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Lean how to write Essay technique of Essay-Writing.

Technique of Essay-Writing

Essay-writing is an intelligent exercise. It requires knowledge of the factual data as well as the mental grasp and literary acumen to present it in a clear and lucid style. The word `essay’ means ‘to attempt’. Essaying on a subject implies testing or examining it. According to the definition given in the Oxford Dictionary, an essay is a literary composition. It is usually prose in nature and precise on a particular subject.

Its Scope
The scope of essay-writing is as wide as the world. There is no subject from the stars to the diet heap, and from the amoeba to the man, which may not be dealt with in an essay. Its theme and purpose are endlessly diverse. Further, an essay is practically the manifestation, in a literary form, of the personality of the writer. This accounts for its subjective character.

Its Importance
In almost all the competitive examinations, essay-writing has assumed a great importance. Though there are numerous forms of testing the student regarding his understanding of the language, essay has come to be regarded as the surest test of the writing power and personality of the student. It is thought to be the most effective test of the ability of the candidate to write clear, simple and direct English. As such, it is made a compulsory question in almost all the competitive examinations.

Kinds of Essays

According to the subject-matter and form, essays can be divided under the following heads:

(i) Descriptive Essays: Descriptive Essays are those that consist of the description of some place or thing. The description should be both clear and pleasant. The writer of the description should set to work in the manner of a painter. His description must be founded upon close observation. Also an i attempt should be made to reproduce the atmosphere in which the object is seen.

(ii) Narrative Essays: The subject-matter of the Narrative Essay is the same as that of the narrative proper. It consists of the narration of some event, action or movement. The event may be imaginary or historical or a personal experience of the student or an account of the life of someone else. The candidate may be asked to write the biographical sketch of a national leader, a journey or a voyage or an incident like a street quarrel or a bus accident.

(iii) Reflective Essays : The aim of the reflective essay is to test whether the student has formed his opinion on such subjects as ‘Patriotism’, ‘Habits’, ‘Essentials of Character’, etc. He is to attempt topics of abstract as well as of social, political and domestic affairs Current issues, such as ‘Rising Prices’, are set to test the volume of information he has gathered. This particular type of essay is an essential test of planning and argument of the matter possessed by the student. The essay is to be a sincere self-expression of the candidate.

Parts of an Essay

An essay, like other literary forms, has the following parts :
(i) Introduction : The purpose of introduction is to stimulate generally an interest in the topic. The general importance of the topic is emphasised at the very outset, so as to sustain the interest of the reader all through the essay. As a rule, the introduction opens with the pointed short statement, which shakes off the indifference of the reader. The opening sentence is usually short. It serves the purpose of an electric shock. If it is a serious statement, it should be readily acceptable. But it must be full of compelling force and vigour.

(ii) History : After the introduction, the history and development of the topic should be taken up. In a short essay, a very brief critical survey or bird’s eye-view of the history of the topic may be given in the form of a few pithy remarks. In the case of longer essays, it is absolutely necessary to present a very succinct account of the topic. The attempted history of the topic should show that the candidate has an up-to-date knowledge of things and is in a position to draw his own conclusions.

(iii) Body : It constitutes the main part or body of the essay. It should present facts, illustrations and thoughts and reflections of the writer in an orderly and coherent manner. The body should be divided into regular paragraphs, each dealing with one distinct aspect of the subject. The paragraphs should be interlinked with one another and should serve as different stages in the narrative description or the argument.

(iv) Conclusion : The essay should be rounded off with a conclusion. The conclusion of an essay is as important as its introduction. Whereas the opening introduces the subject, the end leaves the final impression on the mind of the reader. It should, therefore, contain the finest, wittiest or most original thought that has occurred to the writer on the subject. There should be a finality and completeness about the end. The last sentence of the essay should have a rhythmic effect so as to produce a strong feeling that the topic has finally come to a very satisfactory and natural end.

Practical Hints on Essay-Writing

1 Read the title carefully. Understand its meaning, implications and scope. Observe any qualifying words and keep yourself within the limits, which these impose.

2. Do a little thinking on the subject before you start writing. Note down the points on a piece of paper as they come. Then make your selection and arrange them in the form of an outline.

3. Never lose sight of the central thought.

4. Increase your vocabulary by wide reading.

5. Avoid the following ;

(i) vague generalisations and sermonising;
(ii) hackneyed and vulgarised expressions;
(iii) rhetorical or journalistic phrases;
(iv) slangs and colloquialisms;
(v) abbreviations; and
(iv) unseemly and careless repetition of the same phrases.

6. Learn a straight-forward manner of saying things. Do not beat about the bush. Tell a plain thing once and plainly.

7. Divide the essay into paragraphs and adapt the style to the subject and the mood, humorous or grave, in which you are going to treat it.

8. If the subject of an essay is a question, it should be remembered that a question is, at its best, a half-truth only. Understand it clearly before you begin to write. If the meaning is obscure, explain it before you discuss its truth.

9. In a controversial essay discuss the pros and cons–points in favour and against the subject—dispassionately and give your conclusion. Do not be unfair to the other side. You can do this without, in any way, weakening your own position. You can either deal with the points in favour and against alternately or exhaust pros first and then take up the cons, or vice versa. The most convenient way is that you should state the case of your opponent, as fairly as you can, in the first part of the essay, and then answer it point by point. It naturally leads you to your conclusions. Never be biased. Avoid controversial topics as far as possible.

10. Always remember the type of people you are writing for, and adapt your style or ideas to their taste and understanding.

11. Never forget to revise carefully what you have written.

Length of the Essay

Sometimes students are puzzled with regard to the length of the essay. A single well-written page may fetch more marks than any incoherent piece running into scores of pages. Usually a subject decides its own length. It also depends upon the individuality of the candidate and the time at his disposal. But, on average, 500 to 1000 words is a fair limit.


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