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TOEFL iBT. Independent Writing. Types of Essays

Данная статья-урок содержит в себе основные типы эссе, которые могут встретиться Вам в Independent writing task. После того, как Вы получили, внимательно прочитали и уяснили основной смысл задания, Вам необходимо будет определиться с тем типом эссе, которое Вам необходимо будет написать в качестве ответа на вопрос. Определение типа эссе поможет Вам грамотно и успешно написать эссе.

Types of Essays

The list below contains the most common types of essays found in an independent writing task. After you have read your essay question and interpreted it, the next step is for you to decide what kind of essay you will need to organize and write. Determining the type of essay will help you write your thesis statement, decide how many body paragraphs are needed, know which transitions are appropriate to use, and much more.

Compare and Contrast Essay

This is one of the most typical forms. A comparison tells the ways in which a person, place, thing, event and so on are similar. A contrast points out differences. There are two common methods of organizing compare/contrast essays.

Let's use the topic of "urban life vs. rural life" as an example:

A. Similarities between urban and rural life
B. Dissimilarities between urban and rural life
(2) Body
A. Urban life: advantages and disadvantages
B. Rural life: advantages and disadvantages

Persuasive Essay (Also Known as Personal Opinion Essay)

In the persuasive essay, you are trying to convince your reader to agree with a particular position or viewpoint you have expressed in your thesis. While adjectives and adverbs may sway your reader, the most effective way to bring your reader over to your side is through facts, detailed examples, and/or personal knowledge. Be sure to incorporate some aspects of the latter in the body of your persuasive essay.
This type of essay may be written in the first person and include: in my opinion, it seems to me, or in my view.
However, even if you use the third person (and this is often considered to be more sophisticated), you can make your stand clear to your reader.

Descriptive Essay

The purpose of a descriptive essay is to present a detailed picture of a person, place, object, event, etc. To make the image as real as possible, you can use words or linguistic devices known as "imagery." These may be words that appeal directly to the reader's senses. That is, you can help your reader see, hear, taste, smell, or feel what it is you are describing by choosing vivid vocabulary. Avoid vague, general words such as good, nice, and bad, and replace these with more descriptive, specific terms. Metaphors (comparisons of two unlike items) are also often used in descriptions. Try to imagine that your reader has never experienced the object that you are describing; it is your job to bring this subject to life.

Cause and Effect Essay

To "cause" an action means to make something happen; the result or consequence of that action is the "effect." For example: "What are the chief causes of divorce, and how does it affect the children of the couple?" Typical transitions for this type of essay are: as a result, as a consequence, consequently, therefore, and thus.

Conditional sentence-type essay questions are sometimes classified as "cause and effect" as well. For example: "If you won a million dollars in the lottery, how would you spend the money? Describe in detail how you think your life would change as a result of your newfound wealth."

Interpretation/Analysis Essay

In the interpretation-type essay, you are given a short quotation (usually 1-3 sentences in length). You are asked to interpret the saying (i.e., paraphrase the author's message); then, either analyze or form your own opinion about the original quotation.

This kind of essay is rapidly growing in popularity, especially for essay entrance examinations to American universities and for many standardized tests. The time given for the essay test may vary from 15 minutes to two hours, depending on the school and/or the standardized test. Therefore, when you practice writing this type of exam, you should try several different time frames.

 Illustrative Essay

Another type of essay is the one that is based on examples or illustrations to support the writer's thesis. For example: "What were the best classes you ever took? Give examples of at least two classes which you found outstanding, and explain why you chose these." Of course, illustration is an important component of many types of essay "body" paragraphs.

Process Essay

Process writing, generally speaking, provides instructions or details a process: that is, it tells the reader how to operate a VCR, apply to a school, build a bookshelf, and learn a foreign language, etc.
Therefore, while this writing style is quite common, it is not typically tested in an essay examination.

Edited by
Katherine Protsenko,

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