English 193 Point Of View Essays Types

Four types of essay: expository, persuasive, analytical, argumentative

For our academic writing purposes we will focus on four types of essay. 

1) The expository essay


What is it?
This is a writer’s explanation of a short theme, idea or issue.

The key here is that you are explaining an issue, theme or idea to your intended audience. Your reaction to a work of literature could be in the form of an expository essay, for example if you decide to simply explain your personal response to a work. The expository essay can also be used to give a personal response to a world event, political debate, football game, work of art and so on.

What are its most important qualities?
You want to get and, of course, keep your reader’s attention. So, you should:

  • Have a well defined thesis. Start with a thesis statement/research question/statement of intent. Make sure you answer your question or do what you say you set out to do. Do not wander from your topic. 
  • Provide evidence to back up what you are saying. Support your arguments with facts and reasoning. Do not simply list facts, incorporate these as examples supporting your position, but at the same time make your point as succinctly as possible. 
  • The essay should be concise. Make your point and conclude your essay. Don’t make the mistake of believing that repetition and over-stating your case will score points with your readers.


2) The persuasive essay

What is it?
This is the type of essay where you try to convince the reader to adopt your position on an issue or point of view.

Here your rationale, your argument, is most important. You are presenting an opinion and trying to persuade readers, you want to win readers over to your point of view.

What are its most important qualities?

  • Have a definite point of view. 
  • Maintain the reader’s interest. 
  • Use sound reasoning. 
  • Use solid evidence. 
  • Be aware of your intended audience. How can you win them over? 
  • Research your topic so your evidence is convincing. 
  • Don’t get so sentimental or so passionate that you lose the reader, as Irish poet W. B. Yeats put it: 
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity
  • Your purpose is to convince someone else so don’t overdo your language and don’t bore the reader. And don’t keep repeating your points! 

  • Remember the rules of the good paragraph. One single topic per paragraph, and natural progression from one to the next. 
  • End with a strong conclusion. 


3) The analytical essay

What is it?
In this type of essay you analyze, examine and interpret such things as an event, book, poem, play or other work of art. 

What are its most important qualities?
Your analytical essay should have an:

  • Introduction and presentation of argument 
    The introductory paragraph is used to tell the reader what text or texts you will be discussing. Every literary work raises at least one major issue. In your introduction you will also define the idea or issue of the text that you wish to examine in your analysis. This is sometimes called the thesis or research question. It is important that you narrow the focus of your essay.
  • Analysis of the text (the longest part of the essay) 
    The issue you have chosen to analyze is connected to your argument. After stating the problem, present your argument. When you start analyzing the text, pay attention to the stylistic devices (the “hows” of the text) the author uses to convey some specific meaning. You must decide if the author accomplishes his goal of conveying his ideas to the reader. Do not forget to support your assumptions with examples and reasonable judgment.
  • Personal response
    Your personal response will show a deeper understanding of the text and by forming a personal meaning about the text you will get more out of it. Do not make the mistake of thinking that you only have to have a positive response to a text. If a writer is trying to convince you of something but fails to do so, in your opinion, your critical personal response can be very enlightening. The key word here is critical. Base any objections on the text and use evidence from the text. Personal response should be in evidence throughout the essay, not tacked on at the end. 
  • Conclusion (related to the analysis and the argument)
    Your conclusion should explain the relation between the analyzed text and the presented argument.

Tips for writing analytical essays:

  • Be well organized. Plan what you want to write before you start. It is a good idea to know exactly what your conclusion is going to be before you start to write. When you know where you are going, you tend to get there in a well organized way with logical progression.
  • Analytical essays normally use the present tense. When talking about a text, write about it in the present tense. 
  • Be “objective”: avoid using the first person too much. For example, instead of saying “I think Louisa is imaginative because…”, try: “It appears that Louisa has a vivid imagination, because…”. 
  • Do not use slang or colloquial language (the language of informal speech). 
  • Do not use contractions. 
  • Avoid using “etc.” This is an expression that is generally used by writers who have nothing more to say. 
  • Create an original title, do not use the title of the text. 
  • Analysis does not mean retelling the story. Many students fall into the trap of telling the reader what is happening in the text instead of analyzing it. Analysis aims to explain how the writer makes us see what he or she wants us to see, the effect of the writing techniques, the text’s themes and your personal response to these.


