Before explaining how to write a composition, it is worth to be aware of its simple difference from an essay. The idea of the latter is concentrated on a particular thing or character, while composition’s themes go far beyond the frames that define the essay and even could have an abstract subject. Nevertheless, there are also some recommendations on how to write a well-structured and easy-read composition.
The process of writing an essay can be represented as a chain or a sequence of individual elements, stages, and operations. The student may divide the whole process for a few phases – preparation, composing and structuring, finishing. That’s what this composition essay writing guide is all about.
Defining the format of the composition is essential at the very beginning. The most popular forms include:
- ‘For and against’ is a composition essay, in which the main part represents an equal number of “against” and “for” arguments supported by the evidence or examples. A parity of ideas on both sides is vital for creating a balanced position, and the student’s opinion is expressed only in the results part.
- ‘Personal Opinion’ is a type of composition essay where the author expresses his/her position on a given topic, and the central part contains the justification of such an opinion and examples.
- ‘Problems and Solutions’. In this type of composition essay the author describes the vision of a particular problem, how to solve it, and its consequences.
After the format is defined, there go the brainstorm and selection processes.
- Brainstorming is everything that comes to mind on the subject is recorded. At this stage, it is crucial to develop the mindset and generate a sufficient number of ideas.
- Some ideas are selected from the previous notes made by the method of annotation. The focus is set on those ideas that are directly related to the topic. For example, in case of “for and against,” the concepts could be conveniently written in two columns, where the student simultaneously records the evidence (or arguments) and keeps the ideas “for” equal to the number of “against.”
Annotating, especially during reading, is a strategic intellectual skill, rather than an uncomplicated mechanical presentation of the author’s thought or position. While doing the annotating, the student selects the relevant material and develops his/her understanding of the theoretical views and empirical data, in other words – facts of the kind that either confirm or refute the idea. When reading texts, the student makes notes and compares one narrative piece to another, remarks the points that will be useful in subsequent work or represent some exciting and meaningful data from theoretical or empirical approaches.
Tired of all the guides and never-ending instructions?
Composing and Structuring
Before starting to write the essay, it is worth to write some outline of the draft structure and then “switch” to the writing of the first draft that might be further revised by the student or professor initiative.
Outline is the creation of a plan for a future essay: the student selects ideas that will be used in the introduction, the primary part, and the results. There are about three paragraphs in the primary section, where each theory or idea is considered in the first or second sentence, and the rest of the sentences are devoted to evidence or arguments.
A rough draft is writing an essay according to the plan, not forgetting about advanced grammatical constructions, sophisticated vocabulary, formal style, and word-links.
Verification and final version comes when student carefully scrutinizes the written essay regarding the presence of errors and makes the corrections; he/she verifies whether all thoughts are logically linked to each other and form the necessary reader response.
The Key to Write Composition Essay
Writing the composition essay takes place in a short time frame, so students often choose to skip one of the stages to win time. For example, they start writing right away, hoping that the relevant ideas will appear themselves in the process of writing, or do not check the essay for errors. Naturally, illogical and inconsistent text with a large number of elementary level errors cannot get a high grade of the examiner. Nevertheless, keeping an eye on time is just as necessary in order not to leave the argument unfinished. Hence, the key to writing the right composition essay includes:
- the clear understanding of the requirements of the examination task;
- the observance of the structure of the composition and the passage of all stages of its writing;
- explicit time management.
Choose an Interesting Topic and the Questions
When choosing a topic, the student first must make sure that he/she has correctly shaped and understood it. Since the matter can be interpreted differently, there are several approaches to its coverage. Therefore, the student needs to choose one version of an interpretation or strategy to be able to substantiate his/her vision of the problem. The content of the topic can cover a wide range of issues and require the involvement of a large volume of literature. In this case, the student has the opportunity to formulate a hypothesis according to which only some aspects of this problematic issue will be illustrated in the composition (namely, it’s primary part). A student gets rid of unnecessary difficulties if he/she does not go beyond the specified range of issues. The choice and the vision of the student should be argued with appropriate evidence. Next, it is necessary to make a plan and structure based on the decision of the student about the hypothesis of work.
When writing the composition, the student must remember: the number of opinions is the same as the number of people. Therefore, the author should be as objective as possible, keeping his/her position well-supported by arguments and illustrated by examples. Only then the thesis statement will avoid criticism.
Besides, it might be difficult to find an illustration of literature for the separate topics; therefore, some examples from real life will be more fitting.
Here are some composition essay questions and examples of illustrations:
- In what epoch from the past you would like to live? (Example: romantic melodrama ‘Midnight in Paris’ directed by Woody Allen, the main character is Gil Pender).
- Is the value of a photo has faded away with the advent of digital cameras that have allowed to make an unlimited number of photos?
- Should tobacco products be forbidden to sell worldwide? (Example: Bhutan became the first country to ban tobacco in 2010. “Tactical arguments”: the economies of most countries are receiving substantial excise taxes; a vast number of people smoke; thousands of farmers and industrial workers hired by tobacco companies will lose their jobs in the event of a ban. The arguments “against”: tobacco accelerates aging, primarily the skin of hands and face; it promotes faster appearance of wrinkles and jaundice; the owners of monopoly companies earn crazy money from the sale of tobacco; the smokers provoke the most of fire cases in the United States; about a thousand citizens die annually as a result of fires from the cigarette butts; tobacco causes the cancer of the lungs, mouth, throat, and the increase in blood pressure which ultimately leads to diabetes, heart attack, or infarction).
