Example Of Specific Details Essay Definition

TIP Sheet
DEFINITIONS OF WRITING TERMS

Alliteration: The repetition of the same sound in successive words, usually, but not necessarily, at the beginning of words: Blown buds of barren flowers...

Apostrophe: A figure of speech in which the absent is addressed as if present, the dead as if alive, or the inanimate and abstract as if animate and concrete: Come, Sleep; O Sleep!

Argumentation: Writing or speaking in which reasons or arguments are presented in a logical way.

Arrangement: The order in which details are placed or organized in a piece of writing.

Audience: Those people who read or hear what you have written; readers to whom a piece of writing is addressed.

Balance: The arranging of words or phrases so that two ideas are given equal emphasis in a sentence or paragraph; a pleasing rhythm created when a pattern is repeated in a sentence.

Body: The paragraphs between the introduction and conclusion that develop the main idea(s) of the writing.

Brainstorming: Collecting ideas by thinking freely and openly about all the possibilities; used often with groups.

Central idea: The main point of a piece of writing, often stated in a thesis statement or topic sentence.

Clincher sentence: The sentence that summarizes the point being made in a paragraph, usually located at the end.

Coherence: The arrangement of ideas in such a way that the reader can easily follow from one point to the next.

Composition: A process in which a writer's ideas are combined into one unified piece of writing.

Deductive reasoning: The act of reasoning from a general idea to a specific point or conclusion.

Definition: (See Extended definition, below)

Description: Writing that paints a colorful picture of a person, place, thing, or idea using vivid sensory details.

Details: The words used to describe a person, support an argument, persuade an audience, explain a process, or in some way support the central idea.

Emphasis: Placing greater stress on the most important idea in a piece of writing by giving it special treatment; emphasis can be achieved by placing the important idea in a special position, by repeating a key word or phrase, or by simply writing more about it.

Essay: A piece of factual writing in which ideas on a single topic are presented, explained, argued, or described in an interesting way.

Exposition: Writing that explains.

Expressive writing: Writing in which the author's primary purpose is to describe or communicate personal feelings, attitudes, and opinions.

Extended definition: Writing that goes beyond a simple definition of a term in order to make a point; it can cover several paragraphs and include personal definitions and experiences, figures of speech, and quotations.

Figurative language: Language that goes beyond the normal meaning of the words used; writing in which a figure of speech is used to heighten or color the meaning.

Focus: Concentration on a specific subject to give it emphasis or importance.

Form: The arrangement of the details into a pattern or style; the way in which the content of writing is organized.

Free writing: Writing openly and freely on any topic; focused free writing is writing openly on a specific topic.

Generalization: An idea or statement which emphasizes general characteristics rather than specific manifestations.

Grammar: The study of the structure and features of language; rules and standards which are to be followed to produce acceptable writing and speaking.

Hyperbole: A figure of speech in which there is conscious exaggeration for the sake of emphasis: His hands dangled a mile out of his sleeves.

Idiom: A phrase or expression which means something other than what the words actually say. An idiom is usually understandable to a particular group of people: Up the Boohai (a New Zealand idiom meaning "all wrong.")

Inductive reasoning: Reasoning which leads one to a conclusion or generalization after examining specific examples or facts; drawing generalizations from specific evidence.

Inverted sentence: A sentence in which the normal word order is inverted or switched, usually so that the verb comes before the subject.

Irony: A figure of speech in which what is meant is emphasized by asserting the opposite: You're going to love what the wrecker did to your car.

Issue: A point or question to be decided.

Jargon: The technical language of a particular group that is inappropriate in most formal writing since it is frequently not understandable by those outside the group.

Journal: A daily record of thoughts, impressions, and autobiographical information, often a source of ideas for writing.

Juxtaposition: Placing two ideas (words or pictures) side by side so that their closeness creates a new, often ironic, meaning.

Limiting the subject: Narrowing the subject to a specific topic that is suitable for the writing or speaking assignment.

Literal: The actual or dictionary meaning of a word; language that means exactly what it appears to mean.

Loaded words: Words that are slanted for or against the subject.

Logic: The science of correct reasoning; correctly using facts, examples, and reasons to support the point.

Malapropism: the usually unintentionally humorous misuse or distortion of a word or phrase; especially the use of a word sounding somewhat like the one intended but ludicrously wrong in the context (Merriam Webster): "The police are not here to create disorder, they're here to preserve disorder"(Richard Daley, former Chicago mayor).

