Essentially, an essay is a collection of paragraphs just as sentences are a collection of words, and a paragraph a collection of sentences. This however is a Layman’s look at it. Generally, an essay is a long piece of writing that is divided into paragraphs made up of the introduction, the body and the conclusion. It is normally written from the writer’s own point of view. A skillfully planned and organized essay is clear, illuminating and informative (Taft College, 2010).
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As a literary device, an essay is a very vital tool for any intellect. In formal education, essays are useful as a pedagogical tool. This is to say that essays are useful in teaching. Instructors in learning institutions use essays to determine the mastery and comprehension of a certain concept or learning material (Essay 2007). By subjecting students to explanations, assessment and presentation of comments in form of essays, tutors gauge whether they are making progress. By learning the essay format structure, students acquire the necessary writing skills. An essay is also a literary genre. Authors such as Michel de Montaigne described their works as essays. These were used objectively to discuss certain themes in life, and are still in use currently for such purposes.
Any essay must contain an introduction, a body and conclusion (Gallaudet University, 2009). Much of an essay is contained in the body. An essay ought to indicate progression from general details to specifics and back again to the general level as one reads from the introduction to the conclusion. An introduction clarifies what the essay is all about and therefore leads one into the topic. The statement in the introduction is then supported by major ideas in the main body each of which has its own paragraph and supporting ideas. In the conclusion, a reader is brought back to the essay topic where a final comment is made, often after all points are summarized together (Lilly, 2005).