Writing is a medium of human communication that represents language and emotion through the inscription or recording of signs and symbols. In most languages, writing is a complement to speech or spoken language. Writing is not a language but a form of technology that developed as tools developed with human society. Within a language system, writing relies on many of the same structures as speech, such as vocabulary, grammar and semantics, with the added dependency of a system of signs or symbols. The result of writing is generally called text, and the recipient of text is called a reader. Motivations for writing include publication, storytelling, correspondence and diary. Writing has been instrumental in keeping history, maintaining culture, dissemination of knowledge through the media and the formation of legal systems. As human societies emerged, the development of writing was driven by pragmatic exigencies such as exchanging information, maintaining financial accounts, codifying laws and recording history. Around the 4th millennium BCE, the complexity of trade and administration in Mesopotamia outgrew human memory, and writing became a more dependable method of recording and presenting transactions in a permanent form. In both ancient Egypt and Mesoamerica writing may have evolved through calendrics and a political necessity for recording historical and environmental events. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Writing Definition of writing 1. 1 : the act or process of one who writes: as a : the act or art of forming visible letters or characters; specifically : handwriting 1 b : the act or practice of literary or musical composition 2. 2 : something written: as a : letters or characters that serve as visible signs of ideas, words, or symbols b : a letter, note, or notice used to communicate or record c : a written composition d : inscription https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Writing The Stages of Writing English Writing Any writing 101 course teaches that writing is an activity that takes time and cannot be treated as a one-step affair. They also know that readers expect much more than just correct grammar; they expect interesting, clearly written, and well organized content. The basic rule of writing says that you need to think about what you are going to write BEFORE you write and go over your writing a few times BEFORE sending it out or publishing it. This is because the act of writing is a complicated task, which involves many thought processes all going on at once. In order to produce written material more efficiently, these processes can be broken down into stages. These are defined differently by various approaches, with anywhere between 4 and 10 stages. We suggest the following six stages: 1. planning 2. drafting 3. revising 4. editing 5. proofreading 6. presenting 1. The Planning Stage It is very difficult and even futile to try and think about WHAT you want to write and HOW you want to phrase it in the same time. In planning, you try to foresee what you want your final text to look like, using the following points: • Define your writing topic and content area. Narrow your topic down to a specific angle that will be developed in your text. Make sure you are aware of any specific content or technical requirements you may have from teachers. Research and analyze information sources if needed. • Calculate the time needed to complete your writing task. Remember that even a 1,500 word college essay may take a few days to properly complete, so do not postpone writing assignments to the last minute! • Brainstorm and jot down any ideas, thoughts, arguments, words, and phrases you think are relevant to your text. • Organize your preliminary arguments into an outline following a logical order that would suit the general essay structure of opening, body, and ending. Put ideas in sub-groups that will later develop into paragraphs. 2. The Drafting Stage When writing the first draft of your text, focus on content only and FORGET about language and mechanical aspects such as grammar, spelling, and punctuation. You must write freely and try to find the best way to communicate your ideas. Do not get stuck checking spelling and other nittygritty at this point! That will stop your writing flow! Remember the following points: • The opening paragraph (introduction) should present the text’s topic. Refrain from using the first person when doing this (No: “In this essay I will present…”) and prefer a stronger opening technique to entice the reader to keep reading. For example, pose a provocative question; give a testimonial or illustrative story, or present interesting facts on the phenomenon under discussion. • The body (discussion) paragraphs should each present one idea or aspect of the general topic and begin with a topic sentence that will orient the reader to what follows within the paragraph. • Provide enough supporting sentences for the topic sentence, using examples, explanations, facts, opinions, and quotes. Consider the expected text length and go into detail accordingly. • Use connecting words (conjunctions and discourse markers, such as and, or, but, so, because, however, moreover, for example etc.) to logically unite arguments, sentences and paragraphs. • The ending (conclusion) should present summative remarks and repeat the text’s key idea or thesis in other words. Try to finish with a strong statement that will have your reader asking for more… • Orient yourself to the appropriate register called for by your audience and purpose of writing. Keep it simple when writing to young children; consider delving into polemics when aiming for university professors… • Try to diversify the words and phrases you use as much as possible, using synonyms, descriptive and figurative language, while considering the expected writing style of your text. • If time permits, read your draft very generally and redraft, making immediate global changes you feel are urgent. Don’t be too harsh on yourself and do not focus on fine nuances in meaning at this point. 3. The Revising Stage No text should be sent out or published without going over it at least once! Twice is even better. You must reread even the shortest business email to prevent any embarrassing mistakes (such as sending the wrong email to the wrong person, to start with). Revising means evaluating your text’s content and making sure you actually wrote what you intended in the planning stage. You may be surprised to hear that revising should take as much time as drafting! Go through the following checklist when revising: On a global level (text-paragraph), ask yourself: • Did I actually write on the required topic and used relevant arguments and examples, or digressed inadvertently? • Is each piece of information relevant to the paragraph it is in? Should I delete certain parts or move them somewhere else in the text? In other words, is your text cohesive and unified around one theme? • Does each paragraph and sentence logically follow and relate to what’s written before it? Is there enough or too much support to each topic sentence? Change accordingly. On a local level (sentence-word) ask yourself: • Did I use suitable connectors to present the logical relations between text segments (causeeffect, general-detail, compare-contrast, chronological order etc.) in order to make the text coherent? • Did I technically tie ideas together with relevant word choices, apt pronoun reference, and techniques such as parallelism and emphasis? • Did I diversify sentence types and lengths (from simple to complex, short and concise to long and elaborate)? Consider uniting two consecutive short sentences or dividing a long compoundcomplex sentence into two shorter ones. • Did I refrain from no-no’s such as run-ons, fragments, dangling modifiers, wordiness, or inappropriate register? Did I avoid sexist language? • Did I refrain from repeating the same ideas and words and used a rich and varied vocabulary? Did I use adjectives and adverbs for text enrichment? Did I mainly use my own words? • Do not attempt showing-off with a fancy word you do not know how to use properly. 4. The Editing Stage Editing is sometimes considered part of revising, but refers to judging your text for language and technicalities rather than content. This is the time for all you grammar lovers and nitty-gritty enthusiasts to meticulously scan the text for language accuracy. • Your sentences should adhere to proper word order rules, each containing a subject and a predicate. Use a variety of verb tenses correctly and appropriately (simple, progressive, perfect, and perfect-progressive tenses). • Be careful with subject-verb agreement issues. • Use a variety of language constructions to make your writing more precise and educated (comparative structures, relative clauses, conditional sentences, not too much of the passive voice etc.) • Use a dictionary or spell checker when not sure about spelling. Reread your text again for problematic homonyms (there-their-they’re). • Use a variety of punctuation marks accurately and consult a style guide when hesitating between a comma, colon, or semi-colon. • Edit for text mechanics: capitalization, numbering, italics, and abbreviations. 5. The Proofreading Stage Proofreading comprises that one extra step you need after revising and editing in order to locate any small mistakes you missed out on until now. Be it some urgent last minute content change or some spelling and punctuation that escaped your attention – this is the time to brush away those invisible blemishes before writing or printing out the final copy. Tip: For a second proofread, try and pinpoint mistakes reading the text backwards. You’ll be surprised at what you can find this way. 6. The Presentation Stage After the text itself is ready, it is time to work on some finishing touches with aesthetics polishing your text to perfection. • If you are handwriting your text, use a ruler to create margins on both sides of the page. Remember to double-space if required by a teacher. Write neatly and legibly! • When using a computer, be consistent with font usage, spacing, and heading levels. Always be on the look out for more tiny errors for last-minute on-screen corrections. • In academic papers, adhere to the strict citation conventions, dictated by your style manual. • Consider using indentation for every paragraph as well as larger spacing between paragraphs. The writing process may seem long and tiresome, but it is a guaranteed path to success. The more you use it, the sooner you will realize how you couldn’t do without it. This "writing 101" review article has given you the basics. You can access more useful pages through our English Lessons Portal. A paragraph (from the Ancient Greek παράγραφος paragraphos, "to write beside" or "written beside") is a self-contained unit of a discourse in writing dealing with a particular point or idea. A paragraph consists of one or more sentences. Though not required by the syntax of any language, paragraphs are usually an expected part of formal writing, used to organize longer prose. What Are Three Elements of a Good Paragraph? The three basic elements of a paragraph are a good topic sentence, a clear and concise body, and a conclusion that wraps up the point you're trying to convey. Combining these elements with clarity of thought and word, will ensure that what you're trying to say comes through loud and clear every time. Topic Sentence Topic sentences come at the beginning of each paragraph. Topic sentences should be general statements; introduce the overall idea without going into detail. The first sentence should also be indented. Your topic sentence is commonly referred to as the “controlling idea” of the paragraph. Body Sentences The body of the paragraph contains sentences that follow the topic sentence. Provide additional details and give a clear, coherent idea of what your paragraph is about. Insert facts, make arguments and analyze the issue. Conclusion The final sentences should sum up all of the information found in the topic and body sentences. By this point, you should have made your case. This is where connections are made. Think of the conclusion sentence as the reverse of the topic sentence; the final statement should be general, but sum up the entire paragraph. Coherent Details All three elements: topic sentence, body sentences and conclusion, should be presented in a clear and concise manner. The details in your paragraph should be clear enough so that a reader follows what you've written and understands it. An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author's own argument — but the definition is vague, overlapping with those of an article, a pamphlet, and a short story. Essays have traditionally been sub-classified as formal and informal. Formal essays are characterized by "serious purpose, dignity, logical organization, length," whereas the informal essay is characterized by "the personal element (self-revelation, individual tastes and experiences, confidential manner), humor, graceful style, rambling structure, unconventionality or novelty of theme," etc. Essays are commonly used as literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author. Almost all modern essays are written in prose, but works in verse have been dubbed essays (e.g., Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism and An Essay on Man). While brevity usually defines an essay, voluminous works like John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and Thomas Malthus's An Essay on the Principle of Population are counterexamples. In some countries (e.g., the United States and Canada), essays have become a major part of formal education. Secondary students are taught structured essay formats to improve their writing skills; admission essays are often used by universities in selecting applicants, and in the humanities and social sciences essays are often used as a way of assessing the performance of students during final exams. The concept of an "essay" has been extended to other mediums beyond writing. A film essay is a movie that often incorporates documentary film making styles, and focuses more on the evolution of a theme or idea. A photographic essay covers a topic with a linked series of photographs that may have accompanying text or captions. An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author's own argument — but the definition is vague, overlapping with those of an article, a pamphlet, and a short story. Essays have traditionally been sub-classified as formal and informal. Formal essays are characterized by "serious purpose, dignity, logical organization, length," whereas the informal essay is characterized by "the personal element (self-revelation, individual tastes and experiences, confidential manner), humor, graceful style, rambling structure, unconventionality or novelty of theme," etc. Essays are commonly used as literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author. Almost all modern essays are written in prose, but works in verse have been dubbed essays (e.g., Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism and An Essay on Man). While brevity usually defines an essay, voluminous works like John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and Thomas Malthus's An Essay on the Principle of Population are counterexamples. In some countries (e.g., the United States and Canada), essays have become a major part of formal education. Secondary students are taught structured essay formats to improve their writing skills; admission essays are often used by universities in selecting applicants, and in the humanities and social sciences essays are often used as a way of assessing the performance of students during final exams. The concept of an "essay" has been extended to other mediums beyond writing. A film essay is a movie that often incorporates documentary film making styles, and focuses more on the evolution of a theme or idea. A photographic essay covers a topic with a linked series of photographs that may have accompanying text or captions. Parts of an Essay The Introduction The introduction opens the essay. It is a short paragraph – usually about THREE sentences. In an argument essay, it usually describes or summarizes both sides of the present situation and says what you are going to do in your essay. Read more about Introductions here. The Body The Body is the main part of the essay. In an argument essay, it is divided into two or three