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Types of essay, structure of an essay

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  • 1. Republic of Moldova Ministry of Education ―Ion Creangă‖ State Pedagogical University Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literature English Philology Department MASTER‘S DEGREE PAPERCOMPOSING AN ESSAY Submitted by: Mocanu Elena Scientific adviser: Sagoian E., Ph.D., associate professor Chisinau 2012
  • 2. CONTENTS:INTRODUCTION …………………………………………………………….… 3Chapter I. THEORETICAL REVIEW OF THE PROCESS OFCOMPOSING AN ESSAY ……………………………………………………... 61.1 The Writing Process ……………………………………………………….…. 61.2 What is an Essay? …………………………………………………………… 111.3 Prewriting Techniques ………………………………………………………. 141.4 From Paragraph to Essay ……………………………………………………. 231.5 The Thesis Statement ……………………………………………………….. 261.6 The Introductory Paragraph …………………………………………………. 281.7 Body Paragraphs …………………………………………………………….. 311.8 The Concluding Paragraph ………………………………………………….. 331.9 Guidelines on Composing an Essay ………………………………………… 351.10 Common Essay Problems …………………………………………………. 38Chapter II. ESSAY WRITING PATTERNS ……………………………........ 422.1 Types of Essays ……………………………...……………………………… 422.1.1 Cause and Effect Essay ……………...…………………………….……… 432.1.2 Classification Essay …………………………………………….….…........ 462.1.3 Comparison and Contrast Essay ………………………………..…………. 482.1.4 Descriptive Essay……………………………………………………….…. 502.1.5 Definition Essay…………………………………………………………… 522.1.6 Expository Essay ………………………………………………………..… 552.1.7 Narrative Essay……………………………………………………………. 592.2 Coherence and Unity of Essays ……………………………………………... 622.2.1 Organizing Patterns …………………………………………………….…. 65Chapter III. EXPERIMENTAL ANALYSIS OF THE THEORETICALAPPROACH TO THE PROCESS OF COMPOSING AN ESSAY ………... 713.1 Description of the course of the experimental work ………………………. 713.2 Results of the experiment ………………………………………….….…… 93Conclusions ………………………………………………………….…………. 99Bibliography ……………………………………………………….…………. 103Appendix …………………………………………………………….………... 108 2
  • 3. INTRODUCTION The master‘s degree paper is devoted to the topic “Composing an Essay”.This investigation is from the field of methods of teaching foreign languages. Writing is the expression of language in the form of letters, symbols, orwords. The primary purpose of writing is communication. People have used manytools for writing including paint, pencils, pens, typewriters, and computers. Writing is known to be an important component of the language as a systemand one of the four skills of foreign language teaching that students must acquire.It is not a very easy task to communicate in the written form in a foreign language.Maybe it is for the same reason that large numbers of adult native speakers neverachieve a high level of expressiveness in writing in their first language. It partlyhas to do with the nature of writing itself. Harold Rosen explained it in this way:‗The writer is a lonely figure cut off from the stimulus and corrective of listeners.He must be a predictor of reactions and act on his predictions. He writes with onehand tied behind his back, being robbed of gestures. He is robbed too of the tone ofhis voice and the aid of clues the environment provides. He is condemned tomonologue. There is no one to help to fill the silences in his mouth or makeencouraging noises.‘ As Rosen points out writing is detached from the wide rangeof expressive possibilities in speech. A writer is unable to explore all the devicesavailable to a speaker: gestures, body movement, facial expressions, pitch and toneof voice, stress and hesitations, he has to compensate for all of these disadvantages.Jeffrey A. Carver says that ―Writing is a craft that requires both talent and acquiredskills. You learn by doing, by making mistakes and then seeing where you wentwrong. Practice, practice, practice writing‖. Learning to write in a foreign languageis an uphill struggle for most students. Therefore writing skills need to be taught.They are specific abilities which help writers put their thoughts into words in ameaningful form and to mentally interact with the message. Writing skills help thelearner gain independence, comprehensibility, fluency and creativity in writing. Iflearners have mastered these skills, they will be able to write so that notonly they can read what they have written, but other speakers of that language can 3
  • 4. read and understand it. The reason for which this theme has been chosen is the necessity of knowingthe difficulties and problems we can have in composing an essay. It is veryimportant and useful to know opinions of different scholars on this theme and ofcourse the means, proceedings and methods used by various scholars, in order toidentify, analyse and understand easier and better the English writing. Taking intoaccount all these things we will be able to teach and explain it to others in the mostaccessible and easiest way including the most efficient methods and techniques forthe best understanding. The aim of this diploma paper is to present the most accessible andimportant information about composing an essay and, of course, the best andworthiest opinions of various scholars from various sources. The main objectives of the present diploma paper are the following: 1. To analyse theoretical works of various methodologists about composing an essay and to select the most useful ones. 2. To describe the process of writing an essay. 3. To point out the difficulties students encounter in the writing process. 4. To carry out an experiment in the school concerned with the different types of essay writing activities. 5. To reveal the most effective techniques that will improve the writing of essays. To realize all the objectives of the paper, the following methods ofinvestigation have been used: 1) Contrastive analysis 2) Generalization 3) Description 4) Comparison 5) Experimental analysis The diploma paper consists of: Introduction, three Chapters, Conclusions,Bibliography and Appendix. 4
  • 5. In the Introduction the aim, the objectives of the paper and the methods ofthe research are stated. Chapter I contains the theoretical data on composing an essay and presentsa brief survey of the structure of an essay selected from the consulted sources. Chapter II comprises the description of types of essays relevant to the firstchapter. They can be used as a basis in a teaching context or for individuallearning. Chapter III deals with the description of the experiment and its results. Conclusions contain the results of investigation on the topic. The Bibliography presents the list of sources that deal with the problem ofcomposing an essay. The Appendix shows several examples which are not presented in theresearch. This research is quite useful and can have practical value for teaching andstudying English as a foreign language. 5
  • 6. Chapter I THEORETICAL REVIEW OF THE PROCESS OFCOMPOSING AN ESSAY Writing is the final product of several separate stages that are hugelychallenging to learn simultaneously. Among these separable stages are note-taking,identifying a central idea, outlining, drafting and editing. Both young and oldpeople can encounter the discouraging ‗writer‘s block‘ if they engage in more thanone or two of these activities at once. It is difficult to start writing a report, forexample, without a central idea and notes to support it. Teachers may not onlyconduct skilful lessons but also stimulate all students to become better writers, andidentify talented writers for special encouragement and lessons. To become betterwriters, students may need to read good— even great—literature, which can serveas a model for their own efforts. Hearing and reading about the lives of great menand women writers and how they developed their talents may stimulate them.Direct contacts with professional writers, such as novelists and news reporters,may be inspirational. Inquiry and discovery also inspire great writing. Havingtopics that a person cares deeply about, as a consequence of personal interest andinvestigation, may prove decisive for a fine writing and even lead to a life devotedto writing. [21, p 135] This chapter begins by examining the writing process. It then looks at howwriting is produced and the stages a piece of writing passes through before it iscompleted. The later section of the chapter describes a number of guidelines oncomposing an essay and students‘ common problems while writing. §1.1 The Writing Process Writing is a complex sociocognitive process involving the construction ofrecorded messages on paper or on some other material, and, more recently, on acomputer screen. The skills needed to write range from making the appropriategraphic marks, through utilizing the resources of the chosen language, toanticipating the reactions of the intended readers. The first skill area involvesacquiring a writing system, which may be alphabetic. The second skill arearequires selecting the appropriate grammar and vocabulary to form acceptable 6
  • 7. sentences and then arranging them in paragraphs. Third, writing involves thinkingabout the purpose of the text to be composed and about its possible effects on theintended readership. One important aspect of this last feature is the choice of asuitable style. Because of these characteristics, writing is not an innate naturalability like speaking but has to be acquired through years of training or schooling. Mastering the art of writing involves learning a great many things about thesystem and how to manipulate it. It entails learning to: use writing implements,write legibly, spell correctly, use punctuation, satisfy grammatical rules, takeaccount of an audience, construct and organize texts, select from a range of styles.There is a great deal to know about writing in order to be able to make the systemwork. However, there is more to writing and becoming an effective writer thanknowing how to operate the system. We need to know what the system is for. Writing has a number of uses and has an important functional role in ourlives. The visible form of written language means that it provides ideas andthoughts with a degree of permanence and enables meaning to be conveyed toothers or recorded without being constrained by distance or time. As a method ofcommunication writing can be used to establish and maintain contact with others,transmit information, express thoughts, feelings and reactions, entertain andpersuade. As a personal or private activity it can be a powerful tool for learningand remembering. It can be used to explore and refine ideas, organize thoughts andrecord information. In school writing often has another role. Children are asked touse writing to display what they know, and writing is usually the medium throughwhich pupil learning is measured. Through writing students do not just displaywhat they know; they can also discover what they know and think. ‗Writing is nota linear or step-by-step procedure, but a messy adventure, one that you control butthat often surprises you with your own insights‘ as Raimes claims. [42, p. 145] Recently, the teaching of writing has moved away from a concentration onwritten product to an emphasis on the process of writing. Thus, writers askthemselves: 7
  • 8. How do I write this?How do I get started? In this approach, students are trained to generate ideas for writing, think ofthe purpose and audience, and write multiple drafts in order to present writtenproducts that communicate their own ideas. Teachers who use this approach givestudents time to tray ideas and feedback on the content of what they write in theirdrafts. As such, writing becomes a process of discovery for the students as theydiscover new ideas and new language forms to express them. Furthermore,learning to write is seen as a developmental process that helps students to write asprofessional authors do, choosing their own topics and genres, and writing fromtheir own experiences or observations. A writing process approach requires thatteachers give students greater responsibility for, and ownership of, their ownlearning. Students make decisions about genre and choice of topics, andcollaborate as they write. During the writing process, students engage in pre-writing, planning, drafting, and post-writing activities. However, as the writingprocess is recursive in nature, they do not necessarily engage in these activities inthat order. Since writing is a powerful tool for living and learning learners need to beshown how to do it. [5, p.64] To become an adept and confident writer involveslearning how to write and learning about writing. Fluent writers are at ease with thewriting system and know when and how to use writing in their lives. Manystudents mistakenly think that good writers simply sit down and write out a perfectletter, paragraph, or essay from start to finish. In fact, writing is a processconsisting of a number of steps: Thinking about possible subjects Freely jotting down ideas on paper or computer1. Prewriting Narrowing the subject, writing it as one sentence Deciding which ideas to include Arranging ideas in a plan or an outline 8
  • 9. 2. Writing Writing a first draft Rethinking, rearranging, and rewriting as necessary3. Revising Writing one or more new drafts Proofreading for grammar and spelling errors Not all writers perform all the steps in this order, but most prewrite, write,revise, and proofread. Actually, writing can be a messy process of thinking,writing, reading what has been written, and rewriting. Sometimes steps overlap ormust be repeated. The important thing is that writing the first draft is just one stagein the process. [53, p. 44] Before they write, good writers spend time prewriting – thinking about andplanning for a paper. Here writers think, let their imaginations run free, jot downideas or list ideas on the computer, decide which ideas to use, and come up with aplan. Many beginning writers get into trouble by skipping the prewriting phase.They don‘t realize that doing this early work saves time and frustration later andusually creates a much better piece of writing than when students just sit down towrite. Next comes writing the first draft. Writers who have planned ahead are nowfree to concentrate on writing the best possible draft. The focus now is onpresenting ideas, feelings, and experiences as convincingly as possible, rather thanon correcting. The next phase of the process – and one that many writers rushthrough or omit altogether – is revising. Experienced writers do not accept the firstwords that flow from their pens; they are like sculptors, shaping and reworkingrough material into something meaningful. Writers do this by letting the first draftsit for five minutes, an hour or a day. Then they read it again with a fresh, criticaleye and rewrite – adding, dropping, or rearranging ideas; changing words toachieve more clarity and punch; and so on. Many writers revise two or three timesuntil they get it right- until their writing says clearly and effectively what they wantto say. Finally, the proofread for grammar and spelling errors, so that their writingseems to say ‗I am proud to put my name on this work.‘ 9
  • 10. Early in the writing phase, a writer gives some thought to the subject,audience, and purpose. A writer usually narrows the subject toward some specificaspect that will intrigue and interest the readers. A good writer also connects withhis or her audience and keeps readers in mind at all times, as if in a face-to-facecommunication, that helps to know what information to include and what to leaveout. Achieving this connection, however, often proves challenging, because not allreaders have the same characteristics. To consider audience, students mustconsider who they are writing for and students must ask themselves, "Who is myintended audience?" Some possible audiences are:1. Familiar, known audiences: self, friends, peers, family, teachers;2. Extended, known audiences: community, student body, local media;3. Extended, unknown audiences: wider range of media and other publications. A good writer defines the purpose in writing, whether it is to explain an ideaor provide information, to persuade readers to see things other way or move themto action; that helps to write more effectively. To consider purpose, students writeto express ideas, feelings, emotions, and opinions, and they must ask themselves,"What is my purpose for writing this piece?" Some purposes for students‘ writingsare:1. to express personal feelings or viewpoints2. to imagine "What if ...?"3. to narrate4. to entertain and/or amuse5. to describe6. to inform or explain7. to persuade or convince8. to request9. to inquire or question10. to explore and experiment with ideas and formats11. to clarify thinking. 10
  • 11. To consider point of view, students must determine from which point of viewtheir ideas or information will be expressed, so they need to ask themselves, "Whois telling this story/describing the events?" Some points of view for students‘consideration are:1. Physical point of view: where is the narrator in relation to the action?2. Objective and subjective point of view: what emotional involvement does thenarrator have in relation to the situation?3. Personal point of view: who is the narrator of the story? (The narrator may takea first person, third person, or an all-knowing omniscient point of view.) To decide what information will be gathered and how it will most effectivelybe gathered students who decide that they need to conduct interviews or go on fieldtrips to gather information will need to brainstorm and construct a list ofquestions. Students who require library research will need to decide the types ofresources and references to consult. To consider format, students will use audience and purpose to determineformat and genre. They will have the opportunity to write in a variety of narrative,descriptive, expository, and poetic formats. Their writings may include formatsand genres such as: advertisement, advice column, autobiography/biography,comic strip, letter of complaint/request/inquiry, diary/journal, readers theater/roleplay/monologue, book review, report, fable/fairy tale, greeting card, game rules,directions, interview, news story, poem/song, essays, anecdote/personal experiencestory, sports column, short story, etc. [44, p.88; 2, p.148] §1.2 What is an Essay? Words are collections of sounds; sentences are collections of words;paragraphs are collections of sentences; and essays are collections of paragraphs.But so are many other forms of writing such as that found in novels, magazines,and newspapers. So what are the essential differences between the essay and othertypes of writing? The essay is, first and foremost, essentially true, a piece of non-fiction. As 11
  • 12. soon as authors begin making up characters, adding details that really didnt occur,or fabricating a plot structure in order to make what they are writing larger thanreal life, they are writing in a fictional mode. In other words, essays may bedescriptive, use narration, propose solutions to problems, elucidate the innerworkings of complicated creations of nature and/or humanity, but one thing theyarent is fake or false or made up or fabricated. Essays may be creative in the sensethat the authors have creatively explained their points of view, but essays arentcreative. Secondly, all essays have definable beginnings, middles, and endings, unlikesome forms of writing such as newspaper stories. In addition, essays are builtaround central ideas, normally referred to as theses. Basically, the thesis is the gluewhich binds the essay together. It is the point of the essay. Its what the essay isabout, what it intends to show, prove, or do: the controlling purpose. Finally, essays consist of one, three, or more paragraphs. While a twoparagraph essay may be possible to write, the requirement that essays haveintroductions, bodies, and conclusions makes the use of a two-paragraph formatrather awkward. And the one paragraph essay, consisting of a topic sentence,supporting details, and a closing sentence, is too brief to be considered a seriouseffort in terms of narrating, describing, explaining, or arguing a point of view.Realistically, that leaves us with three paragraphs or more. But length should neverbe a primary consideration when creating an essay. More germane is the idea thatthe essay should be long enough to completely discuss, argue, prove, or relate themain idea of the essay, the thesis. The well-written essay has completeness and awholeness about it that announces, "Theres nothing more to be said."[36, p.73-96] The primary job of the essay, then, is to thoroughly discuss its main idea(s).In addition, three or more paragraphs are normally required to adequately performthis important function, even though under certain circumstances the one-paragraph essay is acceptable. Essays can range from being five paragraphs totwenty pages or more, covering any topic, whether its what you learned from yourdog, or why societies become hierarchies. What all essays have in common, 12
