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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.

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.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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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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4 Major Types of Essay with Examples

different types of essay and their format

Writing various sorts of essays effectively has become important to academic success. Essay writing is a regular school task, a requirement on college applications, and an element of standardized tests.

Choosing the proper sort of essay to write in response to a writing prompt is crucial to answering the question correctly on examinations. Clearly, students cannot afford to be puzzled about the many forms of essays.

It’s easy to become perplexed because there are over a dozen different varieties of essays. However, rest assured that the figure is more manageable. There are four basic categories of essays, with variations accounting for the remaining.

Argumentative and Expository Essays are concerned with delivering facts and making clear arguments, but Narrative and Descriptive Essays are concerned with expressing oneself creatively and writing in an engaging manner. Argumentative essays are the most prevalent sort of essay at the university level.

You must know how to write an essay before knowing the 4 major types of Essays.

Here are the 4 Major Types of Essays for you to Learn, Once you are Clear with the Structure of an Essay.

1. narrative essay :.

The writer of a narrative essay presents a story about a real-life experience. While it may appear that narrating a tale is simple, the narrative essay requires students to think about and write about themselves.

When writing a narrative essay, authors should make the story as vivid as possible in order to engage the reader. Because narrative essays are frequently written in the first person, the reader is more engaged.

Readers will feel as if they are a part of the tale if you use “I” statements. A well-written narrative essay will also progress toward a conclusion or a personal statement.

The Christmas Cake

“First of all, let me clarify that I have grown up to be a complete amateurish in cooking. My parents performed their jobs quite efficiently and they always baked those perfect cakes for me every Christmas. That night, it was me, the inexpert chef, who took the initiative to make a Christmas cake and surprise them.

To today’s date, I’ve only made several hamburgers on my own. Unfortunately, I had no clue about baking a cake. All I knew were the ingredients that I would use throughout the process. He dived completely in-depth into the recipe reflected on a book and started to set for the Christmas cake.

Then I cleaned the kitchen first and made a huge bowl sit in front of me to mix the essentials. I was excited and tensed at the same time, as it was something I tried for the first time…”

Guidelines for Writing a Narrative Essay :

These are the most basic guidelines for writing an excellent narrative essay:

  • Use conversations in your article to make it more realistic.
  • When structuring the document, keep the chronological sequence in mind.
  • In the first paragraph of your essay , there must be a purpose.
  • To interest your readers, use highlighted descriptions and sensory data.
  • All of the characters, storylines, and the beginning, or climax, must be significant.

All of these factors work together in your article to accurately depict the entire scene in front of your readers’ eyes. So, if you want to write a good narrative essay, make sure you follow these rules to the letter.

2. Descriptive Essay:

A descriptive essay, like that of a narrative essay, uses words to create a picture. A writer could describe a person, a location, an item, or even a memorable memory. This is not, however, a descriptive essay for the sake of description. The goal of a descriptive essay is to convey a deeper meaning through description.

Through the use of vivid words and sensory details, the writer should show, not tell, in a descriptive essay. The finest descriptive essays appeal to the reader’s emotions, producing a vivid effect.

“Moving up to our north cabin and spending time there had always been something that I enjoyed and looked up to. It was a nice, beautiful, and serene place. It offered a lot in terms of peace and serenity that you will not find in cities. We used to look forward to our summer vacations.

So that we can go up north and experience things that we cannot do in the city. Even though time has changed and things are not as they used to be, the memory is still fresh. The atmosphere up north was quite different than in the city. When in the cabin, I marvel at how different the atmosphere and life here are then the cities.

Life in the city is full of noise and tension. You have to get up for work, and the noise of traffic would never let you relax and enjoy nature. Only if you are lucky to have it around. Things up north were different, you can enjoy the sunshine and greenery, and there is no hustle-bustle.

The air was fresh, healthy, and clean. The nights are quiet, and you can hear the animals coming out to hunt for food. Cities are filled with polluted air. This abundance of polluted air is mainly due to the heavy traffic and factories.

The air is thick due to smoke, smog, and other types of air contaminators that no one wants to breathe in. Getting clean air in a city is next to impossible…”

Guidelines of Writing a Descriptive Essay:

  • Make a decision on a certain issue. Descriptive essays that are well-written stay focused at all times.
  • Gather information.
  • Make a rough sketch.
  • Write the first paragraph of your essay.
  • Body paragraphs should be written.
  • In the final paragraph, summarize the essay .
  • Look for methods to make your language more lively.

3. Argumentative Essay :

An argumentative essay is a piece of writing that offers a lengthy, evidence-based case. It necessitates a solid thesis statement—a well-defined viewpoint on your subject. Your goal is to persuade the reader of your argument by providing evidence like quotes and analysis.

Argumentative essays put your abilities to investigate and convey your own point of view on a subject to the test. At the undergraduate level, this is the most prevalent style of essay—almost every paper you write will include some form of argumentation.

Students Who Study Abroad Achieve Greater Success

“Much of our learning takes place outside the classroom. We learn how to maintain budgets, forge friendships, develop business relationships, and more. Imagine extending those skills on a global level.

We would immediately cease to believe the world only contains the people and things we can see but, rather, a wide variety of opinions, customs, beliefs, and ethics. This is why every college-level student must study abroad during their undergraduate years. They will learn more in that semester abroad than in any other academic year.

