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

Hello Aung Win Naing,

Under the Tasks, there is a small Download box. There are links to two example essays in pdf format there. You can also search the internet for example essays; I'm sure there are plenty out there.

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

hi!
can you please tell me how to use writing materials of this site, please?

Hello
The video doesn't show for me?why?

Hello somaye.khodaveysi,

We know that users from some countries, such as Iran, have had problems accessing some of our videos.  However, we have tried to provide alternative links to deal with this.  Near the top of this page you should see a link entitled 'Can't see the video? Click here!'  Click on this and I think you should be able to watch the video.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I did that but I couldn't see the videos, help me pls

Hello somaye,

Actually, this appears to be an error - there is no video on this page. The video is on the next page: Essays: Structure - Interview with Lecturer. Can you see that one?

I'm sorry for the confusion! We'll remove the reference to a video as soon as we can - thanks for your help in identifying this mistake!

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi
Unfortunately I coulden't see that again!!!!!!!

Hi somaye,

What I mean is that there is no video on this page. The link should not be there, but I haven't yet been able to remove it.

If what you mean is that you can't see the video on the next page (Essays: Structure - Interview with Lecturer), then I'm afraid this probably means that you won't be able to view it. We're aware that users in some countries are not able to view some videos and are working on a solution to this, so please check again in the future.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi!

Thanks for Peter advice!

I am going to take the IELTS exam on December, but I am so worry about my writing skills. Can you show me what kind of the academic writing that often uses for the IELTS exam ? and how can I improve my writing skill?
Best regards,
Binh

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