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

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Comments

Hello Happystudy,

This is really a question you need to ask the person who set the essay question, as they will have their own expectations and I would not like to mislead you by trying to guess what they would expect. That said, the question would appear to ask you to describe and evaluate the representation of... Evaluation inevitably involves an opinion, but it does not appear to be asking for a polemic but rather an objective assessment, as far as possible.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Can anyone suggest an essay structure for a "critically examine" essay? Thank you.

Hello Happystudy,

I'm afraid I'm not sure what you mean. You can find various questions which ask you to 'critically examine' a given idea or proposition, but this is not a particular essay style but a task. I would guess that a discussion or discursive essay structure would be closest, but without seeing the full text and context of the question it is not really possible for me to be sure.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello guys,

Can you please write an outline that could help me establish a beautiful essay on the following topic.
"Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes"
How should I go down on this essay.

How would I know when someone responds to this comment? Will I receive an email?

I am newbie here.

Thanks

Hello Meer Cin,

I'm afraid we can't help you to plan your work for you - this is part of your work, or possibly the job of your teacher if they are willing. We can provide explanations of specific examples of language when time allows, but not this kind of help. We simply do not have time as our main role here is to maintain the site.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello.

I am studying to take an IELTS. My concern is writing part. I am wondering if you can suggest me how to check my essay e.g. website or else. Or your team can provide some recommendation on my essay?

Thank you

Hello Kate,

I'm afraid we don't provide feedback on users' writing - we are too small a team with too much other work to be able to do this. I'd highly recommend you take a close look at TakeIELTS, where you can find advice and practice materials. On the two writing practice test pages - one general and one academic - you can find model texts to compare your writing to. That would be a good place to start.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi guys.Am new one of this site..i wanna improve my english that's y i need your help....learn simple things everyday then only we can achieve big things on easy way..i wanna talk to u through english conversation.Is here anybody talk to me for improve my english language???

Hello maheswaran,

First of all, welcome to LearnEnglish! I'd suggest you do two things: first, read our Help page, which will give you general advice on how to use the site; second, use the menu at the top of the page (Home, Listen & Watch, etc.) to explore the site to see what's here.

You should also read our House Rules, where you can see our rules about contacting other LE users.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you sir! but i have two doubts...
1.relative pronoun....we can use which,what and who in between the sentence to relative the sentence..
For example:We bought a chainsaw, which we cut all the wood up with.
an eight-year-old boy who attempted to rob a sweet shop
tell the meaning of this sentence ??
1.Take off and Take on when can we use off and on?what s differenct?...

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