Metaphor: A figure of speech that makes an implied comparison of two unlike things by declaring them to be identical: The ship plowed the seas.

Metonymy: A figure of speech in which one word is used in place of another word that it suggests: He loves to read Dickens (Dickens' work); or the substitution of the part for the whole - I saw fifty sails (ships with sails).

Modifier: A word, phrase, or clause that limits, alters, or describes another word or group of words.

Narration: Writing that tells a story or recounts an event.

Objective: Relating information in an impersonal manner; without interjecting feelings or opinions.

Observation: Paying close attention to people, places, things, and events to collect details for later use.

Onomatopoeia: The use of words in which the sound suggests the sense: The silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain...

Overview: A general idea of what is to be covered in a piece of writing.

Oxymoron: A two-word phrase containing contradictory elements: jumbo shrimp, friendly fire, numb feeling.

Personal narrative: Personal writing that covers an event in the writer's life; it often contains personal comments and ideas as well as a description of the event.

Personification: A figure of speech in which abstract qualities or inanimate and natural objects are given the attributes of human beings: Virtue is bold and goodness never fearful.

Persuasion: Writing that is meant to change the way the reader thinks or acts.

Point of view: The position or angle from which a story is told, for example, first-person ("I"), third-person ("he").

Process: A method of doing something that involves several steps or stages; for example, the writing process involves prewriting, planning, writing, and revising.

Prose: Writing or speaking in the usual or ordinary form; prose becomes poetry when it is given rhyme or rhythm.

Pun: A play upon words of the same sound but of different meanings or upon different meanings of the same word: They went and told the sexton and the sexton tolled the bell.

Purpose: The specific reason a person has for writing; the goal of writing, for example, to inform, entertain, or persuade.

Revision: Changing a piece of writing to improve it in style or content.

Simile: A figure of speech that directly compares two unlike things, using words such as like, as, or than: The fallen leaves wandered like lost children through the empty streets.

Spontaneity: Doing, thinking, or writing without planning.

Subjective: Thinking and writing that includes personal feelings, attitudes, and opinions.

Theme: The central idea in a piece of writing (lengthy writings may have several themes); a term sometimes used to describe a short essay.

Thesis statement: A statement of the purpose, intent, or main idea of an essay.

Tone: The writer's attitude toward the subject; for example, a writer's tone may be light, serious, sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek, solemn, or objective.

Topic: The specific subject of a piece of writing.

Topic sentence: The sentence that contains the main idea of a paragraph.

Transitions: Words or phrases that help clarify the relationships between ideas and tie them together, for example, nevertheless, moreover, most important, as a result.

Unity: A sense of oneness; writing in which each sentence helps to develop the main idea.

Usage: The way in which people use language; usage may be standard (formal and informal) or nonstandard.

Vivid details: Details which appeal to the senses and help the reader see, feel, smell, taste, and hear the subject.

 

Four types of essays exist including: narration, description, exposition, and argument. Each type has a unique purpose: some tell a story, some are descriptive and others prevent viewpoints. One of the best ways to better understand each type of essay is to review examples.

Types of Essays

Narrative

Narration is telling a story from a certain viewpoint, and there is usually a reason for the telling. All narrative essays will have characters, setting, climax, and most importantly, a plot. The plot is the focus of the story and is usually revealed chronologically, but there are sometimes flash forwards and flash backs. 

In writing a narrative essay, remember to:

  • Include sensory and emotional details, so the reader will experience the story, not just read about it
  • Have the story support the point you are making, and make reference to that point in the first sentence.
  • Write in the first or third person

Descriptive

Descriptive essays have text which describes traits and characteristics of people, objects, events, feelings, etc in intricate detail.

Whatever is being described will be thoroughly examined. For example, if you were describing roses, you would explain:

  • Where they come from
  • What they look like
  • What colors they are
  • How they grow and smell

When you write a descriptive essay, you want to involve the reader’s senses and emotions. For example, you could say, “I got sleepy” or describe it like this, "As I was waiting for Santa, my eyelids began to get heavy, the lights on the tree began to blur with the green branches, and my head started to drop." The second sentence gives vivid details to make the reader feel like he is there.