  • 13. however, is that they must stay true to the roots of the word "essay" which derivesfrom the French infinitive essayer, meaning "to try" or "to attempt". An essay isessentially your attempt to explain your point of view, and a skillfully writtenessay is clear, illuminating and informative. In order to write a good essay, its important for students to know thestructure of essay writings, the problems often met when writing, and how toimprove the essay writing. The first important thing needed to be known is theformal structure of writing an essay. The next important thing to know is thatstudents have two big problems in writing an essay. One is language problems,which are made by students‘ shortage of vocabulary and the translation of thoughtsfrom their first language to English, when the meaning in the translation betweenthe languages is often lost. The other problem is a cultural problem, since studentscome from a different country and are not familiar with the English culture,customs, environment and political society. [49, p. 5- 58] Writing essays successfully is not a special ability that only some people areborn with and it is not an elite activity that only some people are allowed to do. Itis a skill that can be learnt just like any other skill. Writing essays successfully is aprocess that takes place over time. What you do next week builds on what you didthis week or last week. Like all writing, it involves developing self-awarenessabout what you are doing and why, about what works and what does not. Writingessays at university is not only a skill: it is also a practice. In a literal sense, thismeans that you do it over and over again. A practice also means an accepted andacceptable mode of behavior; and one accepted and acceptable mode of behaviorconnects with other accepted and acceptable modes of behavior. So writing essaysat university means that you are participating in larger ideas about, for example,how to learn, how to express yourself, how to transmit and receive knowledge. Theresa M. Lillis, an academic who specializes in the study of writing atuniversity, found that a large part of student anxiety was ―centred on academicwriting as students attempted to write within the rules of the game withoutknowing what the rules were.‖ This resource tries to make transparent the stages of 13
  • 14. the writing process and lists below some of the most common types of prewritingtechniques. Prewriting activities help students to discover and explore ideas abouta subject. Learners should become familiar with all of these and figure out the onesthat work best for them. [40, p.112-144] §1.3 Prewriting Techniques Pre-writing, the first stage in the writing process begins long before thewriter puts thoughts into writing. The experiences, observations, and interactionsthat students have prior to entering the classroom have an impact upon what theywill write and how they will write it. Within the classroom, pre-writing promptsand activities can be integrated into the writing process as scaffolds by teachers tohelp students generate ideas for their writing and to practice the thinking skillsinherent in the activity. To initiate thinking and generate possible writing topics, it is important forstudents to explore ideas for writing topics using a variety of prewriting strategies,such as the following: • Freewriting: It is an excellent method that many writers use to warm up and to generateideas. These are guidelines: for five, ten, or fifteen minutes, write rapidly, withoutstopping, about anything that comes into head, not worrying about grammar, logic,complete sentences or grades. The point is to write so quickly that ideas can flowwithout comments from inner critic, the inside voice. There are two types offreewriting -- unfocused and focused. Unfocused freewriting can help you clearyour mind so you are ready to concentrate on the task at hand, and focusedfreewriting can help you come up with ideas on your topic. Unfocused freewriting is very easy. You either sit down at the keyboard orgrab a pencil and piece of paper and begin writing whatever comes to mind. Dontstop to see if it makes sense; dont worry about capitalization, punctuation,sentence structure or anything else. Just write until you feel like youve clearedyour mind of excess baggage that can prevent you from focusing on your writing 14
  • 15. project. Focused freewriting is similar, but instead of writing about anything, try tostay focused on the topic you are to write about. Write down everything thatcomes to mind on the topic, without stopping to consider whether an idea isworthwhile. Just keep writing. If you run out of things to write about, write "I cantthink of anything" over and over until you do think of something; soon your mindwill get so bored with the same phrase that it will begin moving again. If you findyourself straying from the topic, dont get frustrated; just try to refocus and keepgoing. Write and write and write until you feel you have exhausted everypossibility. Then read your freewriting and decide what points you want to includeand what points you want to delete. Once you have decided on a topic for your essay, try doing a free-writingexercise to generate ideas for fleshing out the paper. The goal of freewriting is togenerate ideas and information from within yourself by going around the part ofyour mind that doesnt want to write or cant think of anything to write. You letwords themselves suggest other words. WHAT you write is not important; that youKEEP writing is. There are two rules to freewriting: DONT STOP and DONTJUDGE. Even if you run out of ideas, write "I cant think of anything to say."DONT STOP, even if it means repeating the same words until new words come.Dont go back to reread, dont censor ideas that seem dumb or repetitious, andabove all, dont stop to edit: grammar, punctuation, spelling, and the like areirrelevant at this stage. Take pen/pencil to paper; you shouldnt lift your writingutensil off the page until time is up! ALTERNATIVE: When you are ready to sit down and start freewriting, sitdown at the computer and turn the monitor off. (Yes, turn the monitor off). Asksomeone to keep the time or set a timer and write for 10 straight minutes. Dont liftyour fingers off the keyboard until that 10 minutes is up. Turning the monitor offeffectively keeps you from editing during the freewriting. This exercise can workeven if you havent nailed down a topic yet. Just keep the assignment in mind and 15
  • 16. let your fingers fly across the keyboard (or peck as the case may be). [28, p.68-95] • Brainstorming: Brainstorming is similar to freewriting in that you write down everythingyou can think of without considering whether it is valid, good or useable. Thedifference between freewriting and brainstorming is that freewriting takes on aformat that looks something like a paragraph, while brainstorming usually resultsin a list of words and phrases. When brainstorming, it isnt necessary to keepwriting continuously; just jot down ideas that seem related to your topic. Whenyou cant come up with anything to add to the list, read it and determine what toinclude and what to delete. Many writers prefer brainstorming because the resulting list is easy to workwith in terms of separating ideas. In some cases, writers cross out or delete theideas they reject and number the others in the order in which they want to presentthem. With very little effort, they have an informal outline that can guide them inorganizing their drafts. Another advantage to brainstorming is that it can be done in groups. If youare collaborating on a project, all the writers can meet and shout out ideas thatcome to mind regarding the topic; but it is really not possible to free write as agroup. [18, p.21-184] • Clustering: Clustering is the preferred prewriting technique for writers who are visuallyoriented because it allows them to generate and organize ideas in a visual context.Because clustering, which is also called mapping or mind mapping, is visual innature, it is difficult to explain in words alone. It consists of using circles and linesto show connections between your ideas. Clustering, or Mapping, is an invention strategy that can be used to generateideas for an essay or to plan an essay. 16
  • 17. • Outlining: (Essay Outline Format) Outlines can vary from informal notes jotted on post-its to formal typedoutlines arranged in a hierarchical format. Usually, no one will see the outline butyou, so you should complete it in whatever fashion works best for you. Somewriters need formal outlines to help them organize their ideas, while other writersdo not. [34, p.44-86] Using Outlines to Develop StructureWhile it is convenient to imagine two separate stages of composition, in practicethe process is not so clearly divided. Most writers have some idea of the finalshape they wish to give their thoughts before they begin their work. Often the formis forced upon them: they are writing in response to a clearly outlined assignment.Sometimes structure develops unwillingly. If this is the case, you might wish todraw up some form of outline before you proceed to writing a rough draft. Severaltypes of outlines are popular. Topic OutlineTopic outlines are undeniably easy to make, but they offer few other advantages. Atopic outline is an organized list of the subjects with which an essay will deal.Paragraph OutlineA variation on the sentence outline is the paragraph outline, in which you attemptto compose the actual sentences with which your successive paragraphs will begin.The advantage is clear: this technique forces you to begin your paragraphs withstrong topic sentences rather than vague introductions and transitions. Against thisreal gain is poised the complexity of the task. You may well find that this exercisetakes so much effort that it interferes with the actual writing of the paper. Asentence outline is a very useful middle form, neither so easy as to be pointless norso demanding as to steal time from the paper itself. [49, p.162; 24, p.54] 17
  • 18. • Cubing: Describe, Compare, Associate, Analyse, Apply, and Argue for / against.Select a topic and restrict it to workable size. The topic should be one you knowabout from personal experience and/or one you have strong opinions about. Writethe topic at the top of a clean sheet of paper (or blank screen). Then, free write forthree to five minutes on each of the steps listed below. Follow the order listed anddo not skip any steps. When you have finished all of the free writes, read over whatyou have written and take the topic test. DESCRIBE IT: Describe the topic in terms of size, shape, sound, smell, feel, etc. COMPARE IT: What can you compare the topic to? What is it different from? ASSOCIATE IT: What does the topic make you think of? What does it connect with in your mind? What memories, feelings, times, places, and people do you connect with the topic? ANALYZE IT: Break the topic into sub-topics or parts. APPLY IT: What is the significance of the topic? How can it be useful? Why/how does it matter? In other words, answer the "So what?" question. ARGUE FOR OR AGAINST IT: Go ahead and take a stand. Use any reasons you want to -- rational, silly, or anywhere in between. Give as many reasons as you can for your position. TOPIC TEST: o After cubing, am I still interested in the topic? o Do I have plenty to say about the topic? o Will at least 100 readers be interested in what I have to say? [8, p.144] 18
  • 19. • Journalist Questions The following questions are called "journalist" questions and provide astarting point for exploring an event. These questions are especially useful in theautobiographical essay or the reflection essay. These questions should not beanswered in a necessarily direct way. Obviously, telling what happened will bedirect, but exploring why an event happened can become the focus for you paper.1) Who: Who is involved: Who are the participants? Who is affected? Who are theprimary actors? Who are the secondary actors?2) What: What is the topic? What is the significance of the topic? What is the basicproblem? What are the issues? What happened and what were the results?3) Where: Where does the activity take place? Where does the problem or issuehave its source? At what place is the cause or effect of the problem most visible?4) When: When is the issue most apparent? (Past? present? future?) When did theissue or problem develop? What historical forces helped shape the problem orissue and at what point in time will the problem or issue culminate in a crisis?When is action needed to address the issue or problem?5) Why: Why did the issue or problem arise? Why is it (your topic) an issue orproblem at all? Why did the issue or problem develop in the way that it did?6) How: How did it happen? How is the issue or problem significant? How can itbe addressed? How does it affect the participants? How can the issue or problembe resolved? [47, p.57-65] • Debating: Students may be assigned or may choose different positions on an issue andargue those positions. Debating requires that they think about their position, gatherevidence, and organize their argument--all good ways to generate ideas and planfor writing a text. Later rereading of an electronic discussion can help students think abouttheir ideas in new ways as well as recall the ideas theyve expressed. This kind of 19
  • 20. interaction always helps students think about the audience for their ideas becausethey are writing for specific, real people whom they know. Activity: With a group of other students, select a short literary text to read orreread. Assign roles based on characters in the text to each participant. In anelectronic environment, assume the role of your character to discuss an issue orevent central to the text. After students have chosen the topic and have done some prewritingactivities, they must decide what they will say about it. Students develop an initialplan for the product they will compose. As they do so, they must consider thepurpose, audience, point of view, and format because these elements haveimplications for both the planning and the drafting of the written product. To develop an initial plan for drafting, students organize the informationthey have generated during pre-writing by using such structures as outlines, storyframes, maps, diagrams, charts, and concept webs. It is self-evident that a well-planned essay is going to be better organizedthan one that was not planned out. Thinking carefully about how you are going toargue your paper and preparing an outline can only add to the quality of your finalproduct. Nevertheless, some people find it more helpful than others to plan. Thosewho are good at coming up with ideas but find writing difficult often benefit fromplanning. By contrast, those who have trouble generating ideas but find writingeasy may benefit from starting to write early. Putting pen to paper (or typing awayat the keyboard) may be just what is needed to get the ideas to flow. You knowyoure planning too little if the first draft of your essays is always a disorganizedmess, and you have to spend a disproportionate amount of time creating reverseoutlines and cutting and pasting material. You know youre planning too much ifyou always find yourself writing your paper a day before its due after spendingweeks doing research and devising elaborate plans.Be aware of the implications of planning too little or too much. 20
  • 21. Planning provides the following advantages: helps you to produce a logical and orderly argument that your readers can follow helps you to produce an economical paper by allowing you to spot repetition helps you to produce a thorough paper by making it easier for you to notice whether you have left anything out makes drafting the paper easier by allowing you to concentrate on writing issues such as grammar, word choice, and clarityOver planning poses the following risks: doesnt leave you enough time to write and revise leads you to produce papers that try to cover too much ground at the expense of analytic depth can result in a writing style that lacks spontaneity and ease does not provide enough opportunity to discover new ideas in the process of writing. [50, p.35-49] ORGANIZING THE ESSAYThe classical system of argumentation based on that of ancient Greek and Romanorators. The Introduction Gains reader‘s attention (question, story, quotation). Establishes your qualifications to write about topic. Establishes common ground with readers. Demonstrates fairness. States thesis. The Background (any necessary background information about the topic). The Arguments Reasons in support of thesis (logical/emotional/ethical). 21
  • 22. Reasons presented in order of importance (most important first). The Counterarguments Present alternative points of view. Notes reasons for/against these points of view. Shows why your view is better. The Conclusion Summarize the argument. Elaborate on implications of the thesis (if we do this, then…). State what you want readers to think or do. Make a strong ethical or emotional appeal. [31, p.82-126]While drafting, the emphasis is on content and meaning rather than on mechanicsand conventions. This is the time for writers to get down their ideas and thoughts,composing rough drafts based upon pre-writing and planning activities andconsiderations. As they compose, writers begin to determine what to include andexclude, and make initial decisions about how these ideas will be organized.During the drafting stage of the writing process, meaning begins to evolve.• To produce a first, rough draft, students record their ideas rapidly in order tocapture the essence of what they have to say. They do not have to make anyattempt to revise or edit at this point. They focus on talking to the reader and beginto develop a personal style as their voices emerge.• To write subsequent drafts, students often accomplish their work by crossing out,adding, and rearranging ideas directly on the page. The students‘ redrafting doesnot necessarily require an entire rewrite at this time. 22
  • 23. • To reflect upon their own writing, students can conference with self, peers andthe teacher. Through conferencing, students can get constructive feedback andsupport that may help them to shape their writings. A set of questions or achecklist can be used to assist writers and conference partners as they strive to helpthe writer make meaning clear. [30, p.42-50] §1.4 From Paragraph to Essay What is a paragraph? Paragraphs are the building blocks of papers. Many students defineparagraphs in terms of length: a paragraph is a group of at least five sentences, or aparagraph is half a page long, etc. In reality, though, the unity and coherence ofideas among sentences is what constitutes a paragraph. A paragraph is defined as"a group of sentences or a single sentence that forms a unit" [31, p.112-116].Length and appearance do not determine whether a section in a paper is aparagraph. For instance, in some styles of writing, particularly journalistic styles, aparagraph can be just one sentence long. Ultimately, a paragraph is a sentence orgroup of sentences that support one main idea. Before you can begin to determine what the composition of a particularparagraph will be, you must first decide on a working thesis for your paper. Whatis the most important idea that you are trying to convey to your reader? Theinformation in each paragraph must be related to that idea. In other words, yourparagraphs should remind your reader that there is a recurrent relationship betweenyour thesis and the information in each paragraph. A working thesis functions likea seed from which your paper, and your ideas, will grow. The whole process is anorganic one—a natural progression from a seed to a full-blown paper where thereare direct, familial relationships between all of the ideas in the paper. The decision about what to put into your paragraphs begins with thegermination of a seed of ideas; this "germination process" is better knownas brainstorming. There are many techniques for brainstorming; whichever one 23
  • 24. you choose, this stage of paragraph development cannot be skipped. Buildingparagraphs can be like building a skyscraper: there must be a well-plannedfoundation that supports what you are building. Any cracks, inconsistencies, orother corruptions of the foundation can cause your whole paper to crumble. What else should you keep in mind as you begin to create paragraphs? Everyparagraph in a paper should be: Unified—all of the sentences in a single paragraph should be related to a single controlling idea (often expressed in the topic sentence of the paragraph). Clearly related to the thesis—the sentences should all refer to the central idea, or thesis, of the paper. Coherent—the sentences should be arranged in a logical manner and should follow a definite plan for development. Well-developed—Every idea discussed in the paragraph should be adequately explained and supported through evidence and details that work together to explain the paragraphs controlling idea. When you write about a topic in more detail, you can turn paragraph into an essay. Similar to paragraph, an essay is composed of three sections. These sections are the introductory paragraph, the supporting paragraphs or the body, and the concluding paragraph. Paragraphs can be easily expanded to essay lengths. Below is a diagram that shows how a paragraph is expanded into an essay. The topic sentence of the paragraph becomes the thesis statement of the essay, which comes at the end of the introductory paragraph. The supporting sentences of the original paragraph expand into three separate body paragraphs in the essay. In other words, each major supporting sentence and its minor supports in model paragraph become one 24
  • 25. body paragraph in the corresponding essay. Finally, the concluding sentence is made into a concluding paragraph. Title Introduction ………………… Thesis Statement Body Topic Sentence …………………… Major Support Minor Supports Major Support Minor Supports ……………………. Concluding Sentence Topic Sentence Major Support Minor Support Topic Sentence Minor Support ……………………….. Major Support Major Support Minor Supports Minor Support Major Support Minor Support Minor Supports Minor Support Major Support Minor Supports Major Support ………………………… Minor Support Concluding Sentence Minor Support Concluding Sentence Topic Sentence …………………… Major Support Minor Supports Major Support Minor Supports ……………………. Concluding Sentence ConclusionDiagram: Paragraph to Essay Two other points about the expansion of a paragraph are important. First 25
  • 26. each body paragraph mirrors the construction of the original paragraph. Just as theparagraphs had a topic sentence, supporting sentence, and a concluding sentence,so does each body paragraph. Second, the body paragraphs support the thesisstatement of the essay, just as the supporting sentences in a paragraph support thetopic sentence. [1, p.37-59] §1.5 The Thesis Statement A thesis statement notifies your reader of your original idea regarding atopic. While your general argument may be something like ―Slavery didn‘t causethe Civil War,‖ your thesis statement gives your original, specific idea about asubject. A thesis statement should be neither obvious nor vague. A thesis mustbe controversial and arguable; it should be possible for someone to come up witha reasonable argument contradicting your own. The thesis statement introduces the main idea of the essay. – It states the main topic of the essay. – It may list the subtopics of the main topic. – It may also mention the method of organization. – It is the last sentence of the introduction. Example of a good thesis statement: Disagreement between the North andSouth over tariffs and states‘ rights was a more significant cause of the Civil Warthan were opposing views about slavery. This thesis statement is strong. It makes a controversial claim against whichpeople could argue and clearly identifies specific economic and political factors. When you are asked to write an essay that creates an argument, your readerwill probably expect a clear statement of your position. Typically, this summarystatement comes in the first paragraph of the essay, though there is no rigid ruleabout position. Here are some characteristics of good thesis statements, withsamples of good and poor ones. Note that the better examples substitute specific 26
  • 27. argumentative points for sweeping general statements; they indicate a theoreticalbasis and promise substantial support. A good thesis makes a definite and limited assertion that needs to beexplained and supported by further discussion, an intriguing one not trite andirrelevant. It shows the emphasis and indicates the methodology of your argument,one that is worth attention not ague and emotional. It shows awareness ofdifficulties and disagreements, suitably complex.  Some Myths about Thesis Statements - Every paper requires one. Assignments that ask you to write personalresponses or to explore a subject dont want you to seem to pre-judge the issues.Essays of literary interpretation often want you to be aware of many effects ratherthan seeming to box yourself into one view of the text. - A thesis statement must come at the end of the first paragraph. This is anatural position for a statement of focus, but its not the only one. Some theses canbe stated in the opening sentences of an essay; others need a paragraph or two ofintroduction; others cant be fully formulated until the end. - A thesis statement must be one sentence in length, no matter how manyclauses it contains. Clear writing is more important than rules like these. Use twoor three sentences if you need them. A complex argument may require a wholetightly-knit paragraph to make its initial statement of position. - You cant start writing an essay until you have a perfect thesis statement. Itmay be advisable to draft a hypothesis or tentative thesis statement near the start ofa big project, but changing and refining a thesis is a main task of thinking your waythrough your ideas as you write a paper. And some essays projects need to explorethe question in depth without being locked in before they can provide even atentative answer. - A thesis statement must give three points of support. It should indicate thatthe essay will explain and give evidence for its assertion, but points dont need tocome in any specific number. 27
  • 28. A thesis should include the following information: A. The term to be defined. B. Sentence definition of the term. C. Reason(s) for giving a more detailed definition D. The kinds of additional information that will be used to extend the definition. [17, p.21-68] §1.6 The Introductory Paragraph The introduction is the first paragraph of the essay. It begins the essay andhas two parts: general statements and the thesis statement. General statements give the reader background information about the topicof the essay. They should be interesting enough to keep the reader‘s attention. The following strategies for capturing readers‘ attention should be taken intoconsideration: 1. Find a startling statistic that illustrates the seriousness of the problem you will address. 2. Quote an expert (but be sure to introduce him or her first). 3. Mention a common misperception that your thesis will argue against. 4. Give some background information necessary for understanding the essay. 5. Use a brief narrative or anecdote that exemplifies your reason for choosing the topic. In an assignment that encourages personal reflection, you may draw on your own experiences; in a research essay, the narrative may illustrate a common real-world scenario. 6. In a science paper, explain key scientific concepts and refer to relevant literature. Lead up to your own contribution or intervention. 7. In a more technical paper, define a term that is possibly unfamiliar to your audience but is central to understanding the essay.In fleshing out the introduction, avoid some common pitfalls: 28
  • 29. 1. Dont provide dictionary definitions, especially of words your audience already knows. 2. Dont repeat the assignment specifications using the professors wording. 3. Dont give details and in-depth explanations that really belong in your body paragraphs. You can usually postpone background material to the body of the essay. [9, p.45-74] Useful Strategies for Introductions 1. BACKGROUND: The background strategy is frequently used. Thisstrategy may include historical or chronological information pertinent to yourthesis. This material helps the reader to understand the importance of your thesis. 2. DEFINITIONS: If your paper contains abstract subjects (such as "love" or"courage") or a subject with a variety of meanings, your opening can define howyou plan to use the term. Avoid giving dictionary definitions. 3. QUESTION: A question or series of questions makes the readercontemplate your subject immediately. Be careful, however, not to rely on thisstrategy as a "quick fix." Your questions must have substance, and they must bethoroughly answered in the text. 4. QUOTATION: Choose a brief quotation that summarizes the points ofyour paper. Be sure to discuss its significance immediately afterward to show itsconnection to your thesis. 5. DIRECT ADDRESS: Use "you" or second person only when writingdirectly to your audience or when the subject is something about your audience.This is effective when giving instructions or advice or when writing persuasively 6. ANECDOTE: A brief story can make a point related to your thesis. Thisis a dramatic type of introduction. It is often used with narratives or charactersketches. 7. DESCRIPTION: A brief, vivid picture is an excellent way to set a scene.It places the reader in the center of things and serves as a lead-in to the essay. 8. STATISTICS: State some striking facts or statistics you have discovered 29
  • 30. about your topic. This information may be startling evidence about your topic thatwill hook the reader into exploring the essay. 9. STRAWMAN: Challenge some generally held assumption about yourtopic by taking exception to a usually held critical view. Readers enjoy thisapproach if you are able to provide proof for your view. EXAMPLE: The picture-perfect family includes a mother and father, who are forever in love, threewonderful children, and perhaps a dog who can often be found on the living-roomcouch even though it is not allowed in the living room. But many families todayare less than picture-perfect, and mine is one of them. When my father walked outeight years ago, he turned the picture into a puzzle, and took some of the pieceswith him. Since that time, however, a combination of love, understanding, andmutual commitment has helped us to put the other pieces back together.Source: College Student 10. COMBINATION: Often combining strategies can create an effectiveintroduction. For example, a question and a definition or straw man with statisticscan be good combinations. [46, p.135-156]Below are some helpful suggestions for writing effective introductions.1. Your introduction should capture the readers attention.2. Usually one fully developed paragraph is sufficient.3. Introduce your subject in a general way; then come to the point, or vice versa.4. The point is your thesis. The thesis is usually the last sentence of the paragraph.(In persuasive writing, however, the writers position often is expressedimmediately; the rest of the introduction follows.)5. Do not try to be cute. You can be creative and original.6. If you write your introduction first, be sure to revise it afterward.7. Make the tone consistent with the essay.8. Create some kind of suspense that is resolved by the thesis statement.9. Avoid "It is my opinion...," "I believe...," "I will discuss...," On this paper I amgoing to...," Etc. 30
  • 31. 10. Begin your essay with a sentence that grabs your readers attention.11. Do not repeat your exact title in the introduction. However, do allude to yourtitle somewhere in the paper to show the strong connection between your ideas andthe title.12. Establish the need for discussion. Answer the question, "Why should anyonebe interested in this?" §1.7 Body Paragraphs Paragraph structures provide a map for writer‘s ideas, guiding readers throughhis reasoning. This simple set of principles should be kept in mind while writing,and used as a checklist when revising. 1. Topic sentences begin every paragraph. They should introduce new information that confirms or complicates the thesis statement. The topic sentence nearly always works best at the beginning of a paragraph so that the reader knows what to expect. 2. Evidence and analysis. Within the paragraph, use specific evidence to support the idea stated in your topic sentence. Use analysis sentences to explain why this evidence supports your argument. The body of a paragraph develops and demonstrates what topic sentences state. Here are some common patterns: • Explain more fully what you mean, giving definitions or indicating distinctions. • Offer details, examples, or relevant quotations (with your comments). • Follow through a logical sequence, showing the connections among your ideas in a recognizable pattern such as cause and effect or comparison and contrast. 3. Transitions within paragraphs. The ideas in a body paragraph should come in a logical and clear sequence that explains, complicates, or develops the idea put forth in the paragraph‘s topic sentence. 31
  • 32. o Transitional words (―furthermore,‖ ―in contrast,‖ ―for example,‖ ―as a result‖) help your reader understand the way that you are developing your main idea. 4. Transitions between paragraphs. Each paragraph should explicitly relate to the preceding and following paragraph. o Phrases like ―also important,‖ ―in addition,‖ or ―we should also note that‖ are weak because they don‘t explain the relationship between ideas in consecutive paragraphs. Example of a body paragraph: Disagreements between the North and South regarding cotton tariffs createda divisive political atmosphere that was instrumental in states’ decisions to secedefrom the Union. Vice President John Calhoun proposed that individual states hadthe right to nullify specific acts of Congress in order to protect the welfare of thestates against the federal government. When Calhoun proposed this doctrine ofnullification, it became clear that the South worried that the North was wieldingpower in order to damage the South’s economy. This worry influenced theSouthern states to consider separation from the North. In short, the economic issueof cotton export, separate from moral concerns over slavery, marked the initialsplit between North and South. This body paragraph is effective because it states an argument and then usesevidence persuasively. A strong topic sentence is supported by a specific incident,which is then explained. The paragraph does not simply retell the eventssurrounding cotton exportation. Rather, it shows how economic concern aboutcotton relates to the division between North and South. [54, p.43-119] Choose Appropriate Paragraph Length A series of long paragraphs can make prose dense and unpleasant to read.Check any paragraph that is longer than a page to see if it would work better as twoor more paragraphs. Break it at a logical place (e.g., where your focus shifts), and 32
  • 33. see whether you need to create new topic sentences to make the shift clear. Also look for paragraphs only two or three sentences long. They makeacademic writing seem disjointed or skimpy. Try combining a few shortparagraphs into one, using a single topic sentence to hold them together. §1.8 The Concluding Paragraph A concluding paragraph must be a part of every essay. The length of theconcluding paragraph will vary with the length of the paper or essay. It does threethings. – It signals the end of the essay. – It summarizes the main points. – It leaves the reader with the writer‘s final thoughts on the subject. To signal the end of an essay, some concluding transition signals such as inconclusion, in summary, or to summarize can be used. Then, either summarize themain points of the essay or rewrite the thesis statement in different words. E.g. Thesis statement: In fact, television may be a bad influence on childrenfor three main reasons. Conclusion: In conclusion, if children watch too much television or watchthe wrong programs, their personalities can be harmed. Furthermore, their progressin school can be affected. A strong conclusion will provide a sense of closure to the essay while againplacing your concepts in a somewhat wider context. It will also, in some instances,add a stimulus to further thought. Since no two essays are the same, no singleformula will automatically generate an introduction and conclusion. But thefollowing guidelines will be helpful to construct a suitable beginning and end foran essay. An effective conclusion reminds the reader of the central point of thethesis statement. 33
  • 34. 1. A conclusion is not merely a summary of your points or a re-statement of your thesis. If you wish to summarize—and often you must—do so in fresh language. Remind the reader of how the evidence you‘ve presented has contributed to your thesis.2. The conclusion, like much of the rest of the paper, involves critical thinking. Reflect upon the significance of what you‘ve written. Try to convey some closing thoughts about the larger implications of your argument.3. Broaden your focus a bit at the end of the essay. A good last sentence leaves your reader with something to think about, a concept in some way illuminated by what you‘ve written in the paper.4. For most essays, one well-developed paragraph is sufficient for a conclusion. In some cases, a two-or-three paragraph conclusion may be appropriate. As with introductions, the length of the conclusion should reflect the length of the essay. [59, p.76-92] The following strategies may help you move beyond merely summarizing thekey points of your essay:1. If your essay deals with a contemporary problem, warn readers of the possible consequences of not attending to the problem.2. Recommend a specific course of action.3. Use an apt quotation or expert opinion to lend authority to the conclusion you have reached.4. Give a startling statistic, fact, or visual image to drive home the ultimate point of your paper.5. If your discipline encourages personal reflection, illustrate your concluding point with a relevant narrative drawn from your own life experiences.6. Return to an anecdote, example, or quotation that you introduced in your introduction, but add further insight that derives from the body of your essay.7. In a science or social science paper, mention worthwhile avenues for future research on your topic. 34
  • 35. Remember the following recommendations:  Make the implications of your thesis clear.  Widen the significance of your introduction.  Recommend a specific course of action.  Answer a question posed by the introduction.  Reflect on the experience that the essay record.  Reaffirm your thesis with a final telling example. [39, p.128-168]§1.9 Guidelines on Composing an Essay Essays can range from being five paragraphs to twenty pages or more,covering any topic, whether its what you learned from your dog, or why societiesbecome hierarchies. What all essays have in common, however, is that they muststay true to the roots of the word "essay" which derives from the Frenchinfinitive essayer, meaning "to try" or "to attempt". An essay is essentially yourattempt to explain your point of view, and a skillfully written essay is clear,illuminating and informative. Define the context. If the essay is assigned, certain parameters will usuallybe defined for you, such as the length of the essay, format of the title page, and theintended audience (e.g. your teacher, an admissions committee, a cheating website)and what length is appropriate. No matter what, if youre given directions, followthem. A brilliant essay might still fail to get its point across if it doesnt follow therules. Remember, the main point is what you should concentrate on. Stick to thequestion key words throughout your essay. If the question is given and it asks youto describe for example an important character in a novel, you must always refrainfrom saying an ‗interesting or admirable character‘ stick to the words of thequestion. Choose a topic. Often this will be decided for you, but if not, try to choose 35
  • 36. something youre interested in or, better yet, passionate about. It will make theessay easier to write. On the other hand you could choose a stand you disagreewith because it will allow you to see flaws in your argument more easily. You canalso think of your thesis statement at this point, but it shouldnt be set in stone sinceit may be elaborated or changed as you do your research in the next step. A thesisstatement is what your essay is attempting to explain and prove. Make sure yourthesis statement explains everything you will talk about in the essay. It should alsobe no longer than 1 sentence. You can brainstorm a few different thesis statementsand use them to guide your research. Gather your information. Whether its personal observations or scientificfacts, youll need evidence to back up your thesis statement. Take detailed notes,keeping track of which facts come from which sources. As youre researching yourtopic, dont ignore facts and claims that seem to disprove your thesis statement. Agood essayist includes the contrary evidence and shows why such evidence is notvalid. Plan your essay. This is the time to solidify your thesis statement. Lookover all of your research and notes: Can you observe any patterns or observations?Try making a mind map to organize your thoughts. Maybe you started out wantingto show how youd give back to the community, but now you see a better pointwould be that youre a good role model for others like yourself. Let the evidencespeak for itself. If you dont have enough information to demonstrate anything, youmay need to do more research or modify your thesis statement (or even your topic).If you have enough material to sustain a thesis statement, however make an outlineto organize your research with headings and sub-headings. Write the body of your essay first. Identify three or more points thatsupport and/or explain your thesis statement. Each point should be supported byspecific evidence, examples or arguments. In shorter essays, such as a five-paragraph essay, each point should be supported by a single paragraph; but inlonger essays, an entire page or more might be required to demonstrate a singlepoint. Use your outline as a guide, presenting the information in full sentences that 36
  • 37. flow logically from one to the next. After you write out all of your points, arrangethe points themselves so that they flow logically from one to the next. Conclude your essay. Summarize your points and suggest ways in whichyour conclusion can be thought of in a larger sense. What are the implications ofyour thesis statement being true? Whats the next step? What questions remainunanswered? This is not the place to introduce any new information that supportsyour thesis--you should only be "repackaging what you already discussed, using abroader perspective. Write the introduction. Now that youve written the body and theconclusion, youre in the best position to tell the reader what theyre getting into.Explain your thesis statement, and how youre going to affirm it, without being toospecific. Do not use obvious expressions such as, "This essay is about..." or "Thetopic of this essay is..." or "I will now show that...» One approach is to begin witha general statement, then follow it with a question or problem, then with yourthesis statement, and a brief overview of your points Read through your essay. For now, dont worry about typos or grammaticalerrors; underline them so you can go back and fix them later. Go from start tofinish seeing how your essay flows. Does each sentence lead smoothly to the next?Does each paragraph flow logically to the next? Each statement should beconnected or related somehow to the one before it, not thrown randomly together. Revise, revise, and revise! Writing the paper the first time is not the mostimportant part of writing an essay—revision is! Sometimes the paper you write isnot the essay you originally planned. It is difficult to accomplish all that one setsout to in a paper, and sometimes you may find that your ideas about your subjecthave changed as youve been writing. Make sure youre happy with the way yourpaper presents its points. Dont like it? Re-arrange it (thats one of the great thingsabout writing with a word processor; its easy to do things like this). Once yourehappy with the body, make sure the conclusion and introduction (in that order) stillmatch it AND match the way you see your topic now. If not, rewrite them to fit theessay you did write (not the one you started out to write) and the way you see your 37
  • 38. topic now. Proofread. Now check for spelling and/or grammatical errors. If using a word processors spell checker, remember that it only checks to see if a word is misspelled. For example, if you meant to use the word "write" and instead used "writ" the spell checker will pass it without noticing, since writ is an actual word.o Vary your language with the help of a thesaurus. Consult a dictionary to make sure that youre using the synonym adversely.o Avoid using colloquial (informal) writing. Do not use contractions or abbreviations, such as dont, cant, wont, shouldnt, couldve, or havent. Use formal English: do not, cannot, will not, should not, could have, have not. Your essay should have a serious tone, even if written in a light or lyrical style.o Use English punctuation correctly. Consult a style book if you are unsure how to properly use quotation marks, colons, semi-colons, apostrophes, or commas. Avoid using exclamation points to emphasize your statements. [6, p.156-170] §1.10 Common Essay Problems Essay writing may seem to be trivial task that doesn‘t require a lot of expertise and may be performed by anyone who has at least basic understanding of principles along which the English language works. This assumption, however, ends when one encounters an actual necessity of writing an essay – the task turns out to be much more difficult, than it seemed to be. That‘s why it is a good idea to know what the common mistakes students make when writing them. 1. Unstructured: Many essays are not structured, which makes them difficult for the markers to read. Without structure, reading an essay is like a discovery journey: your marker will never be sure what is around the corner. This might sound appealing, but you‘re not writing a thriller. Your 38
  • 39. marker will have difficulty to see whether and how what you write is relevant to the question set. Following the advice in this paper, you can avoid this problem by outlining at the beginning how you‘re going to answer the question (delimit). Your reader will know what is coming up. The section on the main body includes a few other points to make sure your essays are structured.2. Rambling: The problem of rambling is often just a symptom of the above problem: lack of structure. By thinking in a structured way, tendencies to ramble are reduced. Following a reasonable form of preparation will also help. Once you know what you‘re going to say, and in what order you‘re going to say it, it‘s much easier to stay on track.3. Not relevant: Unfortunately many essays that are written are as such great essays, but include substantive sections that are not relevant. The problem may be that not enough time is spent planning the essay. It may also be the case that the irrelevant bits merely appear to be irrelevant. The trick in the latter case is to link the paragraphs using suitable phrases, and actively demonstrate how the illustrations are relevant, for instance.4. Unconnected: For the same reasons as in the above point, essays may be or appear unconnected. A good plan can be the first line of defence: making sure that you yourself know how the different bits link. The next thing to do, again, is using phrases that connect different paragraphs and sections. Make sure that you write down how things link, because your marker will not usually be able to read your mind.5. Unclear: An essay can be well put together, and the reader still be left unclear about what exactly is being said. The problem is in most cases the lack of delimitation and definition. This means that the essay does not state what is and is not written about and also that key terms are not defined. Much unclarity can stem from misunderstandings, the reader understanding terms in a different way from what you intended them to mean. What is 39
  • 40. clear to you may not be so for the marker. Making sure it‘s down on paper, this problem can be prevented.6. Difficult: Essays that are difficult to read often suffer from one of the following symptoms: lack of illustrations, lack of conceptual clarity, or lack of guidance. Illustrations are not a nice to have, but an essential part of most essays. Think about the examples when you plan the essay. Conceptual clarity can be remedied by providing definitions, as outlined in the previous point. The lack of guidance means that your readers will feel lost, not knowing where the essay will go next. Providing a clear introduction that delimits the scope of the answer is sometimes all that is needed. Within the main body, linking sections and paragraphs helps further.7. There is no thesis. A cardinal sin in essay-writing, you should make sure you have a main point. Otherwise, all the work you do the rest of the way wont matter. The thesis is too general or too narrow. Cover too much area and youll have a hard time supplying sufficient arguments for your thesis; cover too little and you wont fill enough space for discussion. Find a middle ground that coincides with your word count requirements.8. Poor organization and no sense of direction. If theres no innate reason for one paragraph to follow another, then your essay is suffering from this problem. There are few, or inadequate transitions. There are too many generalizations and too little support for them. The introduction or conclusion is weak, or one simply repeats the other. To fix it, rearrange your ideas so that they develop into the conclusion you intend to make.9. There is a lack of adequate transitions. Its not uncommon to jump from one idea to another throughout the body of an essay. Thats provided that you supply adequate transitions to handle them. If you dont, theres a good chance the reader wont be able to follow how your writing builds up.10. There are too many generalizations without valid accompanying support. Any time you claim something that isnt a fact make sure you support it with valid reason and evidence. 40
  • 41. 11. The introduction or conclusion isnt strong enough. Always put extra work in your introductions and conclusions. Theyre the first and last things a reader will see, so make sure they leave the right impressions. 12. Presentation. The essay is poorly set out, with inadequate space for the instructors comments. There are frequent typos or misspelled words. The most common problem, probably, is students failing to answer thequestion. By paying attention to the process and content words, the first part of theproblem is already resolved. Writing in a planned and structured way, theremainder is addressed, too. The amount of difficulties learners encounter while accomplishing writingtasks can be reduced by following the outlined approach to essay writing. Anumber of process writing activities and useful tips will be described in thefollowing subchapters. By following the approach of essay writing outlined in thispaper, you can avoid a whole range of very common essay problems. [44, p.6-23; 58, p.2-60] 41
  • 42. Chapter II ESSAY WRITING PATTERNS Writing is like a journey: one starts with a blank sheet of paper and whatappears on it in the end of the trip depends only on the person himself. One shouldgo through every stage of essay writing process described to write the essay that: is focused; is logical; is clear; is well-structured; is deeply-argumentative; grabs the readers interest from the first lines; does not pad; provides illustrative evidence; gives credits to sources. A student has many options when choosing an essay pattern. Generally studentsdon‘t have a choice about the type of essay to write about, since this may havebeen determined by the assignment. If they do have a choice, however, they canfind a type that will best fit their personality. They might want to choose to write apersuasive argument; or perhaps they are gifted with great descriptive capabilities,instead. They could write a narrative of something interesting that took place, orperhaps a descriptive essay of an object. Whatever they decide to do, they will findthe assignment much more enjoyable and readable. Successful writers know that they produce the best material when they put alittle bit of heart and soul into their writing. So students can improve their gradesand writing if they personalize just a bit! [51, p.42] §2.1 Types of Essays Writing is the expression of language in the form of letters, symbols, orwords. The primary purpose of writing is communication. People have used manytools for writing including paint, pencils, pens, typewriters, and computers. Thewriting can be formed on the wall of a cave, a piece of paper, or a computer screen. 42
  • 43. Books are considered a form of art through which men have literallyimmortalized themselves, as Julian Huxley points out ‗By speech first, but farmore by writing, man has been able to put something of himself beyond death. Intradition and in books an integral part of the individual persists, for it can influencethe minds and actions of other people in different places and at different times: arow of black marks on a page can move a man to tears, though the bones of himthat wrote it are long ago crumbled to dust.‘ Since the time people could record their creations on paper there have beenmany kinds of writings from which one can freely choose, such as: expository,exploratory, narrative, descriptive, critical, imaginative, deductive, persuasive andso forth. Each type has a different purpose. The choice to make is down to thewriter depending on his topic, audience and purpose, whether it is to inform, todescribe, to persuade, to entertain and so on. No matter the pattern a studentchooses, one thing he should not forget to ‗fill the paper with the breathings of hisheart‘ as W. Wordsworth suggests. According to A. Polotnik ‗you write tocommunicate to the hearts and minds of others what‘s burning inside you‘. Askillful writer is someone who can dive in and explore his soul bringing out of itsdepths genuine pearls to astonish and please his readers. Presented below are just a few out of the most common types of essays thatcan guide a learner of a foreign language to safely navigate through the roughocean of nowadays writings. [37, p.24-30] §2.1.1 Cause and Effect Essay Cause and effect essays are concerned with why things happen (causes) andwhat happens as a result (effects). Cause and effect is a common method oforganizing and discussing ideas. The following are several steps worth considering when writing a cause andeffect essay. 43
  • 44. 1. Distinguish between cause and effect. To determine causes, ask, "Why did this happen?" To identify effects, ask, "What happened because of this?" The following is an example of one cause producing one effect: Cause You are out of gas. Effect Your car wont start. Sometimes, many causes contribute to a single effect or many effects mayresult from a single cause. The following are examples:Causes liked business in high school salaries in the field are high have an aunt who is an accountant am good with numbersEffect choose to major in accounting Cause reduce work hours Effects less income employer is irritated more time to study more time for family and friends However, most situations are more complicated. The following is an example of a chain reaction: Thinking about friend…forgot to buy gas…car wouldnt start…missed math exam…failed math course.2. Develop your thesis statement. State clearly whether you are discussing causes, effects, or both. Introduce your main idea, using the terms "cause" and/or "effect."3. Find and organize supporting details. Back up your thesis with relevant and sufficient details that are organized. You can organize details in the following ways: 44
  • 45. Chronological. Details are arranged in the order in which the events occurred. Order of importance. Details are arranged from least to most important or vice versa. Categorical. Details are arranged by dividing the topic into parts or categories.4. Use appropriate transitions. To blend details smoothly in cause and effect essays, use the transitional words and phrases listed below.For causes because, due to, on cause is, another is, since, for, first, second, yet another factor, is caused by, results fromFor Effects consequently, as a result, thus, resulted in, one result is, another is, therefore, so, another outcome, one important effect When writing your essay, keep the following suggestions in mind: Remember your purpose. Decide if you are writing to inform or persuade. Focus on immediate and direct causes (or effects.) Limit yourself to causes that are close in time and related, as opposed to remote and indirect causes, which occur later and are related indirectly. Strengthen your essay by using supporting evidence. Define terms, offer facts and statistics, or provide examples, anecdotes, or personal observations that support your ideas. Qualify or limit your statements about cause and effect. Unless there is clear evidence that one event is related to another, qualify your statements with phrases such as "It appears that the cause was" or "It seems likely" or "The evidence may indicate" or "Available evidence suggests." To evaluate the effectiveness of a cause and effect essay, ask the following questions: What are the causes? What are the effects? Which should be emphasized? Are there single or multiple causes? Single or multiple effects? Is a chain reaction involved? Choosing the essay topic for cause and effect essay type is not difficult; here 45
  • 46. are some sample essay topics: Effects of Pollution The Changes in the Ocean The Civil Rights Movement and the Effects Causes and Effects of the Popularity of Fast Food Restaurants Internet Influence on kids Popularity of Sports in US Make sure you choose the essay topic that is really important for you. Choosing the correct essay topic makes your cause and effect essay more interesting and successful. [16, p. 168-175] §2.1.2 Classification Essay In a classification essay, a writer organizes, or sorts, things into categories according to a single basis of division. Three Steps to Effective Classification:1. Sort things into useful categories.2. Make sure all the categories follow a single organizing principle.3. Give examples that fit into each category. ~ Finding Categories This is a key step in writing a classification essay. To classify, or sort, things in a logical way, find the categories to put them into. For example, say you need to sort the stack of papers on your desk. Before you would put them in random piles, you would decide what useful categories might be: papers that can be thrown away; papers that need immediate action; papers to read; papers to pass on to other coworkers; or papers to file. 46
  • 47. ~ Thesis Statement of a Classification Essay The thesis statement usually includes the topic and how it is classified.Sometimes the categories are named. (topic)... (how classified)... (category) (category) (category) Ex: Tourists in Hawaii can enjoy three water sports: snorkeling, surfing,and sailing. ~ How to Write an Effective Classification Essay1. Determine the categories. Be thorough; dont leave out a critical category. For example, if you say water sports of Hawaii include snorkeling and sailing, but leave out surfing, your essay would be incomplete because surfing is Hawaiis most famous water sport. On the other hand, dont include too many categories, which will blur your classification. For example, if your topic is sports shoes, and your organizing principle is activity, you wouldnt include high heels with running and bowling shoes.2. Classify by a single principle. Once you have categories, make sure that they fit into the same organizing principle. The organizing principle is how you sort the groups. Do not allow a different principle to pop up unexpectedly. For example, if your unifying principle is "tourist-oriented" water sports, dont use another unifying principle, such as "native water sports," which would have different categories: pearl diving, outrigger, or canoe racing.3. Support equally each category with examples. In general, you should write the same quantity, i.e., give the same number of examples, for each category. The most important category, usually reserved for last, might require more elaboration. Common Classification Transitions The first kind/type/group/category, the second kind, the third kind, can be divided, can be classified, can be categorized. Remember: In a classification essay, the writer organizes, or sorts, things 47
  • 48. into categories. There are three steps to remember when writing an effectiveclassification essay: organize things into useful categories, use a single organizingprinciple, and give examples of things that fit into each category. Below are some sample classification essay topics: Classification of historical events in US Countries classification (territory, popularity, etc) Sport Cars Classification Most Popular TV Shows in America Classification of Physiological Diseases You can choose essay topic for your classification essay you are familiarwith. [14, p.122-128] §2.1.3 Comparison and Contrast Essay To write a comparison or contrast essay that is easy to follow, first decidewhat the similarities or differences are by writing lists on scrap paper. Which aremore significant, the similarities or the differences? Plan to discuss the lesssignificant first, followed by the more significant. It is much easier to discussONLY the similarities or ONLY the differences, but you can also do both. Then for organizing your essay, choose one of the plans described belowwhichever best fits your list. Finally, and this is important, what main point (thesis)might you make in the essay about the two people/things being compared? Do notbegin writing until you have a point that the similarities or differences you want touse help to prove. Your point should help shape the rest of what you say: Forexample, if you see that one of your similarities or differences is unrelated to thepoint, throw it out and think of one that is related. Or revise your point. Be surethis main point is clearly and prominently expressed somewhere in the essay. Plan A: Use Plan A if you have many small similarities and/or differences.After your introduction, say everything you want to say about the first work or 48
  • 49. character, and then go on in the second half of the essay to say everything about the second work or character, comparing or contrasting each item in the second with the same item in the first. In this format, all the comparing or contrasting, except for the statement of your main point, which you may want to put in the beginning, goes on in the SECOND HALF of the piece. Plan B: Use Plan B if you have only a few, larger similarities or differences. After your introduction, in the next paragraph discuss one similarity or difference in BOTH works or characters, and then move on in the next paragraph to the second similarity or difference in both, then the third, and so forth, until youre done. If you are doing both similarities and differences, juggle them on scrap paper so that in each part you put the less important first ("X and Y are both alike in their social positions . . ."), followed by the more important ("but X is much more aware of the dangers of his position than is Y"). In this format, the comparing or contrasting goes on in EACH of the middle parts. The following outline may be helpful; however, do not be limited by it.1. Introduction with thesis2. 1st similarity: a) 1st work b) 2nd work3. 2nd similarity: a) 1st work b) 2nd work4. 1st difference: a) 1st work b) 2nd work5. 2nd difference: a) 1st work b) 2nd work See the following topic suggestions for your comparison essay. For example: Stages of My Life Two Places I have Visited My Two Best Friends Two Political Candidates Bulimia and Anorexia 49
  • 50. Microsoft or Apple Living on Campus and Living Off Campus The Two Girls I Like This should give you an idea and inspiration. Remember, best essays arewritten on the topics that really interest their writers. Common Contrast Transitions: although, whereas, but, however,conversely, on the other hand, in contrast, while, yet, unlike. Common Comparison Transitions: in the same way, and, also, in addition,as well as, both, neither, each of, just as… so, similarly, like, too, the same. [26, p.2-46] §2.1.4 Descriptive Essay It is used to create a vivid image of a person, place, or thing. It draws on all ofthe senses, not merely the visual. Its purpose is to enable the reader to share thewriters sensory experience of the subject. Descriptive writing portrays people, places, things, moments and theories withenough vivid detail to help the reader create a mental picture of what is beingwritten about. Things to Consider as You Write Your Descriptive Essay  Think of an instance that you want to describe.  Why is this particular instance important?  What were you doing?  What other things were happening around you? Is there anything specific that stands out in your mind?  Where were objects located in relation to where you were?  How did the surroundings remind you of other places you have been? 50
  • 51.  What sights, smells, sounds, and tastes were in the air?  Did the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes remind you of anything?  What were you feeling at that time?  Has there been an instance in which you have felt this way before?  What do you want the reader to feel after reading the paper?  What types of words and images can convey this feeling?  Can you think of another situation that was similar to the one you are writing about? How can it help explain what you are writing about?  Is there enough detail in your essay to create a mental image for the reader? Conventions of Descriptive Essays Illustrated by Sample Paragraphs  Appealing-to-the-Senses Description: Let the reader see, smell, hear, taste, and feel what you write in your essay. The thick, burnt scent of roasted coffee tickled the tip of my nose justseconds before the old, faithful alarm blared a distorted top-forty through its tinytop speaker. Wiping away the grit of last nights sleep, the starch white sunlightblinded me momentarily as I slung my arm like an elephant trunk along the top ofthe alarm, searching for the snooze button. While stretching hands and feet to thefour posts of my bed, my eyes opened after several watery blinks. I crawled out ofthe comforter, edging awkwardly like a butterfly from a cocoon, swinging my legsover the side of the bed. The dusty pebbles on the chilled, wood floor sent ripplesspiraling from my ankles to the nape of my neck when my feet hit the floor.Grabbing the apricot, terri-cloth robe, recently bathed in fabric softener andOctober wind, I knotted it tightly at my waist like a prestigious coat of armor andheaded downstairs to battle the morning. 51
  • 52.  Spatial-Order Description: Show the reader where things are located from your perspective. Billy Rays Pawn Shop and Lawn Mower Repair looked like a burial groundfor country auction rejects. The blazing, red, diesel fuel tanks beamed in front ofthe station, looking like cheap lipstick against the pallid, wrinkled texture of theparking lot sand. The yard, not much larger than the end zone at General G. PattonHigh School on the north end of town, was framed with a rusted metallic hedge oflawn mowers, banana seat bicycles, and corroded oil drums. It wasnt a calicoframe of rusted parts, but rather an orchestra of unwanted machinery that Billy Rayhad arranged into sections. The yellow-tanked mowers rested silently at the right ofthe diesel fuel. Once red, now faded orange, mowers stood at attention to the left.The oil barrels, jaded and pierced with holes, bellared like chimes when the windwas right. The bikes rested sporadically throughout the lot. In the middle of it allwas the office, a faded, steel roof supported by cheap two-by-fours and zebrapaneling. Billy Ray was at home, usually, five blocks east of town on KennelRoad. Common Descriptive Transitions: next to, near, close, far, up, down,between, above, below, on top, beneath, toward, away, left, right, center,front, back, middle. [41, pp.72-124] §2.1.5 Definition Essay A definition essay is writing that explains what a term means. Some termshave definite, concrete meanings, such as glass, book, or tree. Terms such ashonesty, honor, or love are abstract and depend more on a persons point of view. Three Steps to Effective Definition1. Tell readers what term is being defined.2. Present clear and basic information. 52
  • 53. 3. Use facts, examples, or anecdotes that readers will understand. Choosing a Definition Choosing a definition is a key step in writing a definition essay. You need tounderstand the term before you can define it for others. Read the dictionary, butdont just copy the definition. Explain the term briefly in your own words. Also, itsimportant to limit your term before you start defining it. For example, you couldwrite forever on the term "love." To limit it, you would write about either"romantic love," "platonic love," or "first love." Thesis Statement of a Definition Essay The thesis statement usually identifies the term being defined and provides abrief, basic definition. (term) (basic definition) Ex: Assertiveness is standing up for your rights. How to Write an Effective Definition1. Create a definition. There are several ways to define a term. Here are a few options. Define by function. Explain what something does or how something works. Define by structure. Tell how something is organized or put together. Define by analysis. Compare the term to other members of its class and then illustrate the differences. These differences are special characteristics that make the term stand out. For example, compare a Siberian husky to other dogs, such as lap dogs, mutts, or sporting dogs. (term) (precise definition) Ex: A Siberian husky is a dog reputed for its ability to tolerate cold, its distinctive features, and its keen strength and stamina. 53
  • 54. Define by what the term does not mean. This distinction can sometimes clarify a definition and help a reader to better understand it.2. Use understandable facts, examples, or anecdotes. Select facts, examples, or anecdotes to fully explain your definition. Ask yourself, "Which examples will best help readers understand the term? What examples would most appeal to my readers? Will a brief story reveal the terms meaning?" Do not use any examples that will not support the definition. Remember: A definition essay is writing that explains what a term means.When writing a definition essay, remember to tell readers what term is beingdefined, to present a clear and basic definition, and to use facts, examples, oranecdotes that readers will understand Here are the examples of popular definition essay topics: Kindness Sense of Humor Love Charisma Team Player Optimism Beauty Respect Ambitions Whatever essay topic you choose, you should be interested in the subject andfamiliar with it. It would be great if you had your personal experience in the matteryou are going to define. [55, p.75-126] 54
  • 55. §2.1.6 Expository Essay It can take a variety of forms. It may tell how to make or do something,report on an experience, or explore an idea. Expository writing conveysinformation to the reader in such a way as to bring about understanding, whether itis of a process or procedure, or of the writers ideas about a concept. The purpose of this type of writing is to inform, clarify, explain, define, orinstruct by giving information, explaining why or how, clarifying a process, ordefining a concept. Well-written exposition has a clear, central presentation ofideas, examples or definitions that enhance the focus developed through a carefullycrafted readers understanding. These facts, examples, and definitions are objectiveand not dependent on emotion, although the writing may be lively, engaging, andreflective of the writers underlying commitment to the topic.What to consider when writing an expository essay:  What process are you trying to explain? Why is it important?  Who or what does the process affect?  Are there different ways of doing the process? If so, what are they?  Who are the readers? What knowledge do they need to understand this process?  What skills/equipment are needed for this?  How long does the process take? Is the outcome always the same?  How many steps are there in the process?  Why is each step important?  What difficulties are involved in each step? How can they be overcome?  Do any cautions need to be given? 55
  • 56.  Does the process have definitions that need to be clarified?  Are there other processes that are similar and could help illustrate the process that you are writing about?  If needed, tell what should not be done or why something should be done.  Expository papers are often written in the second person (you), but some teachers prefer that you avoid this. Check with your teacher. Your responses to these questions and statements should enable you to writean effective expository essay. Suggested transition words to lead readers through your essay Expository essays are generally organized according to time: that is, theybegin with the first step in the process and proceed in time until the last step in theprocess. Its natural, then, that transition words indicate that one step has beencompleted and a new one will begin. Some common transitional words used inthese essays are listed below. TIME Transition After a few hours, Immediately following, Afterwards, Initially, At last In the end, At the same time, In the future, Before In the meantime, Before this, In the meanwhile, Last, Last but not least, Currently, Lastly, During Later, 56
  • 57. Eventually, Meanwhile, Finally, Next, Soon after, First, Second, Third, Previously, etc. First of all, Simultaneously, Formerly Subsequently, Immediately before, Then, [38, p.120-230] The purpose of an expository essay is to present, completely and fairly, other peoples views or to report about an event or a situation. Expository writing, or exposition, presents a subject in detail, apart from criticism, argument, or development; i.e., the writer elucidates a subject by analyzing it. Such writing is discourse designed to convey information or explain what is difficult to understand. Exposition usually proceeds by the orderly analysis of parts and the use of familiar illustrations or analogies. Such an analysis requires:1. reading with understanding the ideas developed in an article by clearly stating anothers thesis, outlining the facts used by the author to support that thesis, and the "values" underlying the ideas2. putting what is read into a larger context by relating anothers article or book to other work in the field3. clearly and effectively communicating this information to a defined audience. In other words, you must write clearly and fully enough for your readers to know how you have arrived at your analyses and conclusions. They should never have to guess what you mean; give your readers everything they need to know to follow your reasoning 57
  • 58. This practice is not "just for students." Accurate analysis is a fundamentalprofessional activity in almost all careers. Like any other fundamental skill, it mustbe constantly practiced in order to maintain and improve it. Other goals, such aslearning "time management" and note-taking, are also developed by this activity.Do not be afraid to revise your essay! In fact, you will probably want to change itat least once; this is called "thinking through a problem" or "learning."The revisions will consist of the following:1. finding the precise words to express your thoughts2. correcting typographical, spelling, and grammatical errors3. making sure that your paragraphs are "tight" and sequenced properly4. making sure that the transition ("segue") from one major topic to another makes senseExpository essays also have a distinct format.The thesis statement must be defined and narrow enough to be supported withinthe essay. Each supporting paragraph must have a distinct controlling topic and all other sentences must factually relate directly to it. The transition words or phrases are important as they help the reader follow along and reinforce the logic. Finally, the conclusion paragraph should originally restate the thesis and the main supporting ideas. Finish with the statement that reinforces your position in a meaningful and memorable way. Never introduce new material in the conclusion.Here are some popular essay topic examples for expository essay type:~ Explain How Fashion Changes in 1920 Influenced Fashion Trends Today;~ Explain Major Ecological Changes;~ What is Love?~ Explain the Consequences of Nationalism. 58
  • 59. Choosing the essay topic you are familiar with will help you to write a successfulexpository essay. [24, p.58-72] §2.1.7 Narrative EssayIt tells a story, has character, setting, and action. The characters, the setting, andthe problem of the narrative are usually introduced in the beginning. The problemreaches its high point in the middle. The ending resolves the problem. The purpose of this type of writing is to recount a personal or fictionalexperience or to tell a story based on a real or imagined event. In well-writtennarration, a writer uses insight, creativity, drama, suspense, humor, or fantasy tocreate a central theme or impression. The details all work together to develop anidentifiable story line that is easy to follow and paraphrase. The narrative approach, more than any other, offers writers a chance to thinkand write about themselves. We all have experiences lodged in our memorieswhich are worthy of sharing with readers. Yet sometimes they are so fused withother memories that a lot of the time spent in writing narrative is in the prewritingstage. In this stage, writers first need to select an incident worthy of writing aboutand, second, to find relevance in that incident. To do this, writers might askthemselves what about the incident provided new insights or awareness. Finally,writers must dredge up details which will make the incident real for readers. Principles of Writing Narrative Essays Once an incident is chosen, the writer should keep three principles in mind.  Remember to involve readers in the story. It is much more interesting to actually recreate an incident for readers than to simply tell about it. 59
  • 60.  Find a generalization which the story supports. This is the only way the writers personal experience will take on meaning for readers. This generalization does not have to encompass humanity as a whole; it can concern the writer, men, women, or children of various ages and backgrounds.  Remember that although the main component of a narrative is the story, details must be carefully selected to support, explain, and enhance the story. Conventions of Narrative Essays In writing your narrative essay, keep the following conventions in mind.  Narratives are generally written in the first person that is, using "I." However, third person ("he," "she," or "it") can also be used.  Narratives rely on concrete, sensory details to convey their point. These details should create a unified, forceful effect, a dominant impression.  Narratives, as stories, should include these story conventions: a plot, including setting and characters; a climax; and an ending. As a mode of expository writing, the narrative approach, more than anyother, offers writers a chance to think and write about themselves. We all haveexperiences lodged in our memories, which are worthy of sharing with readers. Yetsometimes they are so fused with other memories that a lot of the time spent inwriting narrative is in the prewriting stage. When you write a narrative essay, you are telling a story. Narrative essaysare told from a defined point of view, often the authors, so there is feeling as wellas specific and often sensory details provided to get the reader involved in theelements and sequence of the story. The verbs are vivid and precise. The narrativeessay makes a point and that point is often defined in the opening sentence, but can 60
  • 61. also be found as the last sentence in the opening paragraph. Since a narrative relies on personal experiences, it often is in the form of astory. When the writer uses this technique, he or she must be sure to include all theconventions of storytelling: plot, character, setting, climax, and ending. It isusually filled with details that are carefully selected to explain, support, orembellish the story. All of the details relate to the main point the writer isattempting to make. To summarize, the narrative essay is told from a particular point of view makes and supports a point is filled with precise detail uses vivid verbs and modifiers uses conflict and sequence as does any story may use dialogue The purpose of a narrative report is to describe something. Many studentswrite narrative reports thinking that these are college essays or papers. While theinformation in these reports is basic to other forms of writing, narrative reportslack the "higher order thinking" that essays requires. Thus narrative reports do not,as a rule, yield high grades for many college courses. A basic example of anarrative report is a "book report" that outlines a book; it includes the characters,their actions, possibly the plot, and, perhaps, some scenes. That is, it is adescription of "what happens in the book." But this leaves out an awful lot. What is left out is what the book or article is about -- the underlyingconcepts, assumptions, arguments, or point of view that the book or articleexpresses. A narrative report leaves aside a discussion that puts the events of thetext into the context of what the text is about. Is the text about love? Life in the fastlane? Society? Wealth and power? Poverty? In other words, narrative reports oftenoverlook the author‘s purpose or point of view expressed through the book or 61
  • 62. article. Once an incident is chosen, the writer should keep three principles in mind.1. Remember to involve readers in the story. It is much more interesting to actually recreate an incident for readers than to simply tell about it.2. Find a generalization, which the story supports. This is the only way the writers personal experience will take on meaning for readers. This generalization does not have to encompass humanity as a whole; it can concern the writer, men, women, or children of various ages and backgrounds.3. Remember that although the main component of a narrative is the story, details must be carefully selected to support, explain, and enhance the story. Here are some popular essay topic examples for your narrative essay type: First Day at College The Moment of Success A Memorable Journey The Biggest Misunderstanding The Difficult Decision The Trip of Your Dreams The Day You Decided to Change Your Life The essay topic you choose should be interesting and important to you,because the best essays are written on the topics that really matter to the writer. [15, p.64-102] §2.2 Coherence and Unity of Essays The most convincing ideas in the world expressed in the most beautifulsentences, will move no one unless those ideas are properly connected. Unlessreaders can move easily from one thought to another, they will surely findsomething else to read or turn on the television. 62
