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The Four Main Types of Essay | Quick Guide with Examples

Published on September 4, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An essay is a focused piece of writing designed to inform or persuade. There are many different types of essay, but they are often defined in four categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays.

Argumentative and expository essays are focused on conveying information and making clear points, while narrative and descriptive essays are about exercising creativity and writing in an interesting way. At university level, argumentative essays are the most common type. 

In high school and college, you will also often have to write textual analysis essays, which test your skills in close reading and interpretation.

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Table of contents

Argumentative essays, expository essays, narrative essays, descriptive essays, textual analysis essays, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about types of essays.

An argumentative essay presents an extended, evidence-based argument. It requires a strong thesis statement —a clearly defined stance on your topic. Your aim is to convince the reader of your thesis using evidence (such as quotations ) and analysis.

Argumentative essays test your ability to research and present your own position on a topic. This is the most common type of essay at college level—most papers you write will involve some kind of argumentation.

The essay is divided into an introduction, body, and conclusion:

  • The introduction provides your topic and thesis statement
  • The body presents your evidence and arguments
  • The conclusion summarizes your argument and emphasizes its importance

The example below is a paragraph from the body of an argumentative essay about the effects of the internet on education. Mouse over it to learn more.

A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.

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An expository essay provides a clear, focused explanation of a topic. It doesn’t require an original argument, just a balanced and well-organized view of the topic.

Expository essays test your familiarity with a topic and your ability to organize and convey information. They are commonly assigned at high school or in exam questions at college level.

The introduction of an expository essay states your topic and provides some general background, the body presents the details, and the conclusion summarizes the information presented.

A typical body paragraph from an expository essay about the invention of the printing press is shown below. Mouse over it to learn more.

The invention of the printing press in 1440 changed this situation dramatically. Johannes Gutenberg, who had worked as a goldsmith, used his knowledge of metals in the design of the press. He made his type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, whose durability allowed for the reliable production of high-quality books. This new technology allowed texts to be reproduced and disseminated on a much larger scale than was previously possible. The Gutenberg Bible appeared in the 1450s, and a large number of printing presses sprang up across the continent in the following decades. Gutenberg’s invention rapidly transformed cultural production in Europe; among other things, it would lead to the Protestant Reformation.

A narrative essay is one that tells a story. This is usually a story about a personal experience you had, but it may also be an imaginative exploration of something you have not experienced.

Narrative essays test your ability to build up a narrative in an engaging, well-structured way. They are much more personal and creative than other kinds of academic writing . Writing a personal statement for an application requires the same skills as a narrative essay.

A narrative essay isn’t strictly divided into introduction, body, and conclusion, but it should still begin by setting up the narrative and finish by expressing the point of the story—what you learned from your experience, or why it made an impression on you.

Mouse over the example below, a short narrative essay responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” to explore its structure.

Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.

Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.

A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.

The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.

A descriptive essay provides a detailed sensory description of something. Like narrative essays, they allow you to be more creative than most academic writing, but they are more tightly focused than narrative essays. You might describe a specific place or object, rather than telling a whole story.

Descriptive essays test your ability to use language creatively, making striking word choices to convey a memorable picture of what you’re describing.

A descriptive essay can be quite loosely structured, though it should usually begin by introducing the object of your description and end by drawing an overall picture of it. The important thing is to use careful word choices and figurative language to create an original description of your object.

Mouse over the example below, a response to the prompt “Describe a place you love to spend time in,” to learn more about descriptive essays.

On Sunday afternoons I like to spend my time in the garden behind my house. The garden is narrow but long, a corridor of green extending from the back of the house, and I sit on a lawn chair at the far end to read and relax. I am in my small peaceful paradise: the shade of the tree, the feel of the grass on my feet, the gentle activity of the fish in the pond beside me.

My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above. From his perch he can watch over his little kingdom and keep an eye on the neighbours. He does this until the barking of next door’s dog scares him from his post and he bolts for the cat flap to govern from the safety of the kitchen.

With that, I am left alone with the fish, whose whole world is the pond by my feet. The fish explore the pond every day as if for the first time, prodding and inspecting every stone. I sometimes feel the same about sitting here in the garden; I know the place better than anyone, but whenever I return I still feel compelled to pay attention to all its details and novelties—a new bird perched in the tree, the growth of the grass, and the movement of the insects it shelters…

Sitting out in the garden, I feel serene. I feel at home. And yet I always feel there is more to discover. The bounds of my garden may be small, but there is a whole world contained within it, and it is one I will never get tired of inhabiting.

Though every essay type tests your writing skills, some essays also test your ability to read carefully and critically. In a textual analysis essay, you don’t just present information on a topic, but closely analyze a text to explain how it achieves certain effects.

Rhetorical analysis

A rhetorical analysis looks at a persuasive text (e.g. a speech, an essay, a political cartoon) in terms of the rhetorical devices it uses, and evaluates their effectiveness.

The goal is not to state whether you agree with the author’s argument but to look at how they have constructed it.

The introduction of a rhetorical analysis presents the text, some background information, and your thesis statement; the body comprises the analysis itself; and the conclusion wraps up your analysis of the text, emphasizing its relevance to broader concerns.

The example below is from a rhetorical analysis of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech . Mouse over it to learn more.

King’s speech is infused with prophetic language throughout. Even before the famous “dream” part of the speech, King’s language consistently strikes a prophetic tone. He refers to the Lincoln Memorial as a “hallowed spot” and speaks of rising “from the dark and desolate valley of segregation” to “make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” The assumption of this prophetic voice constitutes the text’s strongest ethical appeal; after linking himself with political figures like Lincoln and the Founding Fathers, King’s ethos adopts a distinctly religious tone, recalling Biblical prophets and preachers of change from across history. This adds significant force to his words; standing before an audience of hundreds of thousands, he states not just what the future should be, but what it will be: “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.” This warning is almost apocalyptic in tone, though it concludes with the positive image of the “bright day of justice.” The power of King’s rhetoric thus stems not only from the pathos of his vision of a brighter future, but from the ethos of the prophetic voice he adopts in expressing this vision.

Literary analysis

A literary analysis essay presents a close reading of a work of literature—e.g. a poem or novel—to explore the choices made by the author and how they help to convey the text’s theme. It is not simply a book report or a review, but an in-depth interpretation of the text.

Literary analysis looks at things like setting, characters, themes, and figurative language. The goal is to closely analyze what the author conveys and how.

The introduction of a literary analysis essay presents the text and background, and provides your thesis statement; the body consists of close readings of the text with quotations and analysis in support of your argument; and the conclusion emphasizes what your approach tells us about the text.

Mouse over the example below, the introduction to a literary analysis essay on Frankenstein , to learn more.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, protagonist Victor Frankenstein is a stable representation of the callous ambition of modern science throughout the novel. This essay, however, argues that far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as. This essay begins by exploring the positive portrayal of Frankenstein in the first volume, then moves on to the creature’s perception of him, and finally discusses the third volume’s narrative shift toward viewing Frankenstein as the creature views him.

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At high school and in composition classes at university, you’ll often be told to write a specific type of essay , but you might also just be given prompts.

Look for keywords in these prompts that suggest a certain approach: The word “explain” suggests you should write an expository essay , while the word “describe” implies a descriptive essay . An argumentative essay might be prompted with the word “assess” or “argue.”

The vast majority of essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Almost all academic writing involves building up an argument, though other types of essay might be assigned in composition classes.

Essays can present arguments about all kinds of different topics. For example:

  • In a literary analysis essay, you might make an argument for a specific interpretation of a text
  • In a history essay, you might present an argument for the importance of a particular event
  • In a politics essay, you might argue for the validity of a certain political theory

An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.

Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.

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Essay Writing Guide

Types Of Essay

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Explore Different Types of Essays, their Purpose, and Sub-types

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types of essay

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Are you a college or high school student ready to start on a journey through the fascinating world of essay writing ? Brace yourself because you'll encounter a variety of essay types that will challenge your writing skills and creativity.

Picture this: You're handed an assignment, a blank canvas on which to express your thoughts and ideas. But here's the catch – your teacher won't always specify the type of essay you should craft. It's up to you to solve the riddle hidden within the assignment question.

But fear not! 

In this blog, we'll discuss the four most common types of essays you're likely to encounter during your academic years. While these essays may share a common foundation and structure, each possesses its own unique characteristics. Let’s get started!

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  • 1. Major Types of Essays In Academic Writing
  • 2. Argumentative Essay
  • 3. Descriptive Essay
  • 4. Expository Essay
  • 5. Narrative Essay
  • 6. Other Essay Types

Major Types of Essays In Academic Writing

When it comes to academic writing, understanding the different types of essays is essential. Each type serves a distinct purpose and requires a specific approach. Let's explore these essay types along with their descriptions and example prompts in the table below:

Understanding these major types of essays and the skills they assess will empower you to approach your academic writing with confidence. Depending on your assignment's requirements, you'll be better equipped to choose the appropriate essay type and showcase your writing abilities effectively. 

Each type offers a unique opportunity for you to express your ideas, and arguments and perfect your specific writing skills.

Here are the key types of essay formats explained in detail, along with examples to enhance your understanding.

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Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay is an essay type that presents a well-structured argument supported by evidence and reasoning. The primary goal is to engage the reader in a discussion, provide evidence, and logically demonstrate why a particular viewpoint is more valid.

In simple words, the writer must provide evidence and remain consistent in their stance. While argumentative essays present both sides of an issue, they strongly support one perspective. 

Characteristics of Argumentative Essay

  • Clear Thesis: It should have a clear thesis statement to state the writer's position.
  • Balanced Presentation: An argumentative essay addresses opposing views.
  • Evidence: It relies on credible and relevant evidence.
  • Logical Reasoning: The essay presents arguments coherently and logically.
  • Persuasive Techniques: It uses persuasive techniques like ethos, pathos, and logos effectively.
  • Introduction: The introduction introduces the topic and thesis, engaging the reader's interest.
  • Body: The body paragraphs present arguments with supporting evidence.
  • Counterargument: It addresses opposing viewpoints and refutes them.
  • Conclusion: The conclusion summarizes key points and reinforces the thesis, leaving a strong impression.

Argumentative Essay Example

Before beginning the writing process, it is better to go through some expertly crafted argumentative essay examples . This approach enables you to grasp the argumentative essay outline and writing style more effectively.

Descriptive Essay

A descriptive essay is a form of writing that aims to immerse readers in a sensory-rich experience. Unlike informational or persuasive essays, its primary goal is to vividly depict a person, place, object, event, or experience.   The descriptive essay must evoke the senses and emotions of the reader. In simple terms, the reader should see what you saw and feel what you felt. To make it better, you can use several literary devices such as;

  • Alliteration

All of them help in making the experience and your essay better.

Key Characteristics 

  • Sensory Detail: Descriptive essays appeal to the five senses to create a multisensory experience.
  • Vivid Imagery: They use figurative language and descriptive adjectives to bring the narrative to life.
  • Emotional Connection: These essays often aim to establish an emotional bond between the reader and the subject.
  • Structured Approach: They typically follow an introduction-body-conclusion structure.
  • Introduction: Introduces the subject and purpose, sometimes with a thesis statement.
  • Body Paragraphs: Focus on specific aspects or details using sensory language and vivid descriptions.
  • Conclusion: Summarizes the central theme and leaves a lasting impression.

Descriptive Essay Example

Creating a perfect descriptive essay for an assignment is not difficult if you go through some expert descriptive essay examples first. 

Need more examples? Read our Descriptive Essay Examples and Writing Tips blog to get inspired!

Expository Essay

An expository essay is a type of writing that provides clear and objective explanations of a topic without expressing personal opinions. It aims to inform and educate by presenting factual information and analysis.

Therefore, it is important that you make a focused outline and stick to it throughout the process. 

An expository essay incorporates a wide array of essays such as:

  • Cause and effect essays
  • Process essays
  • Analytical essays
  • Compare and contrast essays

Key Characteristics

  • Objective Presentation: Expository writing maintains an impartial tone, avoiding personal biases.
  • Informativeness: They focus on explaining complex ideas or processes in a straightforward manner.
  • Structured: These essays follow a clear structure with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
  • Use of Evidence: They rely on credible evidence, facts, and examples to support the topic.
  • Introduction: Introduces the topic and often includes a thesis statement.
  • Body Paragraphs: Each paragraph focuses on a specific aspect and provides explanations and evidence.
  • Conclusion: Restates the main idea and summarizes key points.

Expository Essay Example

Looking for more sample essays? Check out our Expository Essay Examples blog and take inspiration from a range of expository essays!

Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is a type of academic writing that tells a story or recounts a personal experience. Unlike other essays, its primary purpose is to engage and entertain the reader through storytelling.

  • Narrative Structure: Follows a chronological sequence with an introduction, body, climax, and conclusion.
  • First-Person Perspective: Typically written from the first-person point of view (e.g., "I" and "we") , sharing personal experiences and emotions.
  • Vivid Description: Relies on descriptive language and imagery to create a clear picture of events, characters, and settings.
  • Emotional Connection: Aims to establish an emotional bond with the reader by conveying the writer's thoughts and feelings.
  • Introduction: Sets the stage and introduces the central theme or problem.
  • Body: Presents events or experiences in chronological order with sensory details.
  • Climax: Often includes a central event or turning point.
  • Conclusion: Reflects on the narrative, offering insights, lessons, or resolution.

Narrative Essay Example

Wondering how to get your story into an interesting narrative? Learn the best way to write a perfect narrative essay with the help of expert narrative essay examples. 

