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          Student ESL Essays

The Secrets of Writing a Stellar ESL Essay
The Secrets of Writing a Stellar ESL Essay

It is worth saying that you can write an outstanding essay even if English is not your native tongue. Without a doubt, it will be more difficult for you to find the right words to express your point of view. Nonetheless, you can still manage to impress your teacher. All you need is a clear understanding of what is asked of you. Also, some of the effective tips that experienced students use might come in handy. Here are some of them for your consideration.

Choose wisely whenever you have the chance to choose. When your teacher gives you the chance to choose a topic for an ESL essay, do not miss the opportunity to make the most of it. Choose a topic that you find to be interesting. Do not try to impress your teacher by choosing a trivial theme that has been discussed many times before. Your goal is to get at least a bit excited about the research study that you have to do. If you are into art, discuss the impact of your favorite artists or pieces of art that they created. And if you are into history, write about one of the key figures in history that you admire. Just don't forget to make the topic debatable.

Make your point crystal clear. Some students get too excited about the topic and keep writing everything that comes to their minds. Their concept states that the more they write the better. Needless to say that when it comes to essays, it is all about quality, not quantity. That is why it is so important to outline. Make a list of the points you are planning to discuss. You can start by writing paragraphs to cover all of these points. Then, your task is to create smooth transitions between them. Otherwise, your piece is going to look like a collection of random facts. One of the popular tips you may find is to mention both sides of the argument in your essay. It is a good tip and you are welcome to use it. However, don't dedicate the bigger part of your assignment to this point if you don't want to confuse your reader. Your reader needs to understand where you stand and which side you are on.

Don't use unknown words. It seems like an obvious tip but you will be surprised to learn how many students ignore it. They try very hard to make a great impression on teachers by including long and rarely used English words in their essays. Resist the temptation to do so. The goal of this assignment is to show off your analytical and writing skills. You don't need to demonstrate your wide vocabulary, especially, if it will be the first time you use those words. It may seem that you use them genuinely. However, your teacher will see the artificial sense in that action. There is no elephant in the room as everybody knows that English is not your native language. Just stick to the words you usually use to avoid all kinds of misunderstandings.

Use proofreading tools. Do not overestimate your skills. Even native English speakers use proofreading tools to make sure there are no typos or grammar mistakes in their writing. So, do not skip this step of the writing process. Yes, you've already done a lot of work to complete this assignment. However, proofreading is the essential part of the puzzle that makes the picture complete. If you want to impress your teacher, make sure there are no mistakes. Nothing shows your dedication and hard work better.

Welcome to my ESL and English composition website. We try to put together as many esl sample essays
as possible to help you with your ESL Essay writing skills. We need your help to make this project a success.



Topic: For you, what is the main value or purpose for getting a college education? Explain

Sandra's Speech Contest 30th October 2013 Taiwan Nan-Kai University of Technology

ESL Essay : Leisure Time

Everyone has different ways of spending his or her free time. Write about one or more ways that you like to spend your leisure time. Do you exercise, read, play sports, shop, sleep, or study? How often do you do this? Is this an activity that you do alone or with a group? How does the activity help you relax, clear your mind, or feel better?

(This ESL Essay incidentally, was written by a friend of mine, who is an elementary school teacher from Penghu Island Taiwan)



What is an ESL Essay?

One of the most common written assignments you will be asked to prepare at university is an ESL Essay.
An academic ESL Essay is a document or text written in order to:

1. Analyze a topic closely
2. Develop a point of view in relation to that topic through research and thought
3. Persuade your reader that the point of view you have developed is well supported by the ideas and
    information you present

ESL Essays have three main parts or stages:

The initial statement of the point of view that you have developed in response to the topic
(sometimes called the thesis statement). This part of the ESL Essay is the introduction.
The argument or arguments which are presented to support this point of view. This part is the body of the ESL Essay.
The summary of the arguments and the restatement of the overall point of view that has been
developed. This part of the ESL Essay is the conclusion.

Writing the ESL Essay

When preparing an ESL Essay you undertake a number of different activities:

1. Choosing a question
2. Analyzing the question
3. Making an initial plan
4. Locating resources
5. Reading and noting
6. Writing the first draft
7. Revising and redrafting.

