An essay is a short piece of writing that discusses, describes or analyses a topic. It can discuss a subject directly or indirectly, seriously or humorously. It can describe personal opinions, or just report information. An essay can be written from any perspective, but are most commonly written in the first person (I), or third person (subjects that can be substituted with the he, she, it, or they pronouns). There are many different kinds of essays. The following are some of the most common ones:

The function of the expository essay is to explain something to the reader by giving directions or instructions, or to acquaint your reader with knowledge about how to complete a task or how something is done. You are demonstrating your own knowledge and explaining with facts, not your opinion. It is very important that your tone be reasonable and that your presentation be factual and believable.
Compare and Contrast
The essay could be an unbiased discussion, or an attempt to convince the reader of the benefits of one thing, person, or concept. It could also be written simply to entertain the reader, or to arrive at an insight into human nature. The essay could discuss both similarities and differences, or it could just focus on one or the other. A comparison essay usually discusses the similarities between two things, while the contrast essay discusses the differences.
Cause and Effect
The cause/effect essay explains why or how some event happened, and what resulted from the event. This essay is a study of the relationship between two or more events or experiences. The essay could discuss both causes and effects, or it could simply address one or the other. A cause essay usually discusses the reasons why something happened. An effect essay discusses what happens after a specific event or circumstance. Sources are often required in a cause/effect paper, and your choice of these sources is important as they reflect on the validity of your argument.

Argumentative (Persuasive)
An argumentative essay is one that attempts to persuade the reader to the writer’s point of view. The writer can either be serious or funny, but always tries to convince the reader of the validity of his or her opinion. The essay may argue openly, or it may attempt to subtly persuade the reader by using irony or sarcasm. Your approach is to take a stand on an issue and use evidence to back up your stance, not to explore an unresolved topic.

You must choose a side, make a case for it, consider and refute alternative arguments, and prove to the undecided reader that the opinion it presents is the best one. You must be aware of other sides and be fair to them; dismissing them completely will weaken your own argument. It is best to take a side that you believe in, preferably with the most supporting evidence. It can often be educational to adopt a different position from what you might normally choose (debating requires this kind of flexibility).

Written mainly for enjoyment. This is not to say that it cannot be informative or persuasive; however, it is less a formal statement than a relaxed expression of opinion, observation, humour or pleasure. A good informal essay has a relaxed style but retains a strong structure, though that structure may be less rigid than in a formal paper.

The informal essay tends to be more personal than the formal, even though both may express subjective opinions. In a formal essay the writer is a silent presence behind the words, while in an informal essay the writer is speaking directly to the reader in a conversational style. If you are writing informally, try to maintain a sense of your own personality. Do not worry about sounding
academic, but avoid sloppiness.

Critical Review
This type of essay can be either formal or informal, depending on the context. Its goal is to evaluate a work such as an article or book. Your personal, informed, opinion plays a significant role in the process. However, a certain objective standard needs to be maintained and, as in an argumentative essay, your assertions need to be proved.

The formality of the review will be determined by how much of the essay is analysis, how much is summary and how much is your reaction to the work you are reviewing. A more formal review will not only discuss the work on its own merits but also place it in  context. Newspapers and popular magazines often review in terms of finance: is this CD or film worth spending your money on? Critical journals will attempt to determine whether a new novel or play has achieved something new and significant. A good review will discuss both the qualities and the importance of a given work.

Research (Analytical)
The research essay leads you into the works of others and asks you to compare their thoughts with your own. Writing a research paper involves going to source material  and synthesizing what you learn from it with your own ideas. You must find texts on the subject and use them to support the topic you have been given to explore. Because it is easy to become lost in a wilderness of source material, you must take particular care to narrow your topic. A research paper should demonstrate what you have learned, but it should also show that you have a perspective of your own on the subject.

The greatest danger inherent in the research essay is plagiarism. If your paper consists of a string of quotations or paraphrases with little input of your own, you are not synthesizing but copying, and you should expect a low grade. If any of the borrowings are unacknowledged, you are plagiarizing, and the penalties can be severe.

