What Are the 5 Types of Essays? A Complete Guide on Essay Types (2022)

For high school or college students, essays are unavoidable – worst of all, the essay types and essay writing topics assigned change throughout your academic career. As soon as you’ve mastered one of the many types of academic papers, you’re on to the next one.

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This article by Custom Writing experts provides the tools you need to attack any essay. It describes the five current major types of essays and five additional types! The article includes some thesis statement examples and numerous useful links to resources with sample essay papers. Keep reading and good luck with your assignment!

Contents

  1. 📑 5 Main Types of Essay Writing

  2. 🎈 Other Essay Types

  3. 👌 Essay Writing Tips

  4. 🔗 References

📑 What Are the 5 Different Types of Essays?

The five main essay types are:

  • Expository

  • Argumentative

  • Persuasive

  • Descriptive

    (Video) All Parts of an Essay & Types of Writing | Types of Essays Examples | EssayPro

  • Narrative

What Are the 5 Types of Essays? A Complete Guide on Essay Types (1)

Expository Essay

An expository essay aims to present opinion-free information on a topic that may be broad or narrow. This essay type is often assigned as an in-class or an exam task. Please find below useful expository writing tips!

Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay requires a profound investigation of a topic leading to the collection and evaluation of evidence. Such an in-depth study shall result in an established position on the topic, written down concisely.

As a rule, this type of writing presupposes extensive literature research. Sometimes, argumentative assignments may require empirical investigation through surveys, interviews, or observations. Detailed research ensures a clear understanding of the issue and the different points of view regarding it. Thanks to the preliminary study, you will be able to make an unbiased decision on which opinion to adhere to, and your argumentation will be more persuasive.

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An argumentative essay shall follow the strict structure rules:

Paragraph 1: Introduction
  1. Set the context and review the topic in general.

  2. Explain the exigence: why do the readers need to care about the issue?

  3. Formulate an appropriately narrowed thesis statement.

Paragraphs 2 and 3: Body
  1. Select one idea supporting your thesis for each of the two paragraphs. Using more than one idea per paragraph can cause a loss of clarity.

  2. Begin each sentence with a topic sentence.

    (Video) 4 Common types of Essay you need to know Expository, Descriptive, Narrative and Argumentative Essays

  3. Come up with evidence and facts.

  4. Explain how this information confirms your thesis.

Paragraph 4: Body
  1. Provide a counterargument.

  2. Which evidence makes some people support an opposing point of view?

  3. Why is their position wrong?

  4. Is the argument against your thesis objective?

Paragraph 5: Conclusion
  1. Restate your thesis

  2. Make some concluding remarks

Difference between Expository and Argumentative Essay

Expository and argumentative essays abound in similarities and are often mistaken for one another. The principal difference is the amount of preliminary research. Argumentative essays are often assigned as final projects summing up the corpus of information mastered during a course. Expository essays are shorter and less based on research. They are used for in-class unprepared writing.

Persuasive Essay

Persuasive writing is the polar opposite of expository writing. For this style of essay, your opinion should be the focus. A persuasive essay attempts to persuade its reader to have a specific opinion.

  • Your thesis statement should make it clear that the essay has an opinion. The following would be an excellent persuasive thesis statement:

    “Though the oil industry is an important part of our economy, it has negatively impacted our environment through climate change, smog, and the building of roads.”

  • Your position should be set from the introduction of your persuasive essay. Take care to maintain it throughout the text.

  • Your persuasive essay body should contain the arguments in progression: from the least important to the most important.

  • Use ethos, logos, and pathos to persuade your readers.

Descriptive Essay

There is no more clearly-named essay than the descriptive one. Here, the goal is to describe something: a person, an object, a place, etc. The oil industry theme used to demonstrate an expository thesis statement would not be typical for a descriptive essay. Instead, descriptive writing would far more likely focus on an object associated with the oil industry, such as an oil drum, an oil tanker, or even the liquid oil itself.

  • A sample descriptive thesis statement could sound like this:
    “Crude oil is a black, viscous liquid that gives off an odd smell like plastic or many sorts of fuel.”

  • Your descriptive essay body should be very logical. Each of its paragraphs is to focus on one of the aspects of the topic.

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  • The language you use in your descriptive essay should be vivid and varied. It is a good idea to appeal to the senses of the reader when you are describing something.

Narrative Essay

The meaning of narrative writing is very similar to a story. It may be moving, emotional, anecdotal, or insightful. You are allowed to write using first-person pronouns, and creativity is appreciated. A narrative essay is subject to all the story rules and shall comprise an introduction, characters, plot, setting, climax, and conclusion. The only case when a narrative assignment does not have to comply with a story outline is a book report. This informative narration is impersonal and unemotional.

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  • The thesis is the purpose of your narrative essay. Although it doesn’t need to sound as formal as in other academic papers, make it clear why you decided to tell the story.

  • First-person narration is not a must but is welcomed.

  • Don’t switch between points of view. If you decide to write a third-person narrative, keep it consistent throughout the text.

  • A narrative essay is closer to fiction than to a scientific document. Use artistic language that will have an emotional response in the reader.

  • Although this is not a standard five-paragraph essay, it should have an introduction and a conclusion. An unfinished piece of writing is as bad as a too wordy one.

Difference between Narrative and Descriptive Essay

A narrative essay is aimed to tell the reader a complete story of personal experiences. A descriptive essay dwells upon a separate object, place, concept, or phenomenon. It does not have a climax or any development of action.

🎈 Other Essay Types

Cause and Effect Essay

In a cause and effect essay, the text should focus on the impact of some phenomenon or physical thing—in other words, a cause and its effect.

The simplicity of this essay allows you to explore any topic. All you need to do is consider its consequences and write. Again, the oil industry can be the focus of a cause and effect essay thesis statement:

“The oil industry has had a tremendous impact on our world, enabling the automotive industry, contributing to climate change, and generating great wealth.”

Reflective Essay

In this essay, the goal is simply to respond to or reflect upon a species person, place, thing, event, or phenomenon. You may be required to reflect upon a poem, a military battle, or perhaps even another essay. By its definition, reflective essays should be very subjective. You should use personal pronouns like “I” and “me” in these essays! This type of essay should be very personal. Check out some examples of reflective writing to see this yourself.

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For example, this would be a great thesis statement for a reflective essay:

“The oil industry has provided many benefits to society, but I worry deeply about its potential costs to our planet and its species.”

Analytical Essay

In many ways, analytical writing is the objective cousin of reflective writing. Prior to attempting this style of essay, you should reflect. But you should also conduct research. The reflection is personal, while the analysis is rooted in facts and logic.

Compare the following example thesis statement with the one from the previous type of essay:

“As the oil industry has grown, the levels of greenhouse gases have increased along with temperatures and concentrations of particulate matter in the atmosphere.”

This statement outlines factors that will be analyzed in the body of the essay. It DOES NOT insert personal feelings, personal pronouns, or subjective language. You can even try and use an informative thesis statement generator and then compare the results to see it more clearly.

By staying objective, an analytical essay is much more like a report. In fact, an outline for an analytical paper should be interchangeable with a section of an outline for a much longer research project. But most importantly, any analytical paper should avoid using personal pronouns.

Comparison and Contