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Almost all modern essays are written in prose, but works in verse have been dubbed essays (e.g., Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism and An Essay on Man).
Essays are shorter pieces of writing that often require the student to hone a number of skills such as close reading, analysis, comparison and contrast, persuasion, conciseness, clarity, and exposition.
As is evidenced by this list of attributes, there is much to be gained by the student who strives to succeed at essay writing.
This resource begins with a general description of essay writing and moves to a discussion of common essay genres students may encounter across the curriculum.
The four genres of essays (description, narration, exposition, and argumentation) are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes.
The concept of an "essay" has been extended to other media beyond writing.
A film essay is a movie that often incorporates documentary filmmaking styles and focuses more on the evolution of a theme or idea.An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author's own argument — but the definition is vague, overlapping with those of a paper, an article, a pamphlet, and a short story.Essays have traditionally been sub-classified as formal and informal.In some countries (e.g., the United States and Canada), essays have become a major part of formal education.Secondary students are taught structured essay formats to improve their writing skills; admission essays are often used by universities in selecting applicants, and in the humanities and social sciences essays are often used as a way of assessing the performance of students during final exams.This means that there is no room for the student’s thoughts to wander or stray from his or her purpose; the writing must be deliberate and interesting.This handout should help students become familiar and comfortable with the process of essay composition through the introduction of some common essay genres.However, students can avoid the discomfort often associated with essay writing by understanding some common genres.Before delving into its various genres, let’s begin with a basic definition of the essay.Formal essays are characterized by "serious purpose, dignity, logical organization, length," whereas the informal essay is characterized by "the personal element (self-revelation, individual tastes and experiences, confidential manner), humor, graceful style, rambling structure, unconventionality or novelty of theme," etc.Essays are commonly used as literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author.