For more examples visit our blog on narrative essay examples .

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Other Essay Types

In addition to the major types of essays discussed earlier, there are several other specialized types that cater to specific audiences. These essays provide diverse avenues for writers to communicate their ideas effectively. 

We will go through these essay types here.

Persuasive Essay

A persuasive essay is another type of academic essay. In this essay type, the writer utilizes logic and reasoning to show one’s idea is more convincing than another idea. 

In writing a persuasive essay, the main aim is to persuade the reader to accept a certain point of view. The presented argument or claim must use solid evidence and sound reasoning by stating facts, examples, and quotes. 

Persuasive Essay Example

Since persuasive essays are the most common type of essay, it is essential to get familiar with their writing style. For that, here is an interesting persuasive essay example that you can explore for your better understanding. 

Read our persuasive essay examples blog for more samples!

Analytical Essay

An analytical essay is a type of academic essay in which the writer analyzes a topic bit by bit. Writing an analytical essay is not about convincing readers of your point of view. But wanting readers to agree with what you have written. 

So, there is no need to use strong persuasive language in an analytical essay. Rather you should aim to provide enough analysis to make sure your argument is clear to the readers. 

Analytical Essay Example

Let’s take a look at a sample analytical essay: 

Read our analytical essay examples blog if you are looking for more sample essays!

Reflective Essay

A reflective essay type of essay requires you to examine your personal experiences through self-reflection. In the process of writing a reflective essay, you provide insight into what you have gained from those experiences. 

What makes reflective essays different from other essay types is the fact that it examine the past experience from the present. Reflective essays take the reader through a journey of self-growth. 

Reflective Essay Example

The following reflective essay example will help you get a clear idea of how to structure your analytical essay. 

Rhetorical Analysis Essay

It is a form of a textual analysis essay in which the student examines and analyzes a persuasive text. It is like an essay, speech, or visual art and analyzes the rhetorical devices used in it. Writing a rhetorical analysis essay is different from writing other essays because it will be more than adding facts only.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example

Here is a rhetorical analysis essay example that will help you learn better. 

Check out our rhetorical analysis essay examples blog for more samples!

Literary Analysis Essay

A literary analysis essay is based on close reading and analysis of a work of literature like poetry and novel. It identifies different literary factors like themes, setting,  characters, setting, and the kind of language used in it. A literary analysis essay has the same 5 paragraphs as any other essay but the main subject and topic are different.

Literary Analysis Essay Example

Need help with your literary analysis essay? Below is a sample essay to help you understand better.

Summing it Up! Now you know what are the different types of essays in academic writing that you are most likely to get assigned. However, if you still find it difficult to compose your essay, leave your piece of writing to our experts. 

Whether you need an argumentative essay, narrative essay,  descriptive essay, or expository essay we are here to help. Our expertise extends to all types of essays, ensuring that your academic writing needs are met with precision and excellence.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most important element in any essay.

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A thesis statement is the most important part of any essay. Other than the research itself, the thesis statement is the most important part of an essay or research paper. A thesis statement summarizes the main point and essence of the argument.

What type of essay is most common at university?

Usually, university students get argumentative kinds of essays. No matter what kind of essay you write, you will need to develop an argument.

Here are some kinds of essays and the kind of arguments added to them. 

  • Analysis and interpretation of literary texts are discussed in literary analysis essays. 
  • The importance of a particular event or theory is analyzed in a history argumentative essay. 
  • A political theory is examined in a political argumentative essay. 

Besides, there are a number of different kinds of argumentative and analysis essays.

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What Are the 5 Different Types of Essays? A Complete Guide

For high school or college students, essays are unavoidable – worst of all, the essay types and essay writing topics assigned change throughout your academic career. As soon as you’ve mastered one of the many types of academic papers , you’re on to the next one.

Our specialists will write a custom essay specially for you!

This article by Custom Writing experts provides the tools you need to attack any essay. It describes the five current major types of essays and five additional types! The article includes some thesis statement examples and numerous useful links to resources with sample essay papers. Keep reading and good luck with your assignment!

  • 📑 5 Main Types of Essay Writing

🎈 Other Essay Types

  • 👌 Essay Writing Tips

🔗 References

📑 what are the 5 different types of essays.

The five main essay types are:

  • Argumentative
  • Descriptive

The Five Main Essay Types Are: Expository, Argumentative, Persuasive, Descriptive, & Narrative.

Expository Essay

An expository essay aims to present opinion-free information on a topic that may be broad or narrow. This essay type is often assigned as an in-class or an exam task. Please find below useful expository writing tips!

  • An expository essay introduction should clarify the topic and briefly lay out its elements.

“The oil industry is a very large portion of the energy sector, and it has significant impacts on the climate and economy.”

  • The body paragraphs of your expository essay should contain enough evidence to support your thesis statement.
  • Your expository essay conclusion should readdress the thesis in the light of the evidence provided in the body.
  • The transitions between the different parts of your expository essay should be very logical and clear.

Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay requires a profound investigation of a topic leading to the collection and evaluation of evidence. Such an in-depth study shall result in an established position on the topic, written down concisely.

As a rule, this type of writing presupposes extensive literature research . Sometimes, argumentative assignments may require empirical investigation through surveys, interviews, or observations. Detailed research ensures a clear understanding of the issue and the different points of view regarding it. Thanks to the preliminary study, you will be able to make an unbiased decision on which opinion to adhere to, and your argumentation will be more persuasive.

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An argumentative essay shall follow the strict structure rules:

Difference between Expository and Argumentative Essay

Expository and argumentative essays abound in similarities and are often mistaken for one another. The principal difference is the amount of preliminary research . Argumentative essays are often assigned as final projects summing up the corpus of information mastered during a course. Expository essays are shorter and less based on research. They are used for in-class unprepared writing.

Persuasive Essay

Persuasive writing is the polar opposite of expository writing. For this style of essay, your opinion should be the focus . A persuasive essay attempts to persuade its reader to have a specific opinion.

“Though the oil industry is an important part of our economy, it has negatively impacted our environment through climate change, smog, and the building of roads.”

  • Your position should be set from the introduction of your persuasive essay. Take care to maintain it throughout the text.
  • Your persuasive essay body should contain the arguments in progression: from the least important to the most important.
  • Use ethos, logos, and pathos to persuade your readers.

Descriptive Essay

There is no more clearly-named essay than the descriptive one. Here, the goal is to describe something : a person, an object, a place, etc. The oil industry theme used to demonstrate an expository thesis statement would not be typical for a descriptive essay. Instead, descriptive writing would far more likely focus on an object associated with the oil industry, such as an oil drum, an oil tanker, or even the liquid oil itself.

  • A sample descriptive thesis statement could sound like this: “Crude oil is a black, viscous liquid that gives off an odd smell like plastic or many sorts of fuel.”
  • Your descriptive essay body should be very logical. Each of its paragraphs is to focus on one of the aspects of the topic.
  • The language you use in your descriptive essay should be vivid and varied. It is a good idea to appeal to the senses of the reader when you are describing something.

Narrative Essay

The meaning of narrative writing is very similar to a story. It may be moving, emotional, anecdotal, or insightful. You are allowed to write using first-person pronouns, and creativity is appreciated. A narrative essay is subject to all the story rules and shall comprise an introduction, characters, plot, setting, climax, and conclusion. The only case when a narrative assignment does not have to comply with a story outline is a book report. This informative narration is impersonal and unemotional.

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  • The thesis is the purpose of your narrative essay . Although it doesn’t need to sound as formal as in other academic papers, make it clear why you decided to tell the story.
  • First-person narration is not a must but is welcomed.
  • Don’t switch between points of view . If you decide to write a third-person narrative, keep it consistent throughout the text.
  • A narrative essay is closer to fiction than to a scientific document . Use artistic language that will have an emotional response in the reader.
  • Although this is not a standard five-paragraph essay, it should have an introduction and a conclusion . An unfinished piece of writing is as bad as a too wordy one.

Difference between Narrative and Descriptive Essay

A narrative essay is aimed to tell the reader a complete story of personal experiences . A descriptive essay dwells upon a separate object, place, concept, or phenomenon. It does not have a climax or any development of action.

Cause and Effect Essay

In a cause and effect essay, the text should focus on the impact of some phenomenon or physical thing —in other words, a cause and its effect.

The simplicity of this essay allows you to explore any topic . All you need to do is consider its consequences and write. Again, the oil industry can be the focus of a cause and effect essay thesis statement :

“The oil industry has had a tremendous impact on our world, enabling the automotive industry, contributing to climate change, and generating great wealth.”

Reflective Essay

In this essay, the goal is simply to respond to or reflect upon a species person, place, thing, event, or phenomenon. You may be required to reflect upon a poem, a military battle, or perhaps even another essay. By its definition, reflective essays should be very subjective. You should use personal pronouns like “I” and “me” in these essays! This type of essay should be very personal. Check out some examples of reflective writing to see this yourself.

Get an originally-written paper according to your instructions!

For example, this would be a great thesis statement for a reflective essay :

“The oil industry has provided many benefits to society, but I worry deeply about its potential costs to our planet and its species.”

Analytical Essay

In many ways, analytical writing is the objective cousin of reflective writing. Prior to attempting this style of essay, you should reflect. But you should also conduct research. The reflection is personal, while the analysis is rooted in facts and logic.

Compare the following example thesis statement with the one from the previous type of essay:

“As the oil industry has grown, the levels of greenhouse gases have increased along with temperatures and concentrations of particulate matter in the atmosphere.”

This statement outlines factors that will be analyzed in the body of the essay. It DOES NOT insert personal feelings, personal pronouns, or subjective language. You can even try and use an informative thesis statement generator and then compare the results to see it more clearly.

By staying objective, an analytical essay is much more like a report. In fact, an outline for an analytical paper should be interchangeable with a section of an outline for a much longer research project. But most importantly, any analytical paper should avoid using personal pronouns .

Comparison and Contrast Essay

In a compare and contrast essay , you make a comparison of two or more issues . You may look at their similarities, differences, or both. The focus of your analysis should be reflected in your thesis statement. Consider this example:

“While both the oil industry and the solar-power industry will be major sources of energy in the future, oil has more environmental costs than green solar power.”

Exemplification Essay

An exemplification or illustration essay is one of the most flexible essays you might be assigned. In simple terms, this essay is all about picking vivid examples. In other words, you want to make points that exemplify or illustrate your thesis statement.

For an exemplification essay, you should focus on the examples that will make your point without serious effort. In other words, if you are trying too hard, you are missing the point of the essay. Consider the following example thesis statement:

“The oil industry has had serious effects on the environment as demonstrated by the impact of massive oil spill on wildlife, the uncontrolled fires and explosions caused by oil and oil derivatives, and the melting of the polar ice caps caused by climate change.”

In the body of this exemplification essay, the writer should devote a paragraph to each of these arguments. Descriptions of seagulls or penguins coated in oil would be perfect examples of the effect of the oil industry on wildlife. Similarly, descriptions of major oil refinery explosions will also grab the reader’s attention.

Once again, the conclusion should restate the introduction, providing less background, and reminding the reader of the examples one last time.

👌 Remember These Important Essay Tips

These tips and tricks are just the basics of essay writing .

When you are writing any assignment, always pay close attention to the instructions . The standard interpretation of any particular essay style is never as important as your teacher’s definition of the assignment. When in doubt, ask questions! No teacher will be upset with you asking for reasonable clarifications. It is better to write the essay your teacher expected, rather than surprise your teacher with a creative effort. And, subsequently, get a poor grade.

  • You may also notice that every one of the rough examples described fits into the 5-paragraph essay format . This essay structure is a powerful way to organize your thoughts. Becoming skilled at applying this structure will strengthen your writing. Soon after, you’ll write both shorter and longer essays with ease.
  • If you’re still confused, watch one of the many helpful videos on essay writing .
  • Start writing your essay early! No matter the essay type, your revisions will be better than your first drafts. If you have time for second, third, and fourth drafts, you will be much happier with your final grade.
  • Essay Structure | – Harvard College Writing Center
  • Writing: Types of Essays – Smith College
  • Essay Writing // Purdue Writing Lab
  • Types of academic writing – The University of Sydney
  • Guide to Different Kinds of Essays – Gallaudet University
  • What are the types of essays? – Quora
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Beauty lasts only a short time. But in the realm of art, in the field of poetry, beauty lasts forever. Sonnet 73 is addressed to a lover who is younger than the speaker. The poem uses three metaphors to depict the speaker’s age and impending death. First, the speaker says that he is autumn, the time of year when the beauty of summer is gone, and the death of winter is about to set in. Then he says that he is the end of the day when only a faint light lingers on the western horizon, and deathly darkness is about to engulf the world. Then he says that he is an almost burned out fire, nearly reduced to ashes. This sonnet doesn’t look to art for consolation, but to love. It concludes by saying, You love me even though you know you’re soon going to lose me, and that makes your love all the greater.

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These are amazing tips for compare and contrast essay writing. Will definitely use them when writing my compare and contrast essay. Thanks for sharing them!

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Types of Essays: A Comprehensive Guide to Writing Different Essay Types

When it comes to academic writing, essays are one of the most common assignments you will encounter. Essays are a way for you to showcase your understanding of a particular topic, and they come in various forms. Each type of essay has its unique characteristics, and it is essential to understand the differences between them to produce a well-written piece. In this article, we will explore the different types of essays you may encounter in your academic journey.

