Types of Essays: End the Confusion
Effectively writing different types of essays has become critical to academic success. Essay writing is a common school assignment, a part of standardized tests, and a requirement on college applications. Often on tests, choosing the correct type of essay to write in response to a writing prompt is key to getting the question right. Clearly, students can’t afford to remain confused about types of essays.
There are over a dozen types of essays, so it’s easy to get confused. However, rest assured, the number is actually more manageable. Essentially there are four major types of essays, with the variations making up the remainder.
Four Major Types of Essays
Distinguishing between types of essays is simply a matter of determining the writer’s goal. Does the writer want to tell about a personal experience, describe something, explain an issue, or convince the reader to accept a certain viewpoint? The four major types of essays address these purposes:
1. Narrative Essays: Telling a Story
In a narrative essay, the writer tells a story about a real-life experience. While telling a story may sound easy to do, the narrative essay challenges students to think and write about themselves. When writing a narrative essay, writers should try to involve the reader by making the story as vivid as possible. The fact that narrative essays are usually written in the first person helps engage the reader. “I” sentences give readers a feeling of being part of the story. A well-crafted narrative essay will also build towards drawing a conclusion or making a personal statement.
2. Descriptive Essays: Painting a Picture
A cousin of the narrative essay, a descriptive essay paints a picture with words. A writer might describe a person, place, object, or even memory of special significance. However, this type of essay is not description for description’s sake. The descriptive essay strives to communicate a deeper meaning through the description. In a descriptive essay, the writer should show, not tell, through the use of colorful words and sensory details. The best descriptive essays appeal to the reader’s emotions, with a result that is highly evocative.
3. Expository Essays: Just the Facts
The expository essay is an informative piece of writing that presents a balanced analysis of a topic. In an expository essay, the writer explains or defines a topic, using facts, statistics, and examples. Expository writing encompasses a wide range of essay variations, such as the comparison and contrast essay, the cause and effect essay, and the “how to” or process essay. Because expository essays are based on facts and not personal feelings, writers don’t reveal their emotions or write in the first person.
4. Persuasive Essays: Convince Me
While like an expository essay in its presentation of facts, the goal of the persuasive essay is to convince the reader to accept the writer’s point of view or recommendation. The writer must build a case using facts and logic, as well as examples, expert opinion, and sound reasoning. The writer should present all sides of the argument, but must be able to communicate clearly and without equivocation why a certain position is correct.
Learn How to Write Different Types of Essays
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In the elementary years, young writers get an introduction to essay writing through two courses designed to bring excitement and enjoyment to the writing process. Narrative Writing and Informative Writing take young writers on an animal-filled adventure to beginning essay writing. Our middle school online writing courses, Welcome to the Essay and Advanced Essay, teach students the fundamentals of writing well-constructed essays. The high school online writing class, Exciting Essay Writing, focuses in depth on the essay writing process with preparation for college as the goal. The online writing classes for kids also cover how to interpret essay writing prompts in testing situations. Read what parents are saying about their children’s writing progress in Time4Writing’s online writing courses.
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.
Types of Essay
- 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:
|i. Hook||ii. Background Information||iii. Thesis Statement|
|B. Body Paragraph|
|i. Topic Sentence||ii. Explanation/Example||iii. Supporting Details||iv. Transition Sentence|
|C. Counter Argument|
|i. Topic Sentence||ii. Explanation/Example||iii. Supporting Details||iv. Comparison of Body Paragraph Arguments|
|i. Rephrasing Thesis Statement||ii. Summary of Points||iii. Concluding Remarks|
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.