In the BAWE classification, an Essay is a piece of writing which develops an argument. When you write an Essay, you need to show that you can construct a coherent argument and employ critical thinking skills. You need to support your argument with evidence.

Essays can be structured in many different ways, but they all include your thesis (a statement of the case you are making) and arguments based on evidence to support your thesis, logically organised. You will often be expected to include evidence against your thesis. This will be followed by a conclusion.

exposition discussion challenge factorial consequential commentary
thesis issue challenge state state text(s) introduction
supporting arguments alternative arguments arguments contributory factors ensuing factors comments
restate thesis final position thesis summary thesis summary thesis summary

In an expository Essay, you would start by presenting your thesis – as a statement of the case you can make based on the evidence and your arguments. This would be followed by the evidence to support your thesis.

In a discussion Essay, you would start by presenting the issue - the problem you have to solve. You would then explain and discuss the evidence and different points of view regarding the issue. You would finish by comparing and contrasting the different arguments and making a choice - your final position.

In a challenge Essay, you are challenging a given theory by showing where it is weak and proposing a better theory. You would start by introducing the theory you are challenging. You would then analyse and evaluate it to show where it is weak and propose a better alternative.

Factorial Essays and consequential Essays are similar. Both are organised around the facts that either lead to or are consequences of a state of affairs. In a factorial Essay, you discuss the facts that lead to or cause a state of affairs. In a factorial Essay, you would start by describing the state of affairs you are interested in. You would then present the factors that led to the state of affairs. These would be grouped in some way, analysed and evaluated. You would finish by concluding about, for example, the importance of the factors you have discussed.

In a consequential Essay, you discuss the facts that result from a state of affairs. You would again start by describing the state of affairs you are interested in. You would then present the factors that resulted from or were caused by the state of affairs. These would be grouped in some way, analysed and evaluated. You would finish by concluding about, for example, the importance of the state of affairs in contributing to the consequences you have discussed.

The final Essay type is the commentary Essay. These Essays would normally focus on texts. Your introduction would therefore introduce the text(s). You would then follow this with a series of comments that analyse and evaluate the text(s) given. You may be required to compare and contrast the texts. You would conclude by summarising your comments.

Examples of Essays include:

  • Exposition Essay - thesis, supporting arguments, restate thesis
  • Discussion Essay - issue, alternative arguments, final position
  • Challenge Essay - challenge, arguments, thesis
  • Factorial Essay - state, contributory factors, summary thesis
  • Consequential Essay - state, ensuing factors, summary thesis
  • Commentary Essay - introduction, comments, summary

Try the following tasks to learn more about Essay organisation.

Task 1

Six types of Essay are introduced. While they all have slightly different stages in their overall structure, they all share a basic structure. Drag the stages into the correct order to show this basic structure - put the first one at the top.

Exercise

Task 2

Six types of Essays are mentioned. Match the structure of the essay to the essay type.

Exercise

Task 3

Example 1 shows the first part of an essay on 'words'. The paragraphs are not in the correct order. Drag them into the correct order, putting the first paragraph at the top.

Exercise

Task 4

Read this introduction from an Essay on language planning. On the basis of the introduction, identify the essay type.

Introduction

If half of the 6,000 languages in the world were to disappear within the next 100 years, many people would consider it to be a great loss in respect of the linguistic diversity and cultural heritage of the human race; there are however those that disagree and feel that it might benefit the world to have a more homogeneous linguistic make-up. By looking at declarations of linguistic rights, the aim is to ascertain what the United Nation's stance should be on this debate. The more specific arguments of whether language extinction is problematic or not will then be discussed.

Exercise

Task 5

Read this introduction from an Essay on language planning. On the basis of the introduction, decide the order of the following sections. Put the first section at the top.

Introduction

If half of the 6,000 languages in the world were to disappear within the next 100 years, many people would consider it to be a great loss in respect of the linguistic diversity and cultural heritage of the human race; there are however those that disagree and feel that it might benefit the world to have a more homogeneous linguistic make-up. By looking at declarations of linguistic rights, the aim is to ascertain what the United Nation's stance should be on this debate. The more specific arguments of whether language extinction is problematic or not will then be discussed.

Exercise

Task 6

Look at the essay on language planning - Example 2. Add the headings you ordered in Task 5 to the correct places in the essay. Most places will not require headings.

Exercise

Task 7

Put the sentences from paragraph 2 of Example 2 in order.

Exercise

Task 8

Remembering what you did in Task 5, match the essay sections with the stages of a discussion essay identified above.

Exercise

Download

Comments

The explanation above do not describe ththroughly. How to build sentences effectively and how to make each sentence is coherence.

Thanks a lots.

Hello Akmal Rofiqi,

This page deals with the organisation and style of a particular text type rather than with the grammar and syntax of individual sentences. For that kind of information I recommend our grammar sections.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, in the fourth paragraph above, you use 'whereas' . Doesn't 'whereas' introduce dependent clauses (in the same way as 'although' and 'while' do)? I don't think 'whereas' has been used correctly as a subordinatimg conjunction in this case. Cheers, Chris.

Hi ChrisG,

I think you are correct here. The sentence does not flow as it should as the 'whereas' lacks a clear contrasting clause. Thank you for flagging this for us.

I have rewritten the relevant section.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Please help me with this problem .
Active Voice-- I know that he did the work .
Passive Voice. (A) That the work was done by him is known to me .
(B). That he did the work is known to me .

Which passive voice seems more correct and why ? Again I have the same problem with another example .

Active Voice -- God helps those who help themselves .
Passive (A) Those who are helped by themselves are helped by god .
(B). Those who help themselves are helped by God.

Please answer about this too .

Hello jessica_22,

For the first one, both A and B are grammatically correct. Neither would be used, by the way, in most any normal situation, i.e. they are both so awkward that I don't think anyone would use them except on purpose.

For the second one, A is grammatically correct, but is like the sentences above. B is more natural, though again the active version is far more likely.

The passive voice is used much more frequently in academic writing than in most other writing, but neither of the active sentences you ask about here are particularly academic, which is why the passive forms are a bit odd. If there's a particular field that you are training to write in, I'd suggest you read articles in that field to look for how the passive is used. Look at when it is used and when it is not. If you have questions about their use, then you're welcome to ask us, or you might want to consider finding a class in a British Council Centre near you - I think this would be very effective.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Guys!
I would like to confess, I did not understand the objective of task 6 :(

Hi DaveBr,

The aim of task 5 is to recognise a logical sequence of paragraphs. The aim of task 6 is to apply this to a concrete example - open 'example 2' (the link is below the tasks) to see the essay and then match the paragraph headings to the paragraphs in the essay.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello
Thank you

Hello,
I have difficulty to write an effective essay.Kindly gave some tips.

Pages