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Types of Essays in Academic Writing - Quick Guide (2024)

Sumalatha G

Table of Contents

Essay writing is an integral part of academic progress, playing a crucial role in enhancing critical thinking and communication skills among students.

There are different types of essays in academic writing, each with its unique purpose and requirements. Understanding these different essay types is essential for students to effectively convey their thoughts and ideas while demonstrating comprehension of the subject matter. In this article, let's learn more about the essay types and it's importance in academic writing.

Why is understanding essay types important in academic writing?

Essays serve as a medium for students to express their knowledge and opinions in a structured and coherent manner. They allow students to showcase their understanding of various concepts and ideas while adhering to the rules of academic writing. The different types of essays provide students with opportunities to explore different types of academic essays and develop their analytical and communication skills.

When it comes to academic writing, essay types play a crucial role in shaping the content and style of the writing. Each essay type serves a specific purpose and requires a distinct approach. By understanding the different types of essays, students can effectively convey their thoughts and ideas to their readers.

What are the types of essays in academic writing?

Academic writing encompasses a wide range of essay types, each serving a specific purpose and following distinct guidelines. Here's a brief overview of the major 7 types of essays commonly encountered in academic writing:

Expository Essay:

Expository essays is one of the types of essays aim to provide clear and concise explanations of a topic or concept. They present information objectively, without personal opinions or biases. The focus of expository essay is on organizing and conveying facts, ideas, or processes in a structured manner.

Key Features of expository essay:

  • Informative and objective
  • Presents a balanced and unbiased view
  • Uses clear and concise language
  • Follows a logical structure, often with an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion

Expository-Essay-Structure

Source: mtsac.edu

Argumentative Essay:

Argumentative essays is one of the most prominent types of essays which aim to persuade the reader to adopt a particular stance on a debatable issue. They present a well-structured argument backed by evidence and reasoning. The goal of argumentative essay is to convince the reader of the validity of the author's position.

Key Features OF argumentative essay:

  • Presents a clear thesis statement
  • Provides supporting evidence, such as facts, statistics, expert opinions, or examples
  • Uses logical reasoning and counterarguments to address opposing views
  • Maintains an objective and formal tone

Argumentative-Essay-Structure

Source: University of Washington

Narrative essay:

Narrative essays tell a story, recounting events or personal experiences in chronological order. They engage the reader by incorporating vivid descriptions, sensory details, and emotional language.

Key Features of narrative essay:

  • Strong opening hook to capture the reader's attention
  • Follows a clear narrative arc, including rising action, climax, and resolution
  • Conveys emotions and personal reflections

Comparative essay:

Comparative essays analyze similarities and differences between two or more subjects. They highlight common themes, contrasting features, and unique characteristics. The goal of comparative essay is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the subjects and their relationships.

Key Features of comparative essay:

  • Clear identification of the subjects and their key attributes
  • Organized comparison, often using a point-by-point or block format
  • Evidence-based analysis of similarities and differences
  • A balanced and objective approach

Cause and effect essay:

Cause-and-effect essays investigate the relationships between events, actions, or phenomena. They explore the reasons behind occurrences and the consequences that follow. The purpose of Cause and effect essay is to understand the underlying mechanisms and implications.

Key Features Cause and effect essay:

  • Clear identification of the cause and effect
  • Logical explanation of the causal relationship
  • Evidence-based support for the proposed connection
  • Consideration of alternative explanations or counterarguments

Problem solution essay:

Problem-solution essays identify a problem or issue and propose potential solutions. They analyze the causes and implications of the problem, evaluate different solutions, and recommend the most effective approach. The goal is to provide a practical and well-reasoned solution.

Key Features problem solution essay:

  • Clear definition of the problem and its scope
  • Analysis of the causes and consequences of the problem
  • Evaluation of different solution options, considering feasibility and effectiveness
  • Recommendation of the most viable solution with supporting arguments

Analytical essay:

Analytical essays break down a complex topic or concept into its constituent parts and examine the relationships between them. They provide a deeper understanding of the subject's structure, nuances, and underlying principles. The purpose is to offer critical insights and interpretations.

Key Features of analytical essay:

  • In-depth examination of a topic or concept
  • Breakdown of the subject into its components or underlying principles
  • Analysis of relationships between different parts or aspects of the subject
  • Identification of patterns, themes, or underlying theories

What are the structures and formats of different types of essays?

While each essay type has its unique structure and requirements, several elements are common across different types of essays.

Common Elements in Essay Structures

Most essays follow a similar structure, beginning with an introduction that provides background information and presents the thesis statement. The body paragraphs contain the main arguments, supported by evidence and examples. The conclusion summarizes the key points and restates the thesis, leaving the reader with a final thought or call to action.

Unique Formatting Requirements for Each Type of Essay

In addition to the common structural elements, each essay type may have specific formatting requirements. These may include the use of headings and subheadings, citation styles, and the inclusion of specific sections such as literature reviews or methodology explanations. It is crucial for students to familiarize themselves with the unique formatting guidelines for each essay type to ensure their work meets the expected standards.

By understanding the various types of essays and their distinct characteristics, students can adapt their essay writing style and approach to effectively communicate their ideas. Developing proficiency in each essay type equips students with valuable skills that extend beyond their academic journey, empowering them to articulate their thoughts clearly and persuasively in various professional and personal backdrops.

Wrapping up

In conclusion, the diverse range of types of essays in academic writing offers students opportunities to develop their critical thinking, persuasive writing, and storytelling abilities. Understanding the purpose and requirements of each essay type allows students to excel in conveying their knowledge and ideas effectively. Each essay type serves as a building block in the development of well-rounded academic writers. So, embrace the diversity of essay types, explore different writing styles, and tailor your approach accordingly to excel in the realm of academic writing.

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Types and Examples of Essays: The Complete List

Types and Examples of Essays

Essays are concise pieces of writing that present information in a comprehensible, straightforward manner. The traditional structure of an essay begins with an introduction, uses topic sentences, and concludes with a conclusion that restates the thesis.

Table of Contents

Diverse essay types demand different writing abilities, such as the ability to inject the figurative language into a personal essay to make it come to life or to critically analyze a complex issue in an analytical essay in order to find a solution.

The length and format of essays also vary, with some spanning pages and others neatly fitting into just a few paragraphs. Before you are required to write these types of essays, familiarize yourself with them. You will become a skilled essayist once you comprehend how they differ and how they are similar.

In this article, we provide you with a list of the most prevalent essay types.

Types of Essays with Examples

Understanding the different types of essays that make up the majority of your high school, college, and university assignments is a smart place to start when considering how to write one.

Essays can be categorized into a wide variety, but the four main types of essays are argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays. Let us take a detailed look at these four main types of essays with examples.

4 Major Types of Essay with Examples

The four primary methods/ types of essays that are typically required in academic settings are as follows (according to Purdue Online Writing Lab), and the majority of the essays you will ever write in your life will roughly fit into one of these categories:

The majority of the essays you will ever have to write in your existence will come under one of these four categories, which are the norm in academia.

These are four different ways to convey an essay’s idea rather than four unique essay genres. Of the nine conventional rhetorical modes, which also include techniques like classification and process analysis, these four are the most frequently employed.

1. Expository Essays

These are most likely the types of essays you may encounter and the standard essay style needed for exams.

When writing an expository essay, you will go deeper into a subject or issue to develop an idea, analyze supporting data, and then organize an “exposition” on the concept.

Depending on the writer’s objectives, expository essays can take a variety of forms including:

  • Descriptive or Definition Essays
  • Procedure or “How-To” Essays
  • Comparison Essays
  • Cause-and-Effect Essays
  • Problem/Solution Essays
  • Examples of Expository Essays

Watching The Thinderstoem

Over the open ocean, I observed a thunderstorm. Only thick, heavy clouds and a roiling tide could be seen at the start, and everything was quiet. I was standing on my balcony looking out toward the horizon when I heard a quiet thunderclap. The clouds began to shut over the following few minutes and reflected lightning lit up the undulating ocean. The sun was obscured by the thunderheads, casting shadows across the scene. For a very long period, there was calm.

I turned to look up just as the first thunderclap struck clearly. It shone against the sky and the water, and when I blink, I can see its outline in perfectly reversed colors. Thereafter, more. Thunder appeared to be struggling to keep up as it rumbled and stalled. Suddenly, the clouds appeared to be tearing apart, and patches of dazzling blue gleamed above the gloomy water.

I then looked down and observed the waves. Every bolt was met with a brief period of surface-spreading light. I could hear the waves smashing as they became more violent, rising high.

Then the rain started. It deluged the sea and soaked the sand all at once and in sheets. I could only see the lightning as bursts of light since the fog was so thick. The rain was so intense that it drowned out the thunder. Everything was rhythmic light and shadow, quiet and sound, and all five senses were combined into one experience.

It abruptly came to a standstill. The storm broke out. Clouds began to separate like curtains. Still falling, but much more subtly now. With the exception of one signature, it appeared as though there had never been a storm. A nearly ferociously vivid rainbow covered the sky and the lake. The horizon was once again visible.

Click here for an in-depth understanding of exploratory essays and how to write them ?????

2. Argumentative Essays

These essays are comparable to expository essays, but they are typically far more in-depth and support their arguments with well-researched qualitative and quantitative data (acquired via primary or secondary sources). An argumentative essay’s goal is to establish a viewpoint or position on a subject by offering justifications and proof.

An argumentative essay is typically written for a higher-level audience, such as high school or university. This implies that you will have to conduct some research, make some notes, and probably refer to your lecture notes.

  • Examples of Argumentative Essays

Having chocolate milk in class?

I disagree that chocolate milk should no longer be served in school cafeterias. Do people believe that chocolate milk's sugar content is unhealthy, according to Chocolate Milk in School Cafeterias? They want to remove it from the dining halls. This is not a smart move.

The options available to children purchasing lunches in the cafeteria are limited. They could be limited to a single main course or veggie. They can then select chocolate milk in place of white milk. They might eat extra potato chips, cookies, donuts, and other junk food if they are unable to make a decision. Many kids just purchase junk food for lunch.

Compared to Coke or Gatorade, chocolate milk is preferable. When bringing a lunch, children must purchase a beverage; instead of purchasing milk, these children might bring a sugary beverage.

