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

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

Types of Essays: Your Ultimate Guide to Essay Writing

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

Understanding Essays

Definition of essay.

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

Purpose of Essay

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

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

Types of Essays

Narrative essay.

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

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

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

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

Descriptive Essay

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

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

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

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

Expository Essay

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

Compare and Contrast Essay

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

Cause and Effect Essay

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

Problem and Solution Essay

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

Persuasive Essay

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

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

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

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

Argumentative Essay

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

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

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

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

Analytical Essay

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

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

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

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

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

Critical Essay

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

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

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

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

Reflective Essay

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

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

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

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

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

Personal Essay

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

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

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

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

Synthesis Essay

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

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

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

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

Review Essay

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

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

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

Research Essay

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

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

Introduction

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

Literature Review

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

Methodology

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

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

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

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

Report Essay

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

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

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

Informal Essay

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

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

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

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

Short Essay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some tips for writing a successful long essay include:

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

Five Paragraph Essay

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

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

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

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

Scholarship Essay

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

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

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

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

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of academic essays?

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

What are the parts of a standard essay?

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

Can you provide examples of different types of essays?

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

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

How do you write a narrative essay?

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

What are the four main types of essays?

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

What are the three parts of the essay format?

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

Last Updated on August 31, 2023

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Essay Writing Guide

Types Of Essay

Nova A.

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

11 min read

types of essay

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

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

But fear not! 

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

Arrow Down

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

Major Types of Essays In Academic Writing

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

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

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

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

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Argumentative Essay

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

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

Characteristics of Argumentative Essay

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

Argumentative Essay Example

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

Descriptive Essay

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

  • Alliteration

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

Key Characteristics 

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

Descriptive Essay Example

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

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

Expository Essay

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

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

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

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

Key Characteristics

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

Expository Essay Example

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

Narrative Essay

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

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

Narrative Essay Example

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

For more examples visit our blog on narrative essay examples .

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Other Essay Types

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

We will go through these essay types here.

Persuasive Essay

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

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

Persuasive Essay Example

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

Read our persuasive essay examples blog for more samples!

Analytical Essay

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

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

Analytical Essay Example

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

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

Reflective Essay

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

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

Reflective Essay Example

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

Rhetorical Analysis Essay

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

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example

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

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

Literary Analysis Essay

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

Literary Analysis Essay Example

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

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

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

Request 'write my essay' today and let our professional writing service help you write A+ grade essays within your specified timeline! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most important element in any essay.

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

What type of essay is most common at university?

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

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

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

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

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list and explain the features of each type of essay

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

Types of essays

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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.

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Writing Process: Organizing

Types of essays and suggested structures, introduction.

The structural organization of an essay will vary, depending on the type of writing task you’ve been assigned. Below are outline templates for specific types of writing projects.  Keep in mind these are just a starting point: there is always room for variation and creativity in how a subject is most effectively presented to a reader.

Analytical essay

This is perhaps the most common structure. Examples of this include questions which ask you to discuss , analyze , investigate , explore, or review . In an analytical structure you are required to break the topic into its different components and discuss these in separate paragraphs or sections, demonstrating balance where possible.

  • Background information on topic
  • Overall point of view of the topic (thesis)
  • Overview of components to be discussed (structure)
  • Topic sentence outlining first component
  • Sentences giving explanations and providing evidence to support topic sentence
  • Concluding sentence – link to next paragraph
  • Topic sentence outlining second component
  • Sentences giving explanations and providing evidence to back topic sentence
  • These follow the same structure for as many components as you need to outline
  • Summary of the main points of the body
  • Restatement of the main point of view
  • Justification/evaluation (if required by task)

Argumentative essay

Examples of this type of essay include questions which ask you to take a position on a topic, such as a particular decision or policy, and present arguments which support your position. An effective way to argue a point can be to present the opposing view first then counter this view with stronger evidence.

  • Statement of your position on the topic (thesis)
  • Overview of arguments to be presented (structure)
  • Topic sentence outlining first argument
  • Topic sentence outlining second argument
  • These follow the same structure for as many arguments as you wish to put forward in support of the topic.
  • Restatement of the position

Interpretive essay

Examples of this type of essay include assignments where you are given data such as a case study or scenario, a diagram, graphical information, or a picture and expected to interpret this information to demonstrate your application of knowledge when answering the task. Based on this data, you may be asked to do a range of things such as provide recommendations or solutions, develop a nursing care plan, a teaching plan, suggest legal advice, or plan a marketing strategy.