4) The argumentative essay

What is it?
This is the type of essay where you prove that your opinion, theory or hypothesis about an issue is correct or more truthful than those of others. In short, it is very similar to the persuasive essay (see above), but the difference is that you are arguing for your opinion as opposed to others, rather than directly trying to persuade someone to adopt your point of view.

What are its most important qualities?

  • The argument should be focused
  • The argument should be a clear statement (a question cannot be an argument)
  • It should be a topic that you can support with solid evidence
  • The argumentative essay should be based on pros and cons (see below)
  • Structure your approach well (see below)
  • Use good transition words/phrases (see below)
  • Be aware of your intended audience. How can you win them over?
  • Research your topic so your evidence is convincing.
  • Don’t overdo your language and don’t bore the reader. And don’t keep repeating your points!
  • Remember the rules of the good paragraph. One single topic per paragraph, and natural progression from one to the next.
  • End with a strong conclusion.


Tips for writing argumentative essays:
1) Make a list of the pros and cons in your plan before you start writing. Choose the most important that support your argument (the pros) and the most important to refute (the cons) and focus on them.

2) The argumentative essay has three approaches. Choose the one that you find most effective for your argument. Do you find it better to “sell” your argument first and then present the counter arguments and refute them? Or do you prefer to save the best for last?

  • Approach 1:
    Thesis statement (main argument):
    Pro idea 1
    Pro idea 2
    Con(s) + Refutation(s): these are the opinions of others that you disagree with. You must clearly specify these opinions if you are to refute them convincingly.
  • Approach 2:
    Thesis statement:
    Con(s) + Refutation(s)
    Pro idea 1
    Pro idea 2
  • Approach 3
    Thesis statement:
    Con idea 1 and the your refutation
    Con idea 2 and the your refutation
    Con idea 3 and the your refutation

3) Use good transition words when moving between arguments and most importantly when moving from pros to cons and vice versa. For example:

  • While I have shown that.... other may say
  • Opponents of this idea claim / maintain that …            
  • Those who disagree claim that …
  • While some people may disagree with this idea...

When you want to refute or counter the cons you may start with:

  • However,
  • Nonetheless,
  • but
  • On the other hand,
  • This claim notwithstanding

If you want to mark your total disagreement:

  • After seeing this evidence, it is impossible to agree with what they say
  • Their argument is irrelevant
  • Contrary to what they might think ...

These are just a few suggestions. You can, of course, come up with many good transitions of your own.

4) Use facts, statistics, quotes and examples to convince your readers of your argument


