essay writing

The Essay as Textual Genre

March 15, 2018

The essay is an opinion text in which ideas, critiques, reflections and personal impressions are exposed, making an evaluation of a particular theme. The essay problematizes some questions on a particular subject, focused on the author’s opinion and generally, present original conclusions. Of course, many students struggle with writing, and some of them searching for paper assistance. Any student may have ever questioned some questions like how to write my paper, how to write my essay, how to make a quality paper, etc. In fact, all of those questions can be answered by treating essays or other documents as a reflection of thoughts on a subject or topic.

Unlike the narrative and descriptive texts, the essay presupposes a deeper interpretation and analysis of a theme. Thus, the essay is an argumentative and expository discursive genre that implies the act of rehearsing.

That is, it presents attempts at the critical reflection and subjective (personal point of view) in a natural flow of ideas, being much requested in the academic world.

Literary Essay and Academic Essay

The academic or scientific essay is theoretical and often philosophical. Thus, it has a rationale based on investigations and collection of information on a topic. Although they are based on theories, they may present a more unpretentious language, which sometimes borders on a more poetic and literary language.

In general, the essays are texts in prose, didactic content, being less formal and flexible. They are classified into two types: literary (or informal) essay and scientific (or formal) essay. Thus, the literary (or artistic) essay may not present a scientific basis, that is, it proposes a more personal reflection of the author, displaying a more informal or colloquial language.

Already the scientific essay is based on theories and presents a more literary language, devoid of slang or connotative expressions. In addition to them, the term “photographic essay” is used, where a model poses for a photographer. Also, the term essay may mean the staging of actors in a play, before the final presentation.


The main features of the textual essay genre are:

  • Simple language
  • Concise texts
  • Personal judgment
  • Subjective Reflections
  • Exhibition and defense of ideas
  • Originality and creativity
  • Critical and problematic text
  • Miscellaneous topics

Structure: How to Make an Essay?

Generally, the essays do not follow a fixed structure (free form), which propose the individual freedom in search of the original thought. They are short non systematized texts of an intimate, free and dialogical character which do not have a definite style. As for the use of formalities, this will depend on the interlocutors, that is, the readers and the audience for which it is intended, whether it be the teacher of a discipline, an academic journal, a newspaper, among others.

However, it should contain clarity of ideas and still follow the standard norms of the language. The following is the academic essay framework:

Theme: different from the title, the theme is the subject that will be explored and problematized by the essayist.

Title: usually the essays have a title, which is related to the subject that will be approached.

Body Text: part of the analysis and development of the text. Note that they follow the standard structure of the essay texts, with introduction, development, and conclusion. In the introduction, the author presents the theme that will be rehearsed. In the development, it deepens its researchers, diverse perspectives, and reflections on the subject, where the main tool is the arguments. Finally, in conclusion, the essayist concludes the theme, ending more originally and creatively.

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