Tasha Reynolds | Script Revolution
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Tasha Reynolds
Washington, D.C., United States

Whether at school or university - in the course of your schooling and training, you will have to write essays again and again. In order for your essay to convince your class, your seminar and especially your teacher or lecturer, and be rewarded with a good grade at school or university, there are a few things you should pay attention to.

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The preparation for the essay

It may be fun to just write an essay, or it may be due to time pressure, but most of the time it will only lead you to your goal in a roundabout way. You will save yourself a lot of work and time if you prepare thoroughly for your essay. The effort you put into the preparation will pay off later when you write it!

For your essay, gather all the important information about the text that you will need for your essay. This includes, among other things, the name of the author (ideally with date of birth and death in parentheses), year of publication; perhaps also special circumstances of the creation of the text. For example, the occasion of the text's creation or the author's intention for your essay may also be of interest. If the text is autobiographical, you can also mention this information in the introduction.

Carefully read the text for which you are to write an essay several times. While reading, pay particular attention to important passages, key words and phrases, linguistic patterns such as stylistic devices, and their effect on the reader. Are there any other special linguistic features? These include, for example, recurring patterns in sentence structure or how simple or complicated the language used is.

Mark everything in the text that seems important to you: Underline important sentences or mark key words and stylistic devices in different colors with a highlighter. In addition, make notes on everything that catches your eye. You can use these notes later when writing.

There are a variety of rhetorical stylistic devices that are used in texts to achieve a certain effect. One well-known stylistic device is the rhetorical question. This is a question that does not expect a real answer, because it is clearly obvious. Its real purpose is to draw the reader into the train of thought or to prompt them to think, for example, "Who would want to lose their job?" Other frequently used stylistic devices are metaphors. These figurative statements are intended to clarify or reinforce what is being said with the help of images. For example, "She was looking for a needle in a haystack" means that the person is attempting an almost hopeless task.

When you've written your essay for school, you shouldn't turn in the first version right away. Only a critical review and revision gives a text the necessary polish. After writing your essay, read it carefully at least once (preferably several times with some time to spare). Look for mistakes! This applies not only to spelling and grammar, which can be checked with almost any word processing program and/or with the dictionary. You should also improve misunderstandable and bumpy phrases. Very long sentences are not recommended. They are often complicated, incomprehensible or cause the reader to lose interest. Also check the transitions between paragraphs and arguments. They should build on each other and not seem haphazardly strung together.

As with almost all skills and abilities, when it comes to essay writing, it's practice, practice, practice! Many of the tips above are very helpful when you need to write an essay. However, it will be even easier if you don't just apply these tips sporadically for the next essay. It's great if you internalize them and, through regular practice, develop a certain routine or personal pattern by which you write an essay.

In addition, you can practice almost any type of essay in your everyday life. For example, try writing summaries of the texts you read in your free time. You will notice that you will quickly gain confidence and that writing this type of essay will become easier and easier. On the other hand, a diary is a good way to practice writing about your experiences. You can also use films to practice characterizing people.