According to IES Abroad, a company that encourages students to become international leaders, students who study abroad are more likely to be accepted into the graduate degree program of their choice. In fact, 90% of students who studied abroad with IES are admitted to their first or second choice for graduate school.

Imagine walking into an interview and being able to discuss preparing the most popular dish in India or organizing the best route to take from Sydney, Australia to Perth. Not only does this strike up a memorable conversation, but it also demonstrates a student’s fierce independence and determination.

All this makes someone who has studied abroad a more desirable candidate for their dream job. As if IES Abroad’s statistic above was not astounding enough, it has been proven that 97% of students who study abroad find employment within 12 months of graduation…..”

Guidelines of Writing an Argumentative Essay:

  • The thesis that is well-structured. The introduction to the argument is the first step in writing an argumentative essay.
  • Body Paragraphs that support the thesis statement.  The essay has three body paragraphs that support the thesis’ statements.
  • Arguments in opposition.
  • A conclusion that is persuasive.
  • Phrases that bridge the gap.

4. Expository Essay:

An expository essay is a piece of writing that provides a balanced overview of a subject. In an expository essay, the writer uses facts, data, and examples to illustrate or clarify a topic.

Expository writing includes a variety of essay types, including comparison and contrast essays, cause and effect essays, and “how to” or process essays . Expository essays do not show emotions or write in the first person since they are based on facts rather than personal feelings.

“This morning at 9 am, a school bus collided with a car at the intersection of Jones and Heard streets. There were no injuries on the school bus, but medical personnel performed checks on each student and the driver before those students were transported to their schools.

The driver of the car sustained slight, non-life-threatening injuries. He was transported to the local hospital. The accident is still under investigation at this time.

Advances in science and technology have made the use of “green” energy possible. In places where climate conditions permit, people are able to use solar energy or wind energy for power. Solar energy is the use of sunlight for energy and power.

Humans are able to harness the energy of the sun by installing solar panels on their homes or businesses . Humans have also found ways to harness the power of the wind by using wind turbines to capture wind energy. Both of these forms of “green” energy are being used more and more.

The school science fair was a success again this year! We had 15 teams participating, and they all had amazing projects. Each team consisted of two students who designed a science experiment to test a hypothesis, created a display of their experiment and results, and presented their display to the judges.

The winners this year are Sarah Jones and Mark Gordon, who hypothesized that students get into less trouble in the classroom on days when it is sunny outside.

The judges were very impressed with their data collection methods, which included asking teachers to share information on how many students earned stars at the end of each day. They correlated this information with their own data about the weather-sunny, cloudy, or rainy…”

Guidelines for Writing an Expository Essay:

  • Choose the essay structure
  • Start with an outline
  • Verify point of view requirements
  • Focus on clarity

Now that you know how to write an essay and the different types of essays, what are you waiting for? Start writing your essay today itself. Oh, do not worry about the errors and mistakes. We always have your back for that. You can close your eyes and rely on editing and proofreading services to make your essay completely immaculate.

-Isabell S.


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15 Types of Essays (and What You Need To Know About Them)

list of all 15 types of essays from the article

  • DESCRIPTION paper and pen icon with list of 15 types of essays
  • SOURCE SirVectorr / iStock / Getty Images Plus
  • PERMISSION Used under Getty Images license

Narrative essays narrate, argumentative essays argue, and expository essays … expose? Explain? (It’s a little of both). While these essays may use narrative, argumentative, and expository writing styles to make their points, they’re not the only types of essays to do so. In fact, there are 15 different types of essays — all of which narrate, argue, or explain something to their readers.

1. Narrative Essays

Narrative essays tell stories from your life or the lives of others. They’re told just like fictional short stories, with characters, a setting, a compelling plot, a climax, and a resolution. 

Narrative essays use the third person perspective (it happened to someone else) or the first person perspective (it happened to the writer). Narrative essays should be entertaining and engaging to read, so choose a narrative writing topic that speaks to you.

Narrative Essay Example Structure

When writing a narrative essay , a possible structure could include:

  • Introduction - Hint at what you or the character learned
  • Body - Tell the story from beginning to end, finishing in an exciting or compelling climax in the last body paragraph
  • Conclusion - Reflect on what you or the character learned from the experience in the story

2. Argumentative Essays

Argumentative essays (also called argument essays ) investigate topics fairly and thoroughly to present the writer’s argument to the reader. The writer makes a claim and argues why evidence and logic support that claim in a well-structured essay.

Strong argumentative essays use rhetorical devices to strengthen their arguments, and they address the opposing argument (known as a counterclaim) as well. When choosing an argumentative essay topic , select an issue that you care about (or a topic you’d like to learn more about), and begin researching your position with reliable sources.

Argumentative Essay Structure Example

You can structure an argumentative essay like this:

  • Introduction - Introduce the topic and your claim in a thesis statement
  • Body - Support your position with evidence (and bring up counterclaims)
  • Conclusion - Restate your claim and summarize how you proved it

3. Expository Essays

Expository essays use research and critical thinking to explain more about a topic. Newspaper articles are a type of expository essay — they provide information to the reader in a concise, factual way. Writing expository essays requires a straightforward outline, evidence-based conclusions, and a strong thesis statement.

Though expository writing reveals information, it’s not the same as technical writing . Expository essays “expose” the truth about a selected topic , not just the information about it.

