Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The style of the essay

The essay is relatively a modern genre. It is the product of practicality and modern common sense. As a consequence, its language is direct, without losing its elegance; its form requires simplicity but with extreme sense of care and rigor. Its content needs to be precise and reject any form of superficial details.

The essay writer will express what need to be said, and will omit what is not needed. He/she will meticulously plan and express everything with the minimum use of words. He/she will need to guaranty the text is not vague, filled with repetition, inconsistent and adorned with unnecessary rhetoric. With this in mind, he/she will need to thoroughly plan, research, execute and revise his/her work.

Friday, July 31, 2015

The function of an essay

The corollary function of an essay is that of persuasion. As that of “pure science” – expressed in some scientific articles – asserts its objectivity and disinterest in convincing by other means that aren’t facts. Thus, the essay is used to impulse certain ideas or to convince of certain positions regarding certain facts. In order to accomplish this function, the essay exposes data and concepts in an evident thesis. José L. Vega (1979) states in his essay “Stages and Processes of the Sociopolitical Evolution of Costa Rica” the following, “ Questions arise, till when do we wait for the historical initiative to be in favor of the development of sectors which have not benefited from the achievements of the agro-commercial model, nor by the new scheme of the industrial/financial/ technological integration we are so depended on?”. As you can see, this text is emotionally charged, by using a rhetorical question and accumulation of information, etc, these suggest a certain stance.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Important parts of an essay

Abstract. This is a proceeding in rhetoric and in a text that is relatively extended but that may help a great deal. This allows listing the elements you will talk about. Below are some examples:

This essay contains, first, several introductory chapters. Then, there are three “great aspects” related to poverty. They are organized as follows: the international aspect, which describes the unequal distribution of the World production; the social aspect, which deals with the inadequate distribution of the National Product; and the economic aspect, which indicated the errors while suggesting solutions in the contemporary mechanisms of production. Finally, the conclusion, attempts to give meaning to Man’s economic efforts. (J. Figueres. The Poverty of Nations).

This deals with my childhood memories: the landscape, things and people of Costa Rica and my youth in San José. This showcases a certain degree of intimacy, which is part of remembrance. The pronoun “you” collaborates in this narration, as well as other words and many other people. (L. Ferrero. The tree of memories).

The abstract or the mentioning of the topics or points that are being dealt with in the essay allows for comprehension and easy following of the exposing text.

Development. Each of the points mentioned in the abstract will be developed in their own order. For example, in the essay “The island we have become” by I. F. Azofeifa (1979) includes three main components: the Costa Rican geography, the national character and the historical process.

Recapitulation. In rhetoric, recapitulation is a summary or concise statement or enumeration of the principal points or facts in a preceding discourse, argument, or essay. It could also be done in the conclusion, but perhaps it is most effective when done at the end of a writing in order to highlight the points discussed. Here are some recapitulations:

May these very boring notes be a reminder in order to remember in our way, that we always had a carnival, even if crazy, unlike the Europeans we do not have a mask. The real difference with the Europeans is that they would become all pious by drawing a cross on their forehead and get ready to begin the Holy week. (M.A. Jiménez 1979).

In summary: there may be particles falling in black holes and successively disappearing from our region of the universe. These particles travel to small universes separate from our own. It is possible that these universes retake part at some other point. Perhaps they aren’t of much help to space travelers, but their presence means that we are able to predict less than what we expected, even if we found the theory complete unification (…) in the last few years, several researchers have begun studying these little universes. I don’t think anyone will become rich by copyrighting these or making money by selling space travel, but it has become a very interesting field of research. (Stephen Hawking 1994).

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Coming up with an essay scheme

Under all the main elements (motivation, purpose, abstract, development, recapitulation) you may write down the ideas that you are considering to talk about. On the way, you may introduce a subdivision under each topic, and further develop these ideas. However, in very brief texts these separations don’t truly exist.

Within the rhetoric apparatus, you may consider a way of organizing your ideas: by presenting them chronologically, in the order of cause and effect, or in a comparative manner, etc… These criteria will be dealt in the section “writing technique for essays”.

The scheme is an essential tool that helps generate a broad version of a text. The time taken to perfect and develop a text will be regained during the writing process.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The purpose of an essay

Purpose. In the classic discourse, the purpose becomes a brief mention of the general thesis the author wishes to propel. This is usually presented in the first few paragraphs of the essay. The following are some examples:

I will attempt to show how the social development and current human conduct aren’t achievements of our day and age, but rather, have issued from past events; this knowledge is a progression of ideas and actions that have been mended and transmitted through the years. (J. Jaramillo.  The Human Adventure).

It is worth mentioning that this essay attempts to demonstrate the decisive role, along with endogenous factors of change, that have played in the exogeny as a result of the rapid insertion of this country in the global market, starting from the 1840s. (J. L. Vega. “Stages and processes of the sociopolitical evolution of Costa Rica”).

My present design, then, is not to teach the method which each ought to follow for the right conduct of his reason, but solely to describe the way in which I have endeavored to conduct my own. (R. Descartes. Discourse on the Method).

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Writing an essay: Bibliographic research

An important step in writing an essay is researching the contents you wish to develop. Bibliography is the base for that labor. Its objective is to broaden the criteria, contrast views, and acknowledge the discussion’s background or records regarding a topic. Nevertheless, we are not looking for a founding criterion. To this respect, José Luis Gómez indicates that (1976):

For example, the true essay writer, in some special occasions will make use of the page footnotes, and this takes us to the core of our topic: citations, numerous in essays, have their own value in relation to what the essay writer is trying to communicate; it is important to highlight that someone came up with an idea, noted in the citation, but the “who” and the “where” lack of value. Citations are not important because an author mentioned them, but rather because they are efficient. The fact that citations are mentioned is with the intention to indicate that they are not on their own, but rather, form part of a cultural background that is being reviewed.