  • Brief background information on topic
  • Overview of issues to be addressed in the essay (structure)
  • State overall interpretation (thesis)
  • Topic sentence outlining first issue identified from the data
  • Sentences giving further explanation and providing evidence from both the literature and the data, e.g. the case study to support the topic sentence (it is very important in this types of essays to make reference to the data you have been supplied to give your essay context).
  • Topic sentence outlining second issue identified
  • These follow the same structure for as many issues as you wish to discuss from the data you have been supplied.
  • Statement of overall interpretation
  • Summary of the main issues from the data supplied
  • Make recommendations or suggest solutions to address the issues arising from the data supplied.

Comparative essay

Examples of this type of essay include compare , compare and contrast , or differentiate questions. In this structure the similarities and/or differences between two or more items (for example, theories or models) are discussed paragraph by paragraph. Your assignment task may require you to make a recommendation about the suitability of the items you are comparing.

  • Outline of two (or more) things being compared or contrasted
  • Purpose for making the comparison / contrast
  • Overview of the specific points to be compared / contrasted
  • Topic sentence outlining first similarity or difference
  • Topic sentence outlining second similarity or different
  • These follow the same structure for as many items or aspects as you need to compare/contrast
  • Restatement of the main purpose for the comparison / contrast
  • Summary of the main similarities and differences
  • Recommendation about suitability of compared items for purpose (if requirement of assessment task)
  • Overall conclusion

Problem and solution essay

These essay questions often require you to structure your answer in several parts. An example may be to ask you to investigate a problem and explore a range of solutions. You may also be asked to choose the best solution and justify your selection, so allow space for this in your essay if needed.

  • Background information about the problem
  • Description of the problem and why it is serious
  • Overview of the solutions to be outlined
  • Topic sentence outlining first solution
  • Explanation of the positive and negative aspects of the solution
  • Evidence to support explanations 
  • Concluding sentence
  • Topic sentence outlining second solution
  • Evidence to support explanation
  • These follow the same structure for as many solutions as you need to discuss
  • Summary of the problem and overview of the solutions
  • Evaluation of solutions and recommendation of best option

Note : Depending on the topic, body paragraphs in a problem and solution essay could be devoted to discussing the problem in more detail, as well as the solution. It’s up to the writer to assess the needs of the project, in order to decide how much time is spent on each part.

Cause and effect essay

Examples of this type of essay include questions which ask you to state or investigate the effects or outline the causes of the topic. This may be, for example, an historical event, the implementation of a policy, a medical condition, or a natural disaster. These essays may be structured in one of two ways: either the causes(s) of a situation may be discussed first followed by the effect(s), or the effect(s) could come first with the discussion working back to outline the cause(s). Sometimes with cause and effect essays you are required to give an assessment of the overall effects, such as on a community, a workplace, an individual. Space must be allocated for this assessment in your structure if needed.

  • Background information on situation under discussion
  • Description of the situation
  • Overview of the causes or effects to be outlined
  • Topic sentence outlining first cause or effect
  • Sentences giving explanations and providing evidence to support the topic sentence
  • Concluding sentence – linking to next paragraph
  • Topic sentence outlining second cause or effect
  • These follow the same structure for as many causes or effects as you need to outline
  • Conclusion, prediction or recommendation

Finally, consider that some essay assignments may ask you to combine approaches, especially in more advanced classes. At that point, you may have to vary your body paragraph strategy from section to section.

This chart gives an idea of what different roles paragraphs can play in a mixed-structure essay assignment.

Flow Chart. Central idea: Choosing Paragraph Patterns. Radiating from top right: Narration - introduction, to tell a story that makes a point, to give background on people or event, to show sequence of events. Process - to show steps of action, to explain how to do something. Example/Illustration - to clarify a point or concept, to give a picture or specific instance, to make the abstract real. Analogy - to compare scenarios, to compare to a settled outcome, to compare one event to another very different one. Definition - to clarify meaning, to set foundation of argument, to give background. Comparison/contrast - to draw distinction between items, to find common ground. Description - to give details, to create a picture. Cause/effect - to lead from one item to another, to argue logic of evidence of action. Classification/Division - to put items in categories, to clarify comparison of items in a category, to divide items by characteristics.

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9 Different Types of Essays: The Complete List Explained

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by  Antony W

September 12, 2022

the types of essays explained

You will write more than one types of essays before and after joining college. So it’s important to know which ones they’re and their significance. 

Key Takeaways 

The types of essays you’ll write in college or university are as follows:

  • Admissions Essay
  • Argumentative Essay
  • Cause and effect Essay
  • Scholarship Essay
  • Persuasive Essay
  • Explanatory Essay
  • Theory of Knowledge Essay
  • Thematic Essay

In this guide, we discuss each of these types of essays, not to mention point you to the resourceful guides that we’ve put together to teach you exactly how to write these essays. 

Some of these essays are long and some have flexible word count, which mean you can make them longer   if it’s necessary to do so.

To be abundantly clear, this guide isn’t about how to write each types of essays in college. It’s a highlight of the different types of essays.

Note that we’ve included, where possible, links to resources you can use as the definitive guide to write a specific type of an essay.

What Are The Different Types of Essays in Academic Writing? 

types of essays

We’ve classified the types of essays into those you will do before joining college and those you will write once you’re in college.

1. Admission Essay

Also known as an application essay, an admissions essay is an assignment you write if you want to join a college or a university.

The essay tells a college admissions committee more about you in a much better way that your results transcript does.

The goal of the essay is to communicate unique characters about yourself and to convince an admission committee that you’re a good fit for their institution.

Depending on the admission criteria of the college or university you choose, you may have to submit the essay along with a personal statement. In most cases, an admissions essay is often more than enough.

If you need help to write a comprehensive and convincing admissions essay, hire our admission essay writing service here . Our team will help you write a high quality essay guaranteed to win you an admission in a college of your choice. 

You may also be interested in learning about writing an MBA essay if you’re looking forward to enrolling in a school of Management in Business Administration.

2. Argumentative Essay

Argumentative essays are debatable in nature.

You have to take a stance on an issue and then use evidence to justify your claims and defend your position.

In addition to sharing your point of view, you also anticipate counterclaims, which is the opposite of exactly what you believe to be right. Then you have to give a rebuttal to the opposing point of view.

There’s a lot you need to know about argumentative essays, so we’ve put together a hub to guide you. Click here for more.  

3. Cause and Effect Essay

A cause and effective essay is argumentative in nature. It examines the relationships between two subjects, which can be a thing, an idea, a person, or an event. 

The work of the writer is to determine how these subjects directly influence one another.

4. Scholarship Essay

The purpose of a scholarship essay is to convince a target audience that you qualify for a respective scholarship program.

For the essay to stand out from the many options from other candidates, you have to pay close attention to details and provide the information that the administration requires.

When writing a scholarship essay, it’s important to describe your personal experiences, your personalities, the event that have changed you, and the people that have made a bigger impact in your life.

5. Persuasive Essay

A persuasive essay is an assignment written to shift perspective and bring positive change.

With this essay, you present your stand to your reader and give them all the reasons why they should consider and even share your thoughts.

If you believe that marijuana should be legalized in Africa or abortion should be illegal in America, your essay had better convince people to consider your beliefs.

You should not confuse a persuasive essay with an argumentative essay. The aim of the former presents only one side of an issue and convinces an audience to accept certain ideas.

To learn more about persuasive essay, including how to write it, see this guide .

6. Explanatory Essay

Instead of being argumentative in form, an explanatory essay only requires you to look into an issue and give your opinion, even if you don’t agree with the author or your very own point of view.

You only have to make sure that you’ve done your research and that your point of view on the subject is logical.

The goal of this essay isn’t to prove a point. The aim with it is to make it easier for your audience to understand what the issue is.

For a more comprehensive guide on an explanatory essay, check this guide .

7. Theory of Knowledge Essay

A Theory of Knowledge essay is an individual task completed by students who have enrolled in the IB diploma program.

Mandatory for all IB students and moderated externally, this essay is 1,600 words long and account for two thirds of the overall TOK marks.

The other one third goes to the TOK Exhibition commentary .

You don’t choose a topic to explore in this essay.

IB provides it for you in a list of prescribed titles ,   which changes every exam season.

The purpose of the TOK essay assignment is to gauge your ability to provide clarity of argument.

8. Theology Essay

In writing a theology paper , students have to analyze the different types of religion and the expression of human faith across different cultures.

Given the impact religion has on societies, even people who aren’t profoundly religious will find this type of an essay quite interesting to explore.

9. Thematic Essay 

Also known as a theme essay, thematic essays identify an idea in a literary object followed by an exploration of how the author addresses the themes using different literary devices.

The devices used in a thematic essay can be allegory, hyperbole, metaphors, or imageries. Work on a thematic essay can be on a magazine article, an audio, a video, a book, or a speech.

While a thematic essay should be five paragraphs by default, you can make it longer depending on how complex the assignment is.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

How To Write An Essay

Types Of Essay

Barbara P

Different Types of Essay: Definition With Best Examples

12 min read

Published on: Mar 10, 2023

Last updated on: Jan 30, 2024

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Are you dreading your essay assignment? Not sure what type of essay to pick?

There are multiple types of essays, and each is approached differently. This is why it can be a real challenge for students.

A good way to start thinking about essays is to identify the types of essays That is why we are here to explain what types of essays exist and how they all serve different purposes.

Let's get started!

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Common Types of Essays and Examples

Essays are the most common type of assignment in high school and college. There are ten common types of academic essays, and each type has specific requirements. 

Here is a quick overview of what skills you need for these types of essay writing and how their prompts look:

Below is a detailed definition of each essay type, as well as examples to help you understand.

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Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is a personal way to tell stories with an academic argument in mind. They allow the writer to use their own experiences as examples. Also, make arguments or impart lessons through real-life events. 

A narrative essay can be written in any way the writer chooses. Autobiographical narratives make a connection with readers by adding emotions to every sentence. It allows more creativity which is what makes this type of essay so appealing. 

The first-person point of view also creates an emotional attachment, but some writers use it differently than others. They may write about another person's story as their own or even create imaginary characters they never met in real life. 

These stories have no limitations on time periods, topics, or genres. There are endless possibilities when telling personal tales through an academic argument. 

Narrative Essay Example

Below is an example of a narrative essay to help you know how to build a strong essay by yourself. 

Want more information on narrative essay writing? Check out this guide on narrative essay to learn all about it!

Descriptive Essay

A descriptive essay paints a picture with words. It uses sensory language to describe a person, place, or thing in great detail.

The perfect way to start a descriptive essay is by describing what you see, hear, and feel. 

What does it look like? What does it sound like? What does it feel like? What does it smell like? How does it make you feel?

The goal of a descriptive essay is to allow the reader to visualize and understand something. This kind of writing can be used for many different subjects, whether it's an object or person, experience, or emotion. 

The more detailed information your essay has, the better your readers will be able to understand it. Describe what you have felt and observed through some specific event. Many writers start with a one-line description before moving on to complex arguments. This is the best way to start a descriptive essay. 

First, writers include event details and then combine them with sensory details. It allows readers to imagine whatever scene the writer wants them to imagine. 

Descriptive Essay Example

Delve into this comprehensive guide on descriptive essays to gain a comprehensive understanding!

Expository Essay

An expository essay explains or informs the reader about a specific topic. It provides a straightforward, information-centered presentation of facts or concepts.

It only aims to explain an idea or define a concept without making any arguments at all. This is usually a shorter piece of writing. 

An expository essay is also known as a definition essay. It's useful for those who want an in-depth explanation without having to do too much thinking by themselves.

In order to make expository writing more interesting, writers use several essay variations such as comparison and contrast essays, cause and effect essays, or process essays. These variations help to add depth and interest to the description of facts and information.

The best example comes from science class when students have to write an informative paragraph on how paper is made. They aren't allowed to use any argumentative techniques like persuasion because that is not what an essay is built for.

Expository Essay Example

Looking to enhance your knowledge of expository essay writing? Explore the ins and outs of crafting clear and well-structured expository essays .

Analytical Essay

An analytical essay examines and interprets a piece of literature, artwork, or event. It involves critical thinking and evaluation of evidence to provide insights and arguments.

It is similar to an expository essay in that they both describe a topic, but it takes one step further by investigating each side of the subject.  It takes an expository topic and then investigates the different sides of that subject.

For instance: An expository essay is about how presidents are elected. You might look at all aspects of this process to discuss its pros and cons. 

An analytical essay investigates what would happen if we changed some parts or fully abandoned the electoral system altogether. 

Analytical Essay Example

Need to get started on your analytical essay? Enhance your analytical essay writing skills with this comprehensive guide!

Persuasive Essay

A persuasive essay aims to convince the reader to adopt a particular viewpoint or take a specific action. Writing this essay can be tricky because it wants the writer's viewpoint and reasoning on a certain topic. 

To ensure that your essay is clear, concise, and persuasive enough, you have to convince the reader. Think about what information would justify your arguments. It is a type of argumentative essay because they take a stance on an issue.

A good persuasive piece includes counterarguments for opposing views as well as data to back up the central thesis statement.

Persuasive Essay Example

Looking to boost your knowledge of persuasive essay writing? Read this insightful guide on persuasive essays and get started!

Compare and Contrast  Essay

A compare and contrast essay is a type of essay that examines two items. It compares their similarities while also pointing out the differences between them.

It's important to organize this essay into sections, one for comparisons and another section for contrasts. It is designed to show readers how topics or concepts differ or how they're alike. 

A good way to start is by stating why you're doing a compare & contrast essay on that particular subject (i.e., how they relate back to each other). This will keep readers engaged throughout your whole essay. 

Compare and Contrast Essay Example

Explore this comprehensive guide on compare and contrast essays to gain a thorough understanding!

Cause and Effect Essay

A cause and effect essay explores the reasons (causes) behind an event or phenomenon and the outcomes (effects) it results in. It establishes connections between different factors to explain their relationship.

Cause and effect essays are often organized chronologically to show the relationship between two things, in particular how another influenced one thing. 

The essay might start with a cause, for example, an unfair law. Then it will go on to explain its effects which can be anything from people rioting or animals fleeing. 

This type of writing is usually structured like this: first explaining why something happened (which is called the “cause”), then exploring how that event had consequences (referred to as “effects”). 

Cause and Effect Essay Example

Read this guide and discover effective strategies and valuable tips to craft impactful cause and effect essays !

Critical Essay

A critical essay offers an in-depth analysis and evaluation of a literary work, film, or idea. It examines the strengths, weaknesses, and implications of the subject matter.

It breaks down literature into its simpler components, so the reader better understands what they are reading. As well as be able to make an argument about its meaning. The writer usually uses textual evidence as well as other critics when making their points.

An introduction that presents your thesis statement followed by evidence from both text-based sources (other critics) and outside knowledge (personal accounts). The body then gathers this information in order to create a sound argument, backed up not just by textual analysis but also by contextual understanding. 

Critical Essay Example

Looking for more insights into critical essays? Explore this comprehensive guide on critical essays to get a better idea. 

Basic Essay Format

Writing a basic essay can be as easy as following three simple steps. The key to writing an insightful essay is having these parts work together in harmony for the best readability possible.

The Introduction

The introduction is like a doorway to your essay, inviting the reader to step inside. It should be captivating and interesting to grab their attention from the start. 

You can use a compelling anecdote, a surprising fact, or a thought-provoking question to engage the reader. 

The introduction also provides some background information about the topic, giving context to your essay. But giving away too much information can make the introduction less impactful. It should only hint at what points will be discussed in the essay.

  • Thesis Statement 

The thesis statement works as a road map for the entire essay and is part of the introduction. It shows readers what the essay claims and the reason behind this claim. Thesis statements are vital because they state the main idea of an essay concisely.

It is necessary to avoid any confusion about where the essay is going or why certain arguments matter more than others. The basic essay format sets limits on topics by narrowing them down instead of making comparisons with every other.

Body Paragraphs

The body of the essay supports the main points of the thesis statement. It provides specific details in each paragraph that tie together ideas to make a convincing argument for the thesis statement. 

Each paragraph has specific details to back up ideas, using a mix of research or personal experience. The author’s own analysis ties in with these supporting facts and conclusions drawn from presenting those findings that support their thesis statement throughout this section.

The use of transitions is also important because they can get readers from one thought to another. They can be as simple as a word or two (e.g., ‘next,’ ‘also’). Or they may take more than just a sentence by providing background information for the reader before switching topics entirely. 

The conclusion brings your essay to a satisfying close. It summarizes the main points discussed in the body paragraphs and restates the thesis statement in a different way.