Expository Essay Structure Example

Most expository essays follow a structure similar to this:

  • Introduction - Introduce the topic and hint at a deeper truth
  • Body - Explain more about the topic with evidence; expose the truth and/or implications of the topic in a final body paragraph
  • Conclusion - Summarize the information and its larger meaning

4. Descriptive Essays

Like narrative essays, descriptive essays use narration to set a scene for the reader. But unlike narrative essays, descriptive essays don’t tell a story from beginning to end. If a painting could be an essay, it would be a descriptive essay — a written experience that you can almost see. 

Descriptive essays use lots of sensory details to describe the way something looks, sounds, smells, tastes, or feels. Well-written descriptive essays also use similes, metaphors, hyperboles, or other types of figurative language to pull their readers into the experience.

Descriptive Essay Structure Example

When writing a descriptive essay, you can follow this outline:

  • Introduction - Introduce the topic you’re going to describe with an engaging, sensory hook sentence
  • Body - Describe the topic with rich sensory detail and figurative language
  • Conclusion - Summarize your essay and conclude with a memorable descriptive sentence

5. Persuasive Essays

Persuasive essay writers try to convince their readers to agree with them. You’ll find examples of persuasive writing in both essays and speeches when a speaker, writer, or politician wants the audience on their side.

When you write a persuasive essay, you use similar strategies as you would in an argumentative essay. But persuasive essays use personal anecdotes (stories about yourself or others) and emotional appeals rather than the logic and evidence you’ll find in an argumentative essay. They also include a call to action at the end that inspires their audience to act.

Persuasive Essay Structure Example

You can structure your persuasive essay in a similar way as your argumentative essay, with a few key differences.

  • Introduction - Use an emotional evocative hook to get the reader interested in your position right away
  • Body - Use personal anecdotes, dramatic language, and emotional appeals to get the reader on your side
  • Conclusion - Finish with a call to action for your reader — what should they do now?

6. Informative Essays

Like expository essays, informative essays (also called informational essays ) inform their readers about a topic. But the main purpose of an informative essay is to educate the audience rather than to expose them to the truth.

Informative essays require lots of evidence and strong research. Be sure to choose an informative essay topic that interests you, since you’re going to learn a lot about it during the course of your writing.

Informative Essay Structure Example

Outline your informative essay structure in a straightforward, no-nonsense way.

  • Introduction - Introduce the topic with a strong hook (such as an interesting fact or statistic)
  • Body - Explain more about the topic with evidence
  • Conclusion - Restate your thesis and conclude with a general statement about the topic

7. Personal Narrative Essays

Personal narrative essays (also called personal narratives ) are a form of narrative writing in which the writer explores how an experience affected or shaped them. They focus on a single event or theme in one’s life, and unlike narrative essays, personal narratives are always true (and always autobiographical).

College entrance essays are a type of personal narrative in which a college applicant considers how a event or person in their past helped them to become the person they are today. Another type of personal narrative is a memoir — a longer narrative about one’s own life.

Personal Narrative Structure Example

It’s tempting to write a personal narrative in an unstructured way, but having a solid structure is the key to writing a compelling personal narrative.

  • Introduction - Set the scene, both in setting and tone (Where are we? When does it take place?)
  • Body - Tell the story with rich detail, beginning to end, culminating in a meaningful climax
  • Conclusion - Reflect on the experience and reveal how it shaped or changed you

8. Reflective Essays

Reflective essays explore an idea, concept, or observation from a writer’s point of view. They may include humor or emotional writing, but they should reveal a lot about the writer themselves (and about the reader).

Both reflective writing and personal narratives are forms of creative writing. But while reflective essays are personal, they don’t need to be written in a narrative format or tell a story. Think about a well-written journal entry — it probably doesn’t tell a story from start to finish, but explores the way something made the writer feel.

Reflective Essay Structure Example

Depending on your topic, reflective essays can be quite structured or more loosely organized. Generally, you can follow a standard format.

  • Introduction - Introduce the topic with detail and a thesis statement
  • Body - Reflect on the topic (also including detail)
  • Conclusion - Restate the thesis statement in a conclusion about the topic

9. Synthesis Essays

Synthesis essays gather opinions, evidence, and proposals from various sources and present it to the reader as one document. They’re similar to argumentative essays (in that they present a claim) and informative essays (in that they present information), but the goal of a synthesis essay is first and foremost to compile a body of evidence.

That evidence may support the writer’s claim, or it may cause them to reexamine their thoughts about the topic. Either way, synthesis essays include a wealth of sources (all of which must be properly cited, of course).

Synthesis Essay Structure Example

You can structure your synthesis essay like an expository essay.

  • Introduction - Hook the reader with a strong first sentence, then state your position in a thesis statement
  • Body - Support your thesis with the wealth of evidence you have gathered from different sources
  • Conclusion - Restate your thesis and summarize how you’ve supported your position

10. Definition Essays

Definition essays define a term or idea. These terms could be vocabulary words, technical terms, abstract concepts, historical words, or any other idea that a writer wants to define for the reader.

It seems like that may only get you a sentence or two, but a well-written definition essay does a lot more than look up word meanings. They can be expository when pointing out little-known facts or implications of the term, reflective when referring to important concepts, and even argumentative if the writer has a stance to defend.