Types of Essays: Your Ultimate Guide to Essay Writing

Types of Essays: A Comprehensive Guide to Writing Different Essay Types

Understanding Essays

Definition of essay.

An essay is a piece of writing that presents an argument or a point of view on a particular topic. It is a formal piece of writing that is usually written in the third person and is structured into paragraphs. Essays can be written on a variety of topics, ranging from literature to science, and can be of different lengths. They are often used in academic settings to assess a student’s understanding of a particular subject.

Purpose of Essay

The purpose of an essay is to persuade the reader to accept the writer’s point of view. Essays can be used to argue for or against a particular position, to explain a concept, or to analyze a text. The writer must provide evidence to support their argument and must use persuasive language to convince the reader of their position.

There are four main types of essays: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive. Each type of essay has its own unique characteristics and is written for a different purpose. Understanding the different types of essays is essential for writing a successful essay.

Types of Essays

Narrative essay.

A narrative essay is a type of essay that tells a story. It is often written in the first person point of view, and it can be either fictional or non-fictional. This type of essay allows you to express yourself in a creative and personal way.

When writing a narrative essay, it is important to have a clear and concise thesis statement that sets the tone for the rest of the essay. The thesis statement should be specific and should reflect the main point of the essay. It should also be interesting and engaging to the reader.

One of the key elements of a successful narrative essay is the use of vivid and descriptive language. This helps to create a clear picture in the reader’s mind and makes the story more engaging. Additionally, it is important to use dialogue to bring the characters to life and to show their emotions and personalities.

Another important aspect of a narrative essay is the structure. It should have a clear beginning, middle, and end, and the events should be presented in chronological order. This helps the reader to follow the story and understand the sequence of events.

Descriptive Essay

In a descriptive essay, you are required to describe something, such as an event, a person, a place, a situation, or an object. The primary objective of a descriptive essay is to provide a detailed and vivid description of the topic. By using sensory details, such as sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste, you can create a picture in the reader’s mind and make them feel as if they are experiencing the topic themselves.

When writing a descriptive essay, it is important to choose a topic that you are familiar with and have a personal connection to. This will help you to convey your emotions and feelings effectively and make your essay more engaging and interesting to the reader.

To write a successful descriptive essay, you should follow these steps:

  • Choose a topic that you are passionate about and have a personal connection to.
  • Brainstorm and create an outline of your essay, including the main points you want to cover and the sensory details you will use.
  • Use sensory details to create a vivid and engaging picture in the reader’s mind.
  • Use figurative language, such as metaphors and similes, to add depth and complexity to your descriptions.
  • Use transitions to connect your ideas and create a smooth flow of information.
  • Revise and edit your essay to ensure that it is well-structured, organized, and error-free.

Expository Essay

An expository essay is a type of academic writing that aims to explain, describe, or inform the reader about a particular subject. This type of essay is based on facts, evidence, and examples, and it does not require the writer’s personal opinion or feelings. Expository essays can be written in various styles, including compare and contrast, cause and effect, and problem and solution.

Compare and Contrast Essay

A compare and contrast essay is a type of expository writing that involves comparing and contrasting two or more subjects. This type of essay aims to provide the reader with a better understanding of the similarities and differences between the subjects being compared. To write a successful compare and contrast essay, you need to identify the similarities and differences between the subjects, organize your ideas, and provide supporting evidence.

Cause and Effect Essay

A cause and effect essay is a type of expository writing that explores the causes and consequences of a particular event, situation, or phenomenon. This type of essay aims to explain the reasons behind a particular occurrence and its effects on individuals, society, or the environment. To write a successful cause and effect essay, you need to identify the causes and effects of the subject, organize your ideas, and provide supporting evidence.

Problem and Solution Essay

A problem and solution essay is a type of expository writing that focuses on a particular problem and proposes a solution to it. This type of essay aims to inform the reader about a particular issue and provide a viable solution to it. To write a successful problem and solution essay, you need to identify the problem, explain its causes, propose a solution, and provide supporting evidence.

Persuasive Essay

A persuasive essay is a type of academic writing that aims to persuade the reader to accept the writer’s point of view. In this type of essay, the writer presents their argument and supports it with evidence and reasoning to convince the reader to take action or believe in a particular idea.

To write a persuasive essay, you must first choose a topic that you are passionate about and can argue convincingly. Then, you need to research the topic thoroughly and gather evidence to support your argument. You should also consider the opposing viewpoint and address it in your essay to strengthen your argument.

The structure of a persuasive essay is similar to that of other types of essays. It consists of an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. In the introduction, you should grab the reader’s attention and clearly state your thesis statement. The body paragraphs should present your argument and evidence, and the conclusion should summarize your argument and restate your thesis statement.

To make your persuasive essay more effective, you can use various persuasive writing strategies, such as appealing to the reader’s emotions, using rhetorical questions, and using vivid language. You can also use statistics, facts, and examples to support your argument and make it more convincing.

Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay is a type of essay that requires you to present a well-researched and evidence-based argument on a particular topic. The aim of this essay is to convince the reader of your stance on the topic by using logical reasoning and factual evidence.

To write an effective argumentative essay, it is important to have a clear and concise thesis statement that presents your position on the topic. This statement should be supported by strong evidence, such as quotations, statistics, and expert opinions. It is also important to consider and address potential counterarguments to your position.

One key aspect of an argumentative essay is the use of logical fallacies. These are errors in reasoning that can weaken your argument and make it less convincing. Some common logical fallacies include ad hominem attacks, false dichotomies, and straw man arguments. It is important to avoid these fallacies and instead rely on sound reasoning and evidence to support your argument.

When writing an argumentative essay, it is also important to consider your audience. Your tone and language should be appropriate for your intended audience, and you should anticipate and address any potential objections or concerns they may have about your argument.

Analytical Essay

An analytical essay is a type of academic writing that involves breaking down a complex topic or idea into smaller parts to examine it thoroughly. The purpose of this essay is to provide a detailed analysis of a particular subject and to present an argument based on the evidence gathered during the research.

When writing an analytical essay, it is crucial to have a clear thesis statement that outlines the main argument of the essay. The thesis statement should be specific and concise, and it should be supported by evidence from primary and secondary sources.

To write an effective analytical essay, you should follow these steps:

  • Choose a topic that interests you and that you can research thoroughly.
  • Conduct research to gather relevant information and evidence to support your thesis statement.
  • Create an outline to organize your ideas and arguments.
  • Write an introduction that provides background information on the topic and presents your thesis statement.
  • Develop body paragraphs that provide evidence to support your thesis statement.
  • Write a conclusion that summarizes your main points and restates your thesis statement.

When writing an analytical essay, it is important to focus on the analysis rather than just summarizing the information. You should critically evaluate the evidence and present your own interpretation of the data.

Critical Essay

A critical essay is a type of academic writing that involves analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating a text. In a critical essay, you must make a claim about how particular ideas or themes are conveyed in a text, and then support that claim with evidence from primary and/or secondary sources.

To write a successful critical essay, you must first read the text carefully and take notes on its main ideas and themes. You should also consider the author’s purpose and audience, as well as any historical or cultural context that may be relevant to the text.

When writing your critical essay, you should follow a clear and logical structure. Begin with an introduction that provides background information on the text and your thesis statement. In the body of your essay, you should provide evidence to support your thesis, using quotes and examples from the text as well as other sources.

It is important to be critical in your analysis, examining the text in detail and considering its strengths and weaknesses. You should also consider alternative interpretations and counterarguments, and address them in your essay.

Reflective Essay

A reflective essay is a type of academic essay that requires you to analyze and interpret an academic text, such as an essay, a book, or an article. Unlike a personal experience essay, a reflective essay involves critical thinking and evaluation of the material.

In a reflective essay, you are expected to reflect on your own learning and experiences related to the material. This type of essay requires you to think deeply about the material and analyze how it relates to your own experiences and knowledge.

To write a successful reflective essay, you should follow these steps:

  • Choose a topic that is relevant to the material you are reflecting on.
  • Analyze the material and identify key themes and concepts.
  • Reflect on your own experiences and knowledge related to the material.
  • Evaluate and analyze the material and your own experiences to draw conclusions and insights.
  • Write a clear and concise essay that effectively communicates your reflections and insights.

Remember that a reflective essay is not just a summary of the material, but rather an analysis and evaluation of it. Use examples and evidence to support your reflections and insights, and be sure to use proper citation and referencing to acknowledge the sources of your information.

Personal Essay

A personal essay is a type of essay that involves telling a story about yourself, your experiences, or your feelings. It is often written in the first person point of view and can be a powerful way to share your unique perspective with others.

Personal essays can be used for a variety of purposes, such as college admissions, scholarship applications, or simply to share your thoughts and experiences with a wider audience. They can cover a wide range of topics, from personal struggles and triumphs to reflections on important life events.

When writing a personal essay, it is important to keep in mind that you are telling a story. This means that you should focus on creating a narrative that is engaging and compelling for your readers. You should also be honest and authentic in your writing, sharing your true thoughts and feelings with your audience.

To make your personal essay even more effective, consider incorporating descriptive language, vivid imagery, and sensory details. This can help bring your story to life and make it more memorable for your readers.

Synthesis Essay

A synthesis essay is a type of essay that requires you to combine information from multiple sources to create a cohesive argument. This type of essay is often used in academic writing and requires you to analyze, interpret, and evaluate information from various sources to support your thesis statement.

There are two main types of synthesis essays: explanatory and argumentative. An explanatory synthesis essay aims to explain a particular topic or issue by using different sources to provide a comprehensive overview. On the other hand, an argumentative synthesis essay requires you to take a stance on a particular issue and use evidence from multiple sources to support your argument.

When writing a synthesis essay, it is important to carefully analyze and interpret each source to ensure that the information you are using is relevant and accurate. You should also consider the credibility of each source and evaluate the author’s bias or perspective.

To effectively write a synthesis essay, you should follow a clear structure that includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The introduction should provide background information on the topic and include a clear thesis statement. The body paragraphs should each focus on a specific aspect of the topic and provide evidence from multiple sources to support your argument. The conclusion should summarize your main points and restate your thesis statement.

Review Essay

A review essay is a type of academic writing that involves analyzing and evaluating a piece of work, such as a book, movie, or article. This type of essay requires you to provide a critical assessment of the work, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses. A successful review essay should provide the reader with a clear understanding of the work being reviewed and your opinion of it.

When writing a review essay, it is important to keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • Length: A review essay should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words. This length allows for a thorough analysis of the text without becoming bogged down in details. Of course, the specific length will vary depending on the nature of the text being reviewed and the desired focus of the essay.
  • Structure: A review essay should follow a clear and logical structure. Start with an introduction that provides some background information on the work being reviewed and your thesis statement. The body of the essay should provide a summary of the work and a critical analysis of its strengths and weaknesses. Finally, end with a conclusion that summarizes your main points and provides your final thoughts on the work.
  • Evidence: A successful review essay should be supported by evidence from the work being reviewed. This can include direct quotes or paraphrases, as well as examples that illustrate your points.
  • Critical Thinking: A review essay requires you to engage in critical thinking. This means that you must evaluate the work being reviewed in a thoughtful and analytical manner, considering both its strengths and weaknesses.

Research Essay

When it comes to writing a research essay, you must conduct in-depth independent research and provide analysis, interpretation, and argument based on your findings. This type of essay requires extensive research, critical thinking, source evaluation, organization, and composition.

To write a successful research essay, you must follow a specific structure. Here are some key components to include:

Introduction

The introduction should provide a brief overview of your research topic and state your thesis statement. Your thesis statement should clearly state your argument and the main points you will cover in your essay.

Literature Review

The literature review is a critical analysis of the existing research on your topic. It should provide a summary of the relevant literature, identify gaps in the research, and highlight the significance of your study.

Methodology

The methodology section should describe the methods you used to conduct your research. This may include data collection methods, sample size, and any limitations of your study.

The results section should present your findings in a clear and concise manner. You may use tables, graphs, or other visual aids to help convey your results.

The discussion section should interpret your results and provide a critical analysis of your findings. You should also discuss the implications of your research and how it contributes to the existing literature on your topic.

The conclusion should summarize your main findings and restate your thesis statement. You should also discuss the limitations of your study and suggest avenues for future research.

Report Essay

A report essay is a type of essay that presents and summarizes factual information about a particular topic, event, or issue. The purpose of a report essay is to provide readers with a clear and concise understanding of the subject matter. It is important to note that a report essay is not an opinion piece, but rather a neutral presentation of facts.

When writing a report essay, it is important to follow a structured format. The typical format includes an introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction should provide background information on the topic and state the purpose of the report. The body should present the facts in a logical and organized manner, using headings and subheadings to help readers navigate the information. The conclusion should summarize the key findings and provide any recommendations or conclusions.

One of the key elements of a report essay is research. It is essential to conduct thorough research on the topic to ensure that the information presented is accurate and reliable. This may involve reviewing academic articles, government reports, and other sources of information. It is also important to cite all sources used in the report essay using a recognized citation style, such as APA or MLA.

Informal Essay

An informal essay, also known as a familiar or personal essay, is a type of essay that is written in a personal tone and style. This type of essay is often written as a reflection or commentary on a personal experience, opinion, or observation. Informal essays are usually shorter than formal essays and are often written in a conversational style.

In an informal essay, you are free to use first-person pronouns and to express your personal opinions and feelings. However, you should still strive to maintain a clear and concise writing style and to support your arguments with evidence and examples.

