Today is Boxing Day, which in the UK is a big part of the Christmas tradition. Many people stay at home with their families and continue to celebrate after Christmas, while others go out shopping to take advantage of the Boxing Day bargains in the shops!

On this fine day, I’m giving you the gift of… a sample essay! 🙂

Here’s the question:

Research indicates that the characteristics we are born with have much more influence on our personality and development than any experiences we may have in our life.

Which do you consider to be the major influence?

Analyzing the question

What exactly does the above question mean? Look at the question – it asks what the “major influence” is – meaning whether it is the characteristics we are born with or our experiences. Some people might look at just experiences, and consider “influences” there, but that is not really answering the question. Always be sure to take your time in analyzing the question to avoid misunderstanding it.


Here, you ought to think of some synonyms for “characteristics” and “born with” as well as “influence.” You could use words and phrases like “innate ability,” “personality traits,” and “impact.” You should avoid repeating words from the question too often, although you may have to say “experiences” or “influence” a few times. Before you begin writing, it is helpful to note down a few important words of vocabulary to save you trouble later.


Make your decision in regards the question and then write down some ideas. Quickly sketch out a plan for your essay outline. This will help you avoid straying off-topic. My plan looks like this:

  • Introduction
    • Paraphrase question
    • Outline essay including my opinion
  • Body paragraph 1
    • State opposing view
    • Explain
    • Refute
  • Body paragraph 2
    • State my view
    • Explain
    • Support
  • Conclusion
    • Summarize

Sample essay

Some people believe that human personalities are primarily defined by hereditary qualities, and that life experiences are secondary in terms of influence. This essay will argue the position that, on the contrary, environment and experiences are of greater significance in defining personality.

Some researchers point to genetic traits as the main influence on people’s personalities. They believe that the genetics we inherit from our parents essentially make us who we are. However, this is only partly true. While genetics may account for some of a person’s temperament and outlook, it is clear that experiences in life shape us in a more profound way. For example, children raised in positive and loving environments tend to succeed far more than those in negative surroundings, regardless of their inherited traits.

Most experts now acknowledge the fact that a child’s environment and the events he experiences in life will play a greater role in determining his future than any characteristics with which he is born. Countless studies have shown that children are hugely shaped by what goes on around them. Shy children are shy for a reason, as are extroverts. These qualities are not something anyone is born with, but the result of experiences in our lives.

In conclusion, it is clear that people develop their personalities and other qualities in relation to life experiences. These are not something that we are born with and doomed to carry forever.