Definition Essay Structure Example

Definition essays have straightforward outlines that make it easy for the reader to understand your meaning.

  • Introduction - State the word or concept you’re defining in the first sentence, and provide a general definition in the thesis
  • Body - Elaborate on the thesis statement with support, alternate definitions, and implications of the word or concept
  • Conclusion - Restate the definition along with the ways you elaborated on it

11. Analytical Essays

Analytical essays analyze a topic with strong detail and critical thinking. Also known as critical analysis essays , they use a balanced approach to thoroughly analyze something, whether it’s a passage in a piece of writing (known as literary analysis or rhetorical analysis ), a an element from a scientific discovery, or an important historical event.

Like reflective writing, analytical writing is very detailed and focused on a single topic. While that topic may have larger implications in the essay (and it should), each sentence should connect back to the core of the analytical essay.

Analytical Essay Structure Example

Analytical essays should follow a strict outline that doesn’t detract from its thesis statement.

  • Introduction - Introduce the topic and refer to the levels of analysis you’ve done on it
  • Body - Start with your lowest level of analysis and build up to the highest level (preferably in your last body paragraph), tying every sentence back to the thesis
  • Conclusion - Restate your thesis and levels of analysis

12. Compare and Contrast Essays

Compare and contrast essays are analytical essays that examine how two subjects are similar and different. These subjects can be two characters, two historical events, two concepts — any two topics that have similarities (compare) and differences (contrast). Compare and contrast essays often use expository writing to present the information in a thoughtful way.

When writing a compare and contrast essay , structure can be just as important as the essay’s thesis statement. Structuring your compare and contrast essay can highlight the ways your topics resemble and differ from each other. Thanks to the many compare and contrast essay topics available, you’ll never run out of things to compare (or contrast).

Compare and Contrast Essay Structure Example

Compare and contrast essays rely on a tight structure to analyze topics — but that structure may differ, depending on your topics.

  • Introduction - Introduce the topic you’re comparing; find a creative and engaging way to state that they are similar but different in your thesis statement
  • Body - Either analyze each characteristic in a body paragraph (Characteristic 1 of Topic 1 is different from Characteristic 1 of Topic 2), or analyze one entire topic before comparing and contrasting it with the second entire topic (Here are Characteristics 1, 2, and 3 of Topic 1; now, here are Characteristics 1, 2, and 3 of Topic 2)
  • Conclusion - Restate your thesis and summarize your points

13. Cause and Effect Essays

Cause and effect essays , another type of analytical essay, use structure to show the relationship between an event and its consequences. These essays often explore historical events or plot points in a story, though cause and effect topics can vary by subject.

Depending on how you write your cause and effect essay , you can use expository writing to explain how one thing led to another, or you can argue a little-known element of the cause and effect relationship (such as a surprising event, or a seemingly unrelated consequence). 

Cause and Effect Essay Structure Example

Like compare and contrast essays, the structure of cause and effect essays depend on the topic you’re writing about and how you want to analyze it.

  • Introduction - Introduce the topic and make your claim about how the event caused the effects in your thesis statement
  • Body - Discuss the event in a paragraph before you discuss the effect, then defend your claim about how they’re related (or, you can spend the entire body section defending the claim, if that’s more reasonable for your topic)
  • Conclusion - Restate the thesis and assert how you’ve proven your claim about the relationship between the cause and effect

14. Evaluation Essays

Evaluation essays use a measured, unbiased approach to evaluating a work, topic, product, or another subject. With sound evidence and reasoning, evaluation essays present the writer’s opinion about the subject. Movie reviews, book reviews , and sports columns are all types of evaluation essays.

Though evaluation essays do thoroughly analyze their subject (think of the detail included in a movie review), they go beyond analysis. You would write an evaluation essay  to present an educated and considered viewpoint, which should influence the reader when making up their own mind.

Evaluation Essay Structure Example

Your opinion is the claim in an evaluation essay, and just like any other claim, you need to defend it.

  • Introduction - Introduce what you’re evaluating and state your evaluation in the thesis statement
  • Body - Give an overview of what you’re evaluating (such as a summary), then defend your opinion with criteria, reasons, and evidence 
  • Conclusion - Restate your opinion and final impressions

15. Process Essays

Process essays are a type of informational essay that explains how to do something (its process). They include a short introduction and conclusion, but the focus of the essay is on its steps and guiding the reader through the process.

Consider the process section of a recipe or instruction manual. A well-written process essay uses technical language to be as clear as possible, refrains from making an argument or claim, and only uses detail when being more specific.

Process Essay Structure Example

Process essays are some of the easiest to structure, since they go from beginning to end (much like narrative essays).

