Personal and Expository Essay Topics

1. Choose one topic from either the list of personal essay topics (A) or the list of expository essay topics (8). 2. Write an essay of approximately 1000 to 1200 words
A. Personal Essay Topics

1. Write a personal narrative essay. Be sure to focus on a single, well defined incident with an explicit beginning, middle, and end from which you learned something about yourself, another person, or life itself. “My life with my alcoholic father,” for example, is too big a subject for a short narrative essay, but “The time my father hit rock bottom” is very likely to be sufficiently limited. Good subjects for personal narrative essays include the following: a move, a birth (if it’s exceptional in some way) or a death, a birthday or an anniversary, the loss of a prized possession, a moment of triumph or defeat. Your thesis should make a point about what this experience taught you. You may state this thesis explicitly or you may prefer to imply it.

2. Write a personal descriptive essay about a person, place, or thing. Be sure to establish a clear dominant impression that conveys the point you want to make about your subject. All the details in your description should fit with this dominant impression. Try to include a broad range of sensory impressions: not just how your subject looks but also how it sounds, feels, smells, moves.
It’s often easier to establish this dominant impression through contrast: the changes in a place or a person or the difference between what you thought something would be and what it actually was. (Locate the essay “Two Ways of Viewing the River” by Mark Twain for a good example.) It’s also often easier to write an effective description of a person by describing a room or a location that you associate with him or her. (See if you can locate the short story “The Boat” by Alistair MacLeod for a good example.)
B. Expository Essay Topics

Comparison/Contrast Choices
1. Compare OR contrast two professional athletes. 2. Contrast two vampires. 3. Contrast two hosts of late-night talk shows. 4. Contrast one decade to another decade.
Division-Classification Choices
1. Discuss types of television comedies. 2. Discuss types of sports fans. 3. Discuss types of people waiting in line. 4. Discuss types of drivers.
Directional Process Choices
1. Discuss how to treat a medical condition such as, for example, addiction to painkillers, arthritis, respiratory or digestive disease, or multiple sclerosis. NOTE: If you choose this topic, assume a general adult population of readers. DO NOT make this a medical paper. DO NOT use technical language. Credit the sources of any medical information that is not common knowledge. Your tutor will return your essay for revision if these criteria are not met.
2. Discuss how to buy a condo, a car, a computer, etc. 3. Discuss how to travel to faraway places. 4. Discuss how to improve your skills in a specific sport.

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