Common Types of Essay Writing - Definition & Examples

types of essay

There are several essays that you will be assigned to write as a college or high school student.

There are ten different types of essays that your teacher may assign. Sometimes, the teachers may not tell you the type of essay you should be writing. In that case, you need to figure it out from the question you have been asked.

Most of them share the basic structure and format, but there are some differences as well. In this blog, we have discussed the common types of essays along with their examples. Refer to this guide and learn to write them to score better grades.

What is an Essay?

An essay is a piece of short, nonfiction writing that focuses on a particular topic idea. Writers use the essay format to argue their point or provide an opinion about something.

Essays can be of many different forms. It can be lengthy, ranging from one paragraph to many paragraphs. Similarly, it can be formal or informal in nature.

Formal essays are academic in nature and mainly tackle serious topics. On the other hand, informal essays can be more personal and have humorous elements.

Keep in mind; there is no specific format of an essay. As it is a creative process, it should not be restricted to certain boundaries. But there is a basic structure that is usually followed while writing an essay. It includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

Major Types of Academic Essays

“What are the major types of essays?”

There are mainly ten common types of essays. Every type is different in nature and is written with a specific perspective. The very first thing is to identify the type you are assigned to write. With this, you will be able to understand and remember the main objective of writing an essay on any topic.

Let us discuss the following ten types of essays in detail.

1. Expository Essay

An expository essay is also known as a definition essay. It is a basic type of essay aiming to explain a concept without making an argument. Generally, they are used to answer a question as directly as possible.

The following is an example of this essay type for you to understand better.

Expository Essay Example

2. Analytical Essay

The analytical essay is similar to an expository essay in its nature to describe a concept. However, it is still one step further as it presents the advantages and disadvantages of the subject under study.

For instance, an expository essay may discuss how the president is elected. In contrast, an analytical essay would explain the possible benefits and drawbacks of the electoral process.

Have a look at the below document for a comprehensive analytical essay example.

Analytical Essay Example

3. Persuasive Essay

Persuasive Essay A persuasive essay is another important type of essay in which the writer utilizes logic and reasoning. It is to show a specific idea is more convincing than the other one.

It aims to persuade a reader to accept a certain viewpoint. For this, you must use solid evidence such as a fact, example, or quotes to prove your point. Here is an interesting persuasive essay example that you can explore.

Persuasive Essay Example

4. Argumentative Essay

It is similar to a persuasive essay in that it aims to convince the reader about a specific point of view. The goal is to examine the information regarding the topic and develop an argument based on it. But a writer must support his claim and stick to one side by providing solid proofs and reasoning.

The below is an example for you to get a detailed idea.

Argumentative Essay Example

5. Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is also called a personal essay as it combines storytelling with the central argument. Here, the writer makes an argument through his personal experience. They are usually nonfictional and autobiographical and are written from the first-person viewpoint.

Many college application essays, personal statements, and scholarship essays are also classified as narrative essays. Check out the following example to understand writing a narrative essay.

Narrative Essay Example

6. Descriptive Essay

A descriptive essay is a type of writing that describes an event or object with vivid sensory details. Unlike narrative essays, which usually tell a full story and try to make an argument. Most writers prefer to write descriptive essays because they are written more creatively. You could be describing a process also, which is why process essays are also called as a type of descriptive essays.

Here we have stated an example of a descriptive essay for you.

Descriptive Essay Example

7. Compare and Contrast Essay

A compare and contrast essay compares and contrasts two objects, highlighting their similarities and differences. It aims to discuss a larger point. Make sure the two subjects are different from one another.

Generally, these essays have body paragraphs organized in two main sections: a comparison section and a contrast section. Check out the below-given compare and contrast essay example to get a better understanding.

Compare and Contrast Essay Example

8. Cause and Effect Essay

Similar to compare and contrast essays, a cause and effect essay also shows the relationship between two objects. Particularly, it discusses how a specific thing is influenced by another.

Such kinds of essays are organized chronologically where it explains the cause first and then shows its effects. Here is a sample essay for you to get an idea of this piece of writing.

Cause and Effect Essay Example

9. Critical Analysis Essay

A critical essay is a type of literature-based essay. Here, the writer divides a short piece of literature to make a specific argument about the author’s perspective.

It has the same structure as other types of essays, including an introduction, thesis statement, body, and conclusion. It also uses textual evidence and the writings of other critics to support its claims. Get help from the following file to understand a critical analysis essay in detail.

Critical Analysis Essay Example

10. Reflective Essay

Writing a reflective essay is a type of essay writing that allows you to examine your personal experiences through self-reflection. They provide insight into what has been gained from those past events and can take the reader on a journey of growth in themselves as they read it. Refer to the following example of a reflective essay.

Reflective Essay Example

Now you must have understood the different types of essays in academic writing. However, if you are worried about the writing process, leave it to

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