19 Essay Basics


It’s important to keep your audience in mind when writing. Imagine you are writing about your first full day as a college student. How might your writing vary for the audiences below?

* a text you are sending to your best friend

* an email you are sending to a parent or guardian

* a retelling of your experiences for a paper you are writing for your sociology course

In each example above, the method of communication will shape the length and depth of what you write as well as the style (including word choices) and the level of formality. Think about what content you may need to include based on what each specific audience already knows or needs to know about your topic.



Most writing has one of these two purposes:

1. to inform

2. to persuade



Generally speaking, an essay is made up of three parts: an introduction (with a thesis), a body consisting of a group of paragraphs, and a conclusion.


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