An essay is a text written in prose (i.e., in natural language, not tied to verses or rhymes). It is a nonfiction text to provide a personal opinion on a particular topic.
The word “essay” is derived from the Latin “exagium,” meaning “Presentation of a case.”
An essay is a fairly brief piece of nonfiction that attempts to make a point interestingly.” Frederick Crews
Characteristics of essay
Brevity and concreteness: one of the most notorious characteristics of the essay is that it can be read in one sitting, and this in turn.
Thematic variety: you can choose to write an essay on any topic that you consider can encourage a debate around it.
Subjectivity: your personal opinion, point of view, and position will always be the primary input.
Stylistic freedom allows you to choose your writing style depending on the topic you focus on. You can vary the style as many times as you wish to write different essays.
Persuasion: the primary objective is to persuade the reader with your position and analysis of a situation. The essay is a driver of the ideas that the author shapes to convince his audience to acquire different positions in relation to specific facts.
Debate: essays should invite discussion. If it does not meet this characteristic, it will not fulfill its primary function.
Benefits of writing essays
There are innumerable benefits that you will obtain by using this literary genre, among which are:
- Freely express your personal opinion on any topic you choose.
- Being able to choose your writing style. As well as the tone, taking care that it is always respectful.
- Expand your knowledge on topics that are of interest to you.
- It is an ideal exercise to enrich your lexicon, grammar, and spelling.
- It is an exercise that will increase your writing skills.
- The thematic variety essays offer you will allow you to write about your position in favor or against (and even claim), political, academic, literary, artistic, economic, etc.
Some types of essays
Philosophical: it is characterized by focusing on making an exposition of ideas or positions in favor or against a topic and supporting them deeply and analytically on your own, intimate, personal arguments.
Reflective: it is subjective since it involves the author’s feelings. This type of essay evidences your vision on a particular topic.
Critical: it analyzes a fact and interprets it by carrying out a deep exploration of it. It is very important to understand that although it is a crucial position that you acquire when you write an essay of this type, it is not a pessimistic view that you will express.
These are just some of the types of essays you can write. Keep in mind that you will be the one who decides to choose one or several to present your opinion. And it is also important that you are clear about the parts of an essay to give the right structure to what you want to communicate. If you notice, they all have something in common: they are based on expressing your personal opinion as an author.
So, an essay is the presentation of a personal opinion on a proper and, above all, debatable topic.
What qualities are needed to write an essay?
- To have clarity in the language to be able to express oneself.
- To have research skills to be able to gather more information on the chosen topic.
- Good writing and spelling skills.
- To have a taste for reading.
- Be observant.
- Be reflective.
- Have a sense of belonging to the chosen topic. There must be taste and interest to be able to develop it properly.
- Be dedicated. Although the essay is a brief genre, dedication is essential to gather facts, contrast opinions, and record personal reflections.
- Ability to present ideas and express arguments.
But if you need to prepare an essay, for example, for college and don’t have some of these qualities for writing it, you can always seek the help of essay or paper writers.
The role of the reader in the essay
Usually, the reader of the essay is a non-specialized audience, so the author’s role is to provide a clear and logical interpretation of a topic based on his or her personal opinions. That is why you must have clear the steps to make an essay, so you will achieve the objective of communicating accurately.
And it is just the development of the essay, the one in charge of ratifying the reader’s opinion or refuting it, to attract the reader to the author’s opinion. Hence, one of the fundamental characteristics of the essay is to persuade.
The essay is an opportunity for the reader to inquire about a particular topic.
History of an essay
In ancient times, the Greeks and Romans began using the essay as a means of expression, but it was only until the sixteenth century that it acquired the characteristics and name, we know it today.
Some essays from antiquity:
Bible’s Book of Proverbs.
The Dialogues of Plato
The Poetics of Aristotle
The Letters to Lucius by Seneca.
Some interesting facts about essays
In Japan, the Zuihtsu were the first essays that also sought to record and express their authors’ view of everyday life (11th century).
In Europe, the writer Michael de Montaigne was the first to coin the term “essay” from 1572 (XVI Century). He began to write the records he used to make about his thoughts and character traits.
In Spain, the political texts of Simón Bolívar, the letters of Miguel Antonio Caro, and the book chronicles of Hernando Valencia Goelkel are historical essays.