Even though chocolate milk contains some sugar, it is still preferable to other beverages. It still has vitamins and minerals, so that's a plus. Although some kids just don't like white milk, I believe it is preferable for youngsters to at least drink some milk than none at all. The American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics both say this, and I agree!

For an in-depth understanding of argumentative essays, click here. ??????

3. Descriptive Essays

As the title suggests, the focus of this essay is language in general, specifically adjectives, similes, and metaphors. The goal of these essays is to describe the topic you are requested to write about as vividly as you can. You will need to include an introduction, body, and conclusion, just like in an expository essay.

A descriptive essay, however, differs from other types of writing since it requires you to describe a specific object in great detail. The other types of essays may include description, but they typically require a little more, such as an argument, whereas a descriptive essay only provides a detailed description of something, with the thing being described serving as the main focus rather than an argument.

  • Examples of Descriptive Essays

Parents' view of university education in my country

Teenagers in my nation do not work because they are too busy studying. For teenagers, playing the character of a student and a good student is paramount. Making your parents proud is crucial, as is competing for top colleges and employment.

Families and parents believe that it is crucial for kids to study very hard, very long, and without breaks in order to achieve the best grades possible. Only a small percentage of the population in my country can attend university since there are so few open spots.

Therefore, the pupils who perform best in school are the ones who attend universities. The top employment goes to students who attend the best universities. Choosing the right university will allow you to unwind.

It's crucial to make your parents happy. In the 1950s, while our nation was at war, our parents struggled mightily to rise above it. The nation was empty. Like in Japan, parents here put in long hours at work, and pupils here are expected to work hard. The family is honored for their labors. Top marks are crucial, so parents may be proud of their son's diligence.

Click here for more on descriptive essays ?????

4. Narrative Essays|

Again, a narrative essay is a more personal piece of writing where your point of view is made apparent to the reader, contrary to what the title might imply. These articles may take the form of stories or be referred to as “creative non-fiction.” In these essays, the first-person pronoun “I” is frequently used.

Narrative essays, which are frequently the closest thing to works of journalism, must also have a distinct introduction, body, and conclusion that are filled with brief language. You are probably well on your way to being a successful journalist if you are able to write a compelling narrative essay.

  • Examples of Narrative Essays

Thinking in a Systems Approach

A child's death is always tragic. Only a few hours after giving birth, one of my sisters lost her first two children, twins. I learned from how my family members handled this incident that even those who were raised with the same ideas and ideals might have very diverse perspectives on the world.

My sibling was delivered early. We weren't shocked to find that her first pregnancy would not proceed to term because she arrived a month early than she should have. However, the fact that the infants would arrive two months early rather than just one upset us.

We had little expectation that they would live a long life because their prospects of survival were slim. My role in the situation was quite limited because I lived several hundred km apart, but I worried and wept with everyone else. The full extent of my sorrow for my sister and the rest of my family did not reach me until a few years later when I saw my sister at a family reunion.

That's when I realized how much hope, disappointment, and grief those two little girls' incredibly brief lives had brought to our family. At that point, I genuinely felt sad for both my sister and myself.

At about the same time, I realized that our collective perspectives on the incident varied. My mother was at one extreme and I was at the other, creating a type of polarization.

I'm a devoted Mormon, as is my mother. We both hold the same beliefs about God, including that we were all in God's presence before coming to Earth, that God has a plan for our salvation, and that if we live righteously, we can return to God. We also hold to the doctrine of foreordination, which holds that God assigns particular individuals to particular jobs on Earth.

I eventually realized that our differences stemmed from what I like to refer to as system orientation. We both practice religion, however, my mother exclusively practices religion, whilst I also practice science. She believes that religion is the only rational and consistent explanation for everything, particularly the loss of a baby.

In my worldview, which integrates religion and science, God may exist, but he need not be in charge of everything. Many events, such as infant deaths, take place within his plan without being specifically mentioned in it. Understanding and respecting my mother's viewpoints as well as my own and feeling better about them are made possible by looking at it in this way.

Click here for an in-depth look at narrative essays ?????

Components (Paragraphs) of a good essay

There are 4 main types of essays

The 7 Other Types of Essays

Using one of these four rhetorical devices may be required of you when writing an essay. You might be required to write an argumentative essay on whether or not a new college policy should be implemented.

You would convey your stance by using persuasive writing tactics in your essay, such as by outlining your opinion of the proposed legislation and how it is likely to affect society.

You can better grasp the texts you work with by having a better understanding of the four primary forms of writing. When reading an essay, try to determine the writing style the author is using by focusing on the essay’s structure, tone, vocabulary, and method of presenting the main idea.

Here we analyze the 4 types of essays available:

Personal essays

Your emphasis in a personal essay is on something that has affected you personally. It may be a current issue, a historical occurrence, or a more comprehensive examination of how many situations and events have molded you into the person you are now.

Personal essays frequently use narrative writing strategies. However, depending on the subject matter and thesis of the essay, authors may also use expository or descriptive tactics. Argumentative, comical, and college application essays are just a few examples of different genres of writing that can overlap with personal essays.

Political essays

Some of the most well-known political essays may be familiar to you from what you studied in history class. These essays are works by eminent philosophers from the past and the present that address society and ideal forms of government.

In a political essay, the author discusses the current situation and suggests solutions, occasionally using historical examples of situations or solutions that are analogous to the current one. Political essays typically fall under the categories of informative or persuasive writing.

Compare-and-contrast essays

Essays that compare and contrast two things are probably one of the essay types that students write the most. In this style of essay, the author contrasts and compares two subjects in order to highlight the main distinctions and similarities between them.

The content of compare-and-contrast essays is typically revealed through the similarities the author draws, making them expository writing assignments. When comparisons are used to persuade the reader to adopt a particular perspective, they can also be considered persuasive writing pieces.

College (application) essays

Essays you write in college may not always qualify as college essays. Actually, you’ll write all of your college essays before you enroll in a college unless you later go to graduate school or another type of specialized academic program.

A concise personal essay that emphasizes your personality traits and life experiences that make you the perfect fit for the college to which you are applying is known as a college application essay or personal statement.

Analytical essays

Essays that analyze a topic in-depth focus on its essential elements and draw conclusions after carefully analyzing these elements. An analytical essay regarding a book’s topics or an argumentative essay’s ideas can be required of you. The purpose of analytical essays, which are examples of expository writing, is to present facts by interpreting content.

An analytical essay does not attempt to persuade the reader to adopt a particular viewpoint. Instead, the author gives a piece of media, such as a short story or movie, and analyzes its theme by going over the various ways it conveys that theme.

Argumentative essays

As the name implies, you argue in an argumentative essay.

You specifically make an argument for or against a certain viewpoint. For instance, your task might be to advocate for or against your school’s rule prohibiting students from enrolling in more than two AP courses annually and to back up your arguments with facts.

You might use statistics showing a correlation between a student’s enrollment in AP courses and their typical AP test results or the amount of homework an AP course requires to support your argument that it’s a good idea.

Argumentative essays that are well-written don’t rely on emotional appeal. Instead, they use evidence—statistics, facts, and logic—to persuade readers of the validity of their ideas. Argumentative essays are typical examples of persuasive writing.

Humorous essays

As the name suggests, this sort of essay aims to make the reader laugh and be entertained. A comical essay could describe an amusing incident in the author’s life or it might be a political essay that makes political commentary through satire. A humorous essay is one that is both entertaining and academic.

Essays that are humorous frequently rely more on tactics used in narrative writing, such as metaphors and descriptive language, than they do on other essay-writing strategies. Hilarious essays frequently take the form of descriptive articles that employ hyperbole, irreverence, or quirky language to communicate a humorous perspective on the subject matter.

We hope by reading to this point, you now know how to write an essay that gets all the accolades and grades you deserve.

What are you waiting for now that you are aware of the various essay types and how to compose them? Start working on your essay right away.

How to Write Expository Essays (and Elements)

How to Write Expository Essays (and Elements)

How to Write a Compelling Argumentative Essay

How to Write a Compelling Argumentative Essay

How to Write a Descriptive Essay Types and Tips

How to Write a Descriptive Essay (Types and Tips)

Narrative Essays How to Write with Examples

Narrative Essays: Examples and How to Write them

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Academic Writing

different types of essay and their format

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

Types of essays

  • Writing pitfalls
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  • Co-Curricular Recognition Form
  • Faculty Resources

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

Expository Essay

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

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

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

Argumentative or Persuasive Essay

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

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

Reflective Essay

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

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

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

Descriptive Essay

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

  • Last Updated: Jan 12, 2024 2:29 PM
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Various formats for writing essays – tips and guidelines.

Essay writing formats

Welcome to the comprehensive guide that will enhance your understanding of various essay writing formats. Crafting a well-structured and organized essay is a crucial skill for students and professionals alike. Different types of essays require adherence to specific formatting guidelines to effectively communicate ideas and arguments.

Whether you are writing a persuasive essay, analytical essay, narrative essay, or any other type, this guide will provide you with valuable insights into the key elements of each format. By mastering the nuances of essay writing formats, you will be able to express your thoughts clearly, logically, and persuasively, captivating your readers and achieving your communication goals.

Through this comprehensive guide, you will learn about the essential components of various essay formats, including thesis statements, introductions, body paragraphs, supporting evidence, and conclusions. By understanding the specific requirements of each format, you can tailor your writing style to meet the expectations of your audience and effectively convey your message.

The Complete Essay Format Guide

Understanding the proper essay format is essential for writing effective essays. Whether you are a student or a professional writer, knowing how to structure your essays can greatly impact the clarity and coherence of your writing. In this guide, we will walk you through the essential elements of essay formats and provide tips on how to structure your essays effectively.

1. Introduction

  • The introduction is the first paragraph of your essay and should provide a brief overview of the topic you will be discussing.
  • It should also include a thesis statement, which explains the main argument or point of your essay.

2. Body Paragraphs

  • The body of your essay should consist of several paragraphs that develop and support your thesis statement.
  • Each paragraph should focus on a single idea or point and include evidence or examples to support it.

