Reasons for writing

People write less and less these days and the writing that many people do is often confined to text messages and emails. The former has its own characteristics and ‘rules’ and these are often very far removed from any formal writing. The latter often encourages a very informal style and many people take pleasure in avoiding the use of capital letters and most punctuation rules altogether. Whilst we would have received letters from friends in the past, today we rarely receive a letter from a friend through the post.

However, we do still write from time to time.

  • occasional letters to friends
  • love letters (if we’re lucky!)
  • letters to the bank manager (when we’re not so lucky!)
  • letters to our mum
  • application letters

Some of us write for other reasons too, often related to work:

  • work reports
  • project proposals
  • recommendations
  • project assessments
  • sets of instructions

Occasionally, some of us write for our own pleasure:

  • short stories
  • poems
  • novels
  • an autobiography
  • the history of our town

Is essay writing more difficult than other forms of writing? Not necessarily more difficult, but certainly different! Essay writing for an academic course is certainly very different from many other forms of writing and in some ways it is more difficult because it has to follow a precise set of formal rules.

Complete Task 3 and then look at the feedback section.


List down the reasons why you think academic writing might be more difficult than other types of writing.

Notes on Task

  • We are writing about subjects that we don’t know very much about. We are in fact writing in order to learn. Our aim is to learn more about our subject and our essay demonstrates what we have learnt.
  • We have to be very precise in what we say in an essay. We can’t waffle!
  • We have to refer to the writing of other writers.
  • We have to build up an argument in our essay.
  • The essay must be logical and supported with supporting evidence from other sources.
  • Essay questions are sometimes difficult to understand. They can be complex and demanding.
  • We are sometimes not quite sure about the audience……the reader.
  • We get marked on our essays!

You may have thought of some important points that we have not included in our list. Which do you think are the most important points?