Informal essays can take many forms, including personal narratives, anecdotes, and reflections on current events or social issues. They can also be humorous or satirical in nature, and may include elements of fiction or creative writing.

When writing an informal essay, it is important to keep your audience in mind and to use language and examples that will be familiar and relatable to them. You should also be aware of your tone and style, and strive to create a voice that is engaging and authentic.

Short Essay

When it comes to writing a short essay, it is essential to convey your thoughts and ideas in a concise and clear manner. Short essays are usually assigned in the range of 250-750 words, and occasionally up to 1,000 words. Therefore, it is important to focus on the most important elements of your topic.

To write a successful short essay, you should start by selecting a topic that is interesting and relevant. Once you have chosen your topic, you should conduct thorough research to gather evidence and support for your argument. This will help you to develop a clear and concise thesis statement.

When writing your short essay, it is important to structure your ideas in a logical and coherent manner. You should start with an introduction that provides background information and a clear thesis statement. The body of your essay should be structured around your main points, with each paragraph focusing on a specific idea or argument. Finally, you should conclude your essay by summarizing your main points and restating your thesis statement.

To make your short essay more engaging and impactful, you may want to consider using bullet points, tables, and other formatting techniques to convey your ideas more clearly. Additionally, you should use strong and clear language, avoiding jargon and unnecessary words.

When it comes to academic writing, a long essay is a common type of assignment that you may encounter. This type of essay typically requires you to conduct extensive research and analysis on a specific topic.

The length of a long essay can vary depending on the assignment requirements, but it is usually longer than a standard essay. In general, a long essay can range from 2,500 to 5,000 words or more.

To write a successful long essay, it is important to have a clear understanding of the topic and to conduct thorough research. This may involve reading academic articles, books, and other sources to gather information and support your arguments.

In addition to research, a long essay should also have a clear and well-structured argument. This may involve outlining your main points and supporting evidence, as well as addressing any counterarguments or potential weaknesses in your argument.

Overall, a long essay requires a significant amount of time and effort to complete. However, by following a clear structure and conducting thorough research, you can produce a well-written and persuasive essay that meets the requirements of your assignment.

Some tips for writing a successful long essay include:

  • Start early to give yourself enough time to research and write
  • Break down the assignment into manageable sections
  • Use clear and concise language
  • Provide sufficient evidence to support your arguments
  • Use proper citation and referencing to avoid plagiarism

Five Paragraph Essay

If you are a student, you have likely been assigned a five-paragraph essay at some point. This type of essay is commonly used in high school and college writing classes. The five-paragraph essay is a structured format that consists of an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

The introduction paragraph is where you present your thesis statement, which is the main idea or argument that you will discuss in your essay. This paragraph should grab the reader’s attention and provide some background information about the topic. It should also include a clear thesis statement that outlines what you will be discussing in the essay.

The three body paragraphs are where you provide evidence to support your thesis statement. Each paragraph should focus on a single point that supports your thesis. You should use specific examples and evidence to back up your claims. Each paragraph should also include a transition sentence that connects it to the next paragraph.

The conclusion paragraph is where you wrap up your essay and restate your thesis statement. This paragraph should summarize the main points of your essay and leave the reader with a clear understanding of your argument. You should avoid introducing any new information in the conclusion paragraph.

Scholarship Essay

A scholarship essay is a crucial document that can help you secure financial aid for your academic pursuits. It is a written statement that highlights your qualifications, accomplishments, and goals. Scholarship essays are typically required by organizations that offer scholarships to students. The essay is meant to help the organization understand why you are deserving of the scholarship and how it will help you achieve your academic and career goals.

To write an effective scholarship essay, it is important to understand the prompt and the organization offering the scholarship. Many scholarship essay prompts are open-ended, which means that you can write about any topic that is relevant to you. However, it is important to ensure that your essay is aligned with the values and goals of the scholarship organization.

When writing a scholarship essay, it is important to be concise and clear. Use simple language and avoid jargon or technical terms that the reader may not understand. Make sure that your essay is well-structured and organized, with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Use headings and subheadings to make your essay easy to read and navigate.

To make your scholarship essay stand out, use specific examples and anecdotes that demonstrate your qualifications and accomplishments. Use concrete details and avoid generalizations. Be honest and authentic, and avoid exaggerating or making false claims. Finally, proofread your essay carefully to ensure that it is free of errors and typos.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of academic essays?

There are four main types of academic essays: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive. Each type has its own unique purpose and structure, and it’s important to understand the differences between them in order to write effectively.

What are the parts of a standard essay?

A standard essay typically consists of three main parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The introduction should provide background information on the topic and include a thesis statement that outlines the main argument of the essay. The body should present evidence and support for the thesis statement, and the conclusion should summarize the main points and restate the thesis in a new way.

Can you provide examples of different types of essays?

Sure, here are some examples of each type of essay:

  • Argumentative: An essay that presents a clear argument on a controversial topic, such as gun control or abortion.
  • Expository: An essay that explains or describes a topic, such as how to bake a cake or the history of the Civil War.
  • Narrative: An essay that tells a story, such as a personal experience or a fictional tale.
  • Descriptive: An essay that uses sensory details to paint a picture of a person, place, or thing, such as a description of a sunset or a character in a novel.

How do you write a narrative essay?

To write a narrative essay, you should first choose a topic that is meaningful to you and has a clear beginning, middle, and end. Then, you should use descriptive language and sensory details to bring the story to life for the reader. Finally, you should reflect on the experience and what you learned from it.

What are the four main types of essays?

The four main types of essays are argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive. Each type has its own unique purpose and structure, and it’s important to understand the differences between them in order to write effectively.

What are the three parts of the essay format?

The three parts of the essay format are the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. The introduction should provide background information on the topic and include a thesis statement that outlines the main argument of the essay. The body should present evidence and support for the thesis statement, and the conclusion should summarize the main points and restate the thesis in a new way.

Last Updated on August 31, 2023

Synthesis Essay Examples to Help You Ace Your Writing Assignment

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Guide to Different Kinds of Essays

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An essay is a paper that discusses, describes or analyzes one topic. It can discuss a subject directly or indirectly, seriously or humorously. It can describe personal opinions, or just report information. An essay can be written from any perspective, but essays are most commonly written in the first person ( I ), or third person (subjects that can be substituted with the he, she, it, or they pronouns).

There are many different kinds of essays. The following are a some of the most common ones:

Descriptive Cause/Effect Argumentative Definition Narrative Critical Compare/Contrast Process

Descriptive:

Examples: A descriptive essay could describe . . .

The descriptive essay provides details about how something looks, feels, tastes, smells, makes one feel, or sounds. It can also describe what something is, or how something happened. These essays generally use a lot of sensory details. The essay could be a list-like description that provides point by point details. Or, it could function as a story, keeping the reader interested in the plot and theme of the event described.

Definition:

Examples: A definition essay may try and define . . .

A definition essay attempts to define a specific term. It could try to pin down the meaning of a specific word, or define an abstract concept. The analysis goes deeper than a simple dictionary definition; it should attempt to explain why the term is defined as such. It could define the term directly, giving no information other than the explanation of the term. Or, it could imply the definition of the term, telling a story that requires the reader to infer the meaning.

Compare/Contrast:

Examples:A compare/contrast essay may discuss . . .

The compare/contrast essay discusses the similarities and differences between two things, people, concepts, places, etc. The essay could be an unbiased discussion, or an attempt to convince the reader of the benefits of one thing, person, or concept. It could also be written simply to entertain the reader, or to arrive at an insight into human nature. The essay could discuss both similarities and differences, or it could just focus on one or the other. A comparison essay usually discusses the similarities between two things, while the contrast essay discusses the differences.

Cause/Effect:

Examples:A cause/effect essay may explain . . .

The cause/effect essay explains why or how some event happened, and what resulted from the event.

This essay is a study of the relationship between two or more events or experiences. The essay could discuss both causes and effects, or it could simply address one or the other. A cause essay usually discusses the reasons why something happened. An effect essay discusses what happens after a specific event or circumstance.

The example below shows a cause essay, one that would explain how and why an event happened.

If this cause essay were about a volcanic eruption, it might go something like this: “Pressure and heat built up beneath the earth’s surface; the effect of this was an enormous volcanic eruption.”

The next example shows an effect essay, one that would explain all the effects that happened after a specific event, like a volcanic eruption.

If this effect essay were about a volcanic eruption again, it might go something like this:

“The eruption caused many terrible things to happen; it destroyed homes, forests, and polluted the atmosphere.”

Examples:A narrative essay could tell of . . .

The narrative essay tells a story. It can also be called a “short story.” Generally, the narrative essay is conversational in style and tells of a personal experience. It is most commonly written in the first person (uses I ). This essay could tell of a single, life-shaping event, or simply a mundane daily experience.

Examples: A process essay may explain . . .

A process essay describes how something is done. It generally explains actions that should be performed in a series. It can explain in detail how to accomplish a specific task, or it can show how an individual came to a certain personal awareness. The essay could be in the form of step-by-step instructions, or in story form, with the instructions/explanations subtly given along the way.

Argumentative:

Examples: An argumentative essay may persuade a reader that . . .

An argumentative essay is one that attempts to persuade the reader to the writer’s point of view. The writer can either be serious or funny, but always tries to convince the reader of the validity of his or her opinion. The essay may argue openly, or it may attempt to subtly persuade the reader by using irony or sarcasm.

Examples: A critical essay may analyze . . .

A critical essay analyzes the strengths, weaknesses, and methods of someone else’s work. Generally, these essays begin with a brief overview of the main points of the text, movie, or piece of art, followed by an analysis of the work’s meaning. It should then discuss how well the author/creator accomplishes his/her goals and makes his/her points. A critical essay can be written about another essay, story, book, poem, movie, or work of art.

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Four Main Types of Essays – Quick Intro & Examples

Published by Carmen Troy at August 22nd, 2021 , Revised On October 10, 2023

An  essay  is the most common academic assignment at college and university. It presents an argument and persuades the readers to believe in the rightness of the author’s point of view. While there are many types of essays, they can be broadly categorised into the following four main types:

  • Argumentative essays
  • Expository essays
  • Narrative essays
  • Descriptive essays

Argumentative essays and expository essays present arguments to convince the readers of the author’s position. In narrative essays and descriptive essays, you can use informal language and imagination to engage the readers.

At high school, college, and university, argumentative essays are the most widely recognized kind of essay.

Another important essay type from the academic perspective is the textual analysis essay, which tests students’ reading and analysis skills.

Argumentative Essays

In an argumentative essay, you present an argument and back it with supporting evidence. An argumentative essay requires the author to take a clear position on the topic and persuade the readers to agree to the author’s opinion, analysis, and interpretation. The  thesis statement  provides the main argument of an argumentative essay.

Argumentative essays help to evaluate your ability to conduct independent research and form well-informed opinions on the issue. The inclusion of the supporting evidence adds weight to your argument.

An argumentative essay is the most common type of essay in the academic world. It follows the standard essay structure, which includes an  introduction ,  main body , and a  conclusion .

  • The introduction of an argumentative essay introduces the topic, provides background information, presents the thesis statement, and maps out the essay structure.
  • The main body presents the main argument, which is reinforced through evidence and interpretation.
  • The conclusion summarises the essay’s main argument, links back to the thesis statement, and fortifies the significance of the argument.

Argumentative Essay Example Paragraph

Here is an example of a paragraph taken from the main body of an argumentative essay on the effects of distance learning on education.

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The conclusion is the most underrated and critical section of an essay paper. Here is all you need to know about how to write a great essay conclusion.

Before diving into the how-to, grasping what critical discussion entails is essential. Essay writing help often emphasises the importance of this step. Critical discussion requires a deeper level of analysis where you explain a topic and evaluate and dissect its various facets.

In an argumentative essay, the author takes a clear stand on the topic and justify their position with the help of supporting evidence material.

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Types of Essay

Definition of types of essay.

An essay is a short academic composition. The word “essay” is derived from a French word “essai” or “essayer,” which mean “trail.” In composition, however, an essay is a piece of non- fiction writing that talks or discusses a specific topic. Presently, essay is part of every degree program.

Each subject has specific requirements for the essays to be written. Some subjects need longer essays, while others need shorter ones, such as a five-paragraph essay. In composition, the start is made from a five-paragraph essay. Based on the requirements, there are seventeen types of essays.

  • Definition Essay As the name suggests, a definition type of essay defines different things, ideas, and perceptions.
  • Narrative Essay A narrative essay is a narration like a short story . It is, however, different from a short story in that it is written in an essay format.
  • Descriptive Essay A descriptive essay describes something to make readers feel, smell, see, taste, or hear what is described.
  • Expository Essay An expository essay exposes things in detail to make readers understand without any complications.
  • Persuasive Essay A persuasive essay is meant to convince the target audience to do something or not do something.
  • Argumentative Essay An argumentative essay is meant to present arguments in the favor of something. It has an additional fourth body paragraph that is meant to present opposite arguments.
  • Analytical Essay An analytical essay analyzes something, such as in literature an analytical essay analyzes a piece of literature from different angles.
  • Comparison and Contrast Essay A comparison and contrast essay makes either a comparison, a contrast, or both between two different or similar things.
  • Cause and Effect Essay A cause and effect essay makes readers understand the cause of things, and their effects on other things.
  • Critical Essay A critical essay is written on literary pieces to evaluate them on the basis of their merits or demerits.
  • Process Essay A process essay outlines a process of making or breaking or doing something that readers understand fully and are able to do it after reading it.
  • Synthesis Essay A synthesis essay means to synthesize different ideas to make a judgement about their merit and demerits.
  • Explicatory Essay An explicatory essay is meant to explain a piece of literature. It is often written about poems , short stories, and novels .
  • Rhetorical Analysis Essay A rhetorical analysis essay evaluates a speech or a piece of rhetoric on the basis of rhetorical strategies and devices used in it.
  • Review Essay A review essay discusses the merits and demerits of a book and evaluates it through a review.
  • Simple Essay A simple essay is just a five-paragraph essay that is written on any topic after it is specified.
  • Research Essay A research essay revolves around a research question that is meant to answer some specific question through a research of the relevant literature.