3. Conclusion

  • The conclusion is the final paragraph of your essay and should summarize your main points and restate your thesis.
  • It should also provide a closing thought or reflection on the topic you have discussed.

4. Formatting

  • Essays should be double-spaced and formatted with a clear font, such as Times New Roman, in 12-point size.
  • Margins should be set to one inch on all sides of the page.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your essays are well-structured and easy to read. Remember to revise and edit your essays carefully to ensure that they are well-written and coherent.

Understanding Essay Structure Basics

When it comes to writing an essay, understanding the basic structure is essential. A typical essay consists of three main parts: an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Each of these sections serves a specific purpose and contributes to the overall coherence of the essay.

  • Introduction: This is where you introduce the topic of your essay and provide some background information. The introduction should also include a thesis statement, which is the main idea or argument that you will be discussing in the essay.
  • Body Paragraphs: The body of the essay consists of several paragraphs that develop and support the thesis statement. Each paragraph should focus on a single point or idea and provide evidence and examples to support it.
  • Conclusion: The conclusion brings the essay to a close by restating the thesis statement and summarizing the main points of the essay. It is also a good place to discuss the broader implications of your argument or suggest areas for further research.

By following this basic structure, you can ensure that your essay is well-organized and easy for readers to follow. Remember to use transitions between paragraphs to help connect your ideas and create a smooth flow of information throughout the essay.

Types of Essay Formats

When it comes to writing essays, there are several different formats that you may encounter. Each format has its own unique structure and requirements. Here are some of the most common types of essay formats:

  • Argumentative Essay: This type of essay presents a claim or argument and supports it with evidence and reasoning.
  • Descriptive Essay: Descriptive essays focus on describing a person, place, object, or event in detail.
  • Narrative Essay: Narrative essays tell a story and often include personal experiences or anecdotes.
  • Expository Essay: Expository essays aim to explain and inform the reader about a specific topic.
  • Persuasive Essay: Persuasive essays are similar to argumentative essays but focus more on convincing the reader to adopt a particular point of view.
  • Compare and Contrast Essay: This type of essay analyzes the similarities and differences between two or more subjects.
  • Cause and Effect Essay: Cause and effect essays explore the reasons behind a particular phenomenon and its outcomes.

It’s important to understand the requirements of each essay format and tailor your writing style accordingly to effectively convey your ideas and arguments.

Exploring Common Essay Styles

Exploring Common Essay Styles

When it comes to writing essays, there are several common styles that you may encounter. Understanding the different types of essays can help you determine the best approach for your writing task. Here are some of the most common essay styles that you may come across:

1. Narrative Essays: These essays tell a story or recount an event. They often include personal anecdotes and can be quite engaging for the reader.

2. Descriptive Essays: In a descriptive essay, the writer paints a vivid picture of a person, place, object, or event. These essays appeal to the reader’s senses and emotions.

3. Expository Essays: Expository essays provide information, explain a topic, or analyze a concept. They are typically objective and present facts or opinions in a logical manner.

4. Persuasive Essays: Persuasive essays are meant to convince the reader of a particular point of view or argument. They often use evidence and reasoning to support a specific position.

5. Argumentative Essays: Similar to persuasive essays, argumentative essays present a claim or thesis and support it with evidence and analysis. However, argumentative essays also address counterarguments and refute opposing viewpoints.

By familiarizing yourself with these common essay styles, you can better tailor your writing to meet the requirements of your assignment and effectively communicate your ideas to your audience.

Comparing Argumentative and Narrative Essays

When it comes to essay writing, two common types of essays are argumentative and narrative essays. While they both aim to convey a message or argument, they differ in their purpose and structure.

  • Argumentative Essays: Argumentative essays are designed to persuade the reader to adopt a particular point of view or take a specific action. These essays present a clear thesis statement and provide evidence to support the argument. They often involve research and logical reasoning to make a compelling case.
  • Narrative Essays: Narrative essays, on the other hand, focus on telling a story or recounting an experience. They are often more personal and emotional, using descriptive language to engage the reader. Narrative essays may not have a thesis statement but instead focus on engaging the reader through vivid storytelling.

While argumentative essays rely on facts and evidence to support a specific viewpoint, narrative essays rely on personal experiences and storytelling to draw the reader in. It’s essential to understand the differences between these two essay formats to effectively convey your message and engage your audience.

Elements of a Well-Formatted Essay

Introduction : The introduction sets the stage for your essay, providing an overview of the topic and presenting the thesis statement.

Body Paragraphs : The body of the essay presents your arguments and evidence in support of the thesis statement. Each paragraph should focus on a single idea and provide clear evidence to support it.

Transitions : Transitions help to smoothly move from one idea to the next, connecting paragraphs and ensuring the essay flows logically.

Conclusion : The conclusion restates the thesis statement and summarizes the main points of the essay. It may also provide insights or recommendations based on the arguments presented.

Citations : Proper citations are essential in academic writing to give credit to the sources used and avoid plagiarism. Use the appropriate citation style required by your instructor.

Formatting : Pay attention to formatting elements such as font size, margins, spacing, and referencing style. Consistent formatting enhances readability and professionalism of your essay.

Key Components for a Strong Essay

When crafting a strong essay, there are several key components that you should consider to ensure that your writing is clear, coherent, and effective. These key components include:

1. A clear and concise thesis statement that presents the main argument or point of your essay.

2. Well-developed paragraphs that support and expand upon your thesis statement with relevant evidence and analysis.

3. Smooth transitions between paragraphs and ideas to guide the reader through your essay and maintain coherence.

4. Proper organization and structure, including an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion that effectively communicate your ideas.

5. Attention to detail, including grammar, punctuation, and spelling to ensure that your writing is polished and professional.

By incorporating these key components into your essay writing, you can create a strong and compelling piece that effectively conveys your message to your audience.

Choosing the Right Format for Your Essay

When it comes to writing an essay, choosing the right format is crucial for effectively communicating your ideas and arguments. There are several different essay formats to choose from, each with its own unique structure and guidelines. Here are some tips to help you select the best format for your essay:

1. Consider your audience: Think about who will be reading your essay and what format would be most appropriate for them. For example, a formal academic essay might require a more structured format, while a personal essay could be more freeform.

2. Determine your purpose: Consider the purpose of your essay and choose a format that will best suit your goals. If you’re trying to persuade your reader, a persuasive essay format might be most effective. If you’re analyzing a topic, an analytical essay format could be more suitable.

3. Follow guidelines: If you’re writing an essay for a class or publication, make sure to follow any specific guidelines provided. This could include requirements for formatting, citation style, and overall structure.

4. Experiment and revise: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different formats to see what works best for your essay. Once you’ve written a draft, revise and refine your work to ensure that the format enhances your message.

By taking these factors into account, you can choose the right format for your essay and ensure that your ideas are conveyed effectively to your readers.

Considerations for Selecting Essay Styles

When selecting an essay style, consider the purpose of your essay. Are you trying to persuade, inform, or analyze? The style you choose should align with your overall goal and message.

Think about your target audience. Are you writing for a scholarly audience, a general audience, or a specific group of readers? The style of your essay should be tailored to resonate with your intended readers.

Consider the requirements of your assignment. Does your instructor specify a particular style or format to follow? Make sure to adhere to any guidelines provided to ensure you meet the expectations of the assignment.

Reflect on your own writing strengths and weaknesses. Are you more comfortable with a formal, structured style, or do you excel in a more creative, narrative format? Choose a style that plays to your strengths as a writer.

Lastly, consider the conventions of the discipline or field you are writing in. Different subjects may have specific expectations for essay styles, so make sure to research and understand the norms of your field.

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Guide to Different Kinds of Essays

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

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

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

Descriptive:

Examples: A descriptive essay could describe . . .

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

Definition:

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

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

Compare/Contrast:

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

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

Cause/Effect:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Examples:A narrative essay could tell of . . .

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

Examples: A process essay may explain . . .

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

Argumentative:

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

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

Examples: A critical essay may analyze . . .

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

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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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Ever felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of "essays" out there? Essays are fundamental tools in education and communication, designed to inform, persuade, and narrate experiences. 

Understanding the different types of essays is important in academics. There are four primary categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive and each type serves a distinct purpose. 

This guide will explore each type and its subtypes with examples providing clear examples to improve your writing skills.

Let’s get started!

Arrow Down

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

4 Main Types of Essays In Academic Writing

In academic years, essay writing develops essential skills. At the university level, argumentative essays are most common, honing critical thinking and persuasive writing.           

In high school and college, textual analysis essays test close reading and interpretation, enhancing analytical thinking and clear articulation. Let's explore these essay types along with their descriptions and example prompts in the table below:

Formulating arguments, critical thinking, persuasive writing.

Argue for or against the implementation of stricter gun control laws in the United States.

Sensory Description, Imagery, Figurative Language

Describe a place you visited recently and explain why it left a lasting impression on you.

Informative Writing, Research, Clarity

Explain the causes and effects of climate change, and discuss its impact on the environment and society.

Storytelling, Narrative Structure, Engagement

Describe a memorable childhood event that had a significant impact on your life.

Please note that the length of these essays depends on academic level, assignment requirements, and topic complexity. University essays are usually longer due to deeper analysis, while high school essays are shorter and more focused on foundational skills. Argumentative essays often require more length than narrative or descriptive essays to support thorough argumentation. 

Let’s take a look at these types of essays in detail, along with examples to further your understanding.

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 terms, the writer must provide evidence and stay consistent with their viewpoint, focusing on a specific type of argument . While argumentative essays discuss both sides of an issue, they clearly advocate for 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.

The argumentative essay outline follows the same basic structure as other essays but includes an additional section for the counterargument.

  • 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 . 

Here is a sample argumentative essay example for you to get an idea. 

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 stimulate the senses and emotions of the reader. To put it simply, the reader should see what you saw and feel what you felt. To make it better, you can use several literary devices like;

  • 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.

A descriptive essay outline typically follows a 5-paragraph essay format, consisting of the following basic components:

  • 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

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

Here, we have provided a well-written descriptive essay for you to get inspired from and start the writing process confidently. 

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.

There are various types of expository writing :

  • 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.

Like other types of essays, an expository essay outline also follows the standard essay format :

  • 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

Here is an expository essay example from one of our expert writers to understand the basics. For more samples visit our dedicated blog on Expository Essay Examples !

