What Is Discursive Essay?

It is an essay that focuses on a specific problem, issue, or controversy. Such an essay can be formal or informal. This task is included in the academic curriculum of many students because it helps them showcase their writing, analytical, and interpretive skills. The characteristic feature of any discursive essay is its objectivity. When covering a particular topic, the writer should do it in a maximally objective and unbiased manner providing the most accurate and relevant arguments. When writing a discursive essay, you need to avoid phrases like “I believe,” “I suggest,” “I opine,” etc. In addition, it is recommended to use the third-person perspective to make the essay sound objective. Writing a discursive essay requires working with peer-reviewed and credible academic sources to add value to arguments.

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There Are Three Types of Discursive Essays
  1. For and against essay. In such an essay, you need to discuss a controversial topic providing solid reasons for and against it. Before finalizing your essay, you need to state your personal opinion by giving your preference to one position;
  2. Opinion essay. This essay requires stating your opinion on a specific topic and proving it with solid arguments. When writing such an essay, the writer should also state the opposing viewpoint and explain why it is wrong;
  3. A solution essay. Such an essay informs the reader about a problem and suggests a solution to this problem based on an in-depth investigation.

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Discursive Essay Format

Impressive Example of Writing a Discursive Essay

Paragraph I: Introductory section

Present your subject. Provide some information about the situation in your region. Identify the factors that could cause such a situation. Follow the example given below:

Crimes are one of the most essential problems…

Recently, crimes have been increased/decreased.

Among the typical crimes are …

The terrible thing is that there is a rise in…

The decisive factor in this is the level of unemployment which…

One more reason for this is …

Notice: If you support a particular point of view, you need to present the opposing opinion first. On the contrary, you should do everything vice versa if you deny a certain statement.

Paragraph II: Supporting arguments

Explain why you adopt this position. Set out convincing reasons. Give good examples and present concrete facts.

Paragraph III: Opposing arguments

State the reasons for supporting this viewpoint. Site vivid examples and provide strong arguments.

Paragraph IV: Summarizing section

In this unit, you need to show your attitude towards the discussed question. You can use the following phrases:

To my mind…, As for me…, I find it….

Stylistic Peculiarities

When producing a discursive essay, it is necessary to present different points of view on the addressed matter. Therefore, your work will sound more objective. However, in the concluding unit, you need to present only your own viewpoint. During the course of writing, you should use the passive constructions, transition words (e.g. nevertheless, additionally, hence, etc.), and other grammar structures.

Presenting facts:

Someone thinks that it is necessary to bring back severe sentences.

Some British people support the American “Three strikes” laws.

Additionally, some people think that prisoners live in very good conditions.

Particular arguments are provided in favor of imposing the death penalty again.

Perhaps it is necessary to take the opinion of the victim’s relatives into consideration.

There are some counterarguments to handing out capital punishment and heavier sentences.

One of the facts in support of shorter imprisonment is that the prisons are overcrowded.

There are some people who think that prisons can improve criminals’ behavior.

Additionally, it is thought that capital punishment is considered judicial murder.

It is also stated that there may be cases when innocent people may suffer from the wrong verdicts.

Moreover, a death penalty is regarded as an infringement of human rights.

Providing examples, arguments, and facts:

A number of people think that keeping the most violent criminals in prisons for a long time is one of the advantages of severe sentences.

One more benefit is that people could feel greater safety.

As a result, the number of crimes committed by a small group of people could be eliminated.

For instance, a lot of crimes are carried out by former prisoners.

There are still some people who think that harsher sentences may cause a lot of disadvantages. The thing is that it would be harder for prisoners to live in society again.

According to the conducted research&hellip.

Analyzing statistical data

Building a Vocabulary

Types of crimes and punishment:

Crimes: murder – murderer, shoplifting – shoplifter, burglary – burglar, rape – rapist, to commit a crime, to be given a severe sentence, to be arrested, to be let off with a fine, to consider the desires of victims, to be let out of prison, to bring back capital punishment, etc.

Legislative issues: the courts, judicial/legal system, judges, judicial mistakes, law, etc.

Cause / Result Connection:

There was an increase in drug consumption that resulted in the rise in the number of crimes.

The number of dangerous crimes has increased because of heavy drug consumption.

The rise of dangerous crimes can be explained by increasing drug consumption.

The drug consumption boosted. It resulted in the growth of crimes.

Due to the increase in the consumption of drugs, there was a rise in serious crimes.

The growth of serious crimes is the result of growing drug consumption.

It is said that today’s prisons can be compared to five-star hotels because huge sums of money were spent on them.


Prisoners should be reformed so that they are able to come back and live in society.

Significant reforms should be introduced to bring prisoners back to life in society.

As / Like Issues:

The article was amazing as it was about the arrest of a group of criminals (“as” = “because”)

His brother works as a prison officer (“works as” means “is”)

Capital punishment is like any other type of murder (“like” equals “the same as”)

People treated him as a violent criminal (“as” stands for “in the same way as”)

It is because of several reasons, like unemployment and terrible living conditions (“like’ is used instead of “for instance”)

The reason for that is such problems as unemployment and terrible living conditions (“such as” means “for example”)

It is not as hard as it is thought (comparison).

Check Your Paper

  1. Content: Is your essay constructed logically?
  2. Transitions: Have you used transition words and phrases? Is it possible to add more linking words to make smooth transitions between the sentences?
  3. Writing Style: Make sure that your work is written in formal language. Provide your personal opinion in the concluding paragraph only.
  4. Grammar and spelling: Check the paper for grammar and spelling mistakes.

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