A persuasive essay is meant to convince the reader of the author’s point of view on a particular issue. Typically, such an essay will also include a call to action. Thus, a persuasive essay should cause the reader to feel and act in a particular way.
A persuasive essay can be written on any topic on which people can have a difference of opinion. For example, an essay may argue that social media harms teenagers or that a community should adopt a noise ordinance. These both seek to sway the reader’s opinion to that of the author’s. In contrast, essays describing the social media habits of teenagers or telling the story of a neighborhood’s attempt to pass local noise ordinances are not persuasive because they do not present a specific opinion.
In writing a persuasive essay, it is vital to take a clear stance on an issue. The reader should be left with no doubt as to which side of an issue the writer supports. In addition, a persuasive essay must include facts and logical reasoning to show that the ideas put forth by the author are superior to other ideas on the topic. This type of essay should be written with a specific audience in mind to tailor the arguments and language to the intended readers.
When writing persuasive essays in an exam setting, keep in mind that the actual stance taken in the essay is not important. The graders don’t care about the specific opinion expressed in the essay; they only care that the opinion is well written and supported by logically relevant evidence.
An expository essay is one in which the author tells the reader something in a straightforward manner. This essay type is meant to explain, inform, or clarify a topic for which the reader may have no prior knowledge. It is also a chance for the writer to display his or her own understanding of a topic. Subjects for an expository essay might include many different sides, but an expository essay doesn’t dive into these controversies. Instead, it simply explains a topic with as much neutrality as possible.
To compose a successful expository essay, the author must present facts from verifiable sources and arrange the information in a logical sequence. Language should be clear and precise, and relevant context should be provided since the reader may not be familiar with the topic. It is important that the essay remains objective and does not include the author’s opinion.
PROMPT: Technology has launched us into a new era and, with it, a new way of living with and relating to one another. It has opened doors and allowed us to accomplish things that would have been impossible in the past: we are able to keep up closely with a large number of people in an easy and comfortable way. As it continues to develop, social media technology will, time and again, offer us new and better ways of staying in touch with one another and, because of it, will make our lives and our relationships fuller and more meaningful.
Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with this opinion. Support your position with specific reasoning and examples from your experience, observations, and reading.
One would be foolish to argue that technology has not had a real and pervasive impact on our daily lives. Many of us rely daily on cell phones, tablets, and computers that allow us to reach family, friends, and business associates with little to no trouble. However, this ease of access does not necessarily mean our relationships are improving: the impersonal and anonymous nature of social media and other communication technologies make it even more difficult for us to make meaningful, lasting connections with the people around us.
Social media is, by nature, impersonal. Though we are able to build personal profiles that reflect whom we want the world to see, these profiles do little to improve our connection and communication with others. In fact, it is these very tools that are distancing us from our fellow humans. Birthday notifications, for example, remind social media users every day of the “friends” who are celebrating that day. While this tool seems, in theory, to be a great way to keep up with others, it actually desensitizes us. In truth, when I receive birthday notifications via social media, I end up either ignoring them altogether or sending an impersonal “Happy Birthday” just to be able to say I did. In fact, I never send birthday notes via social media to friends and family whose birthdays I actually care about because I do so in a more personal way—via a phone call or in person. Furthermore, I don’t need an app to remember those birthdays. Though it may seem more useful or convenient to be able to stay in touch through social media, the relationships that rely on it are, in my experience, rarely very meaningful. By allowing us to stay in touch with larger numbers of people, social media also makes our connections shallower.
In addition to being impersonal, social media and other communication technologies can also be anonymous, creating a world of users that are disconnected from the things they post and read and, ultimately, from each other. Cyberbullying has been a significant concern of the twenty-first century, with numerous incidents leading to depressing outcomes, like teenage suicide. Through the lens of social media, bullies are able to disregard the humanity of the person on the other end and say things that they might never say in real life. A similar effect is clear during important political events: people post, with aggressive fervor, in favor of their own beliefs and respond, with equally aggressive insults, to anyone they disagree with. While this may, on the surface, seem to encourage open dialogue, social media and other communication technologies fail to have any effect on the quality of the conversation itself. Rather than learning to interact with one another respectfully, a tactic that may actually lead to increased understanding and greater acceptance of others, social media users learn that what they say has little to no consequence in real life.
The sense of community created by social media is deceptive. The ease with which people can “connect” often makes those connections meaningless. The friend who “Likes” a photo you post isn’t putting any real energy into that friendship—he just clicked once and moved on. Similarly, people can use the anonymity of the internet to just as easily create enemies. One angry comment (that would never be said face-to-face) can launch a hundred nasty replies. These types of relationships don’t make our lives fuller or more meaningful. They make our lives empty and shallow.