16 Types Of Essays And How They Are Written

16 Types Of Essays And How They Are Written

16 Types Of Essays And How They Are Written

Essays are unavoidable, especially if you are a student. There are also many occasions in life that may require you to write an essay, even when you are no longer a student. Writing an essay is usually intimidating for many people because the question is usually not clear on how the essay is meant to be written.

First let us look at what an essay is.

What is an essay?

An essay is a piece of writing that is written to provide information, opinions and thoughts about a specific topic or subject.

Essays are often used in schools, colleges and universities as a way of examination to determine whether a student has understood their studies.

Types of essays

The four main essay types are:

  • Expository
  • Argumentative
  • Descriptive
  • Narrative

1. Narrative essay

A narrative essay is a storytelling type of academic writing often written from a particular point of view.

A good narrative essay should include a set of characters, a location, a good plot and a climax to the story. When writing a narrative essay you should use the plot as a way of narrating the events of the story. The plot of a narrative essay can be laid out in chronological order of the events or with time jumps to include flashes from history or from the future. It is important to use fine details that let the read feel the emotion of the story.

A narrative essay should contain the five elements of storytelling:

  • Plot, which is the sequence of events
  • Setting, the time and location that a story takes place
  • Character, a protagonist that triggers all events
  • Conflict, an issue a protagonist tries to solve
  • Theme, a moral of the story.

Read more: How To Write A Narrative Essay

2. Descriptive Essay

A descriptive essay is a type of academic writing that describes a topic or subject great detail.

The topic or subject of a descriptive essay can be anything from people, places, objects to events. When writing a descriptive essay use details that allow the readers to mentally feel or see or sense the object you are describing. Describe in a way that is concise and easy to understand.

A descriptive essay should:

  • describe a subject, not just narrate
  • contain enough details to create a vivid impression in a reader’s mind
  • use expressions and details that appeal to all human senses
  • contain analogies, metaphors, similes, allegories, and personifications

Read more: How To Write A Descriptive Essay

3. Expository Essay

An expository essay is a type of academic writing used as a way to look into a problem and explore it.

This type of essay goes beyond storytelling and explains an idea, giving information and explanation without making an argument. When writing an expository essay you explain complex factual information in a simple, easy-to-understand way. This type of essay is written in a neutral tone of voice. It is usually used to simplify a subject which is usually difficult for people to understand.

A good expository essay should:

  • convey accurate and factual information
  • be clear and present a precise explanation of facts
  • follow the sequence of events
  • not contain first-person nouns
  • deliver information to a reader without making an argument

Read more: How To Write An Expository Essay

4. Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay is a type of academic writing that attempts to convince the reader about an opinion or point of view.

An argumentative essay is written to try and convince the reader whether a topic is true or false using a set of opinions. This type of essay requires the use of facts and data to back up the opinions laid out in the essay.

An argumentative essay should:

  • have a persuasive tone of voice to sway the reader towards the main opinion of the essay
  • provide valid and factual information such as statistics, and evidence
  • conveys information from a reader’s perspective

Read more: How To Write An Argumentative Essay


Other types of essays

Besides the main types of essays listed above, there are other less common types that serve their own purpose. Some of these less common types of essays are subtype of the 4 main types. These include:

  1. Definition essay – A definition essay is written to define an idea, object or concept.
  2. Persuasive essay – A persuasive essay is written for convincing the reader to do or not do a particular thing. A persuasive is a type of argumentative essay.
  3. Rhetorical analysis essay – A rhetorical analysis essay is written to analyse a piece of rhetoric work.
  4. Analytical essay – An analytical essay is an essay which is written to analyse a piece of writing, a movie or any other piece of creative work.
  5. Compare and contrast essay – A compare and contrast essay is an essay written to create a detailed comparison or contrast between two things.
  6. Cause and effect essay – A cause and effect essay is a type of essay written to explain the cause and effects of a certain thing.
  7. Critical essay – A critical essay is an essay written to highlight the good and bad points of a piece of literature.
  8. Process essay – A process essay is a type of essay that is written to outline a process so that readers can understand it.
  9. Synthesis essay – A synthetic analysis essay is a type of essay written to synthesize concepts that are used to create a judgement.
  10. Review essay – A review essay is a type of essay written to analyse a piece of literature and gives it a review.
  11. Research essay – A research essay is a type of essay that is based on a research question and aims to give a specific answer to it.
  12. Explanatory essays An explanatory essay is a type of essay that is written to explain a given piece of written work or literature.
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