UNIT 6 Discursive Essays
1 ESS You will hear four people on a radio programme discussing whether progress is good for us. Look at the following questions, then listen to the cassette and answer the questions.
A Which speaker discusses possible solutions to a problem?
II Which speaker gives a personal opinion on the subject?
C W hich speaker discusses various aspects (e.g. economic, social, etc) of the subject?
I) Which speaker presents a balanced argument discussing points in favour of progress as well as against progress?
Speaker 1 Speaker 2 Speaker 3 Speaker 4
A discursive essay is a piece of formal writing which discusses a particular issue.
situation or problem.
i For and against essays present both sides of an issue, discussing points in favour of a particular topic as we.'l as those against, or the advantages and disadvantages of a particular question Each point should be supported by justifications, examples, and/or reasons. The writer's own opinion should be presented only in the final paragraph ii Opinion essays present the writer's personal opinion concerning the topic, clear ly stated and supported by reasons and/or examples. The opposing viewpoint and reason should be included in a separate paragraph before the closing one. together with an argument that shows it is an unconvincing viewpoint. The writer's opinion should be included in the introduction, and summarised'restated in the conclusion.
iii Essays suggesting solutions to problems, in which the problem(s) associated with a particular issue or situation are analysed and possible solutions are put forward. together with any expected results'consequences. The writer's opinion may be mentioned, directly or indirectly, in the introduction and/or conclusion.
A good discursive essay should consist of a) an introductory paragraph in which you clearly state the topic to be discussed;
b) a main body in which points are clearly stated in separate paragraphs and exemplified or justified, and c) a closing paragraph summarising the main points of the essay, in which you state/restate your opinion and/or give a balanced consideration of the topic
Present each point in a separate paragraph. A well-developed paragraph contains a clear topic sentence, which summarises the contents of the paragraph, as well as a clear justification, explanation or example in support of the point presented. Well-known quotations (e.g. As writer Somerset Maugham once said, "It is bad enough to know the past; it would be intolerable to know the future.") rhetorical questions (e.g. If people today are not concerned enough about tomorrow, will the future still be there for man?) or thought-provoking statements (e.g. The fact is that one's future is what one makes it. There is no such thing as chance.) are useful devices to make your composition more interesting
Before you begin writing, you should always make a list of the points you will present. Do not use informal style (e.g. contracted forms, colloquial language, etc) or very strong language (e.g. I know, I am sure...)
Use appropriate linking words.'phrases to show the links between paragraph, as well as to link sentences within paragraphs.
^ topic sentence
Many people, however, prefer living in flats because they feel safer.
With increasing crime rates, people are afraid to five in a house, as they feel more vulnerable to burglars and other criminals. Therefore, they prefer the feeling of security that the proximity of neighbouring fíats offers them.
2 Look at the essay plans below for the three types of discursive essays, then say what features the plans have in common and how each plan differs from the others.
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24 chapters on preparing to write the letter and finding the proper viewpoint how to open the letter, present the proposition convincingly, make an effective close how to acquire a forceful style and inject originality how to adapt selling appeal to different prospects and get orders by letter proved principles and practical schemes illustrated by extracts from 217 actual letter.