ENGL 103 Writing from Sources (5)
Developmental and practice of reading, writing, and critical thinking strategies needed to create organized and correctly documented papers using academic sources. Practices critical reading of academic texts, developing research questions, making claims, determining credibility of sources, and appropriately citing sources in writing. Prerequisite: either ENGL 102 or placement by test score. Offered: AWSpS.
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ENGL 182 Composition: Multimodal (5) C
Study and practice of strategies/skills for effective writing/argument in various situations, disciplines, genres; explicit focus on how multimodal elements of writing--words, images, sound, design, etc.-- work together to produce meaning. Cannot be taken if student already received a 2.0 or higher in ENGL 111, 121, or 131.
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ENGL 211 Literature, 1500-1800 (5) VLPA Coldewey, Remley, Shields, Streitberger
Introduces literature from the Age of Shakespeare to the American and French Revolutions, focusing on major works that have shaped the development of literary and intellectual traditions in these centuries. Topics include: The Renaissance, religious and political reforms, exploration and colonialism, vernacular cultures, and scientific thought. Offered: AWSpS.
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ENGL 212 Literature, 1700-1900 (5) VLPA
Introduces eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, focusing on representative works that illustrate literary and intellectual developments of the period. Topics include: exploration, empire, colonialism, slavery, revolution, and nation-building. Offered: AWSp.
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ENGL 259 Literature and Social Difference (5) VLPA, DIV
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ENGL 265 Introduction to Environmental Humanities (5) I&S/VLPA, DIV
Introduces the study of the environment through literature, culture, and history. Topics include changing ideas about nature, wilderness, ecology, pollution, climate, and human/animal relations, with particular emphasis on environmental justice and the unequal distribution of environmental crises, both globally and along class, race and gender lines.
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ENGL 270 The Uses of the English Language (5) VLPA
Surveys the assumptions, methodologies, and major issues of English in its cultural settings. Connects English language study with the study of literature, orality and literacy, education, ethnicity, gender, and public policy.
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ENGL 282 Intermediate Multimodal Composition (5) VLPA, C
Strategies for composing effective multimodal texts for print, digital physical delivery, with focus on affordances of various modes--words, images, sound, design, and gesture--and genres to address specific rhetorical situations both within and beyond the academy. Although the course has no prerequisites, instructors assume knowledge of academic writing.
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ENGL 285 Writers on Writing (5) VLPA Bosworth, Kenney, Shields, Sonenberg
Experiencing literature from the inside. Members of the creative writing faculty and other practicing writers discuss their poetry, fiction, and literary nonfiction, literary inspiration, artistic practice, and the writer's life.
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ENGL 302 Critical Practice (5) VLPA
Intensive study of, and exercise in, applying important or influential interpretive practices for studying language, literature, and culture, along with consideration of their powers/limits. Focuses on developing critical writing abilities. Topics vary and may include critical and interpretive practice from scripture and myth to more contemporary approaches, including newer interdisciplinary practices. Prerequisite: minimum 2.0 in ENGL 202.
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ENGL 313 Modern European Literature in Translation (5) VLPA
Covers selected fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction (diaries, manifestos, etc.) in translation by European writers from the mid-19th century to the present. Considers questions of aesthetics, history, and form. Writers may include Bachmann, Baudelaire, Brecht, Celan, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Ferrante, Flaubert, Ibsen, Jelinek, Kafka, Perec, Proust, Rilke, Tsvetaeva, and Undset.
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ENGL 319 African Literatures (5) VLPA, DIV Chrisman
Introduces and explores African literatures from a range of regions. Pays particular attention to writings connected with the historical experiences of colonialism, anti-colonial resistance, and decolonization. Considers the operations of race, gender, nationhood, neocolonialism, and globalization within and across these writings. Offered: AWSp.
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ENGL 334 English Novel: Later Nineteenth Century (5) VLPA
Examines the high water mark of the realist novel, as well as its fragmentation into popular genres like science and detective fiction and the emergence of literary modernism. Possible authors include: George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Robert Louis Stevenson, Marie Corelli, Olive Schreiner, H.G. Wells, and Joseph Conrad.
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ENGL 337 The Modern Novel (5) VLPA
Explores the novel in English from the first half of the twentieth century. May include such writers as Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, Gertrude Stein, E.M. Forster, Claude McKay, Elizabeth Bowen, Raja Rao, William Faulkner, Jean Rhys, and Edith Wharton. Includes history and changing aesthetics of the novel as form, alongside the sociohistorical context.
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ENGL 338 Modern Poetry (5) VLPA
Covers poetry from the 1890s through the 1940s, focusing on modernism and the avant-garde. This period, with the birth of free verse, is one of formal and social tumult. Likely topics include Imagism and Dada; the Harlem Renaissance; World War I and the Great Depression; urbanization; and the New Woman. Authors may include Eliot, H.D., Hughes, Loy, Moore, Pound, Stein, Stevens, Williams, and Yeats.
