01 November 2010

How to Write an English Essay about Taking Sides on an Issue

Oftentimes, the students are given an issue or problem that has two opposing sides on it. The students are then asked to take one or the other side and explain why they think that way. The teacher or his assistant will then edit the student's work and provide him with feedback on the strong and weak points of the student's essay. From how the written work was edited and from the feedback that the student gets, the writing style of the student is then expected to improve.

I have had some experience editing student essays that deal with this particular type of writing. Based on what I have seen among Korean students, I show here a general method on how the student should proceed to ensure that he gets the highest grade possible based on his present state of writing skills.

Understand the Question

The question specifies an issue that the world is facing today. You are expected to take a stand on the issue and explain your position. There may be things that you know about the issue and these are the raw materials that you will use to develop your argument. If you are not yet familiar with the issue, make a research on the Internet and identify the major points that people are saying about it. What you should avoid is mentioning something that is not relevant to the problem that you are working on. Do not talk about something that is not directly related to the issue. Your work might be considered off-topic and you may be given a failing grade.

Do Not Copy Someone Else's Work

It is sometimes tempting to just copy what someone else has written about the topic. Never succumb to this temptation. You will be found out and you will be given a failing grade. This approach will not work. Your editor has work on hundreds of student essays. He has a very strong nose for this kind of evil deed. You will get caught even if you hide this fact by introducing errors in your written work.

Make Sure that you know Enough About the Issue

It is useful to make it a point to be informed about what is happening in the world. You should make it a habit to watch international newscast and have a good understanding of the problems that are being discussed. It is a fact of life that all of us live on the same planet. What one person or organization does will ultimately affect other people no matter where he is living. Read newspapers and magazines and keep abreast of what is happening around the world. Make sure that you are able to separate facts from opinion. A fact is a statement that is confirmed by other independent entities and is coming from a trusted source. An opinion is what someone thinks about an issue based on what a person believes in.

The Three Approaches that you can take

You can either take one side of the issue or the other. However, it is also possible that you cannot really take sides based on what you know about the issue. Not taking side may be acceptable as long as it will be evident in your essay that you have considered both sides. It would be very important for you to explain how you have come to your conclusion. You must be able to show that both sides receive the same or equal weight from your point of view.

Prepare at Least Two Points to Support your Argument

Identify two major points that you can use to defend your side on the problem at hand. These points will serve as reasons why you have one side of the issue. Make sure that you can support what you claim as arguments in favor of the side you have taken. Give real life examples that will prove your claim to be true. Examples can come from your general knowledge about the world and from what your teachers or parents have said. They can also come from your own experience.

Organize your Essay

Make known your stand on the issue by writing a short statement on how you feel about the question given to you. State on the next paragraph one of the major points why you believe your argument is valid. Give enough examples to convince the reader that your position is a strong one. Write another paragraph dealing with your second major point. Write a final paragraph restating your position and why you have come to that conclusion.

Do Not Repeat as is what you have already said

You can avoid doing this by writing your idea in a different way. Repeating what you already have said will make your essay sound monotonous and boring. Almost everyone has experienced having heard or seen a message that is repeated several times like commercials on radio and television. I believe that you will agree with me that a message repeated several times can be irritating. Your readers are looking for a variety of meanings from your written work. Repeating phrases or sentences will make your work less interesting.

Review and Correct Your Work

After finishing your essay, go over it at least two times to make sure that you catch as many grammatical errors as possible. Check that you have spelled the words that you have used correctly. Make sure that your verb forms agree with the number of the subject of the sentence. Ensure that your verb tenses are consistent with one another. Identify sentences that may sound awkward and ask yourself whether you can say that same idea in a better way.

Read a lot of English Texts

Good English writers are avid readers. Reading and writing are like two faces of the same coin. You learn a lot of things by reading and this will show on the quality of your writing. As you read, observe how the writer has put together English words together to come up with a clear and meaningful sentence. There is nothing wrong with imitating someone else's writing style while you are still learning to write. As your writing skills improve, you will soon begin to adopt your own unique style of writing.

You Can Do It

Don't ever believe what anyone else would say that you are not good in writing, including yourself. You have what it takes to come up with a well-written essay. Don't worry about making mistakes because mistakes are a part of learning. Make an effort and come up with something, then make it better by adding more or changing some parts of it. Then, see if it can still be improved and do it. Editors will know if you have given your best and see that you are trying hard to be a good writer. They will reward you with good grades if they see the efforts that you have made.

Read my other article on building clear and meaningful English sentences at: http://hinagapnikaure.blogspot.com/2010/11/things-to-know-about-building-clear-and.html.

Read an article on good ideas about writing as a mental process at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2011/03/good-ideas-about-writing-as-mental.html

Read an article on how to write a search engine optimized article at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2009/12/how-to-write-search-engine-optimized.html.