paragraphs, giving your opinion and reasons. Each paragraph in the body is between FIVE and SEVEN sentences long. Read more about the Body of the essay here. Conclusion The Conclusion is the end of the essay. It is a short paragraph – about THREE sentences. It often has the same idea as the Introduction, only in different words. Some people think of the essay as a sandwich. The Introduction and Conclusion are the bread, and the Body is the filling in the center. If the introduction looks good, people will carry on to the body. Hopefully, the conclusion will leave them with a nice taste in their mouth… Four Major Types of Essays Distinguishing between types of essays is simply a matter of determining the writer’s goal. Does the writer want to tell about a personal experience, describe something, explain an issue, or convince the reader to accept a certain viewpoint? The four major types of essays address these purposes: 1. Narrative Essays: Telling a Story In a narrative essay, the writer tells a story about a real-life experience. While telling a story may sound easy to do, the narrative essay challenges students to think and write about themselves. When writing a narrative essay, writers should try to involve the reader by making the story as vivid as possible. The fact that narrative essays are usually written in the first person helps engage the reader. “I” sentences give readers a feeling of being part of the story. A well-crafted narrative essay will also build towards drawing a conclusion or making a personal statement. 2. Descriptive Essays: Painting a Picture A cousin of the narrative essay, a descriptive essay paints a picture with words. A writer might describe a person, place, object, or even memory of special significance. However, this type of essay is not description for description’s sake. The descriptive essay strives to communicate a deeper meaning through the description. In a descriptive essay, the writer should show, not tell, through the use of colorful words and sensory details. The best descriptive essays appeal to the reader’s emotions, with a result that is highly evocative. 3. Expository Essays: Just the Facts The expository essay is an informative piece of writing that presents a balanced analysis of a topic. In an expository essay, the writer explains or defines a topic, using facts, statistics, and examples. Expository writing encompasses a wide range of essay variations, such as the comparison and contrast essay, the cause and effect essay, and the “how to” or process essay. Because expository essays are based on facts and not personal feelings, writers don’t reveal their emotions or write in the first person. 4. Persuasive Essays: Convince Me While like an expository essay in its presentation of facts, the goal of the persuasive essay is to convince the reader to accept the writer’s point of view or recommendation. The writer must build a case using facts and logic, as well as examples, expert opinion, and sound reasoning. The writer should present all sides of the argument, but must be able to communicate clearly and without equivocation why a certain position is correct. Author’s Purpose: Three Reasons for Writing There are three main reasons or purposes for writing. Any text that you encounter (whether the menu for your favorite restaurant or Shakespeare’s Hamlet) will serve one of the three following purposes: 1. Writing to Entertain The primary purpose of texts that are written to entertain is to amuse readers. This does not mean that the text must be happy; the text could be a tragedy, but the main reason for writing the text is to amuse readers. Examples of Texts that Are Written to Entertain: Stories Poems Dramas Songs Of course, this is not to say that stories, poems, or plays cannot be informative. These texts may even express values and ideas that will persuade readers to view the world differently. Nonetheless, if the text is not entertaining, readers are unlikely to find enlightenment or be moved by such a text. Therefore, the primary purpose of any text, poem, play is to entertain readers. 2. Writing to Inform The primary purpose of texts that are written to inform is to enlighten the reader or provide the reader with information about a topic. Examples of Texts That Are Written to Inform Expository Essays or Articles Instructions or Directions Encyclopedias or Other Reference Texts Again, the lines separating these distinction may blur. A text that is written to inform may entertain readers. For example, many readers find reading the newspaper to be very entertaining, but the primary purpose of the majority of the text is to provide information. From other reference texts, some readers may learn about ninjas, dinosaurs, or robots solely for enjoyment, but the author’s main purpose in writing such texts is to inform the reader. 3. Writing to Persuade In a text that is written to persuade, the author’s primary purpose is to compel readers to take action, convince them of an idea through argument, or to reaffirm their existing beliefs. Examples of Texts That Are Written to Persuade Advertisements Campaign Speeches Persuasive Letters or Notes As with the others purposes for writing, there may be crossover with writing to persuade. For example, readers or viewers may find a television commercial to be extremely entertaining. Such a video may even go viral because so many people find it enjoyable. Nonetheless, the primary purpose of such a text is to persuade people to purchase a product or service.