How to Use Essay Examples in a Proper Way
We learn to write through practice and by looking at examples of writing which also helps with learning to read. Learning to write essays should follow a similar experience.
- Look for examples of essays that you have been asked to produce. This is important, especially if you are about to write an argumentative essay and you are looking at a selection of descriptive essays. Both of these types of essays need very different skills.
- Look for examples of essays that fall into your field of study. For different subjects there are going to be different skills needed. A science essay is going to require an exact and informative language in comparison to Literature essay.
Once you have identified your examples you then need to decide whether the examples are very good, good or poor examples. This is where you get to be the teacher.
- A good example would include a logical progression of ideas; cited references in the correct format; grammatically correct; spell checked; no mismatched words and phrases; evidence of proofreading and editing.
- A poor example would be a mismatch of ideas; mismatch of tenses; awkward and misused wording that leaves the reader confused and a general sloppiness.
You may also draw your attention to:
- Addition of information that has no relevance to the essay topic.
- An introductory paragraph that does not actually do what it’s supposed to do.
- The writer's use of apostrophes – they indicate possession or contradiction not pluralization.
- Sentences should be complete and not need hyphenation (this is really a no-no in a formal piece of writing). They should be well constructed and their meaning not misinterpreted.
- If the essay refers to a time line or process of ideas then they should be in chronological order or logical progression.
- One idea, one paragraph. Look for the way the paragraphs are constructed do they have a beginning, main part and concluding sentence?
- Be wary of the use of hyperbole – if something is logically impossible then its hyperbole.
- Colloquial terms have no place in a formal essay.
- Watch out for changes in use of tense. This may be an oversight by the writer, as work sometimes when proofreading and editing, a simple change in one part of the may actually have an impact in another part of the work.
- Formal essays should never include the # symbol or bullet points.
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