An essay is, typically, a written document that gives the writer’s argument a clear starting point-but the meaning is vague, ranging from that of a report, an essay, a small book, and an ordinary piece of literature. Essays used to be classified as informal and formal. However, in recent years, there has been a gradual transformation towards an increasingly open-ended approach to the concept of essay.
The most familiar version of the informal type of essay is the one that we are familiar with at school or perhaps more accurately the essay that students are expected to write for the examination. The term essay is often used to describe this type of essay, especially when we refer to it as the “test” or a “task.” Of course, the “task” may not be so much an academic problem as an issue of personal responsibility.
The formal type of essay is the sort that we encounter when we write academic works, or those that we submit for publication. The most important difference between the informal essay and the formal one is that the latter is typically a longer and more involved document than an essay used to satisfy the needs of the examination. The formal kind of essay generally provides much more substance for the reader and provides the writer with a better chance of success.
The difference between the two types of essays is also illustrated by their titles. In the academic context, the formal essay typically has its title taken from a particular topic. In the commercial context, the formal essay may be known by a slightly different title: an essay about a business opportunity. (A more informal title would be an opinion article.)
While the content of the essays in the academic context may be quite similar, the style and presentation can vary widely among different kinds of essays. This is because each academic body will have its own traditions, style, and procedures for grading essays. For example, in some institutions the term “report” is often used instead of the more formal “research essay,” while some institutions will call any essay that contains a set of arguments as a “report.”
One major distinction between the two types of academic writing is that while academic writing is typically an exercise in research and evidence, commercial writing is usually an attempt to persuade readers or convince them to a point of view. There are several types of persuasive writing out there, including advertising, marketing, advertising copy, sales copy, newsletters, public relations, and political speech writing, but the majority of persuasive writing is not actually done in the context of an academic context. Most academic writing is done for an audience who will be reading the work, not for another set of readers.
Another difference between the two forms of writing is that while academic writing is meant for the scholarly audience, commercial writing is usually written for other professionals, such as editors and publishers. It can even be sold.
There is no single definition of what is an essay, but it is clear that both the informal and the formal styles of writing can be used in the same writing task. In other words, it can be written on almost any topic, as long as it gives the writer a clear starting point, provides a clear explanation of why the work is written, uses evidence-based argument, is well researched and organized, and follows the conventions of academic writing.
The purpose of the essay is not to provide a written summary of the topic, but to convince the reader to take a particular position or to endorse a certain approach or to support a particular conclusion. The purpose of the argument in the essay is to make the reader think and not just accept what the writer says without questioning. The essay should be logical, should be based on real evidence and the facts and research of the writer’s field, and not on personal opinions.
The type of essay that one writes also depends on whether it is a report review, criticism, or survey. In a report the purpose is to present results, which is usually limited to the author’s personal opinion and experience. In a critique of the purpose of the essay is to evaluate and give a critical examination of the author’s argument. The purpose of the survey essay is to make the reader see the subject from a different perspective, and to make the reader more familiar with the subject.
A common purpose of both the report and the critique is to promote some kind of awareness about the subject, which may also be a public service. Surveys are often written to obtain feedback about a specific topic or industry.