I always seem to have students who believe that effective writing is verbose. If they exceed the page minimum, they expect a high grade. These students tend to applaud themselves for the hard work on essay assignments, and it can be very difficult to convince them that their style of writing is actually quite lazy. As English teachers, we try to teach students that writing should be precise and concise. In order for students to accomplish this goal, they must have an extensive vocabulary and clear command of syntax. In short, we teach the adage:
In a Descriptive essay, your task is to describe something to your audience, allowing the reader to fully experience the object, event, or situation. Sensory details, figurative language, and powerful vocabulary can create an image in the reader’s mind, enhancing his or her understanding and appreciation of the topic. This is one of the few essays in which the use of “I” may be acceptable.
Compare and Contrast essays are used to examine two or more subjects and the similarities and/or differences between them. The task of this type of essay is to clarify something unknown by analyzing it next to something with which the reader is familiar. Like the cause and effect essay, it is important that your thesis statement clearly states whether you will be comparing (giving similarities), contrasting (showing differences), or sometimes, both.
Cause and Effect essays explore why things happen (causes) and what happens as a result (effects). These essays give reasons and explanations for behaviors, events, or circumstances. It is important that your presentation is factual and believable, and that in your thesis statement you explain whether you will be discussing causes, effects, or sometimes both.