  • Introduction - Introduce the topic and state your purpose in writing the essay
  • Body - Write out the steps you need to take to complete the process (each paragraph can be one step, complete with tips and materials needed)
  • Conclusion - Restate your purpose and what you’ve just taught your reader

Types of Essays Guide

Keeping all 15 types of essays straight can be a challenge. Let us help you keep them all straight with an infographic. 

seven types of essays with definitions and outlines from the article in a chart

  • DESCRIPTION Types of Essays infographic
  • SOURCE Created by YourDictionary - Images from Getty Images 
  • PERMISSION Owned by YourDictionary, Copyright YourDictionary 

You’re on the Write Track

Once you know what type of essay you’re trying to write, there’s only one step left: writing the essay itself. For more tips and reference guides for writing all types of essays, check out:

  • How to Write an Essay
  • 20 Compelling Hook Examples for Essays
  • How to Write an Effective Thesis Statement
  • 5 Main Parts of an Essay: An Easy Guide to a Solid Structure
  • Background Information Examples for Essays and Papers
  • Types of Evidence to Use in Writing and Essays
  • 10 Simple Tips on Essay Writing for College Students

The 7 Types of Essays Every Student Needs to Know

Lindsay Kramer

Throughout your academic career, you’ll write a lot of essays . And you’ll probably write a lot of different types of essays, such as analytical and argumentative essays. Different kinds of essays require different skills, like infusing figurative language into a personal essay to help it come alive or critically thinking through a multifaceted problem in an analytical essay to reach a solution. Essays vary in length and structure , too, with some spanning pages and others fitting neatly into just a few paragraphs.  

Get to know these seven types of essays before you’re assigned to write them. Understanding how they’re different—and how they’re the same—will turn you into an expert essayist.

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The four main types of writing

In many of the online resources you’ll find about the types of essays, you’ll find references to the four main types of writing :

  • Descriptive

These aren’t four specific types of essays, but four distinct methods of communicating an essay’s theme. They are the four most commonly used of the nine traditional rhetorical modes , which also include methods like classification and process analysis. 

When you’re assigned an essay, using one of these rhetorical modes might be part of the assignment. For example, you might be asked to write an argumentative essay about a new proposed campus policy and whether it should or should not be enacted. In your essay, you’d use persuasive writing techniques, like expressing your point of view about the proposed policy and its likely repercussions, to communicate your position. 

Understanding the four main types of writing can help you understand the texts you work with better. When you’re reading an essay, try to identify which type of writing the author is using by examining the essay’s structure , tone, words used, and how the author presents their theme. By doing this, you can analyze an essay on a deeper level and write a stronger essay of your own based on those insights. 

7 types of essays to know

1   personal essays.

In a personal essay, your focus is on something that has impacted you personally. It could be an event from your past, a situation you’re currently facing, or a broader look at how different experiences and circumstances shaped you into who you are today. 

Often, personal essays employ narrative writing techniques. However, they can also rely on expository or descriptive techniques, depending on the essay’s content and theme. Personal essays can overlap with other types of essays, like argumentative, humorous, and college application essays. 

Personal essay example: The Death of a Moth by Virginia Woolf. In this essay, Woolf explores the fleeting nature of life by juxtaposing it against inevitable death by describing a moth’s final moments. 

2 Political essays

You may recognize some of the most well-known political essays from what you read in history class. These essays are pieces by famous historical and contemporary thinkers that discuss society and how it should be governed. A few famous political essayists you’ve likely read in class include Thomas Hobbes, John Rawls, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In a political essay, the author comments on present circumstances and proposes solutions to them, sometimes pulling examples of similar circumstances or solutions from history. Generally, political essays fall into the expository or persuasive writing categories. 

Political essay example: The Era of Easier Voting for Disabled People Is Over by Sarah Katz. In this essay, Katz discusses how pandemic-related changes to the voting system made voting easier for individuals with disabilities and how new bills that aim to curb voter fraud can have a negative impact on this voter population. 

3 Compare-and-contrast essays

Compare-and-contrast essays are likely one of the types of essays students write most frequently. In this kind of essay, the author exposes key differences and similarities between two subjects by comparing them to each other and contrasting them against each other. 

You might be asked to compare two novels you read for class, two historical figures from the period you’re studying, two processes used to achieve the same result, or two concepts your instructor covered. In some cases, you may be asked to compare three or even more subjects. But generally, compare-and-contrast essays involve two subjects. 

Usually, compare-and-contrast essays are pieces of expository writing, as the essay’s theme is exposed through the comparisons the author makes. They can also be pieces of persuasive writing when the comparisons are made to persuade the reader to take a specific position.

Compare-and-contrast essay example: Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven . This compare-and-contrast essay explores how an individual can become unaware of and trapped by their own suffering by comparing how both authors create this dilemma for their characters in these works. 

4 College (application) essays

Not all essays you write in college count as college essays . In fact, unless you apply to graduate school or another kind of specific academic program once you’re in college, you’ll write all your college essays before you become a college student. 

A college application essay, also known as a personal statement , is a brief personal essay that highlights the personality traits and experiences that make you an ideal fit for the college to which you’re applying. These essays are evaluated alongside high school transcripts for one’s admission to college. 

Usually, college essays are written in response to specific prompts, like the prompts provided by the Common App . These prompts are crafted to help applicants write engaging, compelling personal essays by asking them to respond to multiple related points. 

College application essay examples: You can read great examples of successful college essays on websites like collegeessayguy.com . Your school might even have a collection of successful essays for applicants to read, as this page on Johns Hopkins’ website does. In one essay, Switching Shoes , by a recently accepted Johns Hopkins applicant, the writer discusses how getting out of his comfort zone by trying a new sport reshaped his perspective. It pushed him to accept feedback more readily, speak up when he has questions, and appreciate his chosen sport in a broader way. 

5 Analytical essays

Analytical essays are essays that drill down to the core components of the subject at hand and reach conclusions by thoroughly working through these components. You might be asked to write an analytical essay about the themes in a novel or about the ideas presented in a political essay. Analytical essays are pieces of expository writing; the goal with these is to present facts by interpreting content.

