types of essays

Writing essays has become one of the most important activities in the life of students. We can even say it is has even become somewhat crucial to one’s academic success. It all starts from writing essays as a school assignment followed by developing this type of writing as a part of different tests and college applications. It is important at all these stages that one knows what type of essay is to be written in each situation. The problem often comes when students have to choose what type of essay would be most appropriate in one case or another. More than that, there are those who are confused because of the great number of essay variations but the truth of the matter is that there are only four main types of essays. Other types are just slight variations of these four. The main factor in distinguishing between the main types of essay is the writer’s purpose. If you are able to identify it correctly, then it will be easy to understand what type of essay you are dealing with. This article is meant to provide guidance on major essay types along with some practical tips on how to write these kinds of essays.

4 Main Types of Essays

  1. Expository Essaysexpository-essay

Purpose. These essays are written with the purpose to explain something (usually, an idea, concept or issue). In other words, you need to present the exposition of the issue or idea you are writing about. One of the examples of an expository essay could be a reaction to an artwork. Also, an expository essay can be written about a world event, basketball game, etc. We should say that an expository essay is very similar to a descriptive essay. Some even believe that a descriptive essay is a subcategory of expository essays because of the common purpose.

Practical Tips

  • It is important to develop a well defined thesis. This is something you should work on really hard. Do not wander from the thesis statement as you write your expository essay.
  • Provide specific evidence to support your own thoughts you put to writing. Your arguments should all be about facts and reasoning. They should naturally be crafted in the body of your essay as examples that support your position as well as they should make your point sound clearly.
  • This type of essay is to be concise. Make your points and conclude with a summary of findings. Don’t try to repeat the same arguments over and over again.
  • Before writing this type of essay you should conduct a comprehensive research in order to investigate an idea and evaluate all evidence available. It is only after you do that all, you can further expound on the idea and provide your position concerning the idea/concept/event in a concise manner.
  1. Persuasive EssaysPersuasive-essay

Purpose. Convincing the readers to adopt your point of view on a particular issue is in the core of any persuasive essay. This is where one has to use not just descriptions and expository approach but also rationale and logic. A persuasive essay then is always meant to persuade the reader to take your side.

Practical Tips

  • First of all, you should have your firm position on the subject. You don’t want to write this type of essay when you are hesitating to take any of the sides on a particular issue.
  • The main tools are solid evidence and sound reasoning. That’s how you can be persuasive in communicating your thoughts.
  • Don’t ever get sentimental. Feelings are no good arguments in a persuasive essay.
  • Try to be creative in presenting your position. Being boring is never a good way to convince someone.
  • Strong conclusion is a must here so you may want to spend some time on developing a good conclusion.
  1. Analytical EssaysAnalytical-Essay

Purpose. Analytical essays are meant to analyze and interpret different books, events, plays, artworks, etc. Careful examinations are very important for developing good analytical essays.

Practical Tips

  • A good analytical essay requires some planning. You have to know your conclusion before you ever arrive there in your writing. This should help you better organize the entire structure of your analytical essay. It is going to be easier to demonstrate logical progression when you know where this progression is leading.
  • This type of essays assumes the use of the present tense. Don’t attempt to use any other tense in your writing apart from the present tense.
  • Don’t use the first person approach too much when dealing with this type of essays. Keep in mind that your analysis should be as objective as possible so avoiding personal opinions and views is more than appropriate, it is a must for writing analytical essays. Minimize the use of “I think”, “I believe” and “It seems to me”, etc.
  • Do not use any kind of informal language, such as slang words or colloquial language.
  • Develop a creative title of your essay, don’t just take a sentence out of the text and call it your title. Appealing title is extremely important for analytical essays.
  • Analysis is not the retelling of the story; it is not a description of something. Never attempt to describe – this is not an expository essay. Keep in mind that your goal is not to describe, but to analyze. In other words, you need to explain and reason as opposed to expose things.
  1. Argumentative Essaysargumentative-essay

Purpose. An argumentative essay is very similar to a persuasive essay. But in this case we cannot say that one is the subcategory of another. The differences found in these main types of essays provide sufficient arguments to consider them separate kinds of essays despite their similarities. The intent of the author of an argumentative essay is to argue for his/her opinion as opposed to others (there is no direct attempts to persuade someone as in persuasive essays).

Practical Tips

  • Develop a list of the pros and cons first. Then you should pick the strongest points that support your argument (the pros) and those that are opposed to your position (the cons).
  • Choose how you would like to approach the defense of your position. Keep in mind that you have to address counterarguments as well as the evidence that would support your point of view. Depending on where you want to have them listed in your essay you will choose the structure for your paper.
  • Regardless of where you want to have the pros and cons in your text, you have to start with a thesis statement.
  • Make sure you have good transitions between arguments and especially when you move from the pros to cons or vice versa.
  • As in the persuasive essays, it is best to use facts and quotes of experts to support your point of view.
  • Don’t choose the topic you cannot support with some solid evidence; otherwise you will make the entire process extremely difficult.
  • It is important that you take into account the audience. Knowing who is going to read your essay may help you win them over by presenting facts that they will be more likely to accept.
  • Don’t be too boring. Providing arguments doesn’t necessarily has to be boring so make sure your language isn’t too complicated to understand.