An illustration essay is a piece of writing that illustrates a point, object or situation in such a detailed manner that the reader can see what the writer is talking about just through his writing. A lot of times, an illustration essay tries to prove that something exists by painting a picture through words for the audience. An illustration essay goes beyond describing something. If the essay is composed correctly, the audience will understand the writer’s subject in as much detail as the writer himself.
In the school setting, the teacher often chooses a topic for an illustration essay for students. However, if it is not already given to you, choose a topic that you are passionate and know a lot about. For example, if you decided to write an essay about how dog breed discrimination occurs in your town, make sure that you know enough about this topic to prove your point.
Don’t just tell your reader about your subject. Sticking with the dog breed discrimination example, don’t just describe what it is. Instead give detailed examples of situations that you feel illustrate the discrimination. Perhaps landlords don’t allow certain breeds of dogs on their properties. Give the audience lots of detail so that there is no doubt in their mind that a certain situation or thing exists. The more examples you can write in your essay, the easier it will be to illustrate that something exists.
Vary Example Types
Not every reader will respond to the same examples. By including different types of examples in your essay, you can better illustrate your topic to more people. Give examples from your own experiences with the topic as well as examples that anyone may come across. These may overlap or your experience with a certain topic may vary substantially from the normal experience with a topic.
Analyzing a situation should be left for an analysis essay, which seeks to prove why something exists rather than just proving that it does exist. Illustration essays should stick to illustrating your point. In longer, more complex writing assignments — like ones assigned in college — students might have the chance to combine these two types of essays. However, in lower grade levels, combining these essay types may result in a lower grade for not fulfilling the assignment properly.
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Effective essay writing is critical for a student to achieve academic success. It demonstrates to the professor that a student has a comprehensive understanding of the topic, good critical thinking skills and the ability to convey it all in writing. While tackling an essay assignment may seem like a difficult task, heeding a few tips and practicing the craft frequently will result in improved results.
Don’t wait until the last minute before you begin writing your essay. Avoid the pitfalls of procrastination by getting started early and setting a schedule that gives you sufficient time for finishing before the due date. This way, if you run into unexpected issues in the course of writing your essay, or if you decide to change topics, you have enough time to get it done. Additionally, when you rush through the writing, the quality of your writing tends to decline.
Expect to Rewrite
Don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the little aspects of your essay on the first draft. The primary purpose of a rough draft is getting your ideas down on paper in raw form. Once you have accomplished this, go back and make corrections to your work repeatedly until you feel it’s a finished product. Remember that even the most gifted writers write multiple drafts before unveiling the end result. This will help take the pressure off as you first start your essay, lessening your desire to procrastinate.
Avoid Using Overly Technical Language
Experts in every industry typically understand their specialization so well that they have their own language, or jargon. Even if you find yourself becoming familiar with this language over the course of your research, avoid inserting unnecessary jargon into your essay. Depending on your assignment, you may be writing for a general audience that is learning about your topic as you present it. If you are giving readers just an overview of what you learned, throwing in technical terms may be inappropriate.
Carefully organize all your research and give proper credit to your sources whenever it is appropriate to do so. Even if you aren’t using direct quotations, paraphrases and summaries require citations as well. Unless you are writing down an original thought or common knowledge, acknowledge the source you got the information from. Bear in mind that plagiarism is not only committed with the intent to steal the work of others; failing to give credit due to careless citation is no excuse.
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In the online world, success is all about generating traffic. Traffic is measured in terms of “hits” (the number of times your page is accessed by someone on the Internet). Your hit count is a measure of how many potential customers or readers you are reaching and is also used by advertisers to determine where they choose to buy ad space. The better written your content, the more likely readers are to return to your site again and again, thereby improving your hit count. But beware; writing for an online audience is very different than writing for a print audience.
Online visitors don’t actually read, they scan. Online articles must be brief, informative and attention-grabbing to be effective. Headlines should be short and should clearly inform the reader of the article’s topic. Avoid exclamation points, jokes and puns in your headline unless you are writing a humor column. Use a conversational tone, but don’t be sloppy. Avoid slang, jargon or undefined abbreviations if you are writing for a professional site. Personal bloggers have more latitude in terms of language and tone, but the most respected bloggers adhere to professional rules. Remember that new readers will likely find you by entering one or more keywords into their search engine. Scatter the keywords a searcher is most likely to use throughout your text.
Grammar, spelling and punctuation still count. So does accuracy. Check your writer’s facts, particularly in scholarly settings. Online researchers typically consult more resources than print researchers. Literate and correct content implies professionalism and expertise—two things that will keep researchers coming back to your site in the future. Rein in flowery writers and those fond of dependant clauses. Two short sentences make for better online reading than one long one. Base your stylistic corrections on the approved source guide for your site (Chicago, MLS, SLS, AP, etc.) Monitor keyword saturation. Gratuitous use of keywords can actually cause your search engine rating to drop.
The rules for online content are different than those for print content. Keep sentences and paragraphs short. Never underline a word or phrase unless it is an online link to another site. Always write in the active tense and use the fewest words possible to get your meaning across. “Experts consider blueberries a healthful fruit” is preferable to “blueberries are considered to be a healthful fruit by most experts.” Assume your audience can read at a ninth-grade level unless your site is directed at highly educated or technical audiences.