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 narrative essay examples . 

Other Common Essay Types

Besides the main types of essays, there are other specialized types for specific audiences. These essays offer various ways for writers to communicate their ideas.

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.  It uses persuasive techniques like ethos, pathos, and logos to persuade the audience.

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, make sure to read the persuasive essay examples for better understanding. 

Here is a sample in PDF format: 

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 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 they 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. For more examples 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 essay help today and let our experts assist you in writing A+ grade essays within your specified timeline! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most important element in any essay.

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The most important element in any essay is its thesis statement. The thesis statement presents the main idea or argument of the essay and sets the direction for the entire piece. It provides a clear, concise summary of what the essay will cover, helping to guide the reader and ensure that the content remains focused and coherent.

What type of essay is most common at university?

The most common type of essay at university is the argumentative essay Other common types include:

  • Expository essay
  • Persuasive essay
  • Narrative essay
  • Descriptive essay
  • Cause and effect essay
  • Compare and contrast essay
  • Process essay
  • Definition essay
  • Classification essay
  • Critical essay
  • Analytical essay
  • Argumentative essay
  • Reflective essay
  • Research paper
  • Literature review

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The 3 Popular Essay Formats: Which Should You Use?

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

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

Why Is Your Essay Format Important?

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

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

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

MLA Essay Format

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

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

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

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

APA Essay Format

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

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

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

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

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

body_bookshelves

Chicago Essay Format

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

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

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

Comparison Chart

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

 
or ).
including the title page.

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

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

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What's Next?

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

Compound sentences are an importance sentence type to know. Read our guide on compound sentences for everything you need to know about compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences.

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

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

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Types of Essay

Definition of types of essay, format of an essay, the format of an argumentative essay is given below:.

i.  ii.  iii. Statement
i. Topic ii. Explanation/Exampleiii. Supporting Detailsiv. Sentence
i. Topic Sentenceii. Explanation/Exampleiii. Supporting Detailsiv. Comparison of Body Paragraph Arguments
i. Rephrasing ii. Summary of Pointsiii.

Function of Types of Essay

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Writing an effective and impactful essay is crucial to your academic or professional success. Whether it’s getting into the college of your dreams or scoring high on a major assignment, writing a well-structured essay will help you achieve it all. But before you learn how to write an essay , you need to know its basic components.

In this article, we will understand what an essay is, how long it should be, and its different parts and types. We will also take a detailed look at relevant examples to better understand the essay structure.

Get an A+ with our essay editing and proofreading services! Learn more

What is an essay?

An essay is a concise piece of nonfiction writing that aims to either inform the reader about a topic or argue a particular perspective. It can either be formal or informal in nature. Most academic essays are highly formal, whereas informal essays are commonly found in journal entries, social media, or even blog posts.

As we can see from this essay definition, the beauty of essays lies in their versatility. From the exploration of complex scientific concepts to the history and evolution of everyday objects, they can cover a vast range of topics.

How long is an essay?

The length of an essay can vary from a few hundred to several thousand words but typically falls between 500–5,000 words. However, there are exceptions to this norm, such as Joan Didion and David Sedaris who have written entire books of essays.

Let’s take a look at the different types of essays and their lengths with the help of the following table:

How many paragraphs are in an essay?

Typically, an essay has five paragraphs: an introduction, a conclusion, and three body paragraphs. However, there is no set rule about the number of paragraphs in an essay.

The number of paragraphs can vary depending on the type and scope of your essay. An expository or argumentative essay may require more body paragraphs to include all the necessary information, whereas a narrative essay may need fewer.

Structure of an essay

To enhance the coherence and readability of your essay, it’s important to follow certain rules regarding the structure. Take a look:

1. Arrange your information from the most simple to the most complex bits. You can start the body paragraph off with a general statement and then move on to specifics.

2. Provide the necessary background information at the beginning of your essay to give the reader the context behind your thesis statement.

3. Select topic statements that provide value, more information, or evidence for your thesis statement.

There are also various essay structures , such as the compare and contrast structure, chronological structure, problem method solution structure, and signposting structure that you can follow to create an organized and impactful essay.

Parts of an essay

An impactful, well-structured essay comes down to three important parts: the introduction, body, and conclusion.

1. The introduction sets the stage for your essay and is typically a paragraph long. It should grab the reader’s attention and give them a clear idea of what your essay will be about.

2. The body is where you dive deeper into your topic and present your arguments and evidence. It usually consists of two paragraphs, but this can vary depending on the type of essay you’re writing.

3. The conclusion brings your essay to a close and is typically one paragraph long. It should summarize the main points of the essay and leave the reader with something to think about.

The length of your paragraphs can vary depending on the type of essay you’re writing. So, make sure you take the time to plan out your essay structure so each section flows smoothly into the next.

Introduction

When it comes to writing an essay, the introduction is a critical component that sets the tone for the entire piece. A well-crafted introduction not only grabs the reader’s attention but also provides them with a clear understanding of what the essay is all about. An essay editor can help you achieve this, but it’s best to know the brief yourself!

Let’s take a look at how to write an attractive and informative introductory paragraph.

1. Construct an attractive hook

To grab the reader’s attention, an opening statement or hook is crucial. This can be achieved by incorporating a surprising statistic, a shocking fact, or an interesting anecdote into the beginning of your piece.

For example, if you’re writing an essay about water conservation you can begin your essay with, “Clean drinking water, a fundamental human need, remains out of reach for more than one billion people worldwide. It deprives them of a basic human right and jeopardizes their health and wellbeing.”

2. Provide sufficient context or background information

An effective introduction should begin with a brief description or background of your topic. This will help provide context and set the stage for your discussion.

For example, if you’re writing an essay about climate change, you start by describing the current state of the planet and the impact that human activity is having on it.

3. Construct a well-rounded and comprehensive thesis statement

A good introduction should also include the main message or thesis statement of your essay. This is the central argument that you’ll be making throughout the piece. It should be clear, concise, and ideally placed toward the end of the introduction.

By including these elements in your introduction, you’ll be setting yourself up for success in the rest of your essay.

Let’s take a look at an example.

Essay introduction example

  • Background information
  • Thesis statement

The Wright Brothers’ invention of the airplane in 1903 revolutionized the way humans travel and explore the world. Prior to this invention, transportation relied on trains, boats, and cars, which limited the distance and speed of travel. However, the airplane made air travel a reality, allowing people to reach far-off destinations in mere hours. This breakthrough paved the way for modern-day air travel, transforming the world into a smaller, more connected place. In this essay, we will explore the impact of the Wright Brothers’ invention on modern-day travel, including the growth of the aviation industry, increased accessibility of air travel to the general public, and the economic and cultural benefits of air travel.

Body paragraphs

You can persuade your readers and make your thesis statement compelling by providing evidence, examples, and logical reasoning. To write a fool-proof and authoritative essay, you need to provide multiple well-structured, substantial arguments.

Let’s take a look at how this can be done:

1. Write a topic sentence for each paragraph

The beginning of each of your body paragraphs should contain the main arguments that you’d like to address. They should provide ground for your thesis statement and make it well-rounded. You can arrange these arguments in several formats depending on the type of essay you’re writing.

2. Provide the supporting information

The next point of your body paragraph should provide supporting information to back up your main argument. Depending on the type of essay, you can elaborate on your main argument with the help of relevant statistics, key information, examples, or even personal anecdotes.

3. Analyze the supporting information

After providing relevant details and supporting information, it is important to analyze it and link it back to your main argument.

4. Create a smooth transition to the next paragraph

End one body paragraph with a smooth transition to the next. There are many ways in which this can be done, but the most common way is to give a gist of your main argument along with the supporting information with transitory words such as “however” “in addition to” “therefore”.

Here’s an example of a body paragraph.

Essay body paragraph example

  • Topic sentence
  • Supporting information
  • Analysis of the information
  • Smooth transition to the next paragraph

The Wright Brothers’ invention of the airplane revolutionized air travel. They achieved the first-ever successful powered flight with the Wright Flyer in 1903, after years of conducting experiments and studying flight principles. Despite their first flight lasting only 12 seconds, it was a significant milestone that paved the way for modern aviation. The Wright Brothers’ success can be attributed to their systematic approach to problem-solving, which included numerous experiments with gliders, the development of a wind tunnel to test their designs, and meticulous analysis and recording of their results. Their dedication and ingenuity forever changed the way we travel, making modern aviation possible.

A powerful concluding statement separates a good essay from a brilliant one. To create a powerful conclusion, you need to start with a strong foundation.

Let’s take a look at how to construct an impactful concluding statement.

1. Restructure your thesis statement

To conclude your essay effectively, don’t just restate your thesis statement. Instead, use what you’ve learned throughout your essay and modify your thesis statement accordingly. This will help you create a conclusion that ties together all of the arguments you’ve presented.

2. Summarize the main points of your essay

The next point of your conclusion consists of a summary of the main arguments of your essay. It is crucial to effectively summarize the gist of your essay into one, well-structured paragraph.

3. Create a lasting impression with your concluding statement

Conclude your essay by including a key takeaway, or a powerful statement that creates a lasting impression on the reader. This can include the broader implications or consequences of your essay topic.

Here’s an example of a concluding paragraph.

Essay conclusion example

  • Restated thesis statement
  • Summary of the main points
  • Broader implications of the thesis statement

The Wright Brothers’ invention of the airplane forever changed history by paving the way for modern aviation and countless aerospace advancements. Their persistence, innovation, and dedication to problem-solving led to the first successful powered flight in 1903, sparking a revolution in transportation that transformed the world. Today, air travel remains an integral part of our globalized society, highlighting the undeniable impact of the Wright Brothers’ contribution to human civilization.

Types of essays

Most essays are derived from the combination or variation of these four main types of essays . let’s take a closer look at these types.

1. Narrative essay

A narrative essay is a type of writing that involves telling a story, often based on personal experiences. It is a form of creative nonfiction that allows you to use storytelling techniques to convey a message or a theme.

2. Descriptive essay

A descriptive essay aims to provide an immersive experience for the reader by using sensory descriptors. Unlike a narrative essay, which tells a story, a descriptive essay has a narrower scope and focuses on one particular aspect of a story.