Exposition

Expository essays can compare, explore and discuss problems, or tell a story. An exposition essay gives information about various topics to the reader. It:

In writing an exposition, the text needs to:

  • Be concise and easy to understand
  • Give different views on a subject or report on a situation or event
  • Explain something that may be difficult to understand as you write your essay.

Remember that your purpose is to explain.

Argumentative

In an argumentative essay the writer is trying to convince the reader by demonstrating the truth or falsity of a topic. The writer’s position will be backed up with certain kinds of evidence, like statistics or opinions of experts.

The writer is not just giving an opinion, but making an argument for or against something and supporting that argument with data.

To know how to write an essay in an argumentative way, you have to research and backup what you say in the text.

Learn by Example

When learning how to write an essay, sometimes the best way to learn is to look and analyze essay examples.

Following are excerpts from narrative essays:     

"Looking back on a childhood filled with events and memories, I find it rather difficult to pick on that leaves me with the fabled "warm and fuzzy feelings." As the daughter of an Air Force Major, I had the pleasure of traveling across America in many moving trips. I have visited the monstrous trees of the Sequoia National Forest, stood on the edge of the Grande Canyon and have jumped on the beds at Caesar’s Palace in Lake Tahoe."
"The day I picked my dog up from the pound was one of the happiest days of both of our lives. I had gone to the pound just a week earlier with the idea that I would just "look" at a puppy. Of course, you can no more just look at those squiggling little faces so filled with hope and joy than you can stop the sun from setting in the morning. I knew within minutes of walking in the door that I would get a puppy… but it wasn't until I saw him that I knew I had found my puppy."
"Looking for houses was supposed to be a fun and exciting process. Unfortunately, none of the ones that we saw seemed to match the specifications that we had established. They were too small, too impersonal, too close to the neighbors. After days of finding nothing even close, we began to wonder: was there really a perfect house out there for us?"

The following is an example of a famous narrative written by John Updike, "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu":

"The afternoon grew so glowering that in the sixth inning the arc lights were turned on--always a wan sight in the daytime, like the burning headlights of a funeral procession. Aided by the gloom, Fisher was slicing through the Sox rookies, and Williams did not come to bat in the seventh. He was second up in the eighth. This was almost certainly his last time to come to the plate in Fenway Park, and instead of merely cheering, as we had at his three previous appearances, we stood, all of us, and applauded."

Following are excerpts from descriptive essays:

"Like his twisted feathers, his many scars, the reliable old owl chose the gnarled, weather-beaten, but solid branch often—it being a companion to the wise alone with the night and the last branch to creak in the heaviest wind. He often came to survey the fields and the clouds before his hunt, to listen to the steady sound of the stream passing through reeds under the bridge, while combing his feathers for the unwanteds—whatever they might be."
Here is a descriptive essay about a first visit to a favorite diner written by a student at Roane State Community College:"When entering the door at Lou’s, two things are immediately noticeable: the place is rarely empty and seems to consist of a maze of rooms. The first room, through the door, is the main part of the restaurant. There is another, rarely used, dining room off to the right. It was added during the oil well boom of the seventies. Through the main dining room is yet another room; it guards the door leading into the kitchen. This room contains the most coveted table in the place. The highest tribute Lou can bestow on anyone is to allow them access to seats at this table. This table is the family table; it is reserved for Lou’s, and her daughter Karen’s, immediate family and treasured friends."
Here is an example of a descriptive essay from St. Cloud State:"Billy Ray's Pawn Shop and Lawn Mower Repair looked like a burial ground for country auction rejects. The blazing, red, diesel fuel tanks beamed in front of the station, looking like cheap lipstick against the pallid, wrinkled texture of the parking lot sand. The yard, not much larger than the end zone at General G. Patton High School on the north end of town, was framed with a rusted metallic hedge of lawn mowers, banana seat bicycles, and corroded oil drums. It wasn't a calico frame of rusted parts, but rather an orchestra of unwanted machinery that Billy Ray had arranged into sections. The yellow-tanked mowers rested silently at the right of the diesel fuel. Once red, now faded orange, mowers stood at attention to the left. The oil barrels, jaded and pierced with holes, bellared like chimes when the wind was right. The bikes rested sporadically throughout the lot. In the middle of it all was the office, a faded, steel roof supported by cheap two-by-fours and zebra paneling. Billy Ray was at home, usually, five blocks east of town on Kennel Road."

