Table of contents

4 Main Types of Essays

One of the most widespread writing pieces in the educational environment and literature is an essay. In short, an essay represents a written work that involves expressing one’s thoughts and experiences about the problem or questions posed. When it comes to education, different types of essays are required for testing the individual skills and competence of a student. For this reason, there are the following variations of essays coming with particular abilities-testing goals.

TypeAimSkills checked
Argumentative/persuasive essay.Allows a teacher to see if a learner can properly form an opinion on the given topic after conducting in-depth research.Shows if a student is capable of building evidence-based arguments.
Expository essay.Is aimed to demonstrate how well and thoroughly a pupil can study the assigned topic.Lets a tutor understand whether their student can communicate information clearly or not.
Narrative essay. Tests if a learner can artfully and appropriately use figurative language.Helps to figure out whether a pupil can provide a compelling narrative or not.
Descriptive essay.Aims to show how well students can use creative language in their papers.Tests a learner’s ability to use sensory details when describing something/someone.

All the types of essays mentioned above have subtypes with specific structure and content requirements. Thus, only by knowing what each of the essay variations represents can a pupil choose the most suitable for them and their skills. Yet, it is only half the battle.

Argumentative (Persuasive) Essay Type

An argumentative essay is probably one of the most frequently appointed types of essay writing in tertiary education institutions. A persuasive essay is a type of written text used to teach students the ability to argue. At this, a well-reasoned paper includes careful consideration of the issue under discussion and strong arguments to persuade the audience of the author’s viewpoint. 

That is why it vital to formulate a solid thesis statement. A thesis is a succinctly formulated essence of a written work. Thus, an accurately composed thesis statement helps the writer draw the readers’ attention, keep them interested in the topic, show the essay’s fundamental idea clearly, etc. 

While different essay formats may have subtle nuances regarding their layout, the majority of essays follow this structure:

  1. The introduction
  2. The main part (the body)
  3. The conclusion

Another crucial point concerns the necessity to pick a suitable theme for your persuasive essay. Hence, if a teacher allows their pupils to write an argumentative paper about anything they want, they may choose such topics:

  • Does the educational system benefit from the application of technologies?
  • A recruit’s nationality shouldn’t be considered during the hiring process.
  • Pros and cons of banning social media platforms permanently. 

As for the handy tips on writing a great persuasive essay, take into account the following:

  1. Opt for a topic, which can easily be supported with evidence.
  2. Select a subject that you take an interest in. 
  3. Don’t choose a highly controversial theme to avoid possible conflicts. 

Now, let’s talk about the next essay type. 

Expository Essay Type 

An analytical essay is also one of the popular types of essays in college. It is a writing piece that analyzes a problem or presents an opinion based on a particular fact. The analysis subject can be a work of art, a historical event, a scientific phenomenon, etc. Such an essay type usually includes an analysis of a particular topic, which is performed using facts, statistics, links to various studies and reports. In other words, facts are more important here than emotions in descriptive essays.

In case you have been assigned an expository paper with no specific topic, take a look at the following suggestions:

  • Describe the potential outcomes of leading an unhealthy lifestyle. 
  • Explain why parents’ divorce can negatively affect underage children. 
  • How do people search for extraterrestrial life? 

By analogy with other kinds of essays, an expository paper adheres to the introduction-body-conclusion scheme. The only difference is, such writings usually include not one but three body paragraphs. 

Do you want to compose an A-level expository essay? Then stick to the tips given below:

  1. Use only clear and concise sentences.
  2. Make sure that each paragraph introduces only one new idea.
  3. Cite the information resources appropriately.

Let’s get things straight with an analytical essay type. 

Analytical Essay Type 

Undoubtedly, different types of papers have different requirements and peculiarities to consider. For instance, expository essays and analytical writings are quite similar. However, an analytical essay represents a “deeper” kind of expository paper. A student must go beyond surface-level analysis and thoroughly examine the designated issue’s essential points and arguments in an analytical paper.  

As we continue on the subject of differences between analytical essays and their expository counterparts, there is one crucial point. The principal difference here lies not in the essay structure. Therefore, it is vital to decide what kinds of paragraphs to include and pay close attention to the paper’s content. For example, expository writing may explain how the startup is established. Simultaneously, an analytical academic paper will explain the startup organization process and mention its potential advantages and drawbacks.      

Narrative Essay Type 

Among the existing types of writing formats, a narrative essay is not the least kind of educational task. A narrative piece of writing that is designed to share a story, often based on personal experience. Every narrative paper includes characters, background, climax, and, of course, the plot. Such a written story can be told chronologically or using flashbacks. 

A short biography or any critical event can serve as the inspiration source for a narrative essay when it comes to the content. The main components of such academic writing are the opening, the culmination, and the denouement. Accordingly, there should be a conflict reflected in this type of paper. 

When faced with the necessity to create a narrative essay, students often get lost in the abundance of potential topics. Here are some English essays examples to set you on the right track: 

  • Write about the time when you made friends under unusual circumstances.
  • Talk about the best Christmas present you ever received as a child.
  • Recall the time when someone unexpectedly came to your rescue in a difficult situation.

To ensure that your narration stays effective, adhere to the next helpful tips:

  1. Introduce critical details to engage the readers’ senses and emotions.
  2. Choose one viewpoint and stick to it until the end.
  3. Capture the audience’s minds with an intriguing or engaging introduction.

Now, what about a descriptive essay?

Descriptive Essay Type 

A descriptive essay is considered the simplest type of essay writing in comparison with other types. This essay variation does not imply defending your point of view or building a complex system of arguments. The meaning of a descriptive essay is to describe an issue/question and explain it to the readers.

Once again, some pupils may confuse narrative papers with descriptive essays since they are a bit similar. Nevertheless, the key difference between these academic writings lies in that a narrative essay usually tells the whole story. At the same time, descriptive one “talks about” a single event or thing. 

Indeed, different types of essays have specific nuances and details to be taken into consideration. Hence, if you wish to compose a top-notch descriptive paper, remember the following tips:

  1. Engage the readers’ feelings and emotions with details.
  2. Resort to figurative language.
  3. Summarize your thoughts and ideas in the conclusion part.

Undeniably, the essay types do not confine to those mentioned before, as educational establishments appoint other academic writing variations to their attendees. 

Other Types of Essay 

Indeed, there are other types of college essays, and each of them comes with a particular structure, format, topic, and requirements. Thus, in addition to the previously mentioned kinds of essays, there are the next types of academic papers:

  • Compare and contrast essay. Such essays are frequently assigned to college and university goers because they develop critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and systematic writing. In essence, this type of essay implies that the author must show the similarities and differences between the two items or characters. 
  • Cause and effect essay. A cause and effect essay requires the learner to analyze a specific situation/event and provide evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship. A student will need to analyze the situation/event in detail and introduce arguments with a thoughtful reflection on the posed question/issue.
  • Critical analysis essay. This type of academic writing represents an essay in which it is necessary to analyze and evaluate a scientific work (dissertation, article, report) or fiction work. Pupils are required to compose a critical essay to develop their critical thinking. 
  • Process essay. Last but not least, among different kinds of essays is a process essay. It may also be regarded as a step-by-step instruction or tutorial on carrying out a particular task. Proper transitions are a must in such a type of written works. 

To Sum Up 

There is a wide variety of essay types that every student should be able to cope with. After all, every essay variation tests learners’ writing and analytical abilities and improves other essential skills of pupils.