Avoid introducing new information in the conclusion; instead, emphasize the significance of your arguments and leave the reader with a lasting impression. A well-crafted conclusion provides a sense of closure while leaving the reader with something to ponder.

Need to learn more about how to format your essay? Have a look at this read to get better informed about essay format !

Essay Writing Tips

You have to keep in mind some useful essay writing tips while writing any type of essay. 

  • Understand the Prompt

Understand exactly what is expected of you. It's a good idea to break the prompt down into sections.

  • Make a Plan

Organizing and brainstorming your ideas will make your life much easier while writing. It is a good plan to make a web of your ideas and supporting details. 

  • Use and Cite Sources

Carry out your research. Use quotes and paraphrases from your sources, but NEVER plagiarise.

  • Write an Essay Draft

Drafts are a great way to get any “poor quality” ideas out of the way and are frequently required by professors and instructors.

  • Make a Strong Thesis Statement

The thesis statement (main argument) of your essay is the most important thing you'll write. So, make it a focal point.

  • Respond to the following prompt

After you've ironed out any kinks in your first draft, you can begin writing the final draft of your essay.

Carefully read your response to ensure that there are no errors and that you did not overlook anything.

With the knowledge of these essay types, you have the tools to write an essay that can make a lasting impact.

However, if you find yourself in need of professional assistance, our online essay writing service  is here to help. Our team of experienced writers is dedicated to providing expert help for any type of essay. 

Our AI essay writer can deliver all kinds of essays.

So why waste another minute? Order now and get a great piece of writing in no time at all!

Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)

Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

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list and explain the features of each type of essay

The 4 Different Types of Essays

Let’s face it. At some point in your life, you will be required to write an essay — whether for a school homework, college standardized tests or even for work-related purposes.

There are several basic types of essays to choose from, the most common are expository, narrative, persuasive and analytical. Which one you choose really depends on your objectives. We'll explore each type in depth, and offer recommendations on the typical word counts for each essay type.

Which of the 4 different essay types you should use depends largely on the assignment or desired outcome

Expository Essay

An expository essay gives a brief explanation of an issue, idea or theme. Purdue OWL expands on this, offering some common requirements in step form: investigation of an idea, evaluation of evidence, a systematic and detailed explanation of the idea, and a clear and concise statement of an argument about the idea.

Because brevity is required for this type of essay, the recommended length is around 500-800 words.

In order to be effective, an expository essay should possess:

  • A clear-cut thesis statement, research question, or statement of intent
  • A no-frills approach to answering the question or addressing your thesis - factual evidence to support your claim or position
  • Conciseness

The first paragraph of an expository essay should be the shortest since it only seeks to briefly yet clearly state your thesis, research question, or intent. A maximum of 200 words should suffice.

Now, the succeeding paragraphs will be VERY crucial because they should contain all the necessary details to support your thesis statement. That means they would require a bigger chunk of your word count. But remember to still keep them succinct — no- frills, factual, and straightforward.

Finally, the last paragraph will serve as your conclusion to tie it all together. Emphasize your point but don’t dwell on it too much.

Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is all about the storytelling of real-life experiences. This essay type usually relays a personal or experiential account and uses a first-person point-of-view. Any story requires a beginning, middle and end — a narrative essay should be structured in the same way.

According to Essay Info a narrative essay possesses the following qualities:

  • It is usually written with a first-person point-of-view
  • It contains vivid imagery and sensory details
  • It has all the essential elements of a story (i.e. plot, theme, character, setting, style, tone, etc.)

Because descriptive and evocative language is needed for this type of essay, around 1,000 words may be required at the least in order to tell a full-bodied story. Think of a narrative essay as a short version of a novel — each paragraph represents a “chapter” in the story.

Make your essay riveting by adding anecdotes or dialogues into the narrative. Most importantly, end your essay with a conclusion or a personal statement — a takeaway will make your story more memorable to the reader.

Persuasive Essay

A persuasive essay (also referred to as an argumentative essay) makes use of logical reasoning to influence the reader to adopt the writer’s point of view. This essay type works harder compared to other essay types because the writer needs to convince the reader to espouse his position. In order to be eloquent and convincing, a definitive rationale or argument is imperative.

