What is an essay: Concept, definition, characteristics

What is an essay: Concept, definition, characteristics

What is an Essay?

Essays are short (non-fiction) compositions that describe, clarify, discuss, or analyze a topic. Students can conduct tests in any school subject and at any level of the school, from a "vacation" test of personal experience in middle school to a sophisticated analysis of a scientific process in graduate school. The components of an essay include an introduction, a thesis statement, a body, and a conclusion.

Types of Trials and Expected Structure

There are generally four types or categories into which the essays will fall. These are called modes of discourse and include narration, description, exposition, and plot.

In a narrative essay, the writer tells a story and provides an account of events. An autobiography or personal essay is an assignment that requires a narrative essay. For this type of essay, it is more logical to provide details in chronological order. Otherwise, the story will seem messy and confusing. Although it has the form of a research study on scientific or literary subjects, it is different, since its purpose is to make sure knowledge accessible, to interpret an issue with a purely subjective criterion, pleasantly and brilliantly. Its primary importance is that thanks to its brevity, novelty, and beauty, it facilitates the understanding of the topics it deals with. Written, generally, in the first person, includes anecdotes, setting, characters, plot, highlight, and outcome. 

A descriptive essay provides the reader with details that appeal to the senses. The writer gives information about how an event or object looks, smells, behaves, resembles, sounds, or feels. The introductory paragraph of a descriptive essay should inform the reader about the topic to be described. Details can come in many patterns: they can be structured spatially (from left to right or top to bottom) or chronologically. The descriptive essay could also be written as a narrative one that describes something through sensory experiences. There will often be some mix when it comes to modes of discourse.

An expository essay is one that explains, defines, or informs. You will use a descriptive essay to demonstrate your knowledge of a topic, such as a history, science, or geography. There are many options for structuring an expository essay. For example, you may be asked to write an essay on the United States Civil War. You could write a chronological account, detailing each battle on a timeline, or you could write a detailed report describing how the war impacted groups or individuals. You could also write a cause and effect structure, or you could write in a style of comparison and contrast, comparing this war with a civil war in another country.

Argumentative essays make a claim or take a position on a controversial topic. The structure is somewhat flexible, but it must contain certain elements.

  • You must provide introductory information to set the stage for your thesis.
  • You must claim a thesis statement.
  • You must provide background information.
  • You must provide evidence to support your claim.
  • You must face the opposing arguments and refute them.

The number and order of your points may vary, so you should use the allocation instructions as a guide.