3. Argumentative essays

An argumentative essay is a type of essay that aims to persuade the reader to adopt a particular stance based on factual evidence and is one of the most common forms of college essays.

4. Expository essays

An expository essay is a common format used in school and college exams to assess your understanding of a specific topic. The purpose of an expository essay is to present and explore a topic thoroughly without taking any particular stance or expressing personal opinions.

While this article demonstrates what is an essay and describes its types, you may also have other doubts. As experts who provide essay editing and proofreading services , we’re here to help. 

Our team has created a list of resources to clarify any doubts about writing essays. Keep reading to write engaging and well-organized essays!

  • How to Write an Essay in 8 Simple Steps
  • How to Write an Essay Header
  • How to Write an Essay Outline

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an argumentative and an expository essay, what is the difference between a narrative and a descriptive essay, what is an essay format, what is the meaning of essay, what is the purpose of writing an essay.

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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

types of essay

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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:


Narrative Essay

Storytelling, vivid language, sequencing

1. Write about a memorable childhood experience.

2. Describe a time when you faced a challenge.

Descriptive Essay

Observational skills, sensory language

1. Describe your favorite place in nature.

2. Paint a picture of a bustling city street.

Expository Essay

Research, organization, clarity

1. Explain the process of photosynthesis.

2. Discuss the impact of social media on society.

Analytical Essay

Critical thinking, evidence evaluation

1. Analyze the theme of love in a novel.

2. Critically evaluate the effectiveness of a movie.

Persuasive Essay

Persuasive writing, logical arguments

1. Convince your audience to recycle more.

2. Argue for or against school uniforms.

Compare and Contrast Essay

Comparative analysis, structured writing

1. Compare and contrast two historical figures.

2. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of the two travel destinations.

Cause and Effect Essay

Causal relationships, logical reasoning

1. Explore the causes and effects of climate change.

2. Investigate the impact of technology on human interaction.

Critical Essay

Critical analysis, argumentation

1. Critically evaluate a work of literature.

2. Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a scientific theory.

Textual Analysis Essay

Close reading, interpretation

1. Analyze the symbolism in a poem.

2. Interpret the meaning of a historical document.

Process Analysis Essay

Step-by-step explanation, clarity

1. Explain how to bake a cake from scratch.

2. Describe the process of conducting a scientific experiment.

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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Different Types of Essays Writing: 4 Main + 12 Additional

By: Angelina Grin

Different Types of Essays Writing: 4 Main + 12 Additional

An academic essay is a piece of writing whose focus is to persuade and inform. It achieves these goals by developing ideas and arguments through analysis, evidence, and interpretation. Several essays fall into four major categories: descriptive , expository , argumentative , and narrative essays .

16 Types of Essays

  •  1) Argumentative Essay 
  •  2) Expository Essays 
  •  3) Descriptive Essay 
  •  4) Narrative Essay 
  •  Persuasive Essays 
  •  Process Essay 
  •  Analytical Essays 
  •  Expository Essay 
  •  Reflective Essays 
  •  Critical Analysis Essay 
  •  Compare and Contrast Essays 

What Are the 4 Major Types of Essays?

What are the 10 types of essays, what is the most common type of essay, what is an essay format, how many types of essays are there.

There are also different types of essays for elementary, middle school, high school, and higher learning levels like universities and colleges.

While paper writing is part of academic progress, many students do not differentiate the various types of academic essays. Understanding all the paper types makes it easier for the scholar to create a well-organized paper that is understandable to the reader.

The internet makes it easy for students to research and get relevant information, but that is not enough without knowing essay writing styles. Every topic in academic writing falls under a particular type of essay.

The main types of essays include:

  • Descriptive
  • Argumentative
  • Cause and effect
  • Comparison and contrast
  • Explicatory

4 Major Types of Essays

There are 4 main types of essays.

Before settling to write any essay paper , it is critical first to answer the question, “what are the different types of essays?” Know their distinguishing features and where to apply each of the essays. Four modes of essay writing are known as the organized, the chronological, the functional, and the cause-effect.

It would also help to understand the different kinds of essay formats since each paper follows a specific format. Check out the main essay types and definitions below.

1) Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay focuses on an intensive argument concerning a particular thesis statement . The writer has to take a firm stand on one side of the argument and aim to convince the reader about your thesis by citing pieces of evidence. Your stance on the discussion should be clear near the end of your introduction.

An argumentative essay has three distinguishing features.

Introduction - it captures the reader's attention and prepares them for what to expect. It should present the appropriate topic and clearly outline the writer’s point of view.

The body paragraphs - should present your main ideas in a systematic order. Present your argument and evidence for it to your audience.

Conclusion - construct a summarizing paragraph emphasizing the importance of your argument. You need to create a strong conclusion, and the following tips might help:

  • 🤝 Sum up the main points of your paper .
  • 🤔 Make it clear why your stance matters in the argument.
  • 🎯 Aim at impressing the reader .

Argumentative essays are common in higher learning levels like college and university. It tests your research skills and your ability to defend your position on a given topic.

Academic papers for colleges and universities are more detailed and complicated than the lower levels. It requires you to employ your research techniques in practice. In addition, the knowledge and skills you gain from experience will help you stand by your opinion even after graduation.

2) Expository Essays

Expository refers to the art of describing or explaining something. An expository essay clearly describes a given topic , set of ideas, or process. It provides a balanced view on the topic rather than proving any point. They are more natural than argumentative essays, which rely majorly on research.

It is a type of essay that provides facts and information. It aims to test the scholar’s ability to express themselves or present an explanation on a given topic. You need to consult statistics and find factual examples to write a perfect descriptive essay.

Below are the five main features of an expository essay.

  • Instructive - it should provide accurate information with facts.
  • Specific - you need to be clear and precise when giving a factual explanation.
  • Well-organized - always follow the order of events.
  • Semi-formal – there are no first-person nouns in the paper.
  • Objective - its purpose is to equip the reader with information without subjective opinions.

A perfect expository essay structure requires the following components.

  • An introduction that provides background information on the topic in question.
  • Body paragraphs that elaborate on the facts.
  • A solid conclusion to wrap up the main ideas in the essay.

Expository writing is the most common kinds of essays for middle and high school levels. These academic essay genres intend to test the student’s understanding of the subject and composition skills.

Expository essay writing styles are helpful in school and teach the student how to express any issue in their own words.

3) Descriptive Essay

A descriptive essay vividly describes a general situation, object, or place. It mainly involves a more abstract case, like an emotion. It is the most creative of all types of essays. It tests the writer’s ability to use language to convey a memorable image of the object creatively and originally.

These genres of essays are common assignments for students in high school and also for composition classes. A well-structured descriptive piece of writing has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

Introduction - should establish the purpose of your writing. Also, set the tone of the impression by clearly showing what you want your audience to focus its attention on.

The body - the body includes factual, sensory, and figurative details. It also involves your feelings and thoughts and should be in local order. Use a transition to connect your ideas.

Conclusion - restate the main idea and briefly summarize the ideas in the body.

A descriptive paper equips the writer with the skills to use language figuratively to describe life’s events, both in school and after-school life.

4) Narrative Essay

Narration is a story, and therefore a narrative essay involves telling a story . Most of the time, it consists of the narrator’s personal experience. Unlike other essay forms, the narrative gives you room to get creative and unique when telling your story, and you can freely use first-person nouns.

The following are the five distinctive features of a narrative type of essay with examples.

Plot refers to the events and how they follow each other in your story. For instance, you can narrate your first day in college, what happened, and how the events influenced who you are currently.

Setting : it refers to the location and time of the events, for example, at a particular school in the winter of a specific year.

Character : a protagonist drives your story, but you may have some support characters. In this case, you are the protagonist; your support characters could be the people you met on your first day in school.

Conflict is the challenge, problem, or moment of tension the protagonist has to solve or win.

Theme : it is the moral of the narrative or what you learn and want the reader to know. For instance, the challenges you face as a new student and how to counter them.

Narrative essays are common in high school and university composition classes. It places a student in a position to write a personal statement correctly when making applications even after graduation.

Common Types of Essays for Elementary School

Elementary school is the second-lowest level after kindergarten and ranges from grades one to seven.

Learners in these grades are equipped with writing skills in easy essay types and different types of essay formats. The following are some types of academic essays for the elementary school level.

Persuasive Essays

A persuasive essay aims at convincing the reader to take sides or adopt the writer’s opinion. It involves factual pieces of evidence and emotional appeals. A writer can include emotional and moral reasoning to connect with the audience to support a cause or argument.

The basis of a persuasive essay is sound reasoning, relevant facts, and evidence. The following features distinguish a persuasive paper from other types of essay writing styles.

Clear and concise thesis : as a writer, you need to present your thesis in the first paragraph. Clearly define your take on the particular topic.

Introduction : you need to create a strong introduction that captures your readers' attention and presents the ideas of the central issue in question. Clearly communicate the background information of the issue. A strong introduction will persuade the audience to buy the writer’s opinion on the topic.

The body : the body develops the argument in a clear evidential manner. The writer needs to start from known to unknown. Consider the reader’s point of view on the topic before introducing your take as a writer.

Conclusion : a firm conclusion in persuasive writing readdresses the thesis touching on the evidence provided in the essay.

A persuasive paper must meet the following characteristics:

  • 👉 Readability
  • 👉 Understandability
  • 👉 Relevance
  • 👉 Reliability
  • 👉 Logical consistency

The skills in persuasive writing enable the learner to tackle more complicated different type of essays at higher levels.

Process Essay

It isa type of exposition essay that explains how something works or how to do something. A process essay writer must maintain clarity and organization by following a chronological order. It must have the following elements.

Introduction: it presents the process you will be communicating in your essay.

The body paragraphs should describe the process step-by-step in chronological order. Transitional words will help you to connect one step to the next.

Conclusion: summarize the entire process in your conclusion. For example, learning how to prepare chicken is the best experience anyone can enjoy.

Process essays are common in elementary school, as early as the third grade. They equip the learner with skills and the ability to break down the process of writing and achieve better results in other types of academic essays.