- Is there a friendship between a boy and a girl?
- What is the effect of gadgets on your learning during the lesson? (Example: Microsoft’s founder and owner Bill Gates forbade their children from using phones until they reached the age of fourteen).
- Do people who have committed brutal crimes deserve the death penalty? (Example: One of the most famous serial killers of the Soviet Union, Andrei Chikatilo, was executed in 1994. The sentence was read to him for almost an entire day; he was found guilty of more than sixty-five murders in which most of the victims are children. However, before he was arrested, two innocent people were executed as suspects sentenced for the crime that not they but Chikatilo committed).
- Is it necessary to adhere Grammar rules in spelling and punctuation in an Internet message or SMS? (Example: Read who is referred as “Grammar Nazi”).
Classic Structuring and Logics
There is also some logic to adhere to get perfect results:
- Statement (clear position). The thesis is the student’s direct answer to the topic question (if not, he/she must formulate the question by himself/herself). When formatting the thesis, it is worth to use the keywords given in the topic.
- Proof (convincing explanation in the arguments). The student gives at least two compelling indications that defend the thesis. Remember: the examples should correspond to the number of arguments.
- Explanation (illustration of evidence in the examples). The student provides information from a reliable source in the illustration. Each instance proves a separate argument. It is worth to remember that in the example the student must clearly explain how it illustrates the argument and, hence, the thesis.
What Makes Examples Essential?
Examples in work are needed to illustrate the thoughts, to show that the reasoning is justified, that something similar has already been said about the matter (for example, about a work of art) or it has already been happening with someone in real life. In the examples, the student has the opportunity to explain in more detail what is meant by the arguments and, finally, the thesis. A good argument is always based on an example. Illustrative examples give weight to the arguments, make them “stronger,” and protect against criticism of opponents.
There must be at least two types of examples in the product:
- An example of fiction or other arts (cinematic, fine art, theatrical, and musical).
- An example is a historical fact or a case of socio-political or personal life.
Examples, like arguments, must be convincing; the facts presented in them – interesting, objective, fully illuminated, authentic, and unambiguous.
Some Tips for Picking the Ideal Examples for Composition Essay Writing
With the insertion of arguments into the text, the examples should acquire a specific linguistic design. Therefore, first of all, the student has to indicate that now there will follow an example/ sample/illustration of the problem that he/she have been talking about in the argument. An example is always a fact taken from a reliable source. Frequently, when the composition essay is related to the art subjects, the examples are particularly necessary for visualizing the thought. Therefore, it is important to note all the data about this composition and not to make mistakes.
Next is the scheme how to pick and substantiate the illustrative examples in composition:
- The motivation of example (1 sentence, might be included in the previous one). This element of the example is the most important. It depends on how many points the student insert in his/her work. To motivate the example means to explain how it illustrates an argument. It can be done in the first introductory sentence or the next paragraphs.
- Explanation of the image / problems (3-4 sentences). In the following sentences, it is worth to reveal an artistic image that illustrates the argument. The student explains in detail how the hero chosen by him/her represents a model of the problem raised in the argument. There is no need to tell the full story of the book.
- Citation (1 sentence). If there is no such element in the example, no points will be removed. But still, if the student remembers the relevant (!) quote from the analyzed work, it is worth it to indicate it.
- Mini-conclusion (1 sentence). Successful completion of the example is a sentence in which the student will once again return to the illustrated argument and summarize the issue. It does not interfere with the logical transition to the next paragraph of the composition.
- Topic: Every society has its music, painting, and literature. The different types of art exist since the very human creation. It is characterized by a rich history. Besides, what is the most important art for the society and the individual?
- Thesis: I am fully convinced that art is an important factor in the positive development of both an individual and a society as a whole.
Bonus Information from Our Expert Writers:
- How to train yourself in writing the composition?
To remember the structure of the composition well, it is necessary to practice the writing of its parts. It is worth considering the plan/outline before writing any composition essay. The student should not be afraid of this word: it does not look like the typical plan for a summary. It will turn into a short composition with approximately seven sentences that thoroughly cover the author’s position. Such mini-composition essays are recommended to write daily (trying to fit in five minutes) to refine the logic of the statement.
- Composition essay example: minimal guidance
- Mini-text with Displayed Problem. Quite often people can hear the idea that it is worth talking “in his/her language” with a rough and unskilled person because he/she does not understand the other approach. At the same time, many believe that when we start “playing” with such people in relationships by their rules, we will not be different from them anymore.
- Questions for The Theme. How to deal with disobedience and dishonesty of another person?
- Requirements for Writing. Formulate the thesis, present two or three convincing arguments that will confirm the opinion. Illustrate the thoughts with references to examples of fiction or other types of art (indicate the author and the title of the work; note the problem raised by the artist and the artistic image through which problem is solved; quote from the literary piece), historical facts or occasions. Do not retell the content of the artwork and do not give a full description of the images. Formulate the conclusions.
We do hope that these composition essay writing tips are of use to you!