Following are excerpts from exposition essays:

"This family was a victim of a problem they could have avoided-a problem that, according to Florida park rangers, hundreds of visitors suffer each year." Several times a month," ranger Rod Torres of O'Leno State Park said, "people get scared and leave the park in the middle of the night." Those people picked the wrong kind of park to visit. Not that there was anything wrong with the park: The hikers camped next to them loved the wild isolation of it. But it just wasn't the kind of place the couple from New Jersey had in mind when they decided to camp out on this trip through Florida."
Here is an example of a student model answer of an Expository Essay from The Write Source:"Did you know that 7 out of 10 students have cheated at least once in the past year? Did you know that 50 percent of those students have cheated more than twice? These shocking statistics are from a survey of 9,000 U.S. high school students.Incredibly, teachers may even be encouraging their students to cheat! Last year at a school in Detroit, teachers allegedly provided their students with answers to statewide standard tests."Here is an another example of an expository essay.
This example comes from Essay Start:"Throughout history and through a cross-section of cultures, women have transformed their appearance to conform to a beauty ideal. Ancient Chinese aristocrats bound their feet as a show of femininity; American and European women in the 1800s cinched in their waists so tightly, some suffered internal damage; in some African cultures women continue to wear plates in their lower lips, continually stretching the skin to receive plates of larger size. The North American ideal of beauty has continually focussed on women's bodies: the tiny waist of the Victorian period, the boyish figure in vogue during the flapper era, and the voluptuous curves that were the measure of beauty between the 1930s and 1950s. Current standards emphasize a toned, slender look, one that exudes fitness, youth, and health. According to psychologist Eva Szekely, "Having to be attractive at this time . . . means unequivocally having to be thin. In North America today, thinness is a precondition for being perceived by others and oneself as healthy" (19). However, this relentless pursuit of thinness is not just an example of women trying to look their best, it is also a struggle for control, acceptance and success."

Finally, here are excerpts from argumentative essays:

"Gun control has been a controversial issue for years. A vast majority of citizens believe that if gun control is strictly enforced it would quickly reduce the threat of crime. Many innocent people feel they have the right to bear arms for protection, or even for the pleasure of hunting. These people are penalized for protecting their lives, or even for enjoying a common, innocent sport. To enforce gun control throughout the nation means violating a persons Constitutional rights. Although some people feel that the issue of gun control will limit crime, the issue should not exist due to the fact that guns are necessary for self defense against crime, and by enforcing gun control is violating a citizen’s second amendment right to bear arms."
Another examples of an argumentative essay comes from Bogazici University:"Throw out the bottles and boxes of drugs in your house. A new theory suggests that medicine could be bad for your health, which should at leastcome as good news to people who cannot afford to buy expensive medicine. However, it is a blow to the medicine industry, and an evenbigger blow to our confidence in the progress of science. This new theory argues that healing is at our fingertips: we can be healthy by doing Reikion on a regular basis."
On Essay By Example, on the other hand, the sample argumentative essay addresses online games and socialization:
"Online games aren't just a diversion, but a unique way to meet other people. As millions of gamers demonstrate, playing online is about friendship and cooperation, not just killing monsters. These games are a viable social network because players focus on teamwork, form groups with like-minded people and have romantic relationships with other players."Massively-Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) feature millions of players interacting in the same environment. The games are social in nature as they allow players to band together and complete missions based on a story line, or test their skills by fighting against each other. At the start of the game, the user creates a fictional character, and customizes its physical appearance. Since many games involve combat, players also outfit their characters with armor and weapons, as well as choose their "profession." Many popular game titles like World of Warcraft and Everquest follow a fantasy theme, so most professions have magical abilities like healing other players or raising undead minions. While the process seems simple, players may spend hours agonizing over the perfect look for their character, from their armor color to the type of skills to use in battle. Once their character is created, the player is free to explore the vast, digital world and interact with other players; however they must pay on average $15 a month for game content. MMOG users are mostly male - usually between the ages of 18-34 - although titles like World of Warcraft have a healthy population of female players as well. With millions of players, there are plenty of people to adventure with."

The key to learning to write a good essay is to read and study other essays and then practice, practice, rewrite and practice some more.

Do you have a good example to share? Add your example here.

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Four types of essays exist including: narration, description, exposition, and argument. Each type has a unique purpose: some tell a story, some are descriptive and others prevent viewpoints. One of the best ways to better understand each type of essay is to review examples.
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