Uni-Wissen How to Write an Essay - Richard Aczel - ebook

Uni-Wissen How to Write an Essay ebook

Richard Aczel



This book is a practical step-by-step guide to essay-writing for students of English. In seven chapters it leads the student through all the basic techniques essential to good essay-writing. These include: how to analyse essay questions; how to write an essay plan; how to construct persuasive arguments, well-structured paragraphs and convincing introductions and conclusions. There are also tips on how to avoid the most common mistakes of essay-writing and on how further to improve your essay-writing technique. Sicher im Studium - die Reihe mit dem Grundlagenwissen sämtlicher Teildisziplinen des Studienfachs Anglistik / Amerikanistik

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How to Write an Essay

Richard Aczel


Dieses Werk folgt der reformierten Rechtschreibung und Zeichensetzung. Ausnahmen bilden Texte, bei denen künstlerische, philologische oder lizenzrechtliche oder andere Gründe einer Änderung entgegenstehen.

Das Werk und seine Teile sind urheberrechtlich geschützt. Jede Nutzung in anderen als den gesetzlich zugelassenen Fällen bedarf der vorherigen schriftlichen Einwilligung des Verlages. Hinweis zu § 52a UrhG: Weder das Werk noch seine Teile dürfen ohne eine solche Einwilligung eingescannt und in ein Netzwerk eingestellt werden. Dies gilt auch für Intranets von Schulen und sonstigen Bildungseinrichtungen. Fotomechanische Wiedergabe nur mit Genehmigung des Verlages.

© Klett Lerntraining, c/o PONS GmbH, Stuttgart 2014. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.


E-ISBN 978-3-12-939105-1



1What is an essay?

2Critical essays

3How this book works

Chapter 1

Approaching Essay Questions

1Unpacking and Decoding the Question

2Sample essay questions: a stage by stage analysis

3Summary of chapter

Chapter 2

Planning an Essay

1The stages of essay planning

Stage 1Brainstorming

Stage 2Narrowing the scope

Stage 3Elaboration

Stage 4Ordering main points

Stage 5Listening to the plan

Chapter 3

Writing an Essay: Content and Structure



3Structuring essays

1Overall structure

2Paragraph structure

2aThe topic sentence




4Summary of chapter

Chapter 4

Writing Introductions and Conclusions


1Contextual Introductions

2Methodological Introductions

3Combined Introductions


Type 1From parts to whole

Type 2Significant exceptions

Type 3Beyond the frame of the essay

Type 4Self-criticism

Type 5Quotation

Chapter 5


1Essay Style


2The Reader



2Common Weaknesses of Style and How to Avoid Them: Five “Don’ts“

1Don’t generalize

2Don’t exaggerate

3Don’t moralize

4Don’t express opinions

5Don’t repeat

Chapter 6

Finishing Touches




3Footnotes and Bibliographies

2Checking and Revision

3Improving essay-writing skills



4Ten tips for writing essays

Chapter 7

Other Types of Essay


2Descriptive Essays

3Reflective Essays

4Argumentative Essays



“Miss Brill” by Katherine Mansfield

An essay on “Miss Brill”



This book has been written in the belief that the art of essay-writing is only partly a matter of divine inspiration. The other parts – by far the greater in number and importance – are skills that most thinking and speaking mortals are fully capable of mastering with a little effort, a good deal of practice, and, I hope, a reasonable amount of pleasure. Good essays are a joy to read, and they are no less fun to write. Most of the obstacles to pleasurable writing can, once identified, be readily removed. This book is concerned above all with the obstacles; but I hope at least the odd glimpse at some of the pleasures will be afforded along the way.

The book is intended above all for students of English at German universities – the very people who, in one way or another, have had a major part in writing it. Not only have I helped myself rather freely to examples poached from genuine student essays, but much of the thinking behind the book has been informed by my teaching in the English department of the University of Cologne. I should like to take this opportunity to thank my students at Cologne, not only for their unsolicited contributions to this book, but for all they have taught me over the years. My thanks also to Selwyn Jackson and Ansgar Nünning who read and made valuable comments on the manuscript, and to Timothy Jones for supplying the essay on Katherine Mansfield’s short story “Miss Brill”.

Richard AczelOctober 1998


 1What is an essay?


The essay as a genre remains notoriously difficult to define. It is probably fair to say that there are as many types of essay as there are types of essayist. Samuel Johnson (1709–1784), himself a fine essayist, described the essay as “a loose sally of the mind, an irregular, indigested piece, not a regular or orderly performance”. Although the type of essay discussed and practised in this book will be anything but “loose”, “irregular” and “undigested”, it is worth bearing in mind that the term essay has, historically, regularly been associated with ideas of the tentative, unscientific, and even the amateur. This is reflected in the titles of some of the most famous essays in the English language, from Charles Lamb’s “In Praise of Chimney-sweepers” to J.B. Priestley’s “On Doing Nothing”.


The term “essay” comes from the French essayer (to attempt); and the generic term essai was coined by the French writer Montaigne in 1580, and used in the title of his famous volume of Essais published in that year. For Montaigne, the essay was a kind of trial or cross-examination of an idea.

This is as good a definition as any, but it leaves the field wide open – an openness reflected by the history of the essay as a genre itself. The “father of the English essay”, Francis Bacon (1561–1626), wrote short, moral and didactic essays on such subjects as “studies”, “ambition” and “travel”. By the end of the seventeenth century, the philosopher John Locke could use the term “essay” in the title of a full-length philosophical treatise, . Since then, the name “essay” has been applied to works as far apart as Alexander Pope’s philosophical poem in heroic couplets, (1733–4), and G.K. Chesterton’s short meditation “On Lying in Bed”.

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!