Ideas derived from bibliographies may be important, however, it must first be important for the essay writer. Therefore, base plan and revision must allow the drafting of ideas to illustrate, contrast, and compare ideas written by other authors.    


Regarding its extension or theme, the essay may resemble a monograph or scientific article. However, if the latter is considered to be a report of the integrative process of scientific research, meaning that it mentions theories, procedures and sources in a neat and detailed way, we can then start to notice differences between what is a scientific article and a monograph. The scope of scientific research processes reported in these articles, can be investigated, analyzed, contrasted, and approached in depth as an essay.

In theoretical related works carried in the fields of philosophy and philology, essays may lack visible methodological device (such as: formulas, frames or methods) and may be presented in a conventional or established structure as that of natural sciences (with an introduction, problem (question to be answered), results/proof and ending with a discussion). Thus, these aren’t called scientific articles, instead named as “essays”. This is a type of writing that could be called “Humanities” articles.

Another type of writing that is similar to an essay is the newspaper article. L. Ferrero (1979) considers it as one of its variants, yet acknowledging that the topics are often temporary or fleeting. In contemporary newspapers, there is coexistence between inconsequential materials and true essays, that is to say, works that will survive in time due to their message. For instance, the main works by the Costa Rican author Cristián Rodríguez, have been rescued from the newspapers and published in a book (1988). As well, Tribuna Nacional (National Tribune 1993) has gathered 25 years of outstanding essays published on page 15 of La Nación (The Nation newspaper) in Costa Rica.

Friday, June 19, 2015


- TRY to link parts of the text by using LINKING or TRANSITIONAL words: Therefore, Thus, On the other hand, On the contrary. Don’t over used words such as "But", “Even though” or "However", these tend to be over used, always vary your linking or transition words as much as you can.

- Don't repeat words, expressions or syntactic structures. It becomes redundant and distracts the reader.

- Don’t over use the term "society", especially if you are referring to something so obvious to our environment, or the residents of a country or any particular location. "Society" becomes a senseless word, removing its “color” and essence. This is obvious in school texts where the use of this word becomes overly redundant and boring.

- Don’t conclude a text by imposing or by asking people to have a good conscience. It’s about convincing others not preaching others…

- Make sure the last sentence of the text has a “punch” or particular stress on the topic. May it be a conclusion in a sentence, or a verse, or a rhetorical question…but always end the text, don’t leave it “wide open”.

- ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK the writing. Proofread and revise the writing. If you are writing this during an exam, make sure to leave time for this crucial part. Don’t leave chunks of text for the end try to write everything properly from the very beginning, this will save you time and effort.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


The most general definition describes it as, “an essay is the literature of ideas”.  This means that aesthetic preoccupation and creation of expressive resources are added to utilitarian eagerness: approach and debate of current topics. Rodrigo Zeledon (1982) employs essays in order to “raise the interest of younger generations in the attractiveness of problems that come across in the broad field of the biological sciences”.

Another definition is attributed to J. Ortega and Gasset, in which they state, “an essay is science without proof”. This highlights the fact that an essay isn’t an irresponsible discourse but rather a text, which makes obvious the theoretical apparatus and the dryness of formulas in order to increase its readability and explicative capacity. José L. Vega Carballo (1979) points out the analytic scheme of one of his essays, “the here mentioned text should not be considered final or exhaustive, however, it is rather an approximation based on a global examination”.

The last definition proposed by Alfonso Reyes describes, “an essay is the literature in its most ancillary function”.  The word “ancillary”, meaning support, permits to express the subordinate role that the ornamental and imaginative has within this genre of writing. To this respect, Gómez de Baquero (1917) mentions, “an essay is located between the borders of two kingdoms: that of didactic literature and that of poetry, and makes excursions between both”.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


- Through the use of personal experiences, observations and CONCRETE examples, this manages to grab the reader’s attention much more effectively than general or abstract information.

- A brief anecdote or a funny memory – related to the topic you are writing about – are always effective to use. YOU MUST ALWAYS USE ELEMENTS YOU KNOW ABOUT don’t use ideas that don’t even convince you.

- The unexpected or the unforeseen is often more efficient to use than the ideas/elements that we might all know about. If you are including, for instance, a reference to a public figure, don’t use the gossip about these celebrities (unfortunately, a lot of people do). It is better to write about public figures that have done philanthropy, politics, culture or that may be considered intellectuals. You ought to be up-to-date with news and events, at least go and leaf through the newspapers.

Monday, June 15, 2015


- Do not use the typical beginnings of a sentence: In today's world, In our day and age, in our society, etc… Begin by using a "hook": from a personal experience, an anecdote, recent news, an unusual event… something that will GRAB the reader’s attention. Generally, you might want to avoid common sense or widely accepted ideas, unless you want to argue against them. For example, “Everyone knows that environmental concerns are a huge problem”, this is a very weak beginning. It will be better if you write, “My neighbor takes out three bags of garbage every day”, (this is just an idea…don’t all use the same!).

- NEVER use the SECOND PERSON (YOU) when being impersonal: This is a COLLOQUIAL FEATURE not recommended when writing in an objective and formal manner (When you go to this place, you find that….Instead, write as follows: As attending this location, there appears to be…Or, when someone goes to this site, there is...etc). You must make it impersonal.

- Don’t use "etc." in order to stop the writing. Only use this when you do not wish to elaborate something that seems evident or obvious.

- Don’t over write; don’t make your text too wordy and complex. Make sure it’s clear and straightforward.

- Don’t fall into colloquialisms, or inaccurate information: Incorrect syntax, lexical or spelling will disrupt the reader and defocus his/her reading.