What You Need to Know
Write a one-paragraph example of each type of essay described below. Your goal is to write your own example of each of the following types of writing, showing that you understand and can put into practice the elements of these modes of expression. Please understand that plagiarism will result in a zero for this assignment. Do not “borrow” from the textbook or from any other source.
Each paragraph essay should be at least 6-8 sentences long or 100-200 words in order for you to demonstrate your understanding and mastery of the elements of good writing in these various forms of writing.
Write nine paragraphs following the order listed below. You are welcome to use the topics in the examples below or you can choose your own topic for all of the paragraphs or a different topic for each paragraph.
Paragraph One–Descriptive Essay
Paragraph Two–Narrative Essay
And so on….
A simple description of the types of essays is as follows:
Types of Essays
Descriptive Essay—Painting a Picture
Narrative Essay—Telling a Story
Example Essay—Using Examples
Definition Essay—What is it?
Classification Essay—Putting in Groups
Process Essay—How to do it
Comparison-Contrast Essay—Same Difference
Cause and Effect Essay—Reasons and Results
Argument Essay—Persuade Me
Description of the Types of Essays (Rhetorical Modes)
Rhetoricis the study of writing, and the basic types of academic writing are referred to as rhetorical modes.
Flow Chart. Central idea: Choosing Paragraph Patterns. Radiating from top right: Narration – introduction, to tell a story that makes a point, to give background on people or event, to show sequence of events. Process – to show steps of action, to explain how to do something. Example/Illustration – to clarify a point or concept, to give a picture or specific instance, to make the abstract real. Analogy – to compare scenarios, to compare to a settled outcome, to compare one event to another very different one. Definition – to clarify meaning, to set foundation of argument, to give background. Comparison/contrast – to draw distinction between items, to find common ground. Description – to give details, to create a picture. Cause/effect – to lead from one item to another, to argue logic of evidence of action. Classification/Division – to put items in categories, to clarify comparison of items in a category, to divide items by characteristics.
As you can see in the chart above, different styles of non-fiction writing serve different purposes. It’s quite possible that a single text—or even a single paragraph—will contain multiple rhetorical modes, each used to serve a distinct purpose in support of the article’s thesis.
Consider nine of the most common types of rhetorical modes. What might lead an author to select one type of writing over another? How might each be used differently to serve the purpose of a text?
The purpose of narration is to tell a story or relate an event. Narration is an especially useful tool for sequencing or putting details and information into some kind of logical order, usually chronological.
Literature uses narration heavily, but it also can be useful in non-fiction, academic writing for strong impact.
The purpose of description is to recreate, invent, or visually present a person, place, event, or action so that the reader can picture that which is being described. It is heavily based on sensory details: what we experience through our five senses.
It’s common to see examples used in all kinds of situations—an idea can be considered too general or abstract until we see it in action. An exemplification essay extends this idea even further: it carries one or more examples into great detail, in order to show the details of a complex problem in a way that’s easy for readers to understand.
In the vocabulary section we talked about word definitions in depth. A definition essay takes the concept of “definition” more broadly, moving beyond a dictionary definition to deeply examine a word or concept as we actually use and understand it.
5. Process Analysis
Analyzing a process can also be thought of as “how-to” instruction. Technical writing includes a lot of process analysis, for instance. Academic writing can incorporate process analysis to show how an existing problem came to be, or how it might be solved, by following a clear series of steps.
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