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Topic Suggestions for Paragraphs and Essays

If you're having problems coming up with a good topic for a composition, consider these ideas for a variety of common writing assignments. Writing prompts such as these are intended to spark your imagination and help you discover a topic that's meaningful to you.

Fifty Quick Writing Prompts
If you're stuck for something to write about, this may help: a list of 50 brief writing prompts. Not full-blown essay topics, just hints, snippets, cues, and clues to prod your memory, kick the writer's block, and get you started.

400 Writing Topics
Coming up with a good topic can be one of the hardest parts of composing a paragraph or essay. These 400 topic suggestions should make that job a little easier.

40 Writing Topics: Description
Descriptive writing calls for close attention to details. To help you get started, here are 40 topic suggestions for a descriptive paragraph or essay.

50 Writing Topics: Narration
These 50 topic suggestions may remind you of a particular incident that you can relate in a clearly organized narrative essay.

50 Writing Topics: Process Analysis
You'll find that it's not too difficult to develop a paragraph or essay through process analysis if you've chosen a topic that you know quite well. These 50 prompts are meant to help you to discover that topic.

40 Writing Topics: Examples
If you're asked by your writing instructor to compose a paragraph or essay developed with examples, these 40 topic suggestions should help you get started.

40 Writing Topics: Comparison & Contrast
To write an effective comparison and contrast, keep in mind that your subjects should be logically comparable and your composition should have a clear purpose. The 40 topic suggestions listed here are intended as starting points to help you discover some fresh ideas on your own.

30 Writing Topics: Analogy
A good analogy can help your readers understand a complicated subject or view a common experience in a new way. To discover original analogies that can be explored in paragraphs and essays, apply the "as if" attitude to any one of these 30 topics.

50 Writing Topics: Classification
Many subjects can be explored through classification. The 50 suggestions here may lead you to a topic that particularly interests you.

40 Writing Topics: Cause & Effect
Some of the following topic suggestions emphasize causes; others focus on effects. But keep in mind that these two approaches are closely related and not always easy to distinguish.

60 Writing Topics: Extended Definitions
Abstract and controversial ideas can often be clarified through extended definitions. The 60 concepts listed here can be defined in various ways and from different points of view.

30 Writing Topics: Persuasion
Any one of these 30 issues may serve as the basis for a persuasive essay or speech.

Problem-Solving Essay Topic: Balancing Responsibilities
Many of today's college students face the challenge of balancing multiple responsibilities and demands on their time. This topic invites you to propose a solution to the problem of conflicting responsibilities.

Extended-Definition Essay Topic: Values
In this assignment you'll compose an extended definition (with examples) of one particular value (positive or negative) that you consider to be especially meaningful in your life.

Writing About Literature: Ten Sample Topics for Comparison & Contrast Essays

Critical Essay Topic: Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery"
Consider Shirley Jackson's comment on her purpose in writing the short story "The Lottery": "I hoped, by setting a particularly brutal ancient rite in the present and in my own village, to shock the story's readers with a graphic demonstration of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives."

Critical Essay Topic: Three Poems About Death
Discuss how different attitudes toward human mortality are dramatized in these three poems: "Do not go gentle into that good night" (by Dylan Thomas), "Death, be not proud" (by John Donne), and "Because I could not stop for Death" (by Emily Dickinson).

Top 10 Worst Student Essay Topics
Open-ended essay assignments can lead to some fine student writing. Sometimes, however, the strategy backfires--as demonstrated by this unofficial and (we hope) highly improbable list of the 10 worst student essay topics of all time.

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