In the literary essay, you are exploring the meaning and construction of a piece of literature. This task is more complicated than reviewing, though the two are similarly evaluative. In a review you are discussing the overall effect and validity of written work, while in a literary essay you are paying more attention to specifics. A literary essay focuses on such elements as structure, character, theme, style, tone and subtext. You are taking a piece of writing and trying to discover how and why it is put together the way it is. You must adopt a viewpoint on the work in question and show how the details of the work support your viewpoint.

A literary essay may be your own interpretation, based only on your reading of the piece, or it may be a mixture of your opinions and references to the criticism of others, much like a research paper. Again, be wary of plagiarism and of letting the opinions and ‘voices’ of more experienced writers swamp your own response to the work. If you are going to consult the critics, you should reread the literary work you are discussing and make some notes on it based on your own viewpoint before looking at any criticism.

• Title (sometimes followed by an introduction)
• Thesis statement, body and conclusion
• Appropriate paragraphing with main ideas
• Supporting details and examples
• Organization of ideas
• Maintaining coherence - using cohesive devices (such as pronouns, linkers)
• Presenting ideas without digression


Know how to write a biographical sketch is very important if you have the job of painting the picture of someone’s life or if you are interested in promoting yourself for a particular reason. A biographical sketch can vary depending on who it is being written for and about. The focus of a sketch written about other people is to explain who the person is and provide an overview of the person’s life. If the biographical sketch is written about you from your own point of view, the same criteria apply plus the goal is usually to present yourself in a positive light. There are some tips to writing biographical sketches that will keep people engaged and make others want to know more about the subject of the sketch.

There a few reasons why you would write a biographical sketch for yourself or someone else.
If you are considering writing one for yourself perhaps you need a biographical sketch for a book or maybe you are making a presentation and it was requested that you provide a biographical sketch to be included in a program. Most of the time when you are writing a biographical sketch about yourself it is for self promotion such as when seeking employment. Sometimes people will make professional portfolios that include a resume, pieces of their professional works and the biographical sketch.
 In instances where the biographical sketch is written about someone else, it is mainly for the purpose of informing an audience about that person’s life. These types of biographical sketches usually provide a very detailed account of a person’s life and will include such information as the person’s full name, occupation and their life’s activities. When writing a biographical sketch for yourself or about someone else it is important to consider why you are writing such a piece as this will help you decide what information to add to
complete the sketch.

Here are a few tips to help you compile and format all the information which is needed.
Get basic information about the subject - In order to effectively write a biographical sketch about a person, you need to obtain basic information about that individual. Such information as the person’s full name, date and place of birth and family background are some examples of basic information that can be used in a biographical sketch.
List Achievements and Influences - When writing a biographical sketch about an individual, you should mention his or her personal achievements and how accomplishing certain feats affected his or her life. Likewise, you can also incorporate any personal influences into the autobiographical sketch. There are many people who have a number of personal influences.
Arrangement of Information - Once you have gathered all the information that is needed to compose a biographical sketch, it is important that you have a format in which you will present the information. When writing a biographical sketch, there are a number of ways that you can format all the details. There are many sketches that are presented in book format with the story of a person’s life presented in chronological order. This is one of the more popular ways to present a biographical sketch, as it allows the reader trace the subject’s life from beginning to present day.
Verify Information - Before publishing or presenting a biographical sketch on an individual, it is very important that the information is confirmed as being accurate. If you are writing a biographical sketch, the subject is the best person to provide information about him or herself. If you obtain information about your subject from other sources make sure to verify its veracity.
Writing Your Own Biographical Sketch: The tips on writing a biographical sketch can also be used to write your own story. When a person writes their own biographical sketch it is called an autobiography.

Writing an autobiography is something that many people do. There are many famous people who have published autobiographies to either share their life story or to counteract an unauthorized biographical sketch that was written about them. Even you can write your own biographical sketch, and your personal biographical sketch can be an ongoing project that you can build upon until you are ready to share it with others.


  • Poster and advertisement are a kind of media useful for giving a piece of information to general public or a specific group of people. The prime feature of these discourses is grabbing the attention of the target group.
  • A picture or a caption which is catchy to the eye makes them attractive. These pictures or captions should also be appropriate to the context of the discourse.
  • Brevity and to the point expressions mark these discourses. Especially in posters and advertisements, the language used should be as brief as possible. If you observe any advertisement, we do not find any lengthy sentences. Only the necessary information is given in the form of catchy phrases and words.
  • A poster or ad has its own format and lay out. Following minimum lay out will make the poster etc., understand in a very short time. But care should be taken to include all the necessary details like purpose or context, venue, date, time, programme details, attractions etc. whichever are applicable.
  • Apart from brevity, these discourses contain persuasive language which attracts the reader. Rhythmic and slogan type of language is seen in posters and ads.
  • Also observe the graphics and pictures used in the above ad and also the other ads around you.


