By an essay is usually understood an attempt to treat a subject in the way most suitable for a given occasion. Though usually written in prose, an essay may take the form of verse, as in Pope’s Essay on Man. For our purpose an essay must be regarded as an attempt to express in a brief form your views upon any subject you choose from the course. It implies the selection of the proper matter, and the choice of the best way of expressing that matter.
Choosing the Subject
At first, therefore, it is well to write on subjects with which you are more or less familiar and in which you have at least some interest. This will save you the excessive labour involved in doing two different things at the same time – discovering what to say and how to say it, and you might even enjoy it. If you have no interest in the subject you have chosen, it would be a pity to read up all about it just in order to write an essay. Further, you should choose a subject that admits of complete preparation within a limited time. It is better to avoid subjects which embody the work of a lifetime.
The Essay – Heads (Plan)
You should practice writing essays containing about as much as 10 –12 pages. For this kind of essay there should be at least 3-4 heads. Some of them should have sub-heads, and in some cases there may even be sub-sub-heads. You will understand this better by examining the following illustration. Suppose the subject is
“The British Home and the American Home.”
The plan may look as follows:
II. The Concept of “House” in the British and American Life.
III. Governmental Housing Policies in Britain and in the USA:
1. From the History of Housing Policies.
2. Encouraging Private Ownership.
3. Projects for Low-Income Households.
4. Projects for the Elderly and Disabled.
5. House Insurance.
IV. Style of Living: Types of Accommodation.
The Essay – Beginnings and Endings (Introductions and Conclusions)
Some writers are fond of beginning with a striking sentence and frequently call in the aid of somebody else. Augustine Bell confesses that he likes “to leap frog into his subject” over the back of a fellow-author. This mode of opening an essay can be very effective. So, you may use direct or indirect quotations to begin your essay. In case with the subject “The British Home and the American Home,” the following quotation was may be used for the beginning: “A man builds a fine house, and now he has a master and a task for life.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.
A plain, straightforward beginning is a definition of one’s subject. This is how Swift began his essay on “Good Manners”: “Good manners is the art of making those people easy with whom we converse.”
A statement of the problem to be discussed makes an excellent start. Stevenson thus introduced his “Plea for Gas Lamps”: “Cities given, the problem was to light them.”
The interrogative beginning is also possible, as well as the exclamatory one, but they should be used in dealing with suitable subjects.
For our purpose your introduction should contain a statement of the subject (problem) and an indication of the aspects you are going to consider (investigate, compare). It would be good to explain whether this problem is also typical of Ukraine and if you think your essay could be of any practical value.
However the essay begins, it must take an immediate grip of the reader. Whatever the general distribution of interest, there must be no fall near the end.
The ending has the choice of most of the forms referred to as possible beginnings – a quotation, an epigram, a broad generalization, a striking concrete example of some principle expounded in the essay. Yet the purpose of the end is quite different from that of the beginning. The purpose is not now to rouse and stimulate, but to satisfy.
The closing paragraph must be recognized as the close of the essay, and the final sentence should leave no doubt on the matter. Green, the historian ended his estimate of King John in the following admirable way: “The awful lesson of his life rests on the fact that it was no weak and indolent voluptuary, but the ablest and most ruthless of the Angevins who lost Normandy, became the vassal of the Pope, and perished in a struggle of despair against English freedom.” Don’t you feel that there is nothing more to be said ?
For our purpose you should make sure that your concluding part contains a summary of your findings. It would be an advantage, if you could make some parallels with your native country.
General Recommendations on Your Style
• Plan before you write.
• Try to be clear and concise.
• Avoid being boring, but don’t get too emotional.
• Be reasonable. Your readers won’t be amused by ridiculous opinions.
• Although you will present your opinion, use “I” as little as possible.
• Don’t forget to divide what you are writing in paragraphs.
SOME USEFUL EXPRESSIONS TO WRITE AN ESSAY
I’ve chosen this topic because
•it seems to me very interesting… /• it’s turned out to be…/• I’m very interested in…
This is the question / aspect I’d like to view / investigate in my work / essay
I’d like to introduce you a mixture of… in Great Britain and in Ukraine
According/ due to my topic I’d like to say that…
There are mainly reasons for choosing this topic, I don’t want to enumerate them, but…
As far as I am concerned…/ Personally…/ I suppose…/ To my mind…
Really…/ definitely…/ clearly…/ obviously…/ in fact…/ actually…
In general…/ broadly speaking…
I have decided to dedicate my essay to…
It’s worth trying…/ That’s worthy knowing…
Suffice it to say that…..
THE MAIN PART AND CONCLUSION
In Great Britain … In Ukraine…/In Great Britain … unlike in Ukraine…
In both countries…
So after a long investigation of the peculiarities of…
I have given this matter a great deal of thought and come to the conclusion
Due to my essay I have found an answer to the question / understood that…/ come to a conclusion…/made a kind of conclusion about common and different features/ elements of…
/can/ can’t hardly find any similar features between…
quite give you a definite answer yet
Considering all the facts I should admit / mention / say …
On the one hand … on the other hand …
As I see it the facts are…/ alternatives are…
I hope I have convinced you that…is / are worth knowing / in