You may find that you move backwards and forwards among these activities. For example, when you are writing your first draft you may constantly refer back to your analysis of the question to make sure you are answering the question. Sometimes as you read you discover ideas that you hadn’t thought of or come across previously, and so you may need to locate further resources.
WritePlacer® ESL

Choosing a question

If you have a choice of ESL Essay questions you might consider the following factors when deciding which ESL Essay to do:

1. Which topics interest you most?
2. Which topics have good resource materials available?
3. Which topics are most relevant to you personally or professionally?
4. Which topics might be easiest for you to write about?

Analyzing the question

Analyzing the question enables you to keep your ESL Essay on the topic by identifying the important parts of the ESL Essay question. There are three main parts to an ESL Essay question which you need to identify:

Task or directive words such as ‘analyze’, ‘discuss’, ‘compare’. A list of commonly used task words and an interpretation of what they mean has been included at the end of this topic.

Information words.
This part of the question describes what content you will focus on in the ESL Essay

Limits words.
There are two kinds of limits in ESL Essay questions. There are limits to the information part of the question confining it, for example, to a particular place, time or group. There are also limits set on the length and time for the ESL Essay and sometimes limits on the resources you are to use.

Commonly Used Task Words

Task word Meaning
analyse examine closely; examine something in terms of its parts and how they are related to each other
argue present a case for and/or against …
assess decide the value of …
compare discuss two or more things in terms of their similarities and differences
contrast discuss two or more things, emphasizing their differences
criticise give a judgment about the value of … and support that judgment with evidence
define make clear what is meant by …; use a definition or definitions to explore the concept of …
describe present a detailed account of …
discuss consider and offer some interpretation or evaluation of …; present and give a judgment on the value of arguments for and against …
enumerate give an item by item account
evaluate attempt to form a judgment about …
examine inspect … in detail and investigate the implications
explain make clear the details of …; show the reason for, or underlying cause of, or the means by which … occurs
illustrate offer an example or examples to show how or that, or make concrete the concept of …
interpret make clear the meaning of … and its implications
justify give reasons why certain decisions should be made, or certain conclusions reached
outline go through and identify briefly the main features of …
prove show by logical argument
review report the chief facts about …;offer a criticism of …
summarise describe … concisely
trace identify and describe the development or history of … from some point, or from its origin

Adapted from:

Marshall, L. & Rowland, F. 1993 2nd Ed. A guide to learning independently. Longman Cheshire, Milton, Qld.

Peters, P. (1985). Strategies for student writers. Wiley & Sons, Melbourne.

Overall an ESL Essay

?? explains your position about a particular topic
?? may be explaining or defending your position
?? may be reflective and draw upon personal experience
?? set up with a stated thesis at the beginning and supporting paragraphs

Common Types of
ESL Essays

?? descriptive
- provides details of how something looks, feels, tastes, smells, etc.
- or what something is
- or how something happened
- lost of details
- Ex: what happened over your summer vacation
?? definition
- tries to define a specific term
- usually a word or concept that is not concrete
- Ex. what is friendship
?? compare/contrast
- looks at how two things are the same (compare)
- or different (contrast)
- or both
- lots of details and facts
- Ex. school when your were a child and school now
?? cause/effect
- why something happened (cause)
- or what happened because it did happen (effect)
- Ex. why tsunamis occur
?? process
- steps in how to do something
- needs to follow a very logical order
- Ex. how to distill salt from salt water
?? argumentative (persuasive)
- tries to persuade the reader to the writer’s point of view
- Ex. mandatory recycling
?? critical
- strengths and weaknesses of someone else’s work
- Ex. the use of color in Monet’s paintings

Ex 1 Identify the topics below as to what type of ESL Essay they could be

a. critical   b. argumentative   c. process   d. cause/effect   e. compare/contrast   f. definition   g. descriptive

1. _____ public transportation is better for the environment than driving
2. _____ what happened to a town after a volcano erupted
3. _____ what honesty means
4. _____ what a skier has to do to become a champion skier
5. _____ two ways of celebrating birthdays
6. _____ how to be successful at math
7. _____ every college should offer free basic courses to the public
8. _____ similes in the work of poet Langston Hughes

How to Write a Good ESL Essay

So much goes into writing a good paper. You need to know a lot, and that means read a lot; you must sort through plenty of evidence, decide what you make of it, decide what material will help you make your case, and how to organize it. You must decide on your purpose, which means you must decide what you’re trying to say, why it is worth saying, and whom you’re speaking to. And once you’ve got the basic shape, you must make decisions about how to introduce your paper, conclude it, polish the sentences, integrate quotes, and so on.