  • 63. Good writing flows, from sentence to sentence and paragraph to paragraph.Every composition should have coherence. Coherence is product of many differentfactors, which combine to make every paragraph, every sentence, and every phrasecontribute to the meaning of the whole piece. Coherence in writing is much moredifficult to sustain than coherent speech simply because writers have no nonverbalclues to inform them if their message is clear or not. Therefore, writers mustmake their patterns of coherence much more explicit and much more carefullyplanned. Coherence itself is the product of two factors — paragraph unity andsentence cohesion. Literally, the word ‗coherence‘ means "to stick together."Coherence in writing means that all the ideas in a paragraph flow smoothly fromone sentence to the next sentence. With coherence, the reader has an easy timeunderstanding the ideas that a writer wishes to express. [33, pp.24-38] An awareness of coherence in all texts is a very important skill for studentsto develop. Students must never assume that their readers know what they know. Infact, it‘s a good idea to assume not only that readers need all the information thatwriters have and need to know how you arrived at the point you are at, but alsothat they are not quite as quick as you are. You might be able to leap from one sideof the stream to the other; believe that your readers need some stepping stones andbe sure to place them in readily accessible and visible spots. Along with the smooth flow of sentences, a paragraph‘s coherence may alsobe related to its length. If you have written a very long paragraph, one that fills adouble-spaced typed page, for example, you should check it carefully to see if itshould start a new paragraph where the original paragraph wanders from itscontrolling idea. On the other hand, if a paragraph is very short (only one or twosentences), perhaps its controlling idea may need to be developed more thoroughly,or combined it with another paragraph. There are a number of other techniques that can be used to establishcoherence in paragraphs, which are described below. 63
  • 64. ~ Repeat key words or phrases. Particularly in paragraphs in which youdefine or identify an important idea or theory, be consistent in how you refer to it.This consistency and repetition will bind the paragraph together and help yourreader understand your definition or description. ~ Create parallel structures. Parallel structures are created by constructingtwo or more phrases or sentences that have the same grammatical structure and usethe same parts of speech. By creating parallel structures you make your sentencesclearer and easier to read. In addition, repeating a pattern in a series of consecutivesentences helps your reader see the connections between ideas. In the paragraphabove about scientists and the sense of sight, several sentences in the body of theparagraph have been constructed in a parallel way. The parallel structures (whichhave been emphasized) help the reader see that the paragraph is organized as a setof examples of a general statement. This technique is the oldest and mostoverlooked, but probably the most elegant method of creating cohesion. ~ Use synonyms and antonyms. If direct repetition is too obvious, use asynonym of the word you wish to repeat; this strategy is called ‗elegant variation‘.Using the ‗opposite‘ word, an antonym, can also create sentence cohesion since inlanguage antonyms actually share more elements of meaning than you mightimagine. ~ Be consistent in point of view, verb tense, and number. Consistency inpoint of view, verb tense, and number is a subtle but important aspect ofcoherence. If you shift from the more personal "you" to the impersonal ―one,‖ frompast to present tense, or from ―a man‖ to ―they,‖ for example, you make yourparagraph less coherent. Such inconsistencies can also confuse your reader andmake your argument more difficult to follow. ~ Enumeration. Use overt markers of sequence to highlight the connectionbetween ideas. This system has many advantages: (a) it can link ideas that areotherwise completely unconnected, (b) it looks formal and distinctive, and (c) it 64
  • 65. promotes a repetition method of sentence cohesion. ~ Use transition words or phrases between sentences and betweenparagraphs. Transitional expressions emphasize the relationships between ideas,so they help readers follow your train of thought or see connections that they mightotherwise miss or misunderstand. [60] § 2.2.1 Organizing Patterns There are many elements that must come together to create an excellentessay. The topic should be clear and interesting. The author‘s voice should comethrough, but not overwhelm, the piece. And there should be no errors in grammar,spelling, punctuation, or capitalization. Another element that is sometimesoverlooked when editing an essay, but is just as important as the previous elementsmentioned, is organization. An organized essay is clear, focused, logical andeffective. A paragraph coheres – holds together – when the sentences are arrangedin a clear, logical order and when the sentences are related like links in a chain.There are several possible orders, depending on the subject and the writer‘spurpose. ~ Spatial order. In this pattern, items are arranged according to theirphysical position or relationships. In describing a shelf or desk, one might describeitems on the left first, and then move gradually toward the right. Describing aroom, you might start with what you see as you enter the door, then what you seeas you step to the middle of the room, and finally the far side. In explaining somepolitical or social problem, one might discuss first the concerns of the East Coast,then those of the Midwest, then those of the West Coast. Describing a person, youmight start at the feet and move up to the head, or just the other way around. Thispattern might use such transitions as just to the right, a little further on, to thesouth of Memphis, a few feet behind, in New Mexico, turning left on the pathway,and so on. Spatial order is pretty common in description, but can also apply to 65
  • 66. examples, to some comparisons, some classifications [the southern species of thisbird . . . ; rhinos in Southeast Asia . . .], some narrations [meanwhile, out on theprairie], and other forms of exposition as well. E.g. The central part of (San Francisco) lies on a series of hills. TheEmbarcadero, a crescent-shaped boulevard, borders the edge of peninsula; from it,Market Street, the principal thoroughfare, runs diagonally to the southwest,bisecting the city. North of Market Street is the main commercial sections of thecity and to the south are the older sections and industrial areas. Attractions in thedowntown section include the Transamerica Pyramid Building, Chinatown, thetheater district along Geary Street, Coif Memorial Tower on Telegraph Hill, andFisherman‘s Wharf. ~ Chronological order. In chronological order or time order, items, events,or even ideas are arranged in the order in which they occur. This pattern is markedby such transitions as next, then, the following morning, a few hours later, stilllater, that Wednesday, by noon, when she was seventeen, before the sun rose, thatApril, and so on. Chronological order can suit different rhetorical modes orpatterns of exposition. It naturally fits in narration, because when we tell a story,we usually follow the order in which events occur. Chronological order applies toprocess in the same way, because when we describe or explain how somethinghappens or works, we usually follow the order in which the events occur. Butchronological order may also apply to example, description, or parts of any otherpattern of exposition. E.g. Columbus began a fourth voyage in May 1502. After a three-weekcrossing, he anchored off Santo Domingo, where a hurricane damaged his fleet.Columbus completed repairs on his vessels and sailed to Honduras. He thencruised along the coast of Central America for nearly six months in search of theelusive westward passage across the continent. In January 1503 he landed inPanama and established a settlement there. When his ships foundered near Jamaica 66
  • 67. in June 1503, Columbus sent to Espanola for help. Nearly a year passed before thestranded party was rescued. After returning to Spain, Columbus never sailed again. ~ Climactic Order (Order of Importance) A third common principle oforganization is climactic order or order of importance. In this pattern, items arearranged from least important to most important. Typical transitions wouldinclude more important, most difficult, still harder, by far the most expensive, evenmore damaging, worse yet, and so on. This is a flexible principle of organization,and may guide the organization of all or part of example, comparison & contrast,cause & effect, and description. A variation of climactic order is called psychological order. This pattern ororganization grows from our learning that readers or listeners usually give mostattention to what comes at the beginning and the end, and least attention to what isin the middle. In this pattern, then, you decide what is most important and put it atthe beginning or the end; next you choose what is second most important and put itat the end or the beginning (whichever remains); the less important or powerfulitems are then arranged in the middle. If the order of importance followed 1, 2, 3,4, 5, with 5 being most important, psychological order might follow the order 4, 3,1, 2, 5. Still other principles of organization based on emphasis include General-to-specific order, Specific-to general order, Most-familiar-to-least-familiar, Simplest-to-most-complex, Order of frequency, Order of familiarity, And so on. ~ General to specific e.g. Hollywood has always been a magnet for talent.In the early years, stars truck hopefuls flocked there from all over the United 67
  • 68. States. With the coming of the sound in the late 1920s, there was a demand foractors who could speak, playwrights and journalists to write dialogue, and a newbreed of theater-trained directors. Europeans began arriving in the early 1920s; therise of Hitler turned that trickle into a flood. ~ Specific to general e.g. He lives in a cramped house in the suburbs andspends too long each day on packed trains commuting to and from work. He stateslate at the office, and feels he must go out drinking with his colleagues to winpromotion. He is not entitled too much holiday, and takes even less. The life of thesarariman, Japan‘s devoted company employee, leaves little time for leisure or thefamily. But it has its benefits: a secure job, a comfortable retirement, perhaps evena cushy sinecure at one of his company‘s suppliers. At least, that was the dealwhen he joined the company 20 years ago. Nowadays, sarariman is increasinglylikely to find himself out on the streets. ~ Topical Order. A fourth broad principle of organization is called topicalorder and this is sort of a catchall pattern. It refers to organization that emergesfrom the topic itself. For example, a description of a computer might naturallyinvolve the separate components of the central processing unit, the monitor, andthe keyboard, while a discussion of a computer purchase might discuss needs,products, vendors, and service. A discussion of a business might explore product,customer, and location, and so on. Topical order, then, simply means an order thatarises from the nature of the topic itself. Transitions in this pattern will be a littlevague—things like another factor, the second component, in addition, and so on. Imposing order on information makes the information easier to talk about,easier to understand, and easier to remember. A clear, recognizable pattern (on thelevel of the single paragraph, and also on the level of the whole essay body), willguide the writer in selecting details and choosing transitions, and also will guidethe reader in discovering relationships that connect things, that make things seem 68
  • 69. more coherent.Principle of Associated Patterns ofOrganization Development or Rhetorical Sample Transitions ModesChronological narration, process, examples next; later; the followingorder and illustrations, cause & Tuesday; afterwards; by effect noon; when she had finally digested the giant burrito; as soon as; in 1998Spatial order description, examples & just to the right; a little illustrations further on; to the south of Memphis; a few feet behind; directly on the bridge of his nose and a centimeter above his gaping, hairy nostrils; turning left on the pathwayClimactic order examples & illustrations, more importantly; best of all; description, comparison & still worse; a more effective contrast, analogy approach; even more expensive; even more painful than passing a kidney stone; the least wasteful; occasionally, frequently, regularlyTopical order classification & division, the first element; another key comparison & contrast, part; a third common analogy, definition, examples principle of organization; & illustrations Brent also objected to Stellas breath [19, p.45-81] Unity is also a very important characteristic of good paragraph or essaywriting. Paragraph unity means that one paragraph is about ONLY ONE maintopic. That is, all the sentences -- the topic, supporting sentences, the detailsentences, and (sometimes) the concluding sentence -- are all telling the reader 69
  • 70. about ONE main topic. If your paragraph contains a sentence or some sentencesthat are NOT related to the main topic, then we say that the paragraph "lacksunity," or that the sentence is "off-topic." [62, 63] To achieve essay unity, a writer must ensure two things only. First, the essaymust have a single generalization that serves as the focus of attention, that is, athesis statement. Secondly, a writer must control the content of every otherparagraph in the essays body such that (a) it contains more specific informationthan the thesis statement and (b) it maintains the same focus of attention as thethesis statement.Effective Writing: is focused on the topic and does not contain extraneous or loosely related information; has an organizational pattern that enables the reader to follow the flow of ideas because it contains a beginning, middle, and end and uses transitional devices; contains supporting ideas that are developed through the use of details, examples, vivid language, and mature word choice; and Follows the conventions of standard written English (i.e., punctuation, capitalization, and spelling) and has variation in sentence structure. [23, p.172] 70
  • 71. Chapter III. EXPERIMENTAL ANALYSIS OF THE THEORETICALAPPROACH TO THE PROCESS OF COMPOSING AN ESSAY The material used during the investigation was selected from the diverseEnglish Language Teaching and English as a Foreign Language sites, as well asfrom the books: ‗Evergreen with Readings, a Guide to Writing‘ by Fawcett S. andSandberg A., ‗Teaching Writing Skills‘ by Byrne D. and ‗Strategies for Success inWriting‘ by J. Coutlas. The books contain writing sections covering different typesof writing essays. The aim of this section is not to provide a fully exhaustivetreatment of the process of composing an essay but rather to present sampleguidance for classroom writing workshop. Firstly, students use the particular pre-writing strategies that help initiate thinking and generate possible ideas for thecontent of the students‘ written work. Then they practice writing committing theirideas to paper while engaging in peer or teacher-student discussions, reading ortimed writing about the topic. Alongside pre-writing material every lesson containsa checklist revision of the written work. §3.1. Description of the Course of the Experimental Work The pedagogical practice was carried out at the State Pedagogical University―Ion Creanga‖ where the 3th year students were taught. Thus, the experiment whichis necessary for the Master‘s Paper had been carried out in two groups of the 3thyear students, group 307 consisting of 14 students (first group) and group 308including 12 students (second group). Group 1 was considered a control one, itwas taught in a traditional way in which students are given the assignments alongwith some instructions. Group 2 (an experimental group) was taught with the useof some strategies on creating workshop in the classroom. For instance, during theprocess of fulfilling the assignment students were involved in different modernactivities which help to understand the writing process better, such as writinginstruction, brainstorming, freewriting, engaging in peer or teacher-studentdiscussions, reading about and researching the topic; free writing or timed free 71
  • 72. writing about the topic, listing and categorizing information; reflecting uponpersonal experience, etc. Before we started the experiment the students` writing abilities had beenexamined. Learners were distributed a questionnaire whose purpose was to revealdifficulties students encounter while performing writing assignments. The sampleof the questionnaire is presented below: Pre-writing Questionnaire Put the numbers from 4 to 1 to show your agreement or disagreement withthe given statements following this pattern: 1 – Completely disagree; 2 – Partially disagree; 3 – Partially agree; 4 – Completely agree. 1. It is difficult to start an essay. 2. It is difficult to write a strong, clear thesis statement. 3. I am unsure about the use of transitions. 4. I can‘t organize my ideas into clear, fluent and coherent paragraphs. 5. It is difficult to write the introduction and the conclusion. 6. I feel unsure about the relevance and originality of the essay. 7. I am not motivated to write. The results obtained with the help of the questionnaire are shown in the tablebelow: Number of points Percentage of students № Problem area Group 1 Group 2 Group1 Group 2 (of 56 (of 48 possible) possible) 1. Starting an essays 46 36 24% 20% 2. Writing clear thesis 48 38 26% 22% statement 72
  • 73. 3. Use of right transitions 28 26 14% 11% 4. Organizing coherent 48 38 26% 22% paragraphs 5. Writing introduction and 44 33 22% 18,5% conclusion 6. Relevance and originality 27 26 13.5% 11% of the essay 7. Low motivation to write 25 24 11.5% 9% As it turned out a big number of students (26% and 22%) find it difficult towrite clear thesis statements. The other problem illuminated by the learners isdifficulties organizing coherent paragraphs within the essay (26% and 22%). The3rd problem for students is starting an essay (24% and 20%). And the last largewriting problem is the difficulty to write introductions and conclusions (22% and18.5%). The use of right transitions, as also the relevance and originality of theessay, as also low motivation to write are the other writing problems students faceto, but the amount of such cases is significantly smaller. In this way the problems that learners have in relation to various features ofthe writing process were highlighted and taken into consideration in the process ofinvestigation. The purpose of the experiment was to identify the types of writing activitiesstudents are more successful at and to prove the necessity of creating writingworkshop in the classroom, i.e. talking explicitly about the stages of the writingprocess, applying them into practice and using peer-evaluation at the stage ofrevising. The control group (Group N1) was taught according to the core curricula ofthe university. In the experimental group (Group N2) the writing activity was viewed as anindependent part of the lesson including all the stages, i.e. pre-writing, explanation, 73