In an analytical essay, the author does not try to persuade the reader to take a certain position. Rather, the author presents a work, such as a movie or a short story, and analyzes its theme by discussing ways the work communicates its theme. For example, you might write an analytical essay about how the film Up communicated its theme of love being an action fueled by fulfilling promises. In illustrating this, you might bring up Russell’s dedication to earning his merit badge and Carl’s never giving up on Ellie’s goal of reaching Paradise Falls. 

In some analytical essays, the author analyzes two or more works. When this is done to compare the works, the essay can be considered both a compare-and-contrast essay and an analytical one. 

Analytical essay example: Island of Fear by Moses Martinez. In this high school–level literary analysis essay, the author explains how William Golding uses three characters in Lord of the Flies to demonstrate how differently people react to threats and trauma, even when those people are in the same environment. 

6 Argumentative essays

In an argumentative essay , you . . . well . . . argue. 

Specifically, you argue for or against a particular position. For example, your assignment might be to take a position about your school’s policy of not allowing a student to take more than two AP courses per year and support your position with data. To support your position that it’s a good policy, you might point to the correlation between how many AP courses a student takes and their average AP test scores or the hours of homework required for each AP course. 

Well-written argumentative essays don’t rely on emotional appeal. Rather, they convince readers of their positions’ merits through statistics, facts, and logic. In most cases, argumentative essays are pieces of persuasive writing . 

Argumentative essay example: Does Truth Matter? Science, Pseudoscience, and Civilization by Carl Sagan. In this essay, Sagan argues that rather than being in opposition to spirituality, science should be considered a source—perhaps the most valid source—of the kind of fulfillment people usually take from spiritual practices.  

7 Humorous essays

Another kind of essay you might find yourself reading or writing is the humorous essay. As the name implies, this kind of essay is meant to elicit laughs and entertain the reader. A humorous essay could be a personal essay that recounts a funny event in the author’s life, but it can also be a political essay that uses satire to comment on current events. As long as it’s funny and an essay, it counts as a humorous essay. 

Humorous essays generally use the same techniques that other essays use, often leaning more into the techniques found in narrative writing like descriptive language and metaphors. Often, humorous essays are pieces of descriptive writing, using hyperbolic, irreverent, or whimsical language to express a funny take on the subject covered. 

Humorous essay example: The Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris. In this essay, Sedaris writes from the perspective of a man playing an elf at a mall Santa setup. Through this point of view, he satirizes this American holiday ritual through ironic anecdotes. 

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Sometimes the issue isn’t your grammar, but your tone. Grammarly can help with that, too. Whether you’re writing a serious political think piece or a silly narrative of the last time you attempted to do Black Friday shopping, our tone detector can pick up on your intended tone and help you rein in your writing appropriately.

different types of essay and their format

Academic Writing

different types of essay and their format

  • Introduction
  • Writing a Draft
  • Revising and Editing
  • Thesis statement
  • Reference list
  • Transitioning Words and Phrases

Types of essays

  • Writing pitfalls
  • Downloadable Tip Sheets
  • Feedback Form
  • Co-Curricular Recognition Form
  • Faculty Resources

At Sheridan, you are likely to come across four types of essays. Each essay types has different requirements and produces different outcomes. In this section, you will find descriptions of the four essay types: Expository, Argumentative or Persuasive, Reflective, and Descriptive.

Expository Essay

The purpose of an expository essay is to inform, describe, or explain a topic. It requires you to help the reader understand a topic through your own insights and ideas. Using information from credible sources, your essay should provide definitions, facts, explanations, and details about the subject. The essay may also include examples, comparison and contrast and analysis of cause and effect.

Many academic and workplace writing assignments are expository. These topics, for example, often require expository type of writing:

  • A medical or biological condition.
  • A social or technological process.
  • A marketing strategy.
  • Life or character of a famous person.

Argumentative or Persuasive Essay

The purpose of an argumentative essay is to persuade readers on a certain point of view, opinion, or position on a topic. It requires you to identify key issues, present the common or existing arguments about the issues, evaluate evidence behind these arguments and argue why your position on the topic is more convincing or stronger than the opposing view. The subject you choose for an argumentative or persuasive essay needs to be debatable.

An argument is an evidence-based opinion supported and explained by sound, credible sources. "To argue in writing is to advance knowledge and ideas in a positive way" (Warkentin & Filipovic, 2019, p. 207). A well-thought-out argument is one that considers facts and various opinions, some of which may be opposing to each other, and analyzes strengths and weaknesses in each. An argumentative essay should not present only evidence on the position you are supporting. It is more convincing when the information presented is not biased towards a position.

Reflective Essay

This type of essay is more personal because you have to consider or "reflect" upon your own experiences and perspectives on the topic you are writing about.

Experiential reflection is commonly assigned in college courses. It involves reflecting on an experience by connecting theory and practice. For example, in an essay about a field placement experience, you may be asked to assess a theory or concept based on your observations and interactions. This type of writing is common in fields such as social work, health care, and business.

Another type of reflective writing involves examining what shapes your perspectives on an issue. The process helps you examine how your thoughts are shaped by your assumptions and environmental factors and may help you understand and appreciate the experiences of other people. Also, you may be challenged to re-examine your preconceived ideas and judgments.

