English JSSCE Notes

Composition/Essay writing

Composition writing

Composition writingis a process to take. One of the first things to consider is to determine what type of composition to be used. When you are going to write, you usually have a central purpose or central idea in communicating your readers. You also aim to produce some effects to the readers. These purpose or ends is the one that determines the type of discourse that you are going to use in writing a composition.

Types of composition writing

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.

Narrative Essay

A narrative essay relates mainly, a sequence of events. It tells what happened and how it happened and is often indistinguishable from a short story.

Characteristics of Narrative Essay.

1. It must have beginning that is interesting and arresting.

2. It must proceed in a chronological sequence to the end.

3. The use of past tense is highly essential since the narrative involves past events.

4. The narration must be presented in a sequential order.

5. You must avoid verbosity and an unnecessary elaboration of a particular incident

The Descriptive Essay

This consists of description.

A descriptive essay is one that requires a writer to write a description of an object, a person, an animal, an incident or a scene. 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.

Characteristics of a Good Descriptive Essay

* The writer must be orderly in the presentation of facts.

* Clarity of expression is necessary. The use of simple and straight-forward language is required.

* The use of simple present tense is very common but the writer is free to use other tenses as the need arises.

* There must be particular emphasis on objects or things being described. The description must be vivid enough with the use of good and appropriate vocabulary.

* The use of adjective is highly indispensable.

Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay is the one that requires a writer to present a subject with a view of persuading the reader to agree with the writer’s  point of view.

Characteristics of a Good Argumentative Essay.

* The argument must be convincingly presented.

* There must be clarity of expression and the ideas presented must not be disjointed.

* ‘Pro’ arguments should be kept separate from ‘con’  arguments.

* The strongest argument, both on the ‘pro’ side and on the ‘con’ side, should be left to the last.

*  Verbosity should be avoided.

Expository Essay

An expository essay is the one that requires a writer to write on an exposition or explanation of an idea or how to do or make some thing. 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. The following constitute the areas in which expository essay may feature.

i. How mechanics work

ii. How things are made

iii. How certain processes are carried out

iv. Definition of concepts.

The explanation might be clean so as not to confuse the reader or audience.

It must contain a vivid explanation of things.


Give a brief explanation of each of the following.

i.   Narrative essay

ii.  Descriptive essay

iii. Argumentative essay

iv. Expository essay

Reading Assignment

Type of essay


English Language communication skills page 103 – 108.


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