Essay Writing: Speeches

Good writing consists of three stages:

  1. Pre-writing
  2. Writing
  3. Post-writing and proofreading
  1. Pre-writing: Brainstorm, cluster, organise ideas, think about expression and vocab, produce an outline (paragraph by paragraph detailed plan) – know the ending before you begin.
  2. Writing: Write the essay (new/better ideas and forms of expression emerge as you write – incorporate them). Focus on ideas, expression and structure.
  3. Post-writing and proofreading: Always revise your essay – for homework assignments, make time to edit your first draft and produce a second draft. Add, omit, change ideas. Change the order of ideas. Improve expression and sentence structure. Check spelling, punctuation and grammar. In exam conditions – re-read and improve where possible.

The best way to improve your writing is to keep writing. Also read a variety of material – fiction, biographies, sports journals, newspapers, etc – to gather inspiration for new ideas and good styles of writing.

When it comes to writing speeches, here are is a checklist that will help you during all three stages of the writing process:

Formalities of Speeches

  • Opening address
  • Choosing a side
  • Overall defense or attack of the motion
  • Include audience – you, we
  • Appeal to the audience
  • Final confirmation of truth of your chosen side 

Persuasive Devices

  • Repetition
  • Rhetorical Questions
  • Triadic Phrasing (The Rule of Three), Listing
  • Alliteration
  • Metaphors, Similes
  • Hyperbole, Understatement
  • Anecdote; Humour

Features of a Good Essay

  1. Attention grabbing intro
  2. Summarising, thought-provoking conc (no new ideas)
  3. Focus on the task in every paragraph
  4. Original, fresh ideas
  5. One distinct idea per paragraph (topic)
  6. Logical flow from one paragraph to the next
  7. Examples, evidence, facts, support for distinct idea (topic)
  8. First and last sentence of each paragraph – still on same topic
  9. Transitions between paragraphs where possible/appropriate
  10. Advanced level of expression and vocabulary, appropriate word choice
  11. Sentence structure – accurate and varied
  12. Punctuation – accurate
  13. Accurate spelling and grammar

Points 1 – 4 above will gain you marks under the heading of Purpose (30%); 5 – 8 under the heading of Coherence (30%); 9 – 12 under Language (30%); point 13 under Mechanics (10%).

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