Common Types of Essays for Middle School

Middle school is like a bridge between elementary and high school. It serves adolescent students in grades five to nine. The higher middle school grades, 7 to 9, are commonly referred to as junior high school grades.

Some types of papers at the elementary level are part of the middle school curriculum, while some high school essays start in middle school. The following are the types of essays in English for middle school.

Analytical Essays

It is a type of argumentative writing that outlines the relationship between two subjects. In an academic paper for a typical cause and effect essay writing, the writer details how an event, person, or object influences another one directly.

In a school setup, cause and effect essays are meant to teach persuasive writing, logic, and critical thinking. In a professional setting or academic writing, these paper formats are in the form of a research paper, scientific studies, or lab report abstract. In either case, the author explains a phenomenon and attempts to explain its causes.

There are different essay structures for each type of paper. Below are the structure and main features of a cause-and-effect essay.

Introduction: the introduction should give background information about the topic to the context of your essay. To make a solid introduction, avoid cliché phrases and words.

Body: the body paragraphs include a topic sentence and supportive sentences. A topic sentence introduces the paragraph's main idea and captures the reader’s attention to the supporting sentences. Support sentences give persuasive facts.

Conclusion: summarize the content of your essay in conclusion. Please do not introduce any new information at this point. You can re-state your thesis in the introduction. Listing the causes in your essay body is another alternative way of creating a solid conclusion for the cause-and-effect essay.

Expository Essay

It is an essay genre where the student has to investigate and expound on an idea. The scholar then examines the evidence and clearly presents an argument on the same idea. Accomplishing this requires comparison and contrast, definition, or cause and effect analysis.

The features of exposition or expository writing include the following.

Informative: the main point of expository text is to give information.

Clarity: the writer needs to use words that communicate what the text is talking about.

Text organization: an excellent exposition should retain its focus on the topic and outline the events in chronological order.

Impersonal: it does not encourage the use of the first person but instead uses the second-person pronouns “you.”

Unbiased: an exposition aims at providing information and does not openly disclose the author’s opinion.

The structure below holds an exposition together.

A statement of the thesis should be clear, concise, and defined.

The Introduction gives a clear link or transition between the introduction and the body. The body paragraphs should concentrate on the main idea of your writing to maintain clarity and direction all through the essay. It should be creative and factual, logical, or statistical evidential support. Create a solid conclusion by readdressing your thesis in light of some of the evidence in the body.

Common Types of Essays in High School

High school teachers introduce more complex essays to students than those in middle school. Some of the papers in high school progress to the college level. Below are some essays for high school students.

Reflective Essays

A reflective means you have to reflect on your own experiences. A reflective essay requires the writer to communicate their thoughts and feelings about a specific person, situation, or place in their point of view. Many scholars confuse a reflective paper with a narrative essay.

A reflective piece of writing includes an introduction, body, and conclusion.

Introduction: you need to be specific about what you reflect upon in your paper. Make the reader understand your position in the subject you are assessing.

The body: each paragraph in the body must start with a topic sentence. Speak your thoughts and experiences concerning the topic. You may include a thesis and statements if you are writing an academic paper.

Conclusion: it requires a precise articulation of your thoughts and feelings to create a solid conclusion.

  • ✍️ The writer should maintain the essay formal and conceivable to differentiate it from the narrative essay.
  • ✍️ Apply some descriptive skills.
  • ✍️ Use a classical structure.
  • ✍️ Avoid being personal.

Critical Analysis Essay

It is an essay writing style that incorporates critical thinking, reading, and writing to communicate to the audience. The writer identifies a piece of art or literature and tries to analyze the author or artist’s thoughts. It focuses on the writer’s opinion, thesis, and argument using logical reasoning and citing evidence.

The significant parts of a critical analysis essay include an outline, introduction, body, and conclusion.

The outline: think critically about what you are writing about. Outline the main ideas in bullet form.

Introduction: the introduction should state the aim of the initial author of the work you are writing about. Make the introduction as engaging and captivating as possible to capture your reader’s attention.

Body: focus on the ideas in your outline and introduction. Each body paragraph should tackle a single notion for flow and consistency.

These tips 👇 will help a writer create a captivating critical analysis essay.

  • 📝 Use transitional words to link your ideas.
  • 📝 Be logical and concise.
  • 📝 Use third-person narration.

Common Essays in College

The highest level of essays applies to college and university scholars. The following are some of the paper types for college.

Compare and Contrast Essays

It is an essay style that shows the differences and similarities between two subjects or more. It is a perfect way of showing what unites or separates two subjects or objects, especially if people tend to confuse them.

Compare and contrast essay has some similarities to other paper types, but it has the following distinguishing features:

Thesis: Carefully pick the subjects you want to compare. If it is not given in the question, you have to be keen to select the one you can handle comfortably.

Organization: These essays follow a specific paper structure. The essay format includes an introduction, body, and conclusion.

Introduction: you need to elaborate on your thesis or the subject you will be discussing.

Body: it is the central part of your paper. It would be best to list the differences and similarities between your subjects of discussion here.

Conclusion: summarize and clearly wrap up your points.

There are three ways a writer can approach a compare and contrast essay:

  • Block method where you will discuss one subject after the other.
  • Alternating method where you have to give point by point. Here you tackle one subject on a particular aspect then the other subject follows immediately.
  • Similarities and differences. Start by discussing all the similarities between the two variables, then handle the differences.

Other essay types for college include research and definition. Reflective papers are also part of the college curriculum.

The four major types of essays include argumentative, descriptive, narrative, and expository. Expository and argumentative aim at giving clear points and information, while narrative and descriptive test the writer’s creativity.

There are more types of essays besides the four major categories. Below are ten of these essays.

  • Comparative

An argumentative paper is the most common essay type. It tests the writer’s research skills and ability to present their position on a particular subject. It is common at the college level.

An essay format is a series of guidelines that influence how you arrange your academic paper. It includes:

  • Page basics
  • Essay outline

There are many different types of papers to write, but there are four major ones. The essays are subdivided according to their complexity and students’ level of education.

Learning the different types of essays in English language is the first step toward being an excellent writer. You will be able to differentiate each type with its format, writing style, and structure.

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different types of essay and their format

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different types of essay and their format

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Learn the Standard Essay Format: MLA, APA, Chicago Styles

With modern technologies, students have a lot of tools that can assist them in meeting academic writing requirements. A student may entrust their assignment to an essay writing service and get a professional writer who will complete a customized paper for them or use free online tools like citation generators or an AI checker essay . These can help the student meet certain needs, like creating citations, a reference list for a college paper, and checking a paper for plagiarism and AI-generated content.

In this article, we will cover one of the trickiest issues every student faces in college: What is an essay format? How to use formatting styles, and what are their requirements?

Essay formats and their particularities: APA, MLA, Chicago

There are three frequently used formatting styles that you may need to follow when working on your academic paper. These are APA, MLA, and Chicago. Let’s take a look at each format essay and figure out how to apply every alternative in your papers. 

APA essay format

APA style is a standard essay format for social sciences such as psychology, education, and sociology. It provides clarity, precision, and the importance of data and research. If you need a detailed guide on how to write an essay in APA format , the “Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association” is what you need. It provides comprehensive rules for formatting college papers, citing sources, and structuring your content.

Here are the key requirements for the APA essay format that you have to follow in your writing:

  • Font : 12-point Times New Roman
  • Spacing : Double-spaced
  • Margins : 1 inch on all sides
  • Header : Title with a page number on the right
  • Title page : Topic of the paper, author’s name, institution affiliation, course number and name, instructor’s name, due date
  • Abstract : A brief summary (about 150-250 words)
  • Main body : Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion
  • In-text citations : Author’s last name, year, p. page number . Example : Johnson, 2018, p. 111
  • References page : The “References” title centered at the top of the page, with entries in alphabetical order by author’s last name, double-spaced, with a hanging indent

MLA (Modern Language Association) essay format

MLA essay formatting is usually used in the humanities. Students are mostly assigned to use this formatting style when working on papers in language disciplines or literature. The MLA style provides the authorship of sources, facilitating clarity and consistency in citation and documentation. The MLA style is perfectly detailed in the MLA Handbook. There, you can find guidelines on how to format papers, cite sources properly, and omit any sign of plagiarism.

If you are searching for guidelines on how to write a diagnostic essay or any other college paper in the MLA formatting style, here are the instructions to follow:

  • Header : Last name and page number in the top right corner
  • Title : Centered, standard capitalization, NOT bolded or underlined
  • Title Page : Not typically required
  • The first page : Student’s name, instructor’s name, course, date
  • In-Text Citations : (Author’s Last Name Page Number) Example : (Smith 123)
  • References page : The “Works Cited” title centered at the top of the page, with entries in alphabetical order by author’s last name, double-spaced, with a hanging indent

Chicago essay format

Chicago formatting is widely used for college papers in various disciplines, like history, the arts, sciences, etc. Consult The Chicago Manual of Style if you need detailed instructions on how to use this formatting style in writing. The Chicago formatting style offers two central documentation systems. The first one is Notes and Bibliography, which is commonly used in the humanities. The second one is Author-Date, which is preferred in the sciences and social sciences. The Notes and Bibliography system is well-known for its detailed footnotes or endnotes and comprehensive bibliography.

If you have no idea how to write an argumentative essay using the Chicago formatting style, here are the guidelines to follow:

  • Header : Page number in the top right corner
  • Title page : Topic of the paper, author’s name, course information, date
  • Main body : Typically divided into sections as needed
  • Footnotes/Endnotes : Superscript number in the text, with corresponding note at the bottom of the page or end of the paper. Example : Smith argues that this was not the case.¹ Corresponding footnote : ¹ John Smith, Title of Book (Publisher, Year), page number.
  • Bibliography page : The “Bibliography” title centered at the top of the page, with entries in alphabetical order by author’s last name, single-spaced within entries, double-spaced between entries, with a hanging indent.

The checklist to make sure you have met all essay format requirements

When your paper is complete, it is very important to make sure you have done everything properly. Grab this checklist and make sure you have formatted your essay correctly and haven’t missed anything important.