Format of an Essay

Generally, a simple a five-paragraph has five paragraphs including an introduction , three body paragraphs, and a conclusion . An argumentative essay, however, has an additional paragraph which presents counter argument or opposing arguments in the same sequence. However, at the end of this paragraph, both the arguments are weighed in the favor of stronger arguments presented earlier in three body paragraphs.

The format of an argumentative essay is given below:

Function of types of essay.

An essay is a specific discussion or debate on a topic from a specific point of view . A student discusses the topic from his own specific angle. Readers not only get a glimpse of what the other aspect of the topic is, they also come to know about the tone and voice of the student writers to decide whether he has achieved a certain level of capability in writing. In literary essays, a writer becomes discusses the influence that literary piece has upon the readers about a certain point of view. Essays are also useful in winning public approval about certain political ideas.

Related posts:

  • Seven Types of Ambiguity
  • 6 Types of Conflicts in Literature With Examples
  • 20 Major Types of Archetypes with Examples
  • Four Main Types of Sonnets with Examples
  • Elements of an Essay
  • Narrative Essay
  • Definition Essay
  • Descriptive Essay
  • Analytical Essay
  • Argumentative Essay
  • Cause and Effect Essay
  • Critical Essay
  • Expository Essay
  • Persuasive Essay
  • Process Essay
  • Explicatory Essay
  • An Essay on Man: Epistle I
  • Comparison and Contrast Essay

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What Different Types of Essays Exist?

Table of content.

  • 01. Determining What Types of Essay Writing You Need
  • 02. Four Most Common Essay Forms
  • 03. What Are the Different Types of Essays? 34 Common Kinds

There are many different types of essays students are asked to write. Some are easy to understand, but most others are either too similar to one another or so complex that even professors’ explanations don’t help much. It becomes a serious hindrance because without knowing what specific essays they’re writing, young people are almost guaranteed to get failing grades.

There are lots of examples of them being assigned an argumentative essay yet writing an analytical paper instead. Their college education largely depends on success in daily academic tasks, so it is vital to learn the difference between assignments. If you feel lost, don’t worry — in our article we will talk about every common type of such assignments in the most detailed way.

Determining What Types of Essay Writing You Need

The first thing students should do after reading their prompt is understand just what type of paper they’re expected to produce. Sometimes it happens instantly: professors explain what type you’ll be writing as they’re passing assignments, so from then on, all you need is figure out how to organize everything.  But there are also times when you only have a topic. For example, your prompt says the following: “Prove which city council candidate has better policies.” The question is clear, but how to determine which type it is? Start by identifying key words. In this instance, we should underline “prove,” “which,” “candidate,” and “better.” The first word points at an argument, the last one points at a comparison, so the majority essay forms are automatically eliminated.

Now, ask yourself questions. What is the goal of this topic? Again, an answer is simple: young writers must prove what candidate offers better policies. Proving something usually falls into an argumentative category, but it could be analytical, too. The next clue lies in additional instructions: study them attentively to understand whether professor expects subjective or objective opinion; should counter-arguments be regarded and addressed? This will help you settle on a specific type.

Four Most Common Essay Forms

There are 4 types of essays assigned most frequently. If you learn about them, you’re set by about 60% — other paper kinds are less specific and far easier to write. Take a look at the list below.

  • Analytical Essay

It is based on analysis, research, and evaluation of findings. Writers could explore any subject, even controversial, but they must do it from an objective viewpoint, analyzing the existing evidence and making the conclusion on its basis.

  • Argumentative Essay

It does resemble analytical papers, but there is a big difference: you should convince your reader that your point is valid by using evidence. Detached objectivity isn’t as crucial here as you could be arguing for the most ridiculous side for fun or out of spite — the goal is to be persuasive and use enough evidence. It could be both a serious and fun essay type.

  • Cause and Effect Essay

The name says it all: you should identify the cause of something, explore it, and demonstrate what effect it has. The link between these two is that you should show how one thing leads to another. Some students like focusing on causes in particular while others pay more attention to effects — both options are acceptable.  

  • Compare and Contrast Essay

This paper is often exciting for college students because it’s an easy and captivating task. Choose two or more things and start comparing as well as contrasting them. Comparison usually concerns differences while contrasting is related to similarities. You could compare/contrast topics, ways of expression, characters’ features, etc.

What Are the Different Types of Essays? 34 Common Kinds

Apart from 4 mentioned categories, there are plenty of other forms of essays. We are going to name them, clarify their main purpose, and list their characteristics. After seeing the table we’ve composed, you won’t have any questions left!

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What are the seven different types of academic essay?

what is the different types of essay

This is the third and final chapter about Essays . To complete this reader, read each chapter carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.   

– Discuss why essays may vary in type

– Describe the seven different essay types

– Provide example essay questions for each type

Chapter 1: What is an academic essay?

Chapter 2: What are the six different essay lengths?

Chapter 3: What are the seven different types of academic essay?

Before you begin reading...

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There are many different  essay types   that you may be required to write throughout your university education, and each type will generally depend upon the task you’ve been set – which is often indicated by the essay question . Of course, the type of essay you’re required to write can depend on the level of education you are in (secondary vs. tertiary) and the courses you are studying (skills vs. content, or arts vs. sciences). The following seven essay types are likely the most common types that you’ll find in academic writing courses.

1. Cause and Effect Essays

The purpose of a  cause and effect essay   is usually to explain to the reader the connection between an event or situation (the cause) and the result that such an event or situation has created (the effect). Such essay types may well include an evaluation of that cause as well as the general implications or wider impact of those effects – such as what would happen to a select group of people or a particular country in those circumstance. Below is one possible essay question :

About Essay Types 3.1 Cause and Effect Question

2. Compare and Contrast Essays

The main purpose of a compare and contrast essay  is to take two or more concepts, events or ideas and compare them for similarities or contrast them for differences. Such essays may cover any kind of topic, although are usually determined by the subject that the student is studying. One such compare and contrast essay question might be:

About Essay Types 3.2 Compare and Contrast Question

3. Descriptive Essays

Descriptive essays are often described as being the essay type which brings a topic ‘alive’ for the reader by describing that topic in significant detail. The idea is that the writer explains a topic in such a level of detail that the reader will be able to hear, see or feel what’s being described. Such essays then will clearly draw on the five human senses and may be more poetic or reflective in nature (and perhaps therefore more restrictive in the types of essay question possible):

About Essay Types 3.3 Descriptive Question

4. Evaluative Essays

Evaluative essays are intended to help the writer present their opinion through criteria and evidence. Although similar to persuasive essays in that the writer will provide a stance on an argument, the focus of an evaluative essay is instead that the writer provides their overall opinion on a topic, a judgement of that opinion (such as its strengths and weaknesses), criteria for arriving at that conclusion, and evidence to support that particular viewpoint. Such essay questions for this essay type are varied, but might look somewhat similar to the following:

About Essay Types 3.4 Evaluative Question

5. Persuasive Essays

Persuasive (or argumentative) essays tend to demonstrate that there are two (or possibly more) opinions to any given topic and provide evidence for both sides of the argument. Commonly, the writer will take a stance in this essay type and provide more evidence for one side of the debate than the other. Despite the writer’s overall opinion, persuasive essays should always include counter arguments  to the writer’s argument so as to remain objective, as would be necessary for the following question:

About Essay Types 3.5 Persuasive Question

6. Problem-Solution Essays

The purpose of a problem-solution essay is so that a problem (which may be the writer’s choice or at the discretion of the tutor) may be identified and possible solutions determined for that issue. This essay type usually involves also providing an evaluation of those solutions (such as their strengths, weaknesses and viability) as well as evidence to support them. One such problem-solution essay question might be similar to the following:

About Essay Types 3.6 Problem-Solution Question

7. Process Essays

The final, and perhaps easiest, type of common academic  essay is the process essay ,  the purpose of which is to explain to the reader how something happens or how to replicate a process themselves. Also known as a ‘how-to’ essay, this essay type involves the writer explaining a particular process either through defining it, by showing the particular processes in a step-by-step manner, or by describing in detail how something works. Such essay questions for this type might be as follows:

About Essay Types 3.7 Process Question

Please note that although listed separately here, it is possible that an essay could have aspects of more than one of these seven essay types. Having an understanding of these types will therefore help you to utilise them and hopefully improve your writing. If you’d like to check comprehension of these concepts as explained in Chapters 1 to 3, consider downloading our beginner-, intermediate– and advanced-level worksheets for this topic.

To reference this reader:

Academic Marker (2022) Essays . Available at: https://academicmarker.com/academic-guidance/assignments/essays/ (Accessed: Date Month Year).

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What is an Essay?

10 May, 2020

11 minutes read

Author:  Tomas White

Well, beyond a jumble of words usually around 2,000 words or so - what is an essay, exactly? Whether you’re taking English, sociology, history, biology, art, or a speech class, it’s likely you’ll have to write an essay or two. So how is an essay different than a research paper or a review? Let’s find out!

What is an essay

Defining the Term – What is an Essay?

The essay is a written piece that is designed to present an idea, propose an argument, express the emotion or initiate debate. It is a tool that is used to present writer’s ideas in a non-fictional way. Multiple applications of this type of writing go way beyond, providing political manifestos and art criticism as well as personal observations and reflections of the author.

what is an essay

An essay can be as short as 500 words, it can also be 5000 words or more.  However, most essays fall somewhere around 1000 to 3000 words ; this word range provides the writer enough space to thoroughly develop an argument and work to convince the reader of the author’s perspective regarding a particular issue.  The topics of essays are boundless: they can range from the best form of government to the benefits of eating peppermint leaves daily. As a professional provider of custom writing, our service has helped thousands of customers to turn in essays in various forms and disciplines.

Origins of the Essay

Over the course of more than six centuries essays were used to question assumptions, argue trivial opinions and to initiate global discussions. Let’s have a closer look into historical progress and various applications of this literary phenomenon to find out exactly what it is.

Today’s modern word “essay” can trace its roots back to the French “essayer” which translates closely to mean “to attempt” .  This is an apt name for this writing form because the essay’s ultimate purpose is to attempt to convince the audience of something.  An essay’s topic can range broadly and include everything from the best of Shakespeare’s plays to the joys of April.

The essay comes in many shapes and sizes; it can focus on a personal experience or a purely academic exploration of a topic.  Essays are classified as a subjective writing form because while they include expository elements, they can rely on personal narratives to support the writer’s viewpoint.  The essay genre includes a diverse array of academic writings ranging from literary criticism to meditations on the natural world.  Most typically, the essay exists as a shorter writing form; essays are rarely the length of a novel.  However, several historic examples, such as John Locke’s seminal work “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding” just shows that a well-organized essay can be as long as a novel.

The Essay in Literature

The essay enjoys a long and renowned history in literature.  They first began gaining in popularity in the early 16 th century, and their popularity has continued today both with original writers and ghost writers.  Many readers prefer this short form in which the writer seems to speak directly to the reader, presenting a particular claim and working to defend it through a variety of means.  Not sure if you’ve ever read a great essay? You wouldn’t believe how many pieces of literature are actually nothing less than essays, or evolved into more complex structures from the essay. Check out this list of literary favorites:

  • The Book of My Lives by Aleksandar Hemon
  • Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
  • Against Interpretation by Susan Sontag
  • High-Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now and Never by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Slouching Toward Bethlehem by Joan Didion
  • Naked by David Sedaris
  • Walden; or, Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau

Pretty much as long as writers have had something to say, they’ve created essays to communicate their viewpoint on pretty much any topic you can think of!

Top essays in literature

The Essay in Academics

Not only are students required to read a variety of essays during their academic education, but they will likely be required to write several different kinds of essays throughout their scholastic career.  Don’t love to write?  Then consider working with a ghost essay writer !  While all essays require an introduction, body paragraphs in support of the argumentative thesis statement, and a conclusion, academic essays can take several different formats in the way they approach a topic.  Common essays required in high school, college, and post-graduate classes include:

Five paragraph essay

This is the most common type of a formal essay. The type of paper that students are usually exposed to when they first hear about the concept of the essay itself. It follows easy outline structure – an opening introduction paragraph; three body paragraphs to expand the thesis; and conclusion to sum it up.

Argumentative essay

These essays are commonly assigned to explore a controversial issue.  The goal is to identify the major positions on either side and work to support the side the writer agrees with while refuting the opposing side’s potential arguments.

Compare and Contrast essay

This essay compares two items, such as two poems, and works to identify similarities and differences, discussing the strength and weaknesses of each.  This essay can focus on more than just two items, however.  The point of this essay is to reveal new connections the reader may not have considered previously.

Definition essay

This essay has a sole purpose – defining a term or a concept in as much detail as possible. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, not quite. The most important part of the process is picking up the word. Before zooming it up under the microscope, make sure to choose something roomy so you can define it under multiple angles. The definition essay outline will reflect those angles and scopes.

