General Principles, Characteristics and Important Points to Remember for Essay Writing

This article describes about the General Principles, Characteristics and Important Points to Remember for Essay Writing.

The term essay is a very elastic one – embracing at one end of the scale the brilliant essays of Macaulay and other notable essayists, and, at the other, the average schoolboy composition. Our attempt must be a considerable improvement on the schoolboy's effort, although it will doubtless fall far below the work of the classical essayists. For ordinary examination purposes an essay should be a composition expressing as well and clearly as possible the writer's thought on some subject. The groundwork of the essay the canvas, as it was, on which the picture is to be painted comprises accurate spelling, correct English and proper punctuation. These, however, although important, are not all. Just as colors and the skill of the artist are needed to produce a picture, so knowledge of the subject and skill in composition are needed to produce a good essay.

Essay writing, in its highest form, is the work of genius, but the concern of the average examinee should be to ensure that he or she can compose an essay which will wring a little approbation from a hard-headed examiner. We shall therefore deal primarily and mainly with the principles underlying the preparation of a good straightforward essay, leaving artistic refinements, unorthodox, treatment and similar literary devices to those with the natural ability to employ them.

Before passing to these principles we may usefully examine just what an essay is and what it is not. In an essay it is most important for the writer to give the own ideas and feelings; not what it is usual to think, what he or she considers he or she ought to think or what he or she has been arbitrarily taught to think. In other words, an essay must have the mark of sincerity and individuality. In this respect Lamb – so bad a model in many ways – is admirable. No matter how singular they may be, his or her own ideas and no others are expressed in his or her essays. A good essay must be not only sincere, but also interesting. Its aim should be to entertain the reader, the examiners, who, after all, are only human, like to be interested in what they read.

Now let us see what an essay is not. Although it should entertain, it must not attempt to instruct or edify. It should not savor of a lecture or sermon; the imperative is, as a rule, best avoided, since the reader usually resents being preached at or offered gratuitous advice.

Characteristics of a Good Essay

The following essential characteristics of a good essay should be constantly borne in mind:

• Unity – This has already been touched upon. It means briefly that each sentence must lead logically to the next one, and that each paragraph must follow on smoothly from the preceding one. In this way a really sound and interesting essay will result.
• Relevancy – This means simply keeping to the point. A rather common error in this respect is to write an essay which does not fit the title. Suppose that you are asked to write an essay on "The Causes of Unemployment," it is essential to confine your remedies, however well written. An essay on suggested remedies, however well written, will lose many marks, simply because you will have convinced the examiner of your lack of observation.
• Proportion – An ordinary essay is not meant to be a complete exposition of the subject. Usually, an examinee has about an hour in which to write his or her essay, and the subject matter must be fitted in with the time allowed. It is a good plan to marshal the most important points and apportion the allotted time amongst them. The outstanding points should be given most prominence, while the relatively un-important may be either ignored, or given merely passing notice.

Important Point to Remember for Writing an Essay

• Choose the title very carefully in which you are perfectly at home. Never choose a title about which have only hazy and ambiguous ideas.
• You must jot down your points or ideas before you start writing the essay.
• Arrange these points in a systematic order so that it makes a coherent and logical composition.
• Do not go against the title generally.
• The introduction should be direct and relevant. Do not beat about the bush and deviate from the title too much.
• Avoid burdening your essay with redundant quotations which mar the reading and show you lack of expression.
• Do not use state idioms and clichés too much like 'leaving no stone unturned' or 'Rome was not built in a day.'
• Put each main idea in a separate paragraph.
• You must not give numbers to the paragraphs not is there any need of giving sub-headings.
• Avoid the use of slang and colloquial terms and try to develop a graceful, dignified and literacy style.
• The essay should be written in a simple language. Sentences should be terse and start.
• Let the tone of the essay be informal and suggestive.
• You are not expected to be an expert or a specialist on the subject.
• Make you essay a well balanced and well knit literary composition.
• Avoid the use of big and high sounding words. Also avoid the use of those words about which you are not sure.
• Adopt an analytical and logical approach.
• Always remember that the beginning and the ending of an essay are very important, so give them the maximum attention.
• Never give a categorical or one sided conclusion. The conclusion should always be a balanced one.
• There is no hard and fast rule regarding the length. The essay should neither be too short nor too lengthy.
• Write in a beautiful and legible handwriting. A pleasing handwriting is always an asset.
• You must revise your essay after competition to correct the mistakes, if any.

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