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Getting To Know Different Genres Of Writing

We can understand “genre” to mean a different approach to writing, or a particular type or way of writing. Genres are not specific just to writing. Music, plays and other forms of entertainment and art all have genres of their own. Genres are constantly evolving. Conventional genres may be given a new spin by an up and coming young author, for example “cyber-romance”.

Others, like the “argument” genre remain fairly static. The topics being debated may change, but the strategies and organizational structure of this kind of essay remains much the same.

Perhaps the primary distinction we make when writing is if the work is intended to be a fiction or nonfiction piece. Fiction, as we know is not true or real. Nonfiction is the opposite. Much of the academic writing you will be required to do will be nonfiction. These are three of the most common genres of writing you will come across in your academic travels.

The Explanatory Essay Genre

As suggested by the name, the primary objective of an explanatory essay is to explain why or how something happens or works. Examples of topics that could fall into this genre would include how a piston engine works, or why the tides rise and fall.

Explanatory essays start off by describing the event, process or action that will be explored in the essay. Cause and effect are explained to build a clear picture in the readers mind of how or what is occurring. The essay may be organized in a chronological order to make the explanation easier for the reader to follow.

The Descriptive Essay Genre

A successful descriptive composition will paint a picture in the reader's mind of the topic of the essay. It could be the surface of the moon, or your best friend's wedding. The goal is to use carefully selected language, including lots of vivid adjectives and adverbs to show what your subject is, as opposed to talk about it.

The Argumentative Essay Genre

The point of an argumentative essay is to take a position on an issue or matter, and defend it. A lawyer would use this approach when submitting his client's written plea in a court of law. A scientist whose work changes our current understanding of solar radiation would also be making an argument, and could thus present his findings using this genre of writing.

Argumentative essays usually start off with the writer stating the position he or she plans to defend. The argument is then backed up by the supporting paragraphs, which build a case for why the author's position is the correct one. It is important to maintain a logical sequence of thought, and/or events when writing an argumentative essay.

There are many other genres of writing, and much crossover between them. Certain genres may be more effective in certain disciplines, and the instructions you have received from your teacher will play a crucial part in deciding which is the best way to approach any given topic.

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