Descriptive essay

Perhaps the most fun to write, this essay focuses on describing its subject using all five of the senses.  The writer aims to fully describe the topic; for example, a descriptive essay could aim to describe the ocean to someone who’s never seen it or the job of a teacher.  Descriptive essays rely heavily on detail and the paragraphs can be organized by sense.

Illustration essay

The purpose of this essay is to describe an idea, occasion or a concept with the help of clear and vocal examples. “Illustration” itself is handled in the body paragraphs section. Each of the statements, presented in the essay needs to be supported with several examples. Illustration essay helps the author to connect with his audience by breaking the barriers with real-life examples – clear and indisputable.

Informative Essay

Being one the basic essay types, the informative essay is as easy as it sounds from a technical standpoint. High school is where students usually encounter with informative essay first time. The purpose of this paper is to describe an idea, concept or any other abstract subject with the help of proper research and a generous amount of storytelling.

Narrative essay

This type of essay focuses on describing a certain event or experience, most often chronologically.  It could be a historic event or an ordinary day or month in a regular person’s life. Narrative essay proclaims a free approach to writing it, therefore it does not always require conventional attributes, like the outline. The narrative itself typically unfolds through a personal lens, and is thus considered to be a subjective form of writing.

Persuasive essay

The purpose of the persuasive essay is to provide the audience with a 360-view on the concept idea or certain topic – to persuade the reader to adopt a certain viewpoint. The viewpoints can range widely from why visiting the dentist is important to why dogs make the best pets to why blue is the best color.  Strong, persuasive language is a defining characteristic of this essay type.

Types of essays

The Essay in Art

Several other artistic mediums have adopted the essay as a means of communicating with their audience.  In the visual arts, such as painting or sculpting, the rough sketches of the final product are sometimes deemed essays.  Likewise, directors may opt to create a film essay which is similar to a documentary in that it offers a personal reflection on a relevant issue.  Finally, photographers often create photographic essays in which they use a series of photographs to tell a story, similar to a narrative or a descriptive essay.

Drawing the line – question answered

“What is an Essay?” is quite a polarizing question. On one hand, it can easily be answered in a couple of words. On the other, it is surely the most profound and self-established type of content there ever was. Going back through the history of the last five-six centuries helps us understand where did it come from and how it is being applied ever since.

If you must write an essay, follow these five important steps to works towards earning the “A” you want:

  • Understand and review the kind of essay you must write
  • Brainstorm your argument
  • Find research from reliable sources to support your perspective
  • Cite all sources parenthetically within the paper and on the Works Cited page
  • Follow all grammatical rules

Generally speaking, when you must write any type of essay, start sooner rather than later!  Don’t procrastinate – give yourself time to develop your perspective and work on crafting a unique and original approach to the topic.  Remember: it’s always a good idea to have another set of eyes (or three) look over your essay before handing in the final draft to your teacher or professor.  Don’t trust your fellow classmates?  Consider hiring an editor or a ghostwriter to help out!

If you are still unsure on whether you can cope with your task – you are in the right place to get help. HandMadeWriting is the perfect answer to the question “Who can write my essay?”

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Ethical Research Paper Topics

Ethical Research Paper Topics

Writing a research paper on ethics is not an easy task, especially if you do not possess excellent writing skills and do not like to contemplate controversial questions. But an ethics course is obligatory in all higher education institutions, and students have to look for a way out and be creative. When you find an […]

Art Research Paper Topics

Art Research Paper Topics

Students obtaining degrees in fine art and art & design programs most commonly need to write a paper on art topics. However, this subject is becoming more popular in educational institutions for expanding students’ horizons. Thus, both groups of receivers of education: those who are into arts and those who only get acquainted with art […]

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, the 3 popular essay formats: which should you use.

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Not sure which path your essay should follow? Formatting an essay may not be as interesting as choosing a topic to write about or carefully crafting elegant sentences, but it’s an extremely important part of creating a high-quality paper. In this article, we’ll explain essay formatting rules for three of the most popular essay styles: MLA, APA, and Chicago.

For each, we’ll do a high-level overview of what your essay’s structure and references should look like, then we include a comparison chart with nitty-gritty details for each style, such as which font you should use for each and whether they’re a proponent of the Oxford comma. We also include information on why essay formatting is important and what you should do if you’re not sure which style to use.

Why Is Your Essay Format Important?

Does it really matter which font size you use or exactly how you cite a source in your paper? It can! Style formats were developed as a way to standardize how pieces of writing and their works cited lists should look. 

Why is this necessary? Imagine you’re a teacher, researcher, or publisher who reviews dozens of papers a week. If the papers didn’t follow the same formatting rules, you could waste a lot of time trying to figure out which sources were used, if certain information is a direct quote or paraphrased, even who the paper’s author is. Having essay formatting rules to follow makes things easier for everyone involved. Writers can follow a set of guidelines without trying to decide for themselves which formatting choices are best, and readers don’t need to go hunting for the information they’re trying to find.

Next, we’ll discuss the three most common style formats for essays.

MLA Essay Format

MLA style was designed by the Modern Language Association, and it has become the most popular college essay format for students writing papers for class. It was originally developed for students and researchers in the literature and language fields to have a standardized way of formatting their papers, but it is now used by people in all disciplines, particularly humanities. MLA is often the style teachers prefer their students to use because it has simple, clear rules to follow without extraneous inclusions often not needed for school papers. For example, unlike APA or Chicago styles, MLA doesn’t require a title page for a paper, only a header in the upper left-hand corner of the page.

MLA style doesn’t have any specific requirements for how to write your essay, but an MLA format essay will typically follow the standard essay format of an introduction (ending with a thesis statement), several body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

One of the nice things about creating your works cited for MLA is that all references are structured the same way, regardless of whether they’re a book, newspaper, etc. It’s the only essay format style that makes citing references this easy! Here is a guide on how to cite any source in MLA format. When typing up your works cited, here are a few MLA format essay rules to keep in mind:

  • The works cited page should be the last paper of your paper.
  • This page should still be double-spaced and include the running header of your last name and page number.
  • It should begin with “Works Cited” at the top of the page, centered.
  • Your works cited should be organized in alphabetical order, based on the first word of the citation.

APA Essay Format

APA stands for the American Psychological Association. This format type is most often used for research papers, specifically those in behavioral sciences (such as psychology and neuroscience) and social sciences (ranging from archeology to economics). Because APA is often used for more research-focused papers, they have a more specific format to follow compared to, say, MLA style.

All APA style papers begin with a title page, which contains the title of the paper (in capital letters), your name, and your institutional affiliation (if you’re a student, then this is simply the name of the school you attend). The APA recommends the title of your paper not be longer than 12 words.

After your title page, your paper begins with an abstract. The abstract is a single paragraph, typically between 150 to 250 words, that sums up your research. It should include the topic you’re researching, research questions, methods, results, analysis, and a conclusion that touches on the significance of the research. Many people find it easier to write the abstract last, after completing the paper.

After the abstract comes the paper itself. APA essay format recommends papers be short, direct, and make their point clearly and concisely. This isn’t the time to use flowery language or extraneous descriptions. Your paper should include all the sections mentioned in the abstract, each expanded upon.

Following the paper is the list of references used. Unlike MLA style, in APA essay format, every source type is referenced differently. So the rules for referencing a book are different from those for referencing a journal article are different from those referencing an interview. Here’s a guide for how to reference different source types in APA format . Your references should begin on a new page that says “REFERENCES” at the top, centered. The references should be listed in alphabetical order.

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Chicago Essay Format

Chicago style (sometimes referred to as “Turabian style”) was developed by the University of Chicago Press and is typically the least-used by students of the three major essay style formats. The Chicago Manual of Style (currently on its 17th edition) contains within its 1000+ pages every rule you need to know for this style. This is a very comprehensive style, with a rule for everything. It’s most often used in history-related fields, although many people refer to The Chicago Manual of Style for help with a tricky citation or essay format question. Many book authors use this style as well.

Like APA, Chicago style begins with a title page, and it has very specific format rules for doing this which are laid out in the chart below. After the title page may come an abstract, depending on whether you’re writing a research paper or not. Then comes the essay itself. The essay can either follow the introduction → body → conclusion format of MLA or the different sections included in the APA section. Again, this depends on whether you’re writing a paper on research you conducted or not.

Unlike MLA or APA, Chicago style typically uses footnotes or endnotes instead of in-text or parenthetical citations. You’ll place the superscript number at the end of the sentence (for a footnote) or end of the page (for an endnote), then have an abbreviated source reference at the bottom of the page. The sources will then be fully referenced at the end of the paper, in the order of their footnote/endnote numbers. The reference page should be titled “Bibliography” if you used footnotes/endnotes or “References” if you used parenthetical author/date in-text citations.

Comparison Chart

Below is a chart comparing different formatting rules for APA, Chicago, and MLA styles.

How Should You Format Your Essay If Your Teacher Hasn’t Specified a Format?

What if your teacher hasn’t specified which essay format they want you to use? The easiest way to solve this problem is simply to ask your teacher which essay format they prefer. However, if you can’t get ahold of them or they don’t have a preference, we recommend following MLA format. It’s the most commonly-used essay style for students writing papers that aren’t based on their own research, and its formatting rules are general enough that a teacher of any subject shouldn’t have a problem with an MLA format essay. The fact that this style has one of the simplest sets of rules for citing sources is an added bonus!

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Thinking about taking an AP English class? Read our guide on AP English classes to learn whether you should take AP English Language or AP English Literature (or both!)

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Need ideas for a research paper topic? Our guide to research paper topics has over 100 topics in ten categories so you can be sure to find the perfect topic for you.

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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10 Main Types of Essays: Definitions, Purpose and Examples

For almost all students, whether in high school or college, essays are unavoidable – they are the most common type of academic writing in any institution. There are over 10 different types of essays, and in this article, you’ll know their purpose and get some writing tips.

But first, what are essays ? Simply put, an essay refers to any piece of text written to convince the reader of something or enlighten someone about a particular topic. A standard short essay comprises an introduction, conclusion, and 3 body paragraphs – but there could be more.

To write a fantastic paper, you should comprehend the instructions to tell which type of paper the professor is looking for. In so doing, you can know what topic to select, write an excellent article using correct wording, and then format it correctly.

You probably would get disappointed when your professor comments, “Your essay is too descriptive; be more critical, or lose marks!” It may seem unlikely, but think about it.

How do you differentiate a descriptive essay or research paper from a critical or definition analytical one? You need to know when to describe, define, include facts, and give your opinion. Now, let’s explore the types of essays once and for all – and avoid the confusion!

10 Main Types of Essays in College

You’d probably want to know how understanding the type or genre of essay could impact your academic writing skills. And we have the answer! It helps you select an appropriate topic for your paper, use correct wording, and format your essay appropriately.

In fact, you are more likely to earn higher marks than a person who wrote a 5-paragraph essay with no particular attention to the category of essay the professor requested.

That being said, let’s have a deep look at the meaning of the following types of essays – with topics, examples, and writing tips. If you have any concerns or want clarification about any of these essays or even more examples, let’s connect in the comment section. So, shall we?

1. Descriptive Types o f Essays

Do you know what Descriptive Essays are ? They logically describe or narrate an event, emotion, object, or person. According to the Oxford Learner Dictionary , the genre is derived from the verb ‘describe,’ which means “to say what somebody or something is like.”

They test the writer’s ability to explain experiences in writing. So, you ought to give an account of something and provide as many details as possible. The professor may ask you to describe the origin of abortion in the United States. Or describe the major types of gambling.

There are about four different types of descriptive essays. They include essays about a person, an object, an opinion, or about a place. Let’s list some examples of Descriptive essay topics. The professor may ask you to describe your favorite place, venue, or person;

  • Your favorite place (e.g., a hotel, country, or village)
  • A country’s struggle for independence
  • A place you have visited recently
  • The area in which you grew up
  • A favorite shop, store, or country
  • Your teacher’s leadership skills

Now, using the examples above, write at least five descriptive essay topic examples about a particular object, person, opinions, and memories in the comment section. Then, we can move on to the second category of essays – p ersuasive or argumentative essays.

2. Persuasive/Argumentative Types of Essays

Just like a seller convincing a buyer to purchase a particular product, your persuasive essay should convince the reader to take your point of view on a particular subject. It would be best to defend your argument using logical reasoning and convincing facts.

Argumentative essays, just like other academic writing, call for an extensive understanding of the topic under consideration. The genre does not ask you to describe your perspective – this is not a mere opinion essay. You need to gather reliable evidence to back up your arguments.

You should first select an appropriate topic, conduct background research on it, examine the evidence, and take a position, either “ for ” or “ against, ” to build the strongest argument.

While writing your essay, make sure you take a position with more strength (facts), as you have to explain your reasons for taking that direction. And, of course, you ought to support your claim using relevant sources , examples, and, where appropriate, tables and figures.

How to Format an Argumentative Essay

Argumentative or persuasive essays follow a unique writing format. Remember, if you’re exploring a debatable topic or subject, then give your opinion on which side you think, based on substantial evidence, weighs more. Don’t forget to justify taking a stance.

For instance, if you argue in support of organ donation, the reader needs to see the logic in your writing. Give ‘enough’ details and evidence, and cite (acknowledge) the sources.

