Qualities of a Good Essay are given in this article. Essay being the reflection of writer's whims, caprices, idiosyncrasies and rationality, it is difficult to bind it in a few stereotyped qualities. As the subject‐matter includes "Anything from the Day of Judgment to a pair of scissors", as Lynd puts it, the qualities are likely to be different from essay to essay. All the essays, however, possess some common qualities.
Qualities of a Good Essay:
Essay is an organic whole but not inshaped lump. It is divided into paragraphs of different lengths.
Essay is like a building which is no doubt, made of individual bricks but each brick is not called "a building". It is the unity of design, which goes to make the building. Similarly every sentence, each paragraph and essay as a whole should have unity. The systematic development of thought is the key‐note of a good essay. Digression and unnecessary padding will defeat the very purpose of an essay.
The ideas in the essay should not hang loose like gossamer but should be stitched together in a logical sequence. Ideas in the essay are interlinked like the links of chain. Disjointed ideas will mar the beauty of the essay. The hotch‐potch of ill‐digested ideas creates anarchy in the essay.
A proper proportion should be maintained between the various parts of the essay. If the trivial points are unduly stretched and important points unduly economized, the essay will have ill‐balance which is a disqualification. The main theme should always be kept in mind. Suppose the essay has to be written in about 1,000 words, the best division of paragraphs and points would be to put approximately:
(i) 100 words in the introduction.
(ii) 100 words in different paragraphs numbering 8, and
(iii) About 100 words in the conclusion.
Choice of Subject:
Choose the topic with which you are thoroughly acquainted. Some students select unfamiliar subject, thinking that the attempt may bring them more marks but it is simply wishful thinking. A man who is the master of the topic with which you have got only nodding acquaintance, will secure definitely higher marks than you. Understand the subject thoroughly before you start writing. Wrong start will mean wrong essay.
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