The qualities of a persuasive essay include:

  • Factual evidence
  • Valid reasoning
  • Sustaining the reader’s interest
  • A natural progression from one idea to the next - a forceful and convincing conclusion

To create a compelling argument, Scribbr advises an essay length of about 2,500 words . Anything under 2,000 words may be construed as “under-explaining” your point. However, your essay should go beyond just meeting the required length. Your writing should still be concise, on-point and progressive. Avoid fluff or fillers because they will only digress from the topic and may discredit your argument altogether.

Scribbr also provides some useful tips on how to structure paragraphs. It is important for paragraphs “to support a single claim or idea that helps establish the overall argument or purpose of the paper.”

To be able to achieve this, having a topic sentence for every paragraph will be helpful. However, the core of a persuasive essay is its ability to provide substantial evidence to support one’s argument. Additionally, the use of transitional devices will make your sentences more coherent and cohesive.

Analytical Essay

An analytical essay requires the presentation of an argument or claim by breaking down and examining the core components of an issue, idea, or works of art such as films, books, paintings, etc.

Some of its characteristics include:

  • An introduction and presentation of argument to highlight the text in the literary work which you will be deliberating about
  • An analysis of said text which should be relevant to your argument as well as your own take on whether the author’s goals were met or not supported by examples
  • A personal response to demonstrate your in-depth comprehension of the text in formulating your opinion — whether positive or negative

A literary analysis essay can be from 500-700 words. For as long as it covers all the principal points, it need not be lengthy. However, the bulk of your essay should concentrate on the analysis of the text.

Bucks Community College elaborates on these three principles to help you write an essay that has “tight organization and control.”

  • Your writing “must stick with great determination to the specific point of development”
  • Your essay should have a central idea or thesis that will dictate its development
  • Your writing should be systematic and organized such that every paragraph aids the reader to have a deeper understanding of your central idea

Here are some other helpful tips to guide you through writing an analytical essay:

  • Always write in the present tense
  • Avoid using contractions and informal language or colloquialisms
  • Avoid writing in the first person
  • Analyze, don’t retell the story
  • Be critical — your personal response need not be positive

Now that you have a clearer idea of the different types of essays and how to go about each of them, it’s time to start writing one. Make sure to use our word counter to keep it succinct.

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Types of Essay — List of the Different Writings & their Characteristics

Guide on the different types of essay writings & their features.

TYPES OF ESSAY – Here is a list of the different types of writings, the characteristics of each, and the skills tested when writing.

A lot of different activities are usually done at school. One of the tasks usually assigned by the teachers to students is to write an essay about a certain subject. In most cases, the type of essay is not specified but there are situations when you really need to have a knowledge about the different types of essay.

There are actually many types of essay. To be able to distinguish one from the other, it is best to know their characteristics, the goal in writing each type of essay, and the skills they test on the part of the author.

Here is a list of the different writings and a description about their main purposes and how they differ from each other:

Narrative Essay

Among the many types of essay, the most popular is the narrative essay. It is usually used in telling stories and is often written from the first person point-of-view. The author usually writes about his/her personal experiences.

In writing a narrative essay, creativity in the presentation of a story is tested. Writing this type of essay also tests the imagination of the author.

Argumentative Essay

Also called the Persuasive Essay, this type of essay is written to expose a rational argument supported by facts. The intention is often to persuade or convince the reader to agree with the author but this type of essay can also be written in the pursuit to investigate topics fairly.

The writing of an argumentative essay tests the authors stand on particular topics as well as the ability to do in-depth research to support the stand. The arguments must be evidence-based.

Cause and Effect Essay

As its name suggests, this type of essay is written to explain in-depth the cause of a certain incident or phenomena. It is an expository writing that state facts and avoid subjective opinion. It uses the analytical structure to show the relationship between two (2) things.

Writing this type of essay tests the author’s research skills as well as understanding on how things happen. It will also test the writer’s capacity to present the explaination in a comprehensive way.

Compare and Contrast Essay

Also one of the types of essay is the compare and contrast essay which, as its name suggests, a piece of writing with the purpose of compare and contrasting or writing down the similarities and differences of two people, animals, event, things, etc.

Informative Essay

One of the most common types of essay written by college students is the informative essay which presents facts about something from an in-depth research. It aims to provide a body of knowledge to the readers about a particular subject.

Reflective Essay

Have you been assigned to write a reflection after watching a film or doing an activity? It is a Reflective Essay that you will be writing and it is personal as it explores the point of view of the author towards a subject.

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