Margins and spacing
Does your paper have 1-inch margins on all sides?Is the entire paper double-spaced?
Font
Is the paper written in Times New Roman, a 12-point font for the entire text?
Headers and page numbers
: Are there your last name and page number in the top right corner of each page of your paper? : Are there the title of your paper and the page number on the right? : Is there a page number in the top right corner of each page of your paper?
Title page
: Are your name, instructor’s name, course, and date on the first page? Is the topic of your paper centered? : Does your title page include the title of the paper, your name, institution affiliation, course number and name, instructor’s name, and due date? : Does your title page include the title of the paper, your name, course information, and the date?
In-text citations
: Are there the author’s last name and page number in parentheses after quotations or paraphrased text (e.g., (Miller 111))? : Are there the author’s last name, year of publication, and page number in parentheses after quotations or paraphrased text (e.g., (Miller, 2000, p. 111))? : Are there superscript numbers in the text and corresponding footnotes or endnotes with citations?
References page
: Is your references page titled “Works Cited,” centered at the top of a new page, with entries in alphabetical order, double-spaced, and with a hanging indent? : Is your references page titled “References,” centered at the top of a new page, with entries in alphabetical order, double-spaced, and with a hanging indent? : Is your references page titled “Bibliography,” centered at the top of a new page, with entries in alphabetical order, single-spaced within entries, double-spaced between entries, and with a hanging indent?
Quotations and paraphrasing
Have you correctly formatted quotations, using quotation marks for direct quotes and proper in-text citations for both direct quotes and paraphrased information?
Accuracy
Do all citations in the text correspond to entries in your Works Cited/References/Bibliography page? Are all the entries appropriately formatted?
Section headings (if applicable)
: Have you used proper headings and subheadings to organize your paper according to APA guidelines (centered, bolded headings for main sections)? : If using subheadings, are they consistent and properly formatted?

The last step is, of course, to proofread your essay and ensure that it meets all your instructor’s requirements. If you have checked it thoroughly, then you are ready to hand it in. 

Format essay: Other formatting styles you may have to follow in academic writing

Of course, there are other formatting styles than APA, MLA, and Chicago. Let’s take a quick look at other essay formats you can face when working on a college paper. 

  • Harvard . This is a basic essay format for social sciences. It uses an author-date citation system similar to APA but has some formatting differences.
  • Turabian . This is a simplified version of the Chicago style. It is well-known for being required for writing academic papers, theses, and dissertations.
  • IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). This particular formatting style is used predominantly in technical fields like engineering and computer science. This formatting style uses a numerical citation system. 
  • AMA (American Medical Association). This formatting style is often used in medical and health-related fields. It uses a numerical citation system with superscript numbers.
  • Vancouver . This formatting style is usually used in biomedical and physical sciences. It includes a numerical citation system with citations in parentheses.
  • CSE (Council of Science Editors). This formatting style can often be met in natural sciences. It offers three systems: Citation-Sequence, Name-Year, and Citation-Name.
  • ASA (American Sociological Association). ASA formatting style is primarily used in sociology. It has a lot of similarities with the APA formatting style but has specific differences for sociological research. 
  • APSA (American Political Science Association). As can be comprehended from the name of the formatting style, it is often used in political science papers. This formatting style is based on the Chicago style but has some specific guidelines for political science.

Students face many issues on their way to getting a degree, and writing college papers takes a great deal of effort and time. Some learners have no idea how to write a narrative essay , spending hours searching for reliable information to help them handle the task. Others do not have enough experience in different formatting styles and seek assistance from various sources. And, of course, every college learner wants to research the topic to the fullest in order to get a good mark. 

We hope this article will come in handy when you need to write a college essay using a specific formatting style, and you will succeed.

Being a student, you have to handle a lot of writing assignments, follow various academic writing standards, and hand in your papers on time. Of course, writing assignments takes a lot of time and effort. On the one hand, students have to research topics profoundly and compose their papers on a research basis. On the other hand, students have to pay close attention to instructors’ requirements and academic standards.

TFor some students, it is no problem to research different issues because they usually choose the ones that interest them, but it could be a real trouble to meet all the formatting requirements. They often question how to write a book title in an essay , cite sources correctly, and write an essay in a particular formatting style.

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Home > Blog > Different Types Of Structure In Writing

Different Types Of Structure In Writing

Different Types Of Structure In Writing

  • Smodin Editorial Team
  • Updated: July 16, 2024
  • General Guide About Content and Writing

No matter what kind of writing style you’re trying to master – blogs, essays, or research papers – the starting block is always the same. No writing project can be completed without first understanding the basic writing structures. In fact, they can be make or break for your readers!

Knowing when, where, and how to use different types of structure in writing can help take your writing from ordinary to extra ordinary in one fell swoop.

In this simple guide to some of the most common writing structures, we’ll teach you about the foundations of each structure, and how to implement them flawlessly.

Chronological Writing Structure

Chronological structure is like storytelling with a built-in timeline of events. It’s a way of organizing this timeline or information into the logical order of when certain events happened.

Generally, you’ll want to use this structure when retelling a story, sharing historical events, or even noting down someone’s biography. It helps the reader to follow along with what you’re telling them and can help avoid confusion by jumping back and forth in the timeline.

A good example of this is writing a story that chronicles the sequence of events for a treasure hunt. You would first need to explain when and how the map for the treasure was discovered before you moved on. For instance, you might speak about the obstacles that may have been important on the hunt and finally end your writing piece with how the treasure was found.

If you start your story by telling the reader about the obstacles, then how the treasure was found, and only then how the map was found, it won’t make very much sense. Instead, you can grab the reader’s interest by using a chronological structure.

Logical Writing Structure

We know that writing isn’t for everyone – it can be really tricky to put your ideas together and explain your point of view in a way that flows and makes sense. This is particularly true for academic writing, where you may need to build a solid case by arranging your key information and evidence logically.

That’s where the logical writing structure comes in handy. This structure can organize your ideas and information within the main body of your essay and make your writing style more convincing. For it to be effective, you need to pay attention to your sentences and paragraphs and how they tie up loose ends.

With logical writing, every idea should smoothly transition to the next in a way that mimics your natural pattern of thought progression.

In each paragraph, you need to have key components like assertion, context, evidence, interpretation, and transitions. Ultimately, these transitions help to wrap up one thought or idea before you move on.

Since logical writing can become complicated, you can always use Smodin’s AI Essay Writer tool to help you organize your information. Plus, you can use it to find online sources for your evidence, which makes it easier to support any claims you’ve made.

Argumentative Writing Structure

When you want to make a clear, strong argument in your writing, the most fitting type of structure would be the argumentative structure. Argument-based writing structures revolve around your claim, which is what you’re trying to prove (the point you’re arguing).

You’ll also need evidence to support your claim since it’s hard to win your reader over without proof of what you’re saying. Still, there’s a twist. You’ll also need to address the other side’s argument to prove that their point of view doesn’t hold up against yours. This is known as the counterargument.

When you need to write research papers or essays, an argumentative writing structure is a fantastic way to explain your point. You can also use one of three methods, including:

  • Classic: This method is straightforward. You can state your argument, address the opposition, and provide evidence.
  • Rogerian: The Rogerian method always looks for a middle ground and respects both views.
  • Toulmin: The Toulmin method helps you to dive deep and break your argument into smaller chunks for a more thorough analysis.

Any time you want to persuade someone, argue your point or prove something to be true (or false), the argumentative style should be your go-to structure. You can also cite your sources quickly and easily with our AI Writing tool .

Comparison and Contrast Writing Structure

The comparison and contrast (also known as “comparative” or “compare and contrast”) structure, helps to put two points or ideas side by side so that you can examine their similarities and differences.

This method is more commonly used in research papers, essays, and articles, and is perfect for academic writing and analysis. For example, you can use this structure to analyze literature, historical events, or scientific concepts.

Persuasive writing may sound similar to the argumentative structure. However, instead of favoring one side over the other or proving your point, you’re persuading people one way or another by showing the similarities and differences between certain subjects.

You can do this by using point-by-point comparison, where you match up a feature of something with the counterpart of the other. For example, if you’re comparing two cars, you would match them on the same points – fuel efficiency, design, safety features – and mention which one comes out on top.

On the other hand, you can use the block structure, where you discuss every component of one thing before you move on to the other. Using the same car example, you can think of it as discussing all the features of the first car before giving a breakdown of the second car in a separate section.

Problem and Solution Writing Structure

The problem and solution (PAS) structure is an excellent way to structure any type of writing style – but it’s especially effective for academic writing. When you use this method, it acts as a guide for your readers and helps to walk them through issues. It does this by first identifying the problem, looking at different perspectives, and then exploring possible solutions.

You can use the PAS method with other writing structures, like persuasive or logical writing. With persuasive writing, you can use this method to showcase your expertise in an area and persuade your reader to use a specific solution. On the other hand, you can use logical writing to smoothly transition from the problem to the possible solutions to the problem.

A good example of this structure is writing about the scenario of planning a high school event. Finding a date and time that works with everyone’s schedules and other commitments they have can be tricky, and therefore presents a problem.

To explore all of the different perspectives, you could discuss how everyone feels about the proposed date and time before presenting your solution: having everyone write their schedules down in a shared calendar to see which day would work best for everyone involved.

Cause and Effect Writing Structure

The cause and effect writing structure is often confused with comparison and contrast. However, unlike other forms, cause and effect helps you to outline a chain reaction. Simply put, it makes it easier to explain why something has happened, and what followed this event.

For example, a bakery discontinued a product (cause), which led to a drop in its sales (effect). You can also use statistics or other proof to show how these two events are related:

Bakery X discontinued its blueberry muffin cupcakes, which made up 5% of their profits in the month of August. In September and October, Bakery X lost 5% of their profits each month.

With this structure, you can start your writing with a simple introduction and then dive into the main points or causes before backing them up with evidence. After, you can connect the dots between the causes and the effects that they had using more detail and evidence.

While the structure of cause and effect may be similar to a comparison, it has its own structure where you relay the cause and effect in order. So, instead of comparing the amount of sales that the bakery had done in August and September or October, you’re showing the link between the “why” (the discontinued product) and the “what” (decreased sales numbers).

Categorical Writing Structure

So, what do you do when your writing doesn’t need to follow a specific structure or order to make sense? For instance, if you’re writing about the 10 best novels for young adults, the order in which you mention them isn’t all that important. Instead, your focus is on giving the same amount of information on each of the books.