You can’t do that in one draft. Forget it. – But how, then, do you break down the task? It helps to write an intermediate draft: one in which you lay out the goals of the paper, your thesis (or at least, the question you are trying to answer), the audience you imagine yourself addressing, and above all, the evidence you’ve come up with. We will call this the “research draft.”

It’s all tentative! Please note: the research draft doesn’t set your paper in stone. Your thesis may well change, and you may have to do more research, or leave out some of the material you planned to include. However, the research draft helps you make these decisions.

Content and Format

Your research draft should present the following:

Thesis and outline. Write the point you plan to make as a single, declarative sentence. Then, in a
series of single, declarative sentences, lay out your main supporting points. You can do this in
classic outline format, or simply as a list of sentences.

Evidence. Lay out the evidence you plan to use in your paper. This should be organized in a bulleted list, or in paragraphs. Distinguish between facts (actual information) and opinions (people’s views on it) and identify the name of the source (writer or publication).

Audience and purpose. In a few single, declarative sentences, clarify who you are talking to. This
is not the same as asking who will read your paper. I will read your paper, and your classmates;
but you are not really writing to us. You are writing to a figure of your imagination, and the more clearly you can envisage this person, the more easily you can clarify your purpose. Are you trying to persuade someone of your thesis? Are you explaining a complex issue to an outsider?

Problems. Here, explore some of the difficulties you might have. (As you work through the composition modules on using introductions, integrating quotes and so on, you can consider those decisions here.) Do you think you might struggle with organization? Are you still not sure of your thesis? Do you need more information? Clarify here.

Sources. List your sources, giving full names of writer and publication, date of publication, editor, or any other evidence that you will need to include.

What is in Each Part of an ESL Essay?

What are the main parts of an ESL Essay? Introduction, body, conclusion.

Why is an ESL Essay divided into these parts?

      This Arrangement makes the reader’s job easier. The information is presented in an order that is clear and logical.

What are the parts of an introduction?

      (1) General topic,

      (2) narrowing the focus,

      (3) thesis

Why does an introduction have these parts?

      Organized in this way, an introduction gives background to the topic and then focuses more and more on the specific topic. This enables the reader to understand the thesis more easily and completely. The reader can then read the body of the ESL Essay Services while making predictions about the kinds of information that will be given in the body.

What kinds of information can be put into each part?

      The general topic contains background information, locating the topic of the ESL Essay in a broader context. The next part narrows the focus by providing more specific information that the reader may need in order to understand the thesis. The thesis then appears, giving the main argument of the ESL Essay that follows.

What are the main parts of a body paragraph? (1) Topic sentence and (2) support.

Why does a body paragraph have these parts?

Beginning with a topic sentence gives the reader a clear idea of what kind of information is to follow. The support gives detailed information relating to the topic sentence.
What kinds of information can be put into
the parts of a body paragraph?
ESL Essays are open to all kinds of academic information and topics.
What are the parts of a conclusion?

      (1) Commitment to the thesis,

      (2) followed by expansion.

What kinds of information can be put into
the parts of a conclusion?
If the writer feels that he/she has proved the thesis, the thesis can simply be restated here, usually in a different way.  In the expansion, the writer links the thesis with more general related ideas that are not contained in the thesis. One common expansion is to make predictions about the future. Another is to generalize to a larger domain.
What are some common patterns of information in ESL Essays? Many longer ESL Essays (and letters to the editor, business documents, case studies, etc.) use the pattern: situation, problem, solution, evaluation. Other common patterns also occur.
What kinds of restrictions on vocabulary might occur in an ESL Essay? How might these restrictions vary from one part of an ESL Essay
to another?

      Vocabulary is topic related and academic (fairly formal). The main variation in language use in an ESL Essay is between general and specific, depending on what part of the ESL Essay contains it.

      The general topic at the beginning of the introduction is very general. So is expansion at the end of the conclusion. The support in the body paragraphs uses different degrees of specific information, however.