Below, we’ll take a look at different types of essay questions!
An essay is a focused piece of writing designed to inform or persuade. There are many different types of essays, but they are often defined in four categories: argumentative, discursive, comparative, and close reading.
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- Discuss an idea
- Take one big idea and split it up into smaller aspects
- Each aspect creates a different paragraph in the main body
- Still need a thesis
- ‘Explore how…’ / ‘Examine’ / ‘Discuss how’ / ‘How does..’ / ‘In what ways…’
- Pick a side, or the middle, and argue your viewpoint
- Better to pick a clear side
- Develop your points in terms of for and against
- Create counter arguments
- ‘How far do you agree?’ / ‘How far does…’ / ‘To what extent..’
An argumentative essay presents an extended, evidence-based argument. It requires a strong thesis statement—a clearly defined stance on your topic. Your aim is to convince the reader of your thesis using evidence (such as quotations) and analysis.
Argumentative essays test your ability to research and present your own position on a topic. This is the most common type of essay at the college level—most papers you write will involve some kind of argumentation.
The essay is divided into an introduction, body, and conclusion:
- The introduction provides your topic and thesis statement
- The body presents your evidence and arguments
- The conclusion summarizes your argument and emphasizes its importance
- Given a small section of a text
- Zoom in and focus on language as much as possible
- Go into detailed analysis
- Sometimes you use the close reading as a starting point but have to link to wider reading
- Always show an awareness of the whole text, and sequence of events
- ‘In the extract’ / ‘Starting with the passage’
A literary analysis essay presents a close reading of a work of literature—e.g. a poem or novel—to explore the choices made by the author and how they help to convey the text’s theme. It is not simply a book report or a review, but an in-depth interpretation of the text.
Literary analysis looks at things like setting, characters, themes, and figurative language. The goal is to closely analyze what the author conveys and how.
The introduction of a literary analysis essay presents the text and background, and provides your thesis statement; the body consists of close readings of the text with quotations and analysis in support of your argument, and the conclusion emphasizes what your approach tells us about the text.
- Compare / contrast
- Focus on similarities and differences
- Every paragraph topic should be on a compare or contrast point
- ‘Compare the ways in which…’ / ‘Compare and contrast …’
Thanks for reading! You can improve your writing skills by taking one of our courses on the links below: Basic Essay WritingBasic Descriptive Writing + Advanced Descriptive Writing AQA English Language Paper 2