explaining, something complicated that you should summarize, etc.?

1.3 How to Instruct the Reader
Most admission essays, academic essays, and scholarship essays are designed to teach something to the reader. In truth, if you are writing an essay that involves class material and your teacher is the reader, your teacher may already know what you have to teach. So, you will write as though you really are saying something new. Who knows--maybe for your teacher, it really is!
Admission and scholarship essays normally instruct the reader first of all about you, whether directly or indirectly. Even when your topic is about something else, such as your favorite role model or the best way to eat spaghetti while blindfolded, you are teaching your reader about yourself: this is what I find interesting or valuable; this is how I solve problems; this is why I would be a great member of your community.
When you write to instruct, think about what is worth knowing about your subject. Then, (1) instruct the reader why this point is worth knowing, and (2) make the point.
(1) Will your reader be impressed if you compare the novel's hero to a tree? Well, it depends: are trees or forests important in the novel? Does anyone in the novel get transformed into an inanimate object? Does the character act in a "wooden" manner? In other words, if you can make a good case for the knowledge being important in its context, your reader will be interested to learn what you have to teach.

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