Writing formats can change depending on the country you’re in, and some terms can be used interchangeably. You may have been asked to write an essay, and as a result – you might be questioning what this means and how to do it.
American essays are the same as any other essay. In short, they are bodies of work that inflame debate or aim to explore and answer a question.
However, there is a lot more to it than this. If you’re looking for advice on writing an essay – read on to learn more.
What Is An Essay?
Essays are common bodies of work that are often requested in schools, colleges and other academic organizations. However, it is also common for some workplaces to request their employees to write essays.
Essays are always factual pieces of writing. They typically contain an overarching question and will involve the writer exploring the question in a methodical way to try to answer it.
There are a few ways you can write an essay and the way in which you do it will depend on what your aim is.
For example, if you are writing an essay for a school project, you may wish to follow the “hands” format.
In short, this is where you will ask a question and try to answer it using two sides of an argument, exploring the two sides and drawing a conclusion.
However, some essays will act as a way to present a writer’s ideas and beliefs – and one reason for this could be political.
Is An American Essay Different From An Essay?
No, essays are the same whether they are in the United States, the United Kingdom or Australia.
The only way an essay might differ is dependent on its aims.
For example, if you are writing an essay to provide a political viewpoint for a specific manifesto or political party, you may write an essay that criticizes the opposition, whilst promoting your party.
How Many Words Are Essays?
This is a question that many writers might debate. Generally speaking, essays are around 1000 to 3000 words long – but essays can be as short as 500 words and can even be as long as 20,000 words.
The word count will largely depend on how much “space” the writer needs to develop their argument whilst also remaining concise.
What Are The Ways To Write An Essay?
As we mentioned, there are various ways you may decide to tackle an essay. How you do it will change depending on who you are writing it for and what the overall point of the essay is.
However, there are common methods of essay writing. Below, we explore some of the most common ways to write an essay.
The Argumentative Essay
The argumentative essay is a common way to write an essay. Typically, these are assigned to a writer to solely argue one side of a topic of interest.
This type of essay would be ideal for political arguments or other social debate. The overall goal is to identify the biggest position of an argument, and then refuting the claims of the opposing argument.
An example of this may be about a political party’s stance on tax cuts and your essay title may be “why X’s tax proposals don’t work”.
The Five Paragraph Essay
This type of essay is without a doubt the most common form of essay, and you will certainly encounter it in school or college at some point in your life.
The five paragraph name refers to the format of the essay. As the name suggests, there are five facets to this essay:
- Introductory paragraph
- Main body paragraph (1)
- Main body paragraph (2)
- Main body paragraph (3)
- Concluding paragraph
This is a simple but effective structure and not only allows a writer to expand on their argument, but also keeps the reader and the writer focused throughout by providing a flow.
The Compare And Contrast Essay
This is the type of essay we mentioned earlier, which is often referred to as the “hands” format.
In essence, you will be writing an essay that aims to examine two sides of an argument. You will look at opposing viewpoints and try to draw a conclusion based on the evidence you have examined.
These types of arguments are very common for historical essays – for example, trying to answer who Jack The Ripper may have been based on historical evidence.
In fact, essays like that are the best example of compare and contrast essays, as it is very rare to conclusively prove a point using this format.
The Descriptive Essay
As you may expect based on the name, this type of essay has the sole task of trying to describe a topic by inflaming the senses of the reader.
For example, let’s say you were writing an essay that aims to describe the sea – you would try to explain to the reader all of the scents, sounds and other descriptive details to get the reader fully immersed.
The Definition Essay
This type of essay has one purpose also – it aims to concisely define a concept or idea to the reader. This is not always the easiest essay, despite popular belief.
Usually, these essays will define a concept using an exploratory format – and as a result, it can often be long winded.
What To Know Before Tackling An Essay
Before you decide to start writing, there are a few points you should try to remember:
- What type of essay am I writing?
- Brainstorm and explore your arguments
- Do your research
- Remain grammatically correct
- Cite your sources (provide links if you are using online sources)
- Try to remain concise – don’t waffle
The Bottom Line
An essay, American or not, will look at exploring a specific topic or area of interest in a given number of words. They are very common in academia, but can also be required by employers.