Descriptive Essay

A descriptive essay allows you to describe something, usually an experience, in details so that the reader can get a good impression of it. Similar to the reflective essay, this type of writing is more subjective although information or data from sources may be incorporated to provide more context and support your descriptions. This type of essays tends to be brief. For example, describe an observation in one to two paragraphs.

  • Last Updated: Dec 5, 2023 2:45 PM
  • URL: https://sheridancollege.libguides.com/AcademicWriting

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Types of essays with examples

Osman Sirin

  • August 28, 2023

Writing essays is an essential skill that every student needs to master. There are many different types of essays, but expository , argumentative , descriptive , and narrative essays are among the most common academic essays.

In this article, we will explore some of the most common types of essays and provide examples to help you understand their characteristics and requirements.

Quick summary

  • Narrative essays engage readers through storytelling with vivid descriptions and personal experiences.
  • Argumentative essays present and defend a particular argument with evidence and counterarguments.
  • Descriptive essays create an immersive experience by using sensory details.
  • Expository essays explain or analyze a topic concisely with evidence and examples.

types of essays

Narrative essays

If you are telling a story, it is probably a narrative essay. Narrative essays are about telling personal stories.

But sometimes, you may need to write an imaginary reflection or storytelling, depending on your essay instructions.

Narrative Essay Example

My First Life Lesson

When I was five years old, I always favored exploring new things in streets and different places. I found deep satisfaction in analyzing the things I found when I was walking as a kid. Background: You set the background of your story My grandfather taught me a life lesson that I still don’t forget: Always think good for other people. Theme: You introduce the theme of your narrative essay.

As you see from the example, narrative essays are much more creative and personal.

While writing one, focus on the structure. It generally follows the traditional essay structure: introduction , body paragraphs, and conclusion at the end.

Descriptive essays

Descriptive essays are used to describe something. Similar to narrative essays, you may use a more creative and detailed language.

Instead of telling the whole story or incident, you better dig deep into a subject and describe it in detail. 

Descriptive Essay Example

League of Legends Nights

The formatting may be loose when compared with the other types. But be careful at choosing your words (see taboo words , transition words ) and the gradual development of the paper.

Argumentative essays

Argumentative essays are one of the most common types of essays. You present a detailed and evidence-based claim or argument, which is the thesis statement .

Remember, the aim is to persuade the reader when writing an argumentative essay , so making use of scientific evidence and arguments are essential for this type.

Argumentative Essay Example Paragraph

Argumentative essay formatting, expository essays.

This type of essay requires a specific and focused explanation of a subject or topic.

In other words, you don’t need to have an original argument. Instead, explain a topic in your own words. The example below presents insights into the expository essays.

Expository Essay Example Paragraph

The formatting of expository essays is not as demanding as argumentative essays. While writing: 

  • Provide some background, and present details in the body paragraphs .
  • Summarize all your information and findings in the conclusion and finish the paper.

Expository essay topic example

Textual analysis and critique essays.

While essays usually test your ability to organize your thoughts and write clearly, you need to read carefully and reflect critically when writing rhetorical and literary analyses . 

Therefore, rather than presenting and summarizing your findings, closely analyze the text from a chosen or assigned perspective in textual analysis and critique essays.

Rhetorical analysis essay

This type of essay is focused on analyzing a persuasive paper such as cartoon, speech, or an essay from perspectives of rhetorical devices. 

  • Introduction of rhetorical analysis essay provides the text, background, and of course, the thesis statement.
  • Body paragraphs include a deep analysis. 
  • Conclusion presents the sum of your analysis by highlighting certain aspects and reiterating the thesis statement.

Rhetorical Analysis Example Paragraph

Most important point of rhetorical analyses, literary analysis essay.

You present a close reading of a literary work when writing this type of essay. Literary analysis presents reflection and interpretation of the choices made by author. 

Unlike a review or a book report, a good literary analysis presents a deep interpretation of literary elements in an author’s work.

  • In the introduction , present the source text and some background, and thesis statement. 
  • The body paragraphs consists of deep reading, quotation, and analysis. 
  • In the conclusion , emphasize your analysis and rephrase your thesis statement.

Literary Analysis Example Paragraph

Frequently asked questions, what are the main types of essays.

Argumentative , narrative , descriptive , expository , and textual analysis essays are generally considered the main types. 

What are the two types of textual analysis essays?

Rhetorical analyses and literary analyses are two types of textual analysis essays. Their toning and language, as well as objective, are different than traditional three paragraph essays. 

Osman Sirin

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  • Essay Writing



In the simplest terms, an essay is a short piece of writing which is set around a specific topic or subject. The piece of writing will give information surrounding the topic but will also display the opinions and thoughts of the author. Oftentimes, an essay is used in an academic sense by way of examination to determine whether a student has understood their studies and as a way of testing their knowledge on a specific subject. An essay is also used in education as a way of encouraging a student to develop their writing skills.

Moreover; an essay is a focused piece of writing designed to inform or persuade. There are many different types of essays, 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 the university level, argumentative essays are the most common type. 