  • 74. and control. At some point during most writing classes, in a 5-10 minute mini-lesson (length depends upon the procedure, concept, skill, or convention to betaught), the teacher provides students with information necessary for their writing.Mini-lessons about language usage and conventions such as spelling, sentencestructure, and punctuation are necessary; however, they should emerge from thestudents‘ writing or the curriculum objectives, rather than being arbitrarilydetermined by the teacher. It is important to allow time for students to practiceconcepts introduced in mini-lessons within the context of their own writing. The procedure was the following: The first type of writing examined during the experiment was descriptivewriting. The control group (or Group 1) was taught according to the core curriculaof the university. The writing topic discussed was ‗Ideal Holiday‘. Students wereasked to write an essay on the topic. In the experimental group this writing activitywas viewed as an independent part of the lesson including all the stages. Theprocedure was the following: 1st stage – Pre-writing activities (instruction, explanation) As the course-book does not contain any description of writing procedures,teacher prepares some additional information for explanation about the writingprocess. The teacher posts the major stages of a writing process (pre-writing,planning, drafting, and post-writing) and briefs information about each so thatstudents can determine where they are at any time in the process. Then the teacherhas students record them in their notebooks for reference as they write. Activity 1 – Brainstorming The teacher suggests the word ‗holiday‘ and records it on the board. Studentsare left to focus on it for about one minute and list all their thoughts, ideas andassociations that the word generates. Students then try to make a definition of the 74
  • 75. phrase ‗perfect holiday‘ using their previous ideas. Activity 2 – Listing ideas Students are given the following assignment to build up a useful vocabularyfor latter reference: Think of at least 5 adjectives to describe the perfect holiday. Activity 3 – Engaging in peer or teacher-student discussion ‘Describing aplace’ There are 2 ways of performing this activity, (1) the teacher asks some of thestudents to answer the questions below; (2) the teacher asks students to work inpairs and interview their partners. The points for discussion are the following: Where did you spend your last holiday? Why did you decide to go there? Did you look at a travel brochure before you chose your holiday? Did it give an accurate picture of your holiday choice? Why/why not? Where there any places of interest/historic towns nearby? Why were they particularly famous? What did you do in the evenings? Activity 4 – Listing ideas Students are required to make two lists of activities that people choose to doon a holiday when (1) They are short of money and (2) when money is not a problem. To help learners generate ideas teacher can suggest the following phrases to begin with: -in the summer people tend to …. -but in the winter months ….. -not everyone enjoys … so… 75
  • 76. In recent years people have started to … Activity 5 – Reading about the topic Students are given to read a short passage from a tourist brochure aboutStratford-upon-Avon. Students will have to:- identify the introduction, the body and the conclusion, as well as the differentaspects of Stratford dealt in every paragraph.- give each paragraph a topic heading; suggest other topic that could be included inthe description. No visitor to Britain should go home without spending some time in Stratford-upon-Avon. Situated in the heart of England, it is a town rich both in history and in culture. Stratford is a busy market town with a population of twenty-three thousand, and contains many streets and buildings unchanged since medieval times. It is surrounded by some of the prettiest countryside in England, and is ideal base for those wishing to visit such places of interest as Warwick Castle, or the beautiful modern cathedral in Coventry. Without doubt, Stratford is best known as the town where the playwright William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was born and died. Here you can visit his birthplace, and other buildings associated with his family. These houses are all splendid examples of Tudor architecture, and there are many other fine, historic buildings well worth visiting in the town. Visitors to Stratford will find no lack of evening entertainment. There are restaurants to suit all tastes, and in the evening the royal Shakespeare theatre offers an exciting and varied repertoire, giving you the chance to see some of the best actors in the country, on stage. There are also poetry readings, music recitals and many other entertainments available. Chose a holiday in Stratford and you will never forget the experience! Book now to avoid disappointment! 76
  • 77. After all, the teacher passes to the second stage what is writing practice itself. [10, p.72-96] 2nd stage - Writing practice At this point in the process, the emphasis is on content and meaning ratherthan on mechanics and conventions. This is the time for students to get down theirideas and thoughts, composing rough drafts based upon pre-writing and planningactivities and considerations. As they compose, writers begin to determine what toinclude and exclude, and make initial decisions about how these ideas will beorganized. During the drafting stage of the writing process, meaning begins toevolve. Activity 1 - Timed writing about the topic ‗last holiday‘. Students are giventhe following questions to guide them in their writing timed for 10 min. Look at the list below. Tick ✓ the topics that you think it is necessary toinclude (because they give essential information). Put a star ✽next to the topicsthat you think would be interesting to someone who is thinking of visiting thisplace. What is it called? Where is it? How do you get there? Are there any interesting facts about this place (e.g. size, population, history)? Is it famous or popular? Why or why not? When did you go there? What time of the year is it best to visit? What is the weather usually like? What can people do there? Why did you go there? Is there anything to do in the evening? 77
  • 78. Are there interesting places/excursions to visit nearby? What kind of scenery or buildings do you find there? What are the people like? Are there any interesting places to eat or drink? Are there any interesting traditions or festivals? How did you feel about your visit? What advice would you give to someone who is going to visit the place? Students record their ideas in order to capture the essence of what they haveto say. They do not have to make any attempt to revise or edit at this point. Theyfocus on producing a first, rough draft developing their personal style as their voiceemerges. Activity 2 – Planning Students are asked to make a description of a town or city which they havevisited recently. The assignment is as follows: Write a description of a town/holiday resort in your country. It is to beincluded in a tourist brochure. Use the plan below as a guide. Learners are presented the structure of a composition.Layout Paragraph 1 General introduction: introduce the place, why should visitors come to your town/resort? Where is it situated? Paragraph 2 A general description of the town. Population? Surrounding attractions? Appearance? 78
  • 79. Paragraph 3 Focus on an aspect in more details: Why is the town particularly worth visiting? Is it famous for its buildings/ landscape/ people? Paragraph 4 Focus on another aspect in more details: What can visitors do in the evening? What sort of restaurants/ clubs/ entertainments can they find? Paragraph 5 Conclusion: write a few lines encouraging tourists to come to visit your town /resort.Linking 1. For opening a paragraph: admittedly, assuredly, certainly, granted, no doubt, nobody denies, obviously, of course, to be sure, true, undoubtedly, unquestionably, generally speaking, in general, at this level, in this situation. 2. To continue an idea: and, too, also, furthermore, moreover, in addition, besides, in the same way, again, another, similarly, a similar, first, second, third, the same, to begin with, next, finally, likewise, by the same token, in like manner, in similar fashion 3. Conclusion/ to signal a final point: after all, at last, finally, in brief, in closing, in conclusion, on the whole, to conclude, to summarize. 3rd stage – Revision The post writing stage or revision of the final draft for content and clarity ofmeaning is the time for learners to reorganize and sequence relevant ideas, add ordelete details. Revisions can take place to words, sentences, paragraphs, or the 79
  • 80. whole piece (e.g., the writer may decide that the ideas would have more impact aspoetry instead of prose). At this stage in the process students will edit the draft formechanical and conventional concerns; they will proofread for accuracy andcorrectness in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and usage. A set of questions or a checklist can be used to assist students as they striveto make the writing clear, to support them to shape their writing, as well as aidthem in reflecting upon their own writing. The use of self or peer-editing checklistsproves a useful tool in the process of writing. Peer evaluation is valuable and helpsstudents to become more responsible, reflective, competent and insightful, buildingcritique skills. In this way evaluation can be used to provide constructive criticismand suggestions to improve weak areas and amplify strengths. Receiving the assignment students are told to write their first draft using theinformation from the previous exercises. After writing their drafts they exchangethem with their desk mates. The partners are given the checklist below for peerevaluation in the classroom environment. Checklist of Essay1. Did you include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion?2. Did you write a good topic sentence for each paragraph?3. Did you include details that support each topic sentence?4. Did you avoid repeating the same words over and over again?5. Did you use descriptive nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs?6. Does your thesis statement clearly communicate the topic and focus of theessay?7. Does your essay have a logical organization pattern?8. Is the tone of the essay suitable for its audience? Is an appropriate toneconsistent throughout?9. Do the paragraphs cover separate but related main ideas?10. Are the connections among the paragraphs clear?11. Does your introduction lead into the thesis statement and the rest of the 80
  • 81. essay?12. Does your conclusion provide a sense of completion?13. Have you cut any material that goes off the topic?14. Is the length of each paragraph in proportion to the whole essay and thelength of the other paragraphs? (Remember that an introduction and conclusion areusually shorter than any of the body paragraphs in an essay.)15. Does the title reflect the content of the essay, directly or indirectly?16. Is your reasoning sound? Finally students revise their drafts and write the final variant of the essay. The second kind of writing analyzed during the experiment was narrativewriting. Students from both groups were provided with guidance on writing anarrative. They were given the structure of a narrative including the beginning, themiddle and the ending. Then learners were asked to tell a story about somethingthat actually happened to them or someone they know following the narrativescheme they have studied. Students from the experimental group were proposed the followingactivities. 1st stage - Pre-writing activities (instruction, explanation) Activity 1 - Brainstorming The teacher suggests the word ‗Adrenalin‘ and records it on the board.Students should think about the times when they felt scared, angry, frightened orexcited for about one minute and list all their thoughts, ideas and associations thatthe word generates. 81
  • 82. Activity 2 - Listing ideas Students are told to make two lists of adjectives used to describeexperiences that are: 1 – really good; 2 – extremely bad. Activity 3 - Engaging in peer or teacher-student discussionStudents were involved in a discussion to explore their past experiences. Have you ever caught a snake? Have you ever been to the top of a mountain? Have you ever crossed a desert? Have you ever appeared on a TV programme? Have you ever been asked to make a speech? Have you ever met a famous person? Have you ever driven a Ferrari? Have you ever ridden a horse on the beach? Have you ever been in a dangerous situation? Have you ever broken a bone? Have you ever been really frightened? Have you ever had a sports injury? Have you ever thought you were going to die? Have you ever taken part in dangerous sports? Activity 4 - Engaging in peer or teacher-student discussion The teacher asks students to work in pairs and gives the followinginstructions: -Think back to a moment when you felt the rush of adrenalin. You are goingto tell your partner about it. Think about what you will say. Where were you? At home? In the car? At a sports event? In town? Did it happen recently? How old were you? Who were you with? What were you doing? 82
  • 83. What happened? How did you feel? What were the consequences? Would you like to have the same experience? - Tell your partner the story. Give as much detail as possible. Then the teacher presents a sample of a story that is told in five stages, and asksstudents to make use of the example. a. Introduction (have I ever told you about the time I was attacked by a lion?) b. Background (I was on holiday with Jan …; we were travelling round Africa on my Harley …) c. Problem (suddenly, I heard a sound in the jungle …; the next moment I saw ..; so there we were, up the tree …; we were begging to feel rather nervous …) d. Resolution (then I had an idea …; in the end I managed to get the bike started …; I drove off a hundred miles an hour …; I didn‘t stop till I got to Nairobi …) e. Comment (I often wonder what happened to Jan …) Time Linkers: suddenly, all of a sudden, immediately, in the end, finally,eventually, at last, as soon as, when, while, just before, just after, following, after,afterwards, at the same time, currently, earlier, in the meantime, later, meanwhile,previously, simultaneously, subsequently, then, until now. The teacher moves on to the next stage of the writing process.2nd stage - Writing practice Susan Isaacs, a famous American novelist and screenwriter, provides asimple framework for beginners in writing: ‗Keep in mind that the person to writefor is yourself. Tell the story that you most desperately want to read.‘ 83
  • 84. To ensure students acquire good writing skills the teacher adds some moreexercises on this piece of writing, having typed them and distributed to thestudents. Here are some examples: Activity 1 – Reading Read the story below and rewrite it, choosing an appropriate narrative tensefor the verbs in brackets. Where necessary, change the words in italics, usingpronouns or alternative vocabulary items, to make the story read better. At the end of his act, the Argentinean magician, Professor Nimo, (ask) a male member of the audience who (sit) near the front to come up on stage. Professor Nimo handed the member of the audience a gun and asked the member of the audience to shoot Professor Nimo in the face. The member of the audience (fire) the gun and Professor Nimo then (pull) the bullet from between his teeth. The member of the audience was so impressed that he took another gun. While Professor Nimo (prepare) to leave the stage, he said to Professor Nimo, ‗Catch this‘ and shot Professor Nimo. Professor Nimo was killed instantly. Even during the subsequent trial, the member of the audience could still not understand why Professor Nimo (fail) to catch his bullet. One more additional exercise it is possible to do in the classroom. It is a slashsentence exercise. It is as follows: Activity 2 - Timed writing Use the prompts below to build up a narrative about a hotel fire. Last year / I / spend / summer holidays / popular resort / Mediterraneancoast. Hotel / be / modern / comfortable / weather perfect. I / have marvelous /holiday – until / fire! It / be / Saturday evening / everybody/ relax/ in / lounge / or / discotheque /tired / after / long day / beach. The disco / be / ground floor / this Saturday night / it/ be crowded with people / dance / drink. Disk jockey / play / old Beatles hits / 84
  • 85. from / 60s / and / people / sing along / and / generally / have / good time. Then /suddenly / we / smell / smoke! First / only / few people / notice / fire. Then / as clouds / black smoke / begin/ fill / room / everybody / start / shout/ scream/ panic. People race /exits. One firedoor / be / locked/ people/ turn back/ frantically / join / crowds / other exits.Everyone / begin/ cough/ choke. Then / just as / we / think / never / escape / help / arrive. Firemen / fight /way / into / room / soon / everyone / safely/ out of / building. Luckily / nobody/seriously / hurt. Holiday company / offer us / rooms / another hotel / nearby / but/holiday / be / spoilt / and I / fly / home / next day. I / not be / inside / disco / sincethen. It / be / most frightening / experience / my life! [7, p.122-148] Activity 3 – Drafting Students are asked to write an essay about their past personal experience.The assignment is as follows: Write an essay about a personal anecdote which ends with the followingsentence ‗It‘s hard to believe that anyone could have been so stupid‘. Use the planbelow as a guide. Layout Paragraph 1 Introduce the anecdote Set the scene – give information about: what you were doing, who you were with, what had happened earlier. Paragraph 2 Beginning of the narrative Describe what happened to you- what thongs started to go wrong. Paragraph 3 Development of the narrative Write about what happened next – what else went wrong. 85
  • 86. Paragraph 4 Development of the narrative Add more things that happened to you. Paragraph 5 Conclusion Write how the story finished and how you and everyone else felt at the end. Receiving the assignment and the instructions, students are told to write theirfirst draft using the information from the previous exercises. After writing theirdrafts they exchange them with their desk mates. 3rd stage – Revision The following checklist was suggested for peer evaluation in the classroomenvironment. Checklist of Essay Does the essay have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion? Does the title reflect the content of the essay, directly or indirectly? Is the main idea developed and supported with examples, evidence? Are all the details in the essay relevant to the main idea? Are transition devices used to link sentences and paragraphs together? Did you avoid repeating the same words over and over again? Are tenses used correctly? Does your narration have a logical organization pattern? Do the paragraphs cover separate but related main ideas? Are the connections among the paragraphs clear? Is the vocabulary appropriate for the topic? Do paragraphs contain a combination of simple and complex sentences? 86
  • 87. Are there any errors in grammar? Are there any errors in spelling and punctuation? Is the story interesting to the audience? The third type of writing examined during the experiment was discursivewriting. Students were supposed to write an essay on the topic ―Computers havebrought more disadvantages to our lives‖. The work in the control group (Group1) was carried out according to the core curricula. In the experimental group thiswriting activity was viewed as an independent part of the lesson including all thestages. The procedure was the following: 1st stage - Pre-writing activities (instruction, explanation) Activity1 - Brainstorming The teacher suggests the word ‗Inventions‘ and records it on the board.Students should think about the products that have been invented over the last fivehundred years for about one minute and list all their thoughts, ideas andassociations that the word generates. Students then try to make a definition of theword ‗invention‘ using their previous ideas. Activity2 - Listing ideas Students are required to make three lists of inventions according to thefollowing criteria: 1 – the most/least important for society; 2 – the most/leastimportant for you personally; 3- the most/least likely to be changed or replaced byfuture technology that will make our lives easier. Activity3 - Engaging in peer or teacher-student discussion The teacher asks students to work in pairs and interview their partners. Thepoints for discussion are the following: 87
  • 88. How long have you spent on the internet in the last week? What do you use your computer for? Have you bought any new gadgets recently? How important do you think computers are? Have you ever chatted with strangers on the internet? Are there any new gadgets on the market that you want? Do you see yourself as a computer geek? Do you know any good websites? Which would you take to a desert island for company – a computer or ahuman? How long have you been using computers? Is there anything that irritates you about computers or electronic technology? Activity 4 - Engaging in peer or teacher-student discussion Students were divided in three groups. Each group had to write at least 3advantages and disadvantages of the following cases: - Surfing the internet versus going to the library - Playing computer games versus playing sports - Watching television versus reading a book 2nd stage - Writing practice Activity1 - Timed writing Students working in pairs had to write an argument about the advantages anddisadvantages of mobile phones for 15 min. The teacher gives the followinginstructions. -make two lists: 1- arguments in favor of mobile phones, 2- argumentsagainst mobile phones. -choose the three most important points in favor of mobile phones and thethree most important points against mobile phones. 88