Bonus Writing Tip – the general format of a persuasive or argumentative essay includes;

  • Cover page (with student’s credentials and essay topic)
  • Title (Essay Topic) – should be relevant and researchable
  • Introduction paragraph (with a thesis statement, background, and hook)
  • Paragraphs on one side of the argument (like why abortion should be permitted)
  • Paragraphs on the other side of the argument (like why abortion is immoral)
  • Your position – which side has more weight? What have you learned?
  • Conclusion – summarize the main point and opinion, and restate your thesis
  • Reference page – list of materials used to back up arguments
  • Appendices – information or data not included in the text but relevant

Some examples of persuasive or argumentative essay topics may include;

  • Are we too dependent on computers?
  • Should online gambling be delegalized?
  • Do we need online dating apps in the 21st century?
  • Does social media impact one’s life?
  • Should content on the internet be more restricted?

Exercise – think of additional 5 additional topics and share them in the comment section.

3. Compare and Contrast Essays

The purpose of a compare and contrast essay is to explore the similarities and differences of two separate but relatable things. And the professor expects you to illuminate subtle disparities or unexpected similarities rather than just stating the obvious.

While writing such an essay, first identify the basis to compare the two things and then identify how they differ. It is essential to compare and contrast items that relate in some way.

For instance, you cannot compare driving a motorcycle and reading an article – they are not comparable and don’t seem to have anything in common.

However, you may compare reading a book and reading an article or the similarities and differences between gambling today and 100 years ago. Another possible topic to write your comparison essay on is the level of abortion in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Let’s list some examples of compare and contrast essay topics:

  • Economic development in developed and underdeveloped countries or regions
  • The education system in the USA and Canada
  • College life vs. high school life
  • Two articles, books, or magazines
  • Leadership styles of two presidents or governors of your choice (or pre-selected)

While writing this category of essays, it is fundamental to find some common grounds to base the comparison. For example, while comparing two leaders based on leadership style, leader A may be endorsing democracy while leader B applies dictatorship .

It is up to you to find relevant bass for the comparison. An example of a wrong comparison could be – leader A endorses democracy while leader B is tall. I hope you get the point. The basis of comparison should match. Next in line is the cause-and-effect essay.

4. Cause and Effect Essay Types

A cause-and-effect essay first recognizes the causes or reasons for the occurrence of something and then goes deeper into explaining the consequences or effects .

The genre is prevalent in academic writing and mostly in medical studies, especially while examining health problems like HIV, Covid-19, and Malaria.

For example, you could be asked to explain the causes and effects of abortion in the United States. You need to understand what abortion is to give the correct answer. Another example is – to explain the causes and effects of undocumented immigration in Mexico.

You may also consider writing your cause-and-effect paper on the following topics:

  • Pollution, climate change, or global warming (related topics)
  • The Civil Rights Movement and its effects
  • World War I, II, or any other conflict
  • Tsunami or earthquake in a particular region
  • Stress is any other health problem

This type of essay demands a more profound understanding of the topic, for you would not be simply describing but investigating the how, when, why, and effect of an aspect in life.

More so, you need to conduct relevant research on the topic. Most importantly, you can opt to investigate the effect of a particular aspect on a country’s sociodemographic, economic, or political status. However, always consult with the professor or essay guidelines (instructions).

Now, let’s move on to the following genre of essays – the pros and cons of essays.

5. Pros and Cons Essays

For ages, pros and cons analysis has been regarded as the quickest way to make objective, considered decisions in real life. While writing one, understand the topic clearly and then examine the advantages and disadvantages of the subject to write a quality paper.

For instance, you could explain the pros and cons of social media. While it connects learners from other educational systems, social media users are prone to cyberbullying. Now, explain the points separately – not listing the pros and cons in the same paragraph.

Here are some topics that you can write your paper on:

  • Online dating
  • Going to college.
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Online shopping
  • Animal experiments
  • Legalizing prostitution
  • Self-employment

Additional Tip : To write a good pros and cons essay or any of the different types of academic writing, you need to conduct extensive research.

6. Expository Essays

An expository essay requires the learner to investigate a particular idea, examine the existing evidence, expound on it, and then form an argument clearly and concisely. You can accomplish this by analyzing the cause and effects, comparing and contrasting ideas, etc.

This genre is prevalent in classroom evaluation. For instance, you could explain why parents are strict sometimes. Or why do you prefer a particular English teacher?

An expository essay evaluates your investigative, evaluative, or argumentative abilities. Some expository essay topic examples may include;

  • Explain why  parents  are sometimes strict
  • What is your favorite school subject?
  • How was your first day in college?
  • Does Alcohol solve problems?
  • Has technology made communication easier?
  • What would you do if you were to live forever?

Expository essays describe a particular aspect broadly and coherently. Understood? So, make sure you back up your arguments with peer-reviewed sources, as always, and go deeper into the topic. Have you heard of definition essays ?

7. Definition Types of Essays

Definition essays are a genre that requires you to explain the meaning of a particular term – from a broad perspective. While terms like tree and book have definite and concrete meanings, others like honor and love depend on a person’s perspective.

For instance, the professor can ask you to define terms like respect, optimism, natural beauty, or kindness. You need to be very creative to avoid repetition in such essays. Some of the terms or topic examples you may be asked to write a definition essay on include;

  • Communication

While writing a definition essay, do not simply write its dictionary meaning. It would help if you explored it deeper. You may as well explore what other authors have defined the term in their writings and give your opinion on whether you think their definition is appropriate.

8. Process Essays

A process essay is a genre of academic writing that guides or directs a reader to do something . It explains the steps one by one and consistently. Never skip any steps while writing a process essay. Instead, your directions should follow a chronological order .

For instance, a professor can ask you to write a process essay on the topic:

  • How to cook pilau
  • Writing an essay step by step
  • How to format a paper in APA
  • Riding a bicycle
  • How to insert a table of contents in Microsoft Word

Please note that your steps should be factual and verifiable. You have to understand the process for you to write an outstanding essay. Otherwise, you may end up losing marks.

9. Critical Analysis Types of Essays

Critical analysis essays are most popular in advanced learning levels, especially Master’s and Doctorate. They are regarded as the hardest among the outlined 10 types of essays . In fact, they have made many students hire online essay-writing companies to help them out.

A critical analysis essay is a genre of essay that requires you to analyze the effectiveness of a particular literature and explain, obviously with supporting evidence, what it does or does not do well . You are not asked to describe but to investigate the work in detail.

It would be best to examine what other scholars say about the topic. For instance, while analyzing a particular article, book, or film, you need to understand the article’s content; otherwise, you may not manage to defend your arguments on its strengths and weaknesses.

However, your paper must not always analyze a particular article or film. You could explore a particular theory or defend a certain quote, explaining its relevance in a particular context. Regardless of your topic, back up your arguments with evidence from credible sources.

Some examples of critical analysis essay topics include;

  • Racism in sports is real. Discuss.
  • WWI was a necessary tragedy that transformed the world. Discuss.
  • Analyze Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and its impact on racism in America
  • Analyze the effect of betting on the sporting community

While writing a critical analysis essay, it would be best to describe or summarize the content but critically analyze it with logical arguments and reliable sources.

Make sure you identify the reliable article, find similarities and differences in authors’ opinions, generate your own opinions, identify research gaps, suggest solutions, etc. Last on our list of different types of papers, we have problem and solution essays.

10. Problems and Solution Essays

A problem and solution essay is a piece of writing that describes a particular problem and offers practical solutions to solve the issue. It aims to convince the audience why a problem needs to be solved urgently or why a particular solution is the most appropriate to it.

To write an outstanding essay, think of a problem you have experienced or witnessed and suggest how it could be solved. You can discuss one ideal solution to the problem or a couple of multiple solutions. So, briefly, the basic parts of a problem and solution essay include:

  • Problem description and justification
  • Proposing a solution(s)
  • Argue why the proposed solution is practical and cost-effective
  • Explain why the solution is different or better than other solutions
  • Conclude your essay

Some of the common topics that you could write your paper on include:

  • How can the body-shaming issue be solved?
  • How can police brutality be eliminated?
  • What are the ways to control inflation?
  • How do you develop confidence?
  • What are the legal ways to stop human trafficking?

Understanding the different types of essays is critical in writing outstanding academic papers since each category has a unique format and wording and serves different purposes.

However, the exact number of essays is undecided – some scholar says it’s 4, while others say it’s 5, 6, 7, 9, or 10. It depends on what one understands by the term ‘types of essays.’

For instance, while we included argumentative and persuasive essays under one category, some scholars claim that they differ. Some argue that persuasive essays depend on opinions and emotions , while argumentative essays use logic and reasoning .

Nevertheless, the ten most common types of essays include;

  • Descriptive Essays
  • Persuasive or Argumentative Essays
  • Compare and Contrast Essays
  • Pros and Cons Essays
  • Expository Essays
  • Definition Essays
  • Process Essays
  • Cause and Effect Essays
  • Critical Analysis Essays
  • Problem and Solution Essays

I hope the article has answered your questions. We would greatly appreciate your feedback. Leave a comment or suggestion – and share the article. And let us know which is the easiest and most demanding type of essay to write . And also, share some tips in the comment section.

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100+ good compare and contrast essay topics for everyone, 100+ great argumentative essay topics for students in 2023.

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Types of Research Papers: Overview

A research paper is simply a piece of writing that uses outside sources. There are different types of research papers with varying purposes and expectations for sourcing.

While this guide explains those differences broadly, disciplines and assignments vary. Ask your professor for clarification on the purpose and types of appropriate research questions and sources.

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what is the different types of essay

Types of Narrative Writing: Frameworks of Narrative Composition Explained

what is the different types of essay

Narrative writing is all about telling stories, and there are countless ways to do it. From the tales our ancestors shared around campfires to the novels we read on our commutes, storytelling has always been a big part of being human. This article dives into the different kinds of narrative writing. We'll explore everything from epic fantasies to gritty crime thrillers, from heartfelt romances to mind-bending science fiction. By looking at these different types of storytelling, we can learn much about what makes a story work and why some stories stick with us long after reading them. So, prepare to explore the wonderful world of fictional writing with us! If writing isn’t your thing, use our narrative essay writing service to keep your grades up.

What Is Narrative Writing

The narrative writing definition is simply the act of telling a story using words. It's like painting a picture with words, creating characters, places, and events that come to life in the reader's mind. Whether it's a short story, a novel, or even a movie script, narrative writing takes the reader on a journey, engages their emotions, and often leaves them with something to think about. It's how we share our experiences, dreams, and imaginations with others, inviting them to step into different worlds and perspectives for a while. Are you lagging behind the schedule with your assignment? Then simply say, ‘ write my paper for me ,’ and our experts will lend you a helping hand.

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Four Main Types of Narrative Writing

Narrative writing can be broadly categorized into various styles, including linear, non-linear, descriptive, and viewpoint narratives. Each type offers its unique approach to storytelling, providing writers with diverse tools to produce compelling stories that resonate with readers.

Four Main Types of Narrative Writing

Linear Narrative

Linear narrative is a traditional storytelling technique that presents events in a straightforward chronological order, following a clear beginning, middle, and end structure. In this writing form, the story's progression moves seamlessly from one event to the next, with each event leading logically to the next, creating a sense of cause and effect. A linear narrative structure typically starts with an introduction to the main characters, setting, and conflict, followed by a series of events that unfold linearly, leading to the climax and eventual resolution of the conflict. This narrative style is often used in various literary genres such as novels, short stories, and traditional forms of cinema, where the focus is on conveying a coherent and easily understandable storyline to the audience.

Characteristics of linear narratives include a clear and predictable plot trajectory, with events unfolding linearly without significant interruptions or deviations from the chronological order. The approach flow is typically easy to follow, allowing the audience to engage with the story without confusion. Linear storylines often prioritize clarity and coherence, presenting events logically that build tension and suspense leading up to the climax. This narrative style is commonly used in genres such as adventure, romance, and mystery, where the focus is on developing a cohesive storyline that progresses linearly, leading to a satisfying resolution for the audience.

Linear Narrative Examples

Several classic literary works and modern films employ linear narrative structures to tell their stories. Here are a few examples:

  • "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen: This beloved novel follows the linear progression of events in the lives of the Bennet sisters as they navigate societal expectations, love, and marriage in early 19th-century England.
  • "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee: Set in the 1930s American South, this novel unfolds linearly as it explores themes of racial injustice and moral growth through the experiences of young Scout Finch and her family.
  • "Forrest Gump" (1994): Directed by Robert Zemeckis, this film tells the life story of Forrest Gump, a slow-witted but kind-hearted man, following his journey through significant historical events in the latter half of the 20th century.
  • "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien: Tolkien's epic fantasy series follows a linear narrative structure as it chronicles the quest to destroy the One Ring, with events unfolding sequentially across three volumes.
  • "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994): This film, directed by Frank Darabont and based on a novella by Stephen King, follows the experiences of Andy Dufresne, a banker wrongly convicted of murder, as he navigates life in prison and seeks redemption, told linearly from beginning to end.

Non-Linear Narrative

A non-linear narrative is a storytelling technique that presents events out of chronological order, often using techniques such as flashbacks, flash-forwards, or multiple timelines. Unlike linear narratives that progress straightforwardly from beginning to end, non-linear stories may disrupt the chronological sequence to create complexity, ambiguity, or thematic resonance. This narrative style challenges traditional notions of time and causality, inviting readers or viewers to piece together the story's events and meanings non-linearly. A non linear narrative structure may involve jumps in time, shifts in perspective, or fragmented storytelling, offering an alternative approach to organizing and experiencing a narrative.

