How to Write an Effective Essay
Uploaded by ccc123 on Apr 03, 2007
After enduring one terrible essay after another, i was unable to resist uploading some tips for writing an effective essay.
1. Answer the question. Sounds simple enough, but it's just unbelievable how many people fail miserably to do so. While we're on this point, i might also mention the 'quality not quantity' principle. Remember, three pages of strong discussion on the topic is preferable to a poorly organised ramble that spans over six pages, fails to answer the question or only intermittently addresses it.
2. Be eloquent yet succinct.In English, it's not merely what you say, its how you say it. At this point it's worth interposing another word of advice- ensure you don't
a) Make sweeping statements
and b) Support your statements with evidence, that is, quotes, techniques etc.
Now in English, using language effectively is paramount, and in order to elevate an essay to distiction, it needs to be well articulated.Say,for example, we were describing how Arthur Miller's The Crucible addresses social conflict. It may be considered acceptable to say something along the lines of:
Miller's The Crucible shows the destructive nature of social conflict.
There's nothing particularly wrong with that, but it would be more effectoive to express that same idea by saying:
As a partial allegory to the Mccathy era, Miller's The Crucible unveils how paranoia and hysteria, fuelled by a perceived social evil, can taer a community apart. In particular, Miller highlights the destrctive nature of social conflict, and exposes how it can set the foundations for various other conflicts.
The latter is obviosuly more effective, as not only is it more eloquent, but the assertions are supported with techniques.
However, one must not over estimate the power of eloquence, as inevitably some people will automatically presume that eloquence is tantamount to circumloction.
The point here is, don't waffle. Be eloquent, but succint.
3. Have a strong introduction and conclusion.This is important, as first and last impressions can count for a lot. The introduction will give the examiner an initial impression of your writing, while the conclusion is the last thing that will be read before a mark is administered, and should hence be memorable.
For the introduction, it is always good top open with a quote that summarises the ideas that you discuss in your essay.It should be designed to capture the attention of the respondant.
The conclusion should be concise, but not monotonous. Never should phrases such as "in conclusion" or "Finally"...