Personal essay prompts

Vestigiality refers to genetically determined structures or attributes that have apparently lost most or all of their ancestral function, but have been retained during the process of evolution. In humans, for instance, the appendix is thought to be a vestigial structure. Describe something vestigial real or imagined and provide an explanation for its existence.

All of these require explanation in order to properly communicate their meaning, and are, to varying degrees, untranslatable. Choose a word, tell us what it means, and then explain why it cannot or should not be translated from its original language. Little pigs, French hens, a family of bears. Blind mice, musketeers, the Fates. Parts of an atom, laws of thought, a guideline for composition.

Omne trium perfectum? Create your own group of threes, and describe why and how they fit together.

The mantis shrimp can perceive both polarized light and multispectral images; they have the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom. Human eyes have color receptors for three colors red, green, and blue ; the mantis shrimp has receptors for sixteen types of color, enabling them to see a spectrum far beyond the capacity of the human brain. Seriously, how cool is the mantis shrimp: mantisshrimp. What are we missing? How are apples and oranges supposed to be compared? Possible answers involve, but are not limited to, statistics, chemistry, physics, linguistics, and philosophy.

Create your own idiom, and tell us its origin—you know, the whole nine yards. PS: A picture is worth a thousand words. Othello and Iago. Dorothy and the Wicked Witch. Autobots and Decepticons. History and art are full of heroes and their enemies. Tell us about the relationship between you and your arch-nemesis either real or imagined.

Heisenberg claims that you cannot know both the position and momentum of an electron with total certainty.

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Choose two other concepts that cannot be known simultaneously and discuss the implications. Do not consider yourself limited to the field of physics. The Aesthetics of Silence, Something that is offered, presented, or given as a gift.

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500 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing

Unusual presents, accidental presents, metaphorical presents, re-gifted presents, etc. Dog and Cat. Coffee and Tea. Great Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye. Everyone knows there are two types of people in the world. What are they?

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How did you get caught? Or not caught, as the case may be. Tell us the story of a street, path, road—real or imagined or metaphorical. UChicago professor W. Mitchell entitled his book What Do Pictures Want? Describe a picture, and explore what it wants. Destroy a question with your answer. Superstring theory has revolutionized speculation about the physical world by suggesting that strings play a pivotal role in the universe. Use the power of string to explain the biggest or the smallest phenomenon. Write an essay somehow inspired by super-huge mustard.


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People often think of language as a connector, something that brings people together by helping them share experiences, feelings, ideas, etc. We, however, are interested in how language sets people apart. You may want to think about subtle riffs or idiosyncrasies based on cadence, rhythm, rhyme, or mis pronunciation. In , the city of Melbourne, Australia created a "tree-mail" service, in which all of the trees in the city received an email address so that residents could report any tree-related issues.

As an unexpected result, people began to email their favorite trees sweet and occasionally humorous letters. What if, suddenly, you fell off the edge of the Earth? Both are narratives, they need to engage your readers and show them something unique. Personal narrative writing shows settings, people, actions, and feelings. When you write a personal narrative, you describe a story so that your reader sees, feels and understands what you experienced.


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Click To Tweet. Finding an engaging personal narrative prompt will help you discover a memorable essay. One of the best ways to show a personal story is to select a small episode or anecdote from your life and dig deep into it. These 13 personal narrative prompts help you find a great essay topic. Write a story about your favorite school memory. Who was there? Where was it? How did it happen? How does it end? Focus on one single event.

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For example, if you played the violin in school you could tell a story about playing violin in a concert. Or if you played on a soccer team, you could tell the story of your tryout. This is the opposite of 1. Select a memory that is focused on a terrible situation. What triggered that situation and what happened? What was the result? For example, this could be a situation where you were bullied.

Describe what happened, and how it ended for you. Did anyone defend you, or help you? Or did the bullying continue? Write a story about a scary or frightening moment in your life. What happened? How was it scary? Are you still frightened? Fear is a strong emotion and it motivates people to keep reading and find out what followed. Some examples of frightening moments are being trapped in a cave, lost in the woods or inside an old house with strange noises, or a traumatic event.

Write a story about something that happened between you and a friend. Is it something important you experienced together?