Essay Style and Argument Structure

Structure and style are two important elements of every essay. Proper academic essay writing structure helps get the intended audience interested and makes your paper look more logical. Even though the essay writing format may not be the most interesting field to master, it plays a crucial role in the process of academic papers writing. No matter how boring it may be to follow specific format of the paper, it helps meet the purpose of writing.

This article is an attempt to explain the relation between such notions as Style and Structure. The example of such relation can be explained using thesis statement. This element of an essay serves both as a structural and style feature of the paper. It is known that it usually goes at the end of introduction (structural feature) and also brings the main idea of the paper (style feature).

In the current article, we will try to explain how to structure an essay, as well as how to use paper style.

The main aim of the article is to show the relation between style and format in the academic writing essay to make it easier for students understand how these two elements influence the quality of their work.

How Essay Style is Related to Essay Structure

Essay Structure

Paper structure can be characterized as a form and a general outlook of a paper. However, such definition is to narrow, as the meaning of structure is much broader.

If you check any essay structure template you can find online, you will see that structure is everything that is not connected to word choice, voice and tenses used in a paper, as well as to sentence structures.

Moreover, it is almost impossible to provide one general structure that will suit to all cases in academic writing. Paper structure depends on such things as, for example, paper type, length, and even purpose. Besides, paper structure can also be perceived as one element related to the whole essay or as a part of a whole (for example, structure of a separate section or even structure of a paragraph).

Argumentative Essay Structure

As an example, let us have a look at argument structure. Just like any other essay, argumentative/persuasive essay traditionally has three main parts, which are Introduction, Main Body and Conclusion. However, such division is only a first level of structure, as each of these parts is further subdivided into sub-sections, which, in their turn, can also be broken down into smaller parts.

The most information in this essay is presented in the Main Body. Considering the type of an essay (argumentative), the closest attention in this case is paid to its argumentative elements and features. More specifically, we have to distinguish main arguments presented, provide existing contradictions and possible replies to these objections.

However, even in case of an argumentative essay, it is only one version of how information can be presented. Specific instructions from a professor can ask you to concentrate on some specific elements without considering the other ones. 

In this case, the structure that considers providing arguments, objections and replies will be used.

For instance, we can consider an example, where the argument we provide has both an objection and reply to it. It will help us understand how the notion of structure can be applied in such case. So, the objection here is given to one of the main argument statements.

It is an important part, as such choice also determines the structure where not the whole argument is being objected but its parts one at a time. The other version of argumentative essay could contain one main argument, one objection and one reply that would cover all the issue under discussion.

Depending on the purpose of writing, any of the offered paper structures can be chosen. However, the structure based on providing an argument, objection and reply to one statement at a time will help the audience understand the point you are making fasted compared to the structure, in which the whole main argument is followed by other elements. 

Essays Written for Media

This example will represent an essay structure used for a practical language style and context. This structure is not widely used in academic writing but it is well known by the writers who work for media. The name of the structure that will be discussed further is an inverted pyramid.  

This structure presupposes that the writer provides the most essential information as soon as possible. It can be written in the first few paragraphs, while the rest of the article gives the supporting and less important facts.

The point of such structure is writing for media is determined by the practical side of the issue. The deal is that for newspapers writing, the number of words is often quite limited, which makes it necessary to provide the most essential data at the beginning of the article.

Earlier, it was expensive to send long messages via telegraph. That is why, people tried to send as short messages as possible. Later, it became a widespread practice in writing for media.

The stories provided by the writers had to be literally pressed into a small column or a limited space on a newspaper page. As a result, long stories were fixed and shortened by the editors to deliver only the most important message and reveal the most essential data.

Consequently, inverted pyramid method helped editors reduce the articles without losing the main point and without making the stories unreadable. It made writers communicate essential elements of the story shortly and precisely from the very start without actually intriguing the public. In order to understand what such story is about, the readers could only read the first few sentences of paragraphs.

However, regardless of the practical nature of the inverted pyramid method, it is often criticized by many individuals. They sate that such writing is deprived of any basics of storytelling and is boring and unnatural. Critics stress that a normal story has to follow the basic structure, which begins with introduction followed by main body, and ending up with some conclusions. On the other hand, they consider stories written using pyramid as the ones that cannot satisfy readers’ needs, as they are deprived of possibility to reach some conclusions (which are normally provided at the beginning of an article).

However, the supporters of the current writing structure argue that using of a pyramid is a valuable and very useful alternative, especially for media business. Regardless of the fact that the journalists are not limited in space for their articles as they used to be before, conciseness still remains one of the most essential element of media articles writing.

Moreover, the researches proved that nowadays people are not paying much attention to long articles due to short attention spans. As a result, they tend to ignore them, unless they grab reader’s attention right away from the first lines, which is one more argument supporting using the inverted pyramid writing structure.

Essay Style

Compared to the essays structures, paper style is much more complex concept. While the structure of the paper can even be presented in a form of a diagram, style is not as easy to explain and represent. For example, it is difficult to say what the proper style for an argumentative essay is. There is much information available on the Internet, which tries to explain the notion and meaning of style in writing. However, the key concept of style can be characterized as a set of choices the writer makes during the writing process.

These choices may include the perception of the target audience by the writer, self-perception in relation to the audience, goals and purpose of writing in regard to the context in which the writing is done, etc.

It can be said that style is much more important than structure and that is why it should be paid more attention to. While structure determines mostly visual representation of the article or paper, the style is responsible for the emotional reaction to what is written.

Besides, the structure is dependent on the writing style, not vice versa. The stylistic choices of the writer determine what structure will be the most appropriate one.

One more thing to remember before digging dipper into the essence of the style is that Style as a concept should not be simply understood as a set of rules that have to be followed. The notions of the style should be understood outside the manuals and standards. The basics they provide cannot explain the meaning of style fully, as they operate only basic elements of it.

Our following articles will help you understand the importance of style and how the style chosen by the writer can influence the quality of writing.