  • 89. -think what happens as a consequence of the points you have made.E.g. Point in favor: you can use mobiles anywhere. Consequence: people use mobile phones in inappropriate places (restaurants,cinemas). Point against: people tend to have their mobile phones on all the time. Consequence: the phones can cause a disturbance when they ring. -start your written argument with the opening line like this for example:‗people often focus on the negative aspects of mobile phones and forget about thepositives, of which there are many‘. Use the plan and linking words to connect the points. Paragraph 1: Introduction of the topic Paragraph 2: Points in favor Paragraph 3: Points against Paragraph 4: Conclusion/ your opinion Listing arguments: firstly, secondly, finally, lastly, one of the advantages/disadvantagesof… is that …, the main advantage is …, another point in favor of/ against … is…,also, moreover, too, even so, however, despite, although, ,as a result, yet,consequently, nevertheless, because of this, on the other hand, in my opinion, onbalance. Activity2 - Planning Students are asked to write an essay on the topic ‗children and computergames‘. The assignment is as follows: You are going to write about whether computer games are a danger tosociety or a harmless pastime for children. Use the plan below as a guide. Layout Paragraph 1 General introduction: introduce the topic; give some background in your country or personal. 89
  • 90. Paragraph 2 A list of arguments ‗for‘: choose two or three main points; give examples and facts where possible. Paragraph 3 A list of arguments ‗against‘: choose two or three main points; support you argument with examples. Paragraph 4 Conclusion: write a few lines expressing your personal opinion about the topic. [12, p.509-519] 3rd stage – Revision The following checklist was suggested for self-evaluation at home or peerevaluation in the classroom environment. Checklist of Essay  Does the essay have a main idea?  Is the main idea developed and supported with examples, evidence?  Are all the details in the essay relevant to the main idea?  Is the main idea of the essay clearly started in a thesis statement?  Does each paragraph contain only one main idea?  Does each paragraph contain a topic sentence that clearly states the main idea?  Is the main idea of each paragraph developed in an organized way?  Are transition devices used to link sentences and paragraphs together?  Does the conclusion summarize the main points made in the essay? 90
  • 91.  Is the material taken from other sources correctly cited and used without plagiarism?  Is the vocabulary appropriate for the topic?  Do paragraphs contain a combination of simple and complex sentences?  Are there any errors in grammar?  Are there any errors in spelling and punctuation? Having written their essays students present their versions to the class. Learnerslisten and comment on the writing product. So, all the 3 stages in writing study (pre-writing, practice writing drafts andrevising/editing) take place during the experiment carried out in the 3rd year ofuniversity while having the pedagogical practice. Thus the writing activities fulfilled in both groups differ in the followingaspects: 1) Each writing activity in the experimental group started with a clear-cut pre- writing stage. 2) Learners from the experimental group had a clear purpose of writing assignment and a perspective of audience. 3) During the stage of writing practice there was used the technique of peer- evaluation. Students of the experimental group had the ability to read each other‘s writings and express their opinions by suggesting some revisions and reconstructions. At the post-experimental stage students were proposed to fill the samequestionnaire they had filled at the pre-experimental stage for the purpose to noticethe results of the use of modern techniques and activities for improving languagestudy, namely, on writing study. 91
  • 92. The results obtained in both groups are presented below: Number of points Percentage of students № Problem area Group 1 Group 2 Group1 Group 2 (of 56 (of 48 possible) possible) 1. Starting an essays 42 26 24% 16% 2. Writing clear thesis 44 22 26% 18% statement 3. Use of right transitions 22 15 14% 8.5% 4. Organizing coherent 45 20 26% 16.5% paragraphs 5. Writing introduction and 40 23 22% 13,5% conclusion 6. Relevance and originality 23 18 13.5% 8.8% of the essay 7. Low motivation to write 22 17 11.5% 8.7% Moreover, learners from the experimental group (Group 2) were asked toshare their opinions on writing assignments they had performed. They were given afeedback questionnaire on their grammar activities. Students Feedback Questionnaire Make a check mark to show your agreement or disagreement with thefollowing statements. 92
  • 93. № Statements Agree Disagree 1. Techniques which were used did not help me to 2 10 practice my writing abilities. 2. The purpose of writing tasks was clear for me. 10 2 3. I found nothing different from previous writing 2 10 exercises I had done. 4. Work at each stage was set up clearly. 9 3 5. Pre-writing activities improved my writings 11 1 6. The way the tasks were designed was interesting. 11 1 7. I participated better during class, group, pair work. 10 2 8 Some of the tasks were confusing. 2 15 9. Similar tasks should be designed during the school 14 3 year. §3.2 Results of the Experiment After having analyzed written assignments fulfilled by the students andhaving compared learners` questionnaires completed before and after theexperiment, there were distinguished significant changes on students` perception ofwriting tasks and the results achieved by the learners in Group 2, i.e. experimentalgroup. Considering two diagrams reflecting the difficulties encountered by thestudents during the writing process, it is easy to notice that the amount ofdifficulties that learners have in relation to various features of writing process hasdecreased. 93
  • 94. Before the experiment40353025201510 5 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7After the experiment3025201510 5 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 94
  • 95. The given diagrams illustrate results of the questionnaires filled by thelearners of Group 2 before and after the experiment. The horizontal ax shows theordinal number of the problem area and the vertical ax shows the amount of pointsobtained by this problem area. The total number of points gained by each of theeight statements of the questionnaire reveals the degree of difficulty ofcounterparts of writing process. The larger number of points acquired the greaterdegree of difficulties students encounter. Let us compare the two diagrams. The quantity of difficulties that studentshave with writing clear thesis statements has significantly lessened (from 38 to 22points). These results were achieved due to the modern presentation and practicingwriting techniques used during the experiment. Such activities as writinginstruction, brainstorming, engaging in peer or teacher-student discussions,reading about and researching the topic; timed free writing about the topic, listingand categorizing information; reflecting upon personal experience, and someother helped to improve the students` writing competence and skills. As a result the amount of difficulties encountered by the learners, whileorganizing coherent paragraphs, has decreased from 38 to 20 points. The techniquethat enabled students to get started and organize their ideas in a proper way was thecontextualizing of assignments, i.e. students were given the structure of writingessay and suggested an audience. It specifies the content of the assignment andhelps learners to write more effectively. The process of writing practice and revising as well as pre-writing activitieshelped students to lessen the problem of writing introductions and conclusions(from 33 to 23 points), difficulties starting an essay – from 36 to26. Difficultieswith the use of right transitions were also significantly lessened, namely – from 26to 15. And, finally the problem with originality of the essay was solved, too. Theamount of points before the experiment (26) significantly decreased (18), too.Though more time is spent on pre-writing activities and writing practice the wholeamount of time used for fulfilling the assignments is practically equal in bothexperimental and control groups. Students of the experimental group do not waste 95
  • 96. much time on generating their ideas and compiling exercises as they do it workingtogether at the first stage. On considering students feedback questionnaires it was evident that moststudents were satisfied with the writing assignments they had fulfilled. Thus, 13students of 14 agreed that the purpose of writing tasks was clear for them. 12students of 14 agree that work at each stage was set up clearly, as also theyrecognized that they participated better during class, group and pair work and alsoagreed that similar tasks should be designed during the school year. The results obtained after analyzing pre-experimental and post-experimentalquestionnaires of the control Group 1 showed that the amount of difficultiesstudents encounter while fulfilling writing assignments has remained practicallyunchanged. The following charts illustrate this fact. Before the experiment 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 96
  • 97. After the experiment 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 It is obvious that the amount of difficulties represented by the vertical ax –practically hasn`t been changed after the experiment. In general students from the experimental group were more successful atfulfilling all the assignments. After having checked the written assignments fulfilled by the students ofboth groups, there was made the analysis of mistakes made by the learners. Theresults of the analysis and the difference in percentage between two groups areshown in the table below. Kinds of difficulties Number of mistakes Percentage Group 1 Group 2 differenceThesis Statement 47 22 25%Introduction 44 23 23%Logical coherence 45 20 27%Conclusion 40 21 20% 97
  • 98. The data from the table illustrate the fact that learners of the experimentalgroup have done approximately 25% of mistakes less than the learners of thecontrol group. This proves the fact that students cannot write successfully in aforeign language without models, and these models must be accessible to them inthe sense that they can be imitated. That is why presenting writing activities, peerevaluation and clear staging of the writing study (practice) is of great use foracquiring good writing skills. Models and activities used during pre-writing stageshelp students acquire the knowledge of useful vocabulary and grammar structures,as well as draw students attention to such things as the importance of paragraphingand the use of connectors that are necessary to perform certain writing tasks. Peerevaluation gives learners the opportunity to revise their written draft and to getaware of the mistakes done that should be avoided in future. The results obtainedprove that students with this kind of preparation can be successfully trained to dealwith any writing task appropriate to their level of English. 98
  • 99. CONCLUSIONS The present research project was an attempt to examine the process ofcomposing an essay, to reveal difficulties students encounter while writing anessay and to highlight the patterns of the most common types of essays that caneliminate these difficulties. After the investigation we have come to the followingconclusions: 1. The process of composing an essay is a manifold process consisting of note- taking, outlining, drafting and editing. Successful methods of composing an essay are almost invariable. Students should start to write early, trying to jot down what seems readiest to be written, even if theyre not sure whether or how it will fit in. Despite writing so freely, they keep the essays overall purpose and organization in mind, amending them as drafting proceeds. They revise extensively, attending to the whole essay and draft and redraft— rearranging the sequence of its larger parts, adding and deleting sections to take account of what they discover in the course of composition. Lastly, they proofread the final copy. 2. Pre-writing activities are essential for writing an impressive essay. They help to generate ideas for the content of the students‘ written work; they help students to consider two essentials – the purpose of the writer and the audience; they also help with planning drafting and editing process of writing; they help to roughly standardize students‘ written work which in its turn is useful for testing purposes when students‘ work has to be ranked. It is more apparent that composing an essay can be supported effectively by using such activities as: freewriting or timed free writing about the topic, brainstorming, clustering, outlining, debating, reading about and researching the topic, listing and categorizing information, reflecting upon personal experience etc. The ability to write brilliantly is an art, which requires the use of innovative and creative ideas to improve its effectiveness, thus students must not hesitate to use such resources. These resources are 99
  • 100. irreplaceable and can assist learners in writing a higher level of essays. By using them students express themselves more effectively and clearer consequently using all the reserves of their minds. Writing essays successfully is not a special ability that only some people are born with and it is not an elite activity that only some people are allowed to do. It is a skill that can be learnt just like any other skill which depends on practice. Essay writing is a craft that requires both talent and acquired skills, students learn by doing, by making mistakes and then seeing where they went wrong. Teachers must use a lot of training exercises to help students to master essay writing skills. They should provide the motivation to learn English, encourage learners to write essays and use individual approach to teaching when necessary. Besides, all learners must be trained to write excellent essays, having a clear idea of the essay‘s writing process; its purpose, audience, point of view and format.3. Organizing an essay into a clear, logical piece is a vital step toward effective writing. Brilliant ideas may be misunderstood or ineffective if the reader cant follow the writer‘s train of thought. An accomplished academic essay should have definable beginnings, middles, and endings, unlike some forms of writing such as newspaper stories. In addition essays should be built around a central idea, referred to as thesis - the glue which binds the essay together and the point of the essay, what it intends to show, prove, or do.4. We have such a conclusion that students need to be acquainted with the most common types of essays: description, classification, narration, cause and effect, persuasion, argumentation; learn how they should be organized, and find out about their similarities and differences which will help them develop logical skills. Essay writing skills, no matter what career path 100
  • 101. students choose, develop their communication and interpersonal skills – vital tools for any job in modern world.5. Writing an essay is not simply a matter of getting the required number of words down on paper. One must do all he can to make his essay interesting and catchy, not lacking such features as: logic, unity, coherence, development, balance and proportion. The text of an essay needs to forge a coherent unity from the many diverse elements of language and thought that go to make it. It is in many of the details of the text that the purpose is realized. An essay is not merely a vehicle for ideas, but is itself (whatever the discipline) a piece of literature. A special attention should be given to transitions—that is, writers should check their piece of writing to be sure that a reader will be able to follow the sequences of ideas within sentences, from sentence to sentence, and from paragraph to paragraph. Transitional tags run the gamut from the most simple to more complex signals that should be used to connect ideas, to emphasize, to compare, to add, to contrast, to summarize, to sequence etc. Transitions are supplemental and supportive, meant to help students in composing an essay and better their formal writing. Two other important considerations of an essay are diction (exactness and aptness of words) and economy (the fewest words without loss of clear expression and full thought).6. By following the suggestions in this paper, students will become more proficient at organizing and outlining as well as at creating introductions and conclusions. The teacher should try to organize writing workshop in the classroom, where each student will be an active participant during all stages of the writing process. Pre-writing activities, peer evaluation and clear structure of the writing work is of great use for acquiring good writing skills. Thus helping to avoid difficulties that students encounter while fulfilling an essay writing assignment. 101
  • 102. 7. It should be said that peer evaluation is an important part of the writing experience because students develop an awareness of the fact that a writer is producing something to be read by someone else. At the same time through analyzing and commenting on another student‘s work, learners develop the ability to view their own writing from a critical point of view. Learners should be involved in the process of writing, i.e. in (1) the acquisition of information about writing item (its subject, purpose, and audience), (2) drill and transformation to form writing habits, and (3) the making use of the habits acquired. This reach material can be used for deepening one‘s knowledge in composingin English as a second language. The paper aimed to share some writing strategieswhich can help teachers as well as students to reflect on different aspects of theirapproach to writing, and to support their professional development helping to meetthe ever-growing demands of nowadays world. This research will help teachersand students to use widely a range of different writing activities, especially thosewhich are not fully presented in the textbooks. A set of elaborated suggestions ofthis work can be used by the teachers who are interested in improving students‘mastery of the language. 102
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  • 108. Appendix 1 Suggestions about WritingBe InspiredWriting requires inspiration. Articles that lack passion probably will not be read.Would you like to read something that brings you down? Of course not, nobodydoes, people want to feel inspired. The passion that you put into your writingshines through.Be OriginalTheres nothing bad about being you. Say what you think and feel. Does it reallymatter what other people think? Youll never be original if you allow yourself to beruled by the good and bad opinion of others. The greatest writers have realizedthis, they view their writing as an expression of themselves and arent afraid ofletting it show and neither should you. Have confidence, generating it, if needed,by your own will.Sit Down To WriteThe path to mastery lies in practice. If you want to become a better writer, sit downand start writing, you will get better. Theres no better explanation to this than theone give by William Zinsser in one of the greatest books about writing "OnWriting Well" he says: "You learn to write by writing. It is a truism worn thin byrepetition, but it is still true, and it cant be repeated often enough. The only way tolean to write is to force yourself to produce a certain number of words on a regularbasis." [66] 108
  • 109. Appendix 2 Great Rules of Writing Do not put statements in the negative form. And don’t start sentences with a conjunction. If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do. Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all. De-accession euphemisms. If ant word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky. Last, but not least, avoid clichés like the plague. William Safire ‗The ablest writer is only a gardener first, and then a cook: his tasks are,carefully to select and cultivate his strongest and most nutritive thoughts; and thenwhen they ripe, to dress them, wholesomely, and yet so that they may have arelish.‘ ~ Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses atTruth, by Two Brothers, 1827 ‗There is no royal path to good writing; and such paths as do exist do notlead through neat critical gardens, various as they are, but through the jungles ofself, the world, and of craft.‘ ~ Jessamyn West, Saturday Review, 21 September1957 109