Characteristics of non-linear narratives include fractured timelines, where events are presented in a disjointed or non-sequential order, often requiring the audience to reconstruct the chronological sequence mentally. Flashbacks and flash-forwards are commonly used to provide context, backstory, or foreshadowing, offering insights into characters' motivations or the significance of certain events. Non-linear narratives may also feature recurring motifs, symbols, or themes that resonate across different temporal moments, contributing to a deeper understanding of the story's underlying meanings. This narration style is frequently employed in literature, film, and other forms of storytelling to explore themes of memory, identity, and the subjective nature of truth, allowing for more nuanced and layered narratives that challenge linear modes of storytelling. Check out these narrative essay topics to boost your imagination and creativity.

Non-Linear Narrative Examples

Non-linear narrative structures have been utilized in various literary works, films, and television shows to offer audiences unique storytelling experiences. Here are a few notable examples of erratic narrative styles:

  • "Memento" (2000): Directed by Christopher Nolan, "Memento" tells the story of Leonard Shelby, a man with short-term memory loss who is searching for his wife's killer. The film's narrative is presented non-linearly, with scenes alternating between color sequences moving forward in time and black-and-white sequences moving backward, gradually revealing the events leading up to the murder.
  • "Pulp Fiction" (1994): Directed by Quentin Tarantino, "Pulp Fiction" weaves together multiple interconnected stories featuring an ensemble cast of characters. The film's narrative is fragmented, with events presented out of chronological order, creating a nonlinear structure that challenges conventional storytelling norms.
  • "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (2004): Directed by Michel Gondry, this romantic sci-fi film follows Joel Barish and Clementine Kruczynski, two former lovers who undergo a procedure to erase memories of each other after a painful breakup. The narration unfolds non-linearly as Joel's memories are fragmented and reshuffled, blurring the lines between past and present.
  • "Cloud Atlas" (2012): Directed by Lana and Lilly Wachowski, along with Tom Tykwer, "Cloud Atlas" is an adaptation of David Mitchell's novel of the same name. The film intertwines multiple storylines spanning different periods and genres, presenting a complex narrative structure that explores themes of interconnectedness and reincarnation.
  • "Westworld" (TV series, 2016-present): Created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, "Westworld" is a science fiction series set in a futuristic amusement park populated by lifelike androids. The show employs a non-linear narrative approach, often shifting between different periods and character perspectives to unravel its intricate plotlines and mysteries.

Descriptive Narrative

Descriptive narrative style is a storytelling technique that emphasizes vivid imagery and sensory details to paint a rich and immersive picture of characters, settings, and events. In this narrative style, the author focuses on evoking the reader's senses through detailed descriptions of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures, allowing them to experience the story on a sensory level. Descriptive narrations often prioritize using figurative language, such as similes, metaphors, and personification, to create vivid mental images and evoke emotional responses in the reader. This approach aims to transport the reader into the story's world, immersing them in its atmosphere and enhancing their emotional engagement with the characters and events.

Characteristics of descriptive narratives include lush and evocative language that appeals to the reader's imagination, drawing them into the story's sensory experience. Settings are often described in intricate detail, capturing the nuances of landscapes, architecture, and weather conditions to establish mood and tone. Characters are likewise depicted with depth and nuance, and their physical appearances, gestures, and mannerisms are brought to life through vivid descriptions. Descriptive narratives are commonly used in literary fiction, focusing on crafting richly textured and immersive storytelling experiences that linger in the reader's mind long after the story has ended. They are also prevalent in genres such as travel writing, nature writing, and poetry, where the power of descriptive language is harnessed to convey the beauty and complexity of the world around us. Use our descriptive essay writing service to produce better papers within a shorter period of time.

Descriptive Narrative Examples

Descriptive narrative examples showcase the power of vivid imagery and sensory details to immerse readers in rich storytelling experiences. Here are a few notable examples:

  • "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Fitzgerald's classic novel is renowned for its lush and evocative descriptions of the Roaring Twenties, capturing the glitz and glamour of the Jazz Age with vivid imagery. From lavish parties at Gatsby's mansion to the opulent estates of Long Island, the novel's descriptive narrative transports readers to a bygone era of excess and disillusionment.
  • "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy: In this post-apocalyptic tale, McCarthy employs descriptive language to paint a bleak and haunting portrait of a world ravaged by an unspecified catastrophe. The novel's sparse yet evocative prose immerses readers in the desolate landscape, conveying the sense of isolation and despair experienced by the protagonist and his son as they journey through a barren wasteland.
  • "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett: Set in the enchanting countryside of Yorkshire, England, Burnett's beloved children's novel abounds with lush descriptions of gardens, landscapes, and natural beauty. Through vivid imagery and sensory details, the descriptive narrative brings to life the magic and wonder of the secret garden, providing a captivating backdrop for the story's themes of renewal and transformation.
  • "A Moveable Feast" by Ernest Hemingway: Hemingway's memoir of his years as a struggling young writer in 1920s Paris is infused with a descriptive narrative that vividly captures the City of Light's sights, sounds, and atmosphere. From bustling cafes along the Left Bank to tranquil walks along the Seine, the memoir immerses readers in the vibrant bohemian culture of Paris during the Lost Generation.
  • "Where the Red Fern Grows" by Wilson Rawls: Rawls' coming-of-age novel set in the Ozark Mountains of Oklahoma is filled with descriptive narrative that brings the rural landscape to life. Through vivid descriptions of forests, rivers, and wildlife, the novel evokes the beauty and ruggedness of the natural world, serving as a backdrop for the timeless tale of friendship and loyalty between a boy and his two hunting dogs.

We recommend you revise the descriptive essay structure in case a composition on one of the literary masterpieces is assigned to you. 

Viewpoint Narrative

Viewpoint narrative, also known as point of view (POW), refers to the perspective from which a story is told, shaping the reader's understanding of events, characters, and themes. In viewpoint narrative, the author chooses a specific character or narrator through whose eyes the story unfolds, influencing the reader's perception of the events and the narrative's emotional impact. Among the types of narrative writing, the POW technique allows for varying degrees of intimacy and subjectivity, depending on whether the viewpoint character is a participant in the story's events or an observer recounting them from a distance. Viewpoint narrative can be first person, where the narrator is a character within the story, offering insights into their thoughts, feelings, and experiences, or third person, where the narrator is an external observer, providing a more objective perspective.

Characteristics of viewpoint narrative include the subjective nature of the storytelling, as the reader experiences the story through the lens of the chosen viewpoint character or narrator. First-person narratives often feature a distinct voice and personality, allowing readers to connect closely with the narrator and gain insights into their inner thoughts and motivations. Third-person narratives, on the other hand, may offer multiple viewpoints or perspectives, providing a broader understanding of the story's events and characters. Viewpoint narration is used across various literary genres and forms, from novels and short stories to plays and screenplays, allowing authors to explore different aspects of storytelling and engage readers in diverse experiences. Here’s a link to a narrative essay outline to help you write more accomplished compositions.

Viewpoint Narrative Examples

Viewpoint narrative examples illustrate how authors employ different perspectives to tell their stories and engage readers. Here are a few notable examples:

  • "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger: Narrated in the first person by the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, this classic novel provides readers with a deeply intimate and subjective viewpoint into the troubled mind of a teenage boy struggling with alienation and disillusionment in post-World War II America.
  • "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn: This psychological thriller employs a dual narrative structure, alternating between the first-person perspectives of husband and wife – Nick and Amy Dunne. By presenting conflicting viewpoints, Flynn creates suspense and ambiguity, challenging readers to question the reliability of the narrators and unravel the truth behind a mysterious disappearance.
  • "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Narrated by Nick Carraway, a peripheral observer of the events unfolding in the lives of the wealthy elite of the Jazz Age, this novel offers a nuanced third-person perspective that provides insight into the glamorous yet morally bankrupt world of 1920s America.
  • "Room" by Emma Donoghue: Narrated from the first-person viewpoint of a five-year-old boy named Jack, this novel tells the harrowing story of a young mother and her son held captive in a small shed. Through Jack's innocent and limited perspective, readers gain a poignant understanding of the psychological impact of confinement and the resilience of the human spirit.
  • "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy: Written in stark and minimalist prose, this post-apocalyptic novel employs a third-person perspective to depict the journey of a father and son across a desolate landscape. By adopting an external viewpoint, McCarthy creates a sense of detachment that underscores the bleakness and despair of the character's circumstances.

Narrative Writing Tips

Here are some narrative style writing tips to help you craft compelling stories:

Narrative Writing Tips

  • Start with a Strong Hook

Begin your narration with an attention-grabbing opening that intrigues readers and sets the tone for the story. A strong hook can draw readers into your narrative from the first sentence, whether it's an intriguing question, a vivid description, or a compelling action.

  • Develop Memorable Characters

Create multidimensional characters with unique personalities, motivations, and flaws. Readers should be able to relate to your characters and invest emotionally in their journey. Show their growth and development throughout the story to keep readers engaged.

  • Establish Setting and Atmosphere

Use descriptive language to vividly describe the story's setting, including details about time, place, and mood. The setting serves as the backdrop for your narration and can enhance the atmosphere, immersing readers in the world you've created.

  • Structure Your Plot

Plan out the key events of your story, including the introduction of conflict, rising action, climax, and resolution. A well-structured plot keeps readers engaged and gives your narrative a sense of direction. Consider using techniques such as foreshadowing and pacing to maintain tension and suspense.

  • Show, Don't Tell

Instead of simply telling readers what is happening, show them through vivid scenes, dialogue, and sensory details. Engage the reader's senses by describing sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures to bring your narration to life.

  • Use Dialogue Effective

Dialogue is a powerful tool for revealing character traits, advancing the plot, and adding authenticity to your narrative. Ensure your characters' dialogue sounds natural and contributes to the story's development.

  • Edit and Revise

Once you've completed your draft, take the time to revise and polish your narrative. Pay attention to clarity, coherence, and pacing, and consider seeking feedback from others to gain fresh perspectives on your writing.

  • Experiment with Point of View

Consider the narrative perspective that best serves your story: first person, third person, or omniscient. Each point of view offers unique advantages and challenges, so experiment to find the one that best suits your narration.

  • Show Character Emotions

Allow readers to connect with your characters by showing their emotions through their actions, thoughts, and interactions with others. Emotional resonance can make your narrative more relatable and engaging.

  • Trust Your Voice

Develop your unique voice as a writer and trust your instincts. Don't be afraid to take risks and experiment with different narration techniques to tell your story in a way that feels authentic to you. Another great advice is to rely on professional essay writers to provide you with turnkey-ready papers tailored to your specific requirements.

In conclusion, exploring different types of narrative writing reveals the richness and versatility of storytelling as a form of human expression. From the intricate plots of mystery novels to the poignant reflections of personal memoirs, narrative writing offers an array of genres and styles to suit every taste and preference. Regardless of the type of narrative writing employed, the essence of storytelling remains constant: to transport readers to new worlds, evoke emotions, and provoke thought. If you’d like to hone your writing skills further, consult the guide on types of sentences examples . 

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What Is A Narrative Essay?

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What is the difference between a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse?

what is the different types of essay

It almost time! Millions of Americans across the country Monday are preparing to witness the once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse as it passes over portions of Mexico, the United States and Canada.

It's a sight to behold and people have now long been eagerly awaiting what will be their only chance until 2044 to witness totality, whereby the moon will completely block the sun's disc, ushering in uncharacteristic darkness.

That being said, many are curious on what makes the solar eclipse special and how is it different from a lunar eclipse.

The total solar eclipse is today: Get the latest forecast and everything you need to know

What is an eclipse?

An eclipse occurs when any celestial object like a moon or a planet passes between two other bodies, obscuring the view of objects like the sun, according to NASA .

What is a solar eclipse?

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon comes in between the Earth and the sun, blocking its light from reaching our planet, leading to a period of darkness lasting several minutes. The resulting "totality," whereby observers can see the outermost layer of the sun's atmosphere, known as the corona, presents a spectacular sight for viewers and confuses animals – causing nocturnal creatures to stir and bird and insects to fall silent.

Partial eclipses, when some part of the sun remains visible, are the most common, making total eclipses a rare sight.

What is a lunar eclipse?

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon and the sun are on exact opposite sides of Earth. When this happens, Earth blocks the sunlight that normally reaches the moon. Instead of that sunlight hitting the moon’s surface, Earth's shadow falls on it.

Lunar eclipses are often also referred to the "blood moon" because when the Earth's shadow covers the moon, it often produces a red color. The coloration happens because a bit of reddish sunlight still reaches the moon's surface, even though it's in Earth's shadow.

Difference between lunar eclipse and solar eclipse

The major difference between the two eclipses is in the positioning of the sun, the moon and the Earth and the longevity of the phenomenon, according to NASA.

A lunar eclipse can last for a few hours, while a solar eclipse lasts only a few minutes. Solar eclipses also rarely occur, while lunar eclipses are comparatively more frequent. While at least two partial lunar eclipses happen every year, total lunar eclipses are still rare, says NASA.

Another major difference between the two is that for lunar eclipses, no special glasses or gizmos are needed to view the spectacle and one can directly stare at the moon. However, for solar eclipses, it is pertinent to wear proper viewing glasses and take the necessary safety precautions because the powerful rays of the sun can burn and damage your retinas.

Contributing: Eric Lagatta, Doyle Rice, USA TODAY

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