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ENGL 339 English Literature: Contemporary England (5) VLPA
Engages literary-historical approaches to the post-1945 period in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Emphasizes the history and aesthetics of form, alongside issues of contemporary society. Social realism, literary experimentation, dialect, the fate of the bildungsroman, and questions of nationality may be foregrounded. Possible authors range from Orwell to Zadie Smith.
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ENGL 344 Studies in Drama (5) VLPA
Explores the workings and historical development of theatrical practices, including performance and spectatorship more broadly. Possible topics include genres of drama (tragedy, mystery play, melodrama, agitprop); histories of drama (Elizabethan theater, Theater of the Absurd, the Mbari Mbayo club, In-Your-Face Theater; and theorists of performance and dramaturgy.
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ENGL 348 Studies in Popular Culture (5) VLPA
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ENGL 351 American Literature: The Colonial Period (5) VLPA
Examines writings from the earliest explorations of America, encounters with, and responses from, indigenous peoples, and colorization, through the early period of the United States. Readings may include a variety of genres from histories, captivity narratives, autobiographies, to the first novels and poetry of the republic.
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ENGL 353 American Literature: Later Nineteenth Century (5) VLPA
Explores American fiction, poetry, and prose during the latter half of the nineteenth century. May include such representative authors of the period as Twain, Dickinson, DuBois, Crane, Wharton and Chopin, along with supplementary study of the broader cultural and political milieu.
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ENGL 354 American Literature: Early Twentieth Century (5) VLPA
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ENGL 358 African American Literature (5) VLPA, DIV
Selected writings, novels, short stories, plays, and poems by African American and African-descended writers in or from the United States. Study of the historical, cultural, and intellectual context for the development of literary work by such writers, including attention to identity, power, and inequality. Offered: jointly with AFRAM 358.
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ENGL 361 American Political Culture: After 1865 (5) VLPA/I&S, DIV
American literature in its political and cultural context from the Civil War to the present. Emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to American literature, including history, politics, anthropology, and mass media. Includes attention to thinking critically about differences of power and inequality stemming from sociocultural, political, and economic difference.
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ENGL 363 Literature and the Other Arts and Disciplines (5, max. 10) VLPA
Examines the relationships between literature and other arts: for example, painting, photography, architecture, and music; or between literature and other disciplines, such as sciences (e.g. biology, physics, and math) and social sciences (e.g. sociology, psychology, fashion, and environmental studies).
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ENGL 365 Literature and Discourse on the Environment (5) VLPA Blake, Handwerk
Pays attention to verbal expression; forms and genres; and historical, cultural, and conceptual contexts of the natural environment. Focuses on sites, nations, and historical periods. Forms and genres include: nature writing, environmentalist discourses, the pastoral, the sublime, discourses of the city , fiction, poetry, nonfiction prose, dramatic forms, and religious texts. Offered: AWSpS.
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ENGL 372 World Englishes (5) VLPA, DIV
Examines historical, linguistic, economic, and sociopolitical forces involved in the diversification of Global/New Englishes. Attention to changing power relations, language hierarchies, and inequalities associated with the teaching, learning, and use of English. Explores current debates on linguistic imperialism and resistance, concepts of 'mother tongue', nativeness, comprehensibility/intelligibility judgments, and language ownership.
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ENGL 373 History of the English Language (5) VLPA
Explores evolution of English sounds, forms, structures, and word meanings form Anglo-Saxon times to the present. Topics include the history of standardizing practices, colonial/post-colonial English, the evolution of English words, and textual history. Prerequisite: either ENGL 370, LING 200, or LING 400.
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ENGL 382 Special Topics in Multimodal Composition (5, max. 10) VLPA, C
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ENGL 466 Queer and LGBT Studies (5) VLPA/I&S, DIV
Special topics in queer theory and lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) studies. Examination of ways lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer histories and cultures are represented in criticism, literature, film, performance, and popular culture.
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ENGL 506 Modern and Contemporary Critical Theory (5)
Engages ongoing critical conversations that inform English studies, including: language, textual production, disciplinarity, the university, capital, nation formation, postcolonialism, the environment, race, gender, class, and sexuality. The historical focus is contemporary, with attention to foundational modern theorists.
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ENGL 568 Topics in Composition Studies (5, max. 15)
Covers various issues in composition studies including: the history of composition study, contemporary composition theory, basic writing, service-learning pedagogy, engaged scholarship, new media and digital studies, writing assessment, writing across the curriculum, and writing program administration.
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