When you want to write about several topics that are all equally important, your best move is to use a categorical structure. All you need to do is make sure that you’ve covered all of the topics or subjects in your writing.

Keeping with the same book example as before, you would need to cover all 10 of the books you’ve chosen to write about. But it’s also important that you include the same information (author, genre, plot, length, etc.) for each one for this structure to work.

Since this structure is more flexible, it’s easy to put all of your ideas onto your page without having to craft the perfect order.

Sequence Writing Structure

The sequence or sequential writing structure is like the fraternal twin of the chronological structure since it also groups things into a pattern or sequence of events. However, sequence writing is all about details or instructions rather than a timeline.

The easiest way to spot a sequence structure is to look out for step-by-step processes. And, if you’re writing about these processes, it’s the best method to use to keep your readers following along and engaged with what you’re telling them.

Imagine a how-to guide on putting furniture together or baking a cake. Both of these scenarios would call for step-by-step instructions since they would need to be done in a certain order for you to get the result that you want.

In blog posts, you might see these steps written down next to a numbered sequence. But in an essay, you will typically use words like “Firstly”, “Secondly”, “Next”, or “Finally”. Of course, words like “Next” or “Then” can become really repetitive, which is where Smodin’s AI Paraphrasing tool may come in handy – it can help you rewrite or rephrase your work without sounding monotonous.

Narrative Writing Structure

A narrative structure is the backbone of storytelling. Without a compelling narrative, you really don’t have a story at all – it’s all just words that make no sense or that lead nowhere. Generally, this structure follows a narrative ‘arc’ and includes the following features:

  • Exposition: The introduction of characters and settings.
  • Rising action: This helps to build tension and conflict within your stories.
  • Climax: The climax is the story’s turning point – the peak of all the events.
  • Falling action: Resolving any tension or conflicts that were introduced before the climax.
  • Denouement: Ending the story and tying up loose ends.

Using a narrative structure sets the pace of a story and makes it easy for your reader to understand. It’s fantastic for coherence and hooking the reader in when something resonates with them. Ultimately, it guides them through the story and makes them want to keep reading instead of losing interest.

Choosing the right writing structure is essential for more effective communication through the written word. Now, with all the right tools in your writing toolkit, you can pick the structure that most suits your writing style and the content of your essays or any other writing project you might have.

From organizational structures like chronological or sequence to persuasive structures like argumentative or comparison and contrast, you can use these methods to boost your writing skills. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always Smodin AI to help you get your writing projects started!

Frequently asked questions

How do i know what type of essay to write.

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

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

Frequently asked questions: Writing an essay

For a stronger conclusion paragraph, avoid including:

  • Important evidence or analysis that wasn’t mentioned in the main body
  • Generic concluding phrases (e.g. “In conclusion…”)
  • Weak statements that undermine your argument (e.g. “There are good points on both sides of this issue.”)

Your conclusion should leave the reader with a strong, decisive impression of your work.

Your essay’s conclusion should contain:

  • A rephrased version of your overall thesis
  • A brief review of the key points you made in the main body
  • An indication of why your argument matters

The conclusion may also reflect on the broader implications of your argument, showing how your ideas could applied to other contexts or debates.

The conclusion paragraph of an essay is usually shorter than the introduction . As a rule, it shouldn’t take up more than 10–15% of the text.

An essay is a focused piece of writing that explains, argues, describes, or narrates.

In high school, you may have to write many different types of essays to develop your writing skills.

Academic essays at college level are usually argumentative : you develop a clear thesis about your topic and make a case for your position using evidence, analysis and interpretation.

The “hook” is the first sentence of your essay introduction . It should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of why it’s interesting.

To write a good hook, avoid overly broad statements or long, dense sentences. Try to start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.

Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:

  • An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
  • A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.

The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .

Let’s say you’re writing a five-paragraph  essay about the environmental impacts of dietary choices. Here are three examples of topic sentences you could use for each of the three body paragraphs :

  • Research has shown that the meat industry has severe environmental impacts.
  • However, many plant-based foods are also produced in environmentally damaging ways.
  • It’s important to consider not only what type of diet we eat, but where our food comes from and how it is produced.

Each of these sentences expresses one main idea – by listing them in order, we can see the overall structure of the essay at a glance. Each paragraph will expand on the topic sentence with relevant detail, evidence, and arguments.

The topic sentence usually comes at the very start of the paragraph .

However, sometimes you might start with a transition sentence to summarize what was discussed in previous paragraphs, followed by the topic sentence that expresses the focus of the current paragraph.

Topic sentences help keep your writing focused and guide the reader through your argument.

In an essay or paper , each paragraph should focus on a single idea. By stating the main idea in the topic sentence, you clarify what the paragraph is about for both yourself and your reader.

A topic sentence is a sentence that expresses the main point of a paragraph . Everything else in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

The thesis statement should be placed at the end of your essay introduction .

Follow these four steps to come up with a thesis statement :

  • Ask a question about your topic .
  • Write your initial answer.
  • Develop your answer by including reasons.
  • Refine your answer, adding more detail and nuance.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

An essay isn’t just a loose collection of facts and ideas. Instead, it should be centered on an overarching argument (summarized in your thesis statement ) that every part of the essay relates to.

The way you structure your essay is crucial to presenting your argument coherently. A well-structured essay helps your reader follow the logic of your ideas and understand your overall point.

The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

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

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

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

In rhetorical analysis , a claim is something the author wants the audience to believe. A support is the evidence or appeal they use to convince the reader to believe the claim. A warrant is the (often implicit) assumption that links the support with the claim.

Logos appeals to the audience’s reason, building up logical arguments . Ethos appeals to the speaker’s status or authority, making the audience more likely to trust them. Pathos appeals to the emotions, trying to make the audience feel angry or sympathetic, for example.

Collectively, these three appeals are sometimes called the rhetorical triangle . They are central to rhetorical analysis , though a piece of rhetoric might not necessarily use all of them.

The term “text” in a rhetorical analysis essay refers to whatever object you’re analyzing. It’s frequently a piece of writing or a speech, but it doesn’t have to be. For example, you could also treat an advertisement or political cartoon as a text.

The goal of a rhetorical analysis is to explain the effect a piece of writing or oratory has on its audience, how successful it is, and the devices and appeals it uses to achieve its goals.

Unlike a standard argumentative essay , it’s less about taking a position on the arguments presented, and more about exploring how they are constructed.

You should try to follow your outline as you write your essay . However, if your ideas change or it becomes clear that your structure could be better, it’s okay to depart from your essay outline . Just make sure you know why you’re doing so.

If you have to hand in your essay outline , you may be given specific guidelines stating whether you have to use full sentences. If you’re not sure, ask your supervisor.

When writing an essay outline for yourself, the choice is yours. Some students find it helpful to write out their ideas in full sentences, while others prefer to summarize them in short phrases.

You will sometimes be asked to hand in an essay outline before you start writing your essay . Your supervisor wants to see that you have a clear idea of your structure so that writing will go smoothly.

Even when you do not have to hand it in, writing an essay outline is an important part of the writing process . It’s a good idea to write one (as informally as you like) to clarify your structure for yourself whenever you are working on an essay.

Comparisons in essays are generally structured in one of two ways:

  • The alternating method, where you compare your subjects side by side according to one specific aspect at a time.
  • The block method, where you cover each subject separately in its entirety.

It’s also possible to combine both methods, for example by writing a full paragraph on each of your topics and then a final paragraph contrasting the two according to a specific metric.

Your subjects might be very different or quite similar, but it’s important that there be meaningful grounds for comparison . You can probably describe many differences between a cat and a bicycle, but there isn’t really any connection between them to justify the comparison.

You’ll have to write a thesis statement explaining the central point you want to make in your essay , so be sure to know in advance what connects your subjects and makes them worth comparing.

Some essay prompts include the keywords “compare” and/or “contrast.” In these cases, an essay structured around comparing and contrasting is the appropriate response.

Comparing and contrasting is also a useful approach in all kinds of academic writing : You might compare different studies in a literature review , weigh up different arguments in an argumentative essay , or consider different theoretical approaches in a theoretical framework .

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

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

If you’re not given a specific prompt for your descriptive essay , think about places and objects you know well, that you can think of interesting ways to describe, or that have strong personal significance for you.

The best kind of object for a descriptive essay is one specific enough that you can describe its particular features in detail—don’t choose something too vague or general.

If you’re not given much guidance on what your narrative essay should be about, consider the context and scope of the assignment. What kind of story is relevant, interesting, and possible to tell within the word count?

The best kind of story for a narrative essay is one you can use to reflect on a particular theme or lesson, or that takes a surprising turn somewhere along the way.

Don’t worry too much if your topic seems unoriginal. The point of a narrative essay is how you tell the story and the point you make with it, not the subject of the story itself.

Narrative essays are usually assigned as writing exercises at high school or in university composition classes. They may also form part of a university application.

When you are prompted to tell a story about your own life or experiences, a narrative essay is usually the right response.

The majority of the essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Unless otherwise specified, you can assume that the goal of any essay you’re asked to write is argumentative: To convince the reader of your position using evidence and reasoning.

In composition classes you might be given assignments that specifically test your ability to write an argumentative essay. Look out for prompts including instructions like “argue,” “assess,” or “discuss” to see if this is the goal.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

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

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

An expository essay is a common assignment in high-school and university composition classes. It might be assigned as coursework, in class, or as part of an exam.

Sometimes you might not be told explicitly to write an expository essay. Look out for prompts containing keywords like “explain” and “define.” An expository essay is usually the right response to these prompts.

An expository essay is a broad form that varies in length according to the scope of the assignment.

Expository essays are often assigned as a writing exercise or as part of an exam, in which case a five-paragraph essay of around 800 words may be appropriate.

You’ll usually be given guidelines regarding length; if you’re not sure, ask.

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    Unlike MLA style, in APA essay format, every source type is referenced differently. So the rules for referencing a book are different from those for referencing a journal article are different from those referencing an interview. Here's a guide for how to reference different source types in APA format. Your references should begin on a new ...

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  23. How do I know what type of essay to write?

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