Types of Essay Writing

When it comes to writing an essay, there is not simply one type, there are, quite a few types of essay, and each of them has its purpose and function which are as follows:

Narrative Essays

A narrative essay details a story, oftentimes from a particular point of view. When writing a narrative essay, you should include a set of characters, a location, a good plot, and a climax to the story. It is vital that when writing this type of essay you use fine details which will allow the reader to feel the emotion and use their senses but also give the story the chance to make a point. 

Descriptive Essay

A descriptive essay will describe something in great detail. The subject can be anything from people and places to objects and events but the main point is to go into depth. You might describe the item’s color, where it came from, what it looks like, smells like, tastes like, or how it feels. It is very important to allow the reader to sense what you are writing about and allow them to feel some sort of emotion whilst reading. That being said, the information should be concise and easy to understand, the use of imagery is widely used in this style of essay. 

Expository Essay

An expository essay is used as a way to look into a problem and therefore compare it and explore it. For the expository essay, there is a little bit of storytelling involved but this type of essay goes beyond that. The main idea is that it should explain an idea giving information and explanation. Your expository essay should be simple and easy to understand as well as give a variety of viewpoints on the subject that is being discussed. Often this type of essay is used as a way to detail a subject which is usually more difficult for people to understand, clearly and concisely.

Argumentative Essay

When writing an argumentative essay, you will be attempting to convince your reader about an opinion or point of view. The idea is to show the reader whether the topic is true or false along with giving your own opinion. You must use facts and data to back up any claims made within the essay. 

Format of Essay Writing

Now there is no rigid format of an essay. It is a creative process so it should not be confined within boundaries. However, there is a basic structure that is generally followed while writing essays.

This is the first paragraph of your essay. This is where the writer introduces his topic for the very first time. You can give a very brief synopsis of your essay in the introductory paragraph. Generally, it is not very long, about 4-6 lines. 

This is the main crux of your essays. The body is the meat of your essay sandwiched between the introduction and the conclusion. So the most vital content of the essay will be here. This need not be confined to one paragraph. It can extend to two or more paragraphs according to the content.

This is the last paragraph of the essay. Sometimes a conclusion will just mirror the introductory paragraph but make sure the words and syntax are different. A conclusion is also a great place, to sum up, a story or an argument. You can round up your essay by providing some morals or wrapping up a story. Make sure you complete your essays with the conclusion, leave no hanging threads.

Writing Tips

Give your essays an interesting and appropriate title. It will help draw the attention of the reader and pique their curiosity

 Keep it between 300-500 words. This is the ideal length, you can take creative license to increase or decrease it

 Keep your language simple and crisp. Unnecessary complicated and difficult words break the flow of the sentence.

 Do not make grammar mistakes, use correct punctuation and spelling five-paragraph. If this is not done it will distract the reader from the content

  Before beginning the essay, organize your thoughts and plot a rough draft. This way you can ensure the story will flow and not be an unorganized mess.

Understand the Topic Thoroughly-Sometimes we jump to a conclusion just by reading the topic once and later we realize that the topic was different than what we wrote about.  Read the topic as many times as it takes for you to align your opinion and understanding about the topic.

Make Pointers-It is a daunting task to write an essay inflow as sometimes we tend to lose our way of explaining and get off-topic, missing important details. Thinking about all points you want to discuss and then writing them down somewhere helps in covering everything you hoped to convey in your essay.

Develop a Plan and Do The Math-Essays have word limits and you have to plan your content in such a way that it is accurate, well-described, and meets the word limit given. Keep a track of your words while writing so that you always have an idea of how much to write more or less. 

Essays are the most important means of learning the structure of writing and presenting them to the reader.


FAQs on Essay Writing

1. Writing an Essay in a format is important?

Yes, it is important because it makes your content more streamlined and understandable by the reader. A set format gives a reader a clear picture of what you are trying to explain. It also organises your own thoughts while composing an essay as we tend to think and write in a haphazard manner. The format gives a structure to the writeup.

2. How does Essay writing improve our English?

Essay writing is a very important part of your English earning curriculum, as you understand how to describe anything in your words or how to put your point of view without losing its meaning

3.  How do you write a good essay?

Start by writing a thorough plan. Ensure your essay has a clear structure and overall argument. Try to back up each point you make with a quotation. Answer the question in your introduction and conclusion but remember to be creative too.

4.  What is the format of writing an essay?

A basic essay consists of three main parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. This basic essay format will help you to write and organize an essay. However, flexibility is important. While keeping this basic essay format in mind, let the topic and specific assignment guide the writing and organization.

5.  How many paragraphs does an essay have?

The basic format for an essay is known as the five paragraph essay – but an essay may have as many paragraphs as needed. A five-paragraph essay contains five paragraphs. However, the essay itself consists of three sections: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Below we'll explore the basics of writing an essay.

6.  Can you use the word you in an essay?

In academic or college writing, most formal essays and research reports use third-person pronouns and do not use “I” or “you.” An essay is the writer's analysis of a topic.  “You” has no place in an essay since the essay is the writer's thoughts and not the reader's thoughts.

7.  What does bridge mean in an essay?

A bridge sentence is a special kind of topic sentence. In addition to signaling what the new paragraph is about, it shows how that follows from what the old paragraph said. The key to constructing good bridges is briefly pointing back to what you just finished saying.

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 on any topic for 13.00 10.40/page

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.

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.

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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.

Awesome post as usual! Your posts make me accumulate knowledge about writing various college papers! Thanks a lot for this assistance!

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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