Types of Essays: End the Confusion
Effectively writing different types of essays has become critical to academic success. Essay writing is a common school assignment, a part of standardized tests, and a requirement on college applications. Often on tests, choosing the correct type of essay to write in response to a writing prompt is key to getting the question right. Clearly, students can’t afford to remain confused about types of essays.
There are over a dozen types of essays, so it’s easy to get confused. However, rest assured, the number is actually more manageable. Essentially there are four major types of essays, with the variations making up the remainder.
Four Major Types of Essays
Distinguishing between types of essays is simply a matter of determining the writer’s goal. Does the writer want to tell about a personal experience, describe something, explain an issue, or convince the reader to accept a certain viewpoint? The four major types of essays address these purposes:
1. Narrative Essays: Telling a Story
In a narrative essay, the writer tells a story about a real-life experience. While telling a story may sound easy to do, the narrative essay challenges students to think and write about themselves. When writing a narrative essay, writers should try to involve the reader by making the story as vivid as possible. The fact that narrative essays are usually written in the first person helps engage the reader. “I” sentences give readers a feeling of being part of the story. A well-crafted narrative essay will also build towards drawing a conclusion or making a personal statement.
2. Descriptive Essays: Painting a Picture
A cousin of the narrative essay, a descriptive essay paints a picture with words. A writer might describe a person, place, object, or even memory of special significance. However, this type of essay is not description for description’s sake. The descriptive essay strives to communicate a deeper meaning through the description. In a descriptive essay, the writer should show, not tell, through the use of colorful words and sensory details. The best descriptive essays appeal to the reader’s emotions, with a result that is highly evocative.
3. Expository Essays: Just the Facts
The expository essay is an informative piece of writing that presents a balanced analysis of a topic. In an expository essay, the writer explains or defines a topic, using facts, statistics, and examples. Expository writing encompasses a wide range of essay variations, such as the comparison and contrast essay, the cause and effect essay, and the “how to” or process essay. Because expository essays are based on facts and not personal feelings, writers don’t reveal their emotions or write in the first person.
4. Persuasive Essays: Convince Me
While like an expository essay in its presentation of facts, the goal of the persuasive essay is to convince the reader to accept the writer’s point of view or recommendation. The writer must build a case using facts and logic, as well as examples, expert opinion, and sound reasoning. The writer should present all sides of the argument, but must be able to communicate clearly and without equivocation why a certain position is correct.
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Narrative essay is a story written about some significant personal experience. When the audience read the narrative essay it may seem that it is a story. Narrative essay really has some common features with the story. The only difference between them is the point that is made in the narrative. There are different types of the narrative essays:
Each of these types allows the writer to express himself in a creative and moving ways.
Essential Narrative Essay Prompts
Below you can find some essential prompts for creating effective essay:
- Depending on the essay topic, it can be written as a story or as a typical narrative essay. If the task is to write a book review, the paper will be written according to the typical essay pattern. If the task requires information about your experience and inner feelings story pattern would fit better.
- Essay of the story pattern should contain all the parts that the story does. It should have introduction, plot, well-described characters, setting, climax and conclusion.
- Good essay should be written with the purpose. The goal of the narrative essay is to make a point. If there is no point for narration, why should you narrate it in the first place?
- Clear point of view is important. In most case, narrative essays are written from the author’s standpoint. However it is not the only perspective that should be considered. Creativity in narratives can be manifested as authorial perspective.
- The language of the paper should be concise, clear and transparent. Narrative essay is efficient when the language chosen carefully and particularly. Specific language can be used to evoke some desirable emotions and senses in the reader’s perception.
- Speak from the first person narrator. Pronoun “I” is highly welcomed, but not necessary.
- Be organized while writing. Clear introduction will set the tone for the remained part of the essay. Present the purpose of your essay so that the reader didn’t have to guess it by himself. You are the only one in control of the narrative essay. You can guide it where you want. Just be sure that the audience will be able to follow the lead.
In the process of essay writing, keep in mind:
- make a point;
- involve the readers into the story and interact with them;
- follow the sequence;
- include a lot of details and observations;
- present the change of the situation or build up a tension;
- tell from author’s point of view;
- be focused on important events, facts, people or places.
If to speak about the content of the narrative, every essay should begin with the general statement. “Learning a different language can be a scary experience”. The statement should introduce the main subject of the essay. In our example, it is the author’s learning experience. The use of “I” shows that the writer describes in the paper personal experience.
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As narrative essay is obligatory a story about the event that took place in the author’s life, the writer should give sufficient details about the events, people and places. It will give the reader an idea about author’s feelings and emotions.
The final paragraph of the essay should reflect on the importance of the described experience. What benefits the author has got after that event or what lesson has he learnt? Answer this question in the concluding paragraph. Repeat the point of the story one more time.
Use lively and interesting language for writing your paper. Personal observations and additional details can help the writer to engage audience attention. It will be beneficial if the writer shares his personal thoughts. It invites the readers to the author’s inner world and makes the story more exciting and interesting.
If you have troubles choosing the topic of your narrative essay, study the topic prompts presented below.
- Describe an event when you were unprepared.
- Describe a light-bulb moment. A moment when you suddenly got some wonderful idea or understood something that you couldn’t before.
- Describe your childhood event. Try to present the change through the years of you as the main essay hero. Show the way your believes, values and views have changed over time.
- Describe the moment when your goal was achieved.
- Describe your life during teenage years vividly.
- Describe an event when you clearly saw the difference between good and bad.