Scholarship applications, personal profiles and supplemental information are reviewed by a scholarship committee comprised of UA faculty and or staff. Depending on how many scholarships each applicant is eligible for, many applications are reviewed by multiple committees. The committees’ task is to match the scholarship program with a scholar.

Direct the readers. Why are you the exemplary choice to receive a scholarship? Committees will evaluate the following: leadership, extracurricular involvement, presentation (grammar, punctuation etc), your educational and career goals and plans, and any other information you feel the committee should know about you or your application. Try to touch upon each of those criterions in your personal profile and go into as much detail as you can within the 3000 character (approximately 500 words) limit. It is recommended that you compose your profile in a word processing program such as Microsoft Word, and then copy and paste into the box provided.

Effective profiles successfully do the following:
Give insight about who you are. They show us who you are, how you think, how you decide to act (or not act) upon something, how you approach a problem or dilemma, how you interact with your environment. Avoid being melancholy! You do have something interesting to write about. Don’t write a resume (unless asked for); let us know what makes you stand out amongst the other applicants. Your personal profile is read by committee members making scholarship recommendations so take the time to put your best foot forward.
Profile Brainstorms:

  • Describe activities you are involved in that relate to your educational plan or your future career.
  • Describe a scholastic achievement you have made, and why it is important to you.
  •  Describe contributions you have made to your community and/or campus and explain how those experiences have contributed to your personal growth.
  • Pick an experience from your own life and explain how it has influenced your development
  • Where do you see yourself 10 years from now. You may choose a topic that 200 other students write about (which is fine). But how you write about your topic can distinguish your essay from the pack.
  • Write logically where the reader can follow your train of thought. Make sure your sentences relate to each other. Use transitions when a change takes place in your story or you are making a new point.
  • Avoid redundant sentences and phrases.


Now, let us have a look at the features of a letter.
February 25th, 2017.

The Editor,
The Hindu,

Sir/ Madam,

I am a regular reader of your esteemed newspaper. I am very much interested in reading the news in ‘Friday Review’ in your newspaper every week. I am writing to bring to your notice certain feelings I had when I watched the colour version of the movie ‘Maya Bazaar’. Recently ‘Mayabazaar’ was released again but this time it was a different ‘Maya Bazaar’, Maya Bazaar-in colour! Thanks to the Goldstone Technologies, I was carried away to a different world of colourful visuals. Of course the audio part remained the same. But here and there the effects of digital track sound have made some difference. Such an experiment began in Hindi with ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ and received applause from the audience. I hope many such experiments are welcome to the film lovers.

Thanking you,
Yours faithfully,
Vijay Maruthi,
  • This is a letter written to the editor of a news paper. So, the language used is semi –formal. Personal reflections also find a place in it, as it is written to express the writer’s opinion.
  • The layout and format are of an official letter, where in we have certain expression like Sir/Madam, Thanking you, Yours faithfully, etc., which are the indicators of a traditional official letter. Other parts of the letter like the address of the writer, date, address of the receiver, the necessary punctuations also make the format.
  • There are 6 – 7 ideas in the letter, viz. establishing that he is a regular reader of the news paper (introduction), why the letter is being written (the reason), and personal reflections on the latest release of an old film in colour (the content). All these ideas have been arranged in a proper sequence without causing any confusion. This helps in a smooth reading and understanding of a text.
  • The letter does not look dry if the language is convincing and persuasive. Persuasive language urges the reader to read the letter completely. The expressions – ‘I am a regular reader of your…’, ‘I am very much interested in your…’ and ‘…to bring to your notice…’ come under this feature.
  • There are various ideas in the above letter as said above. These ideas are well linked with each other. Not a single idea stands discrete. Observe how different ideas are brought to coherence (linking of different ideas) using the linkers like – recently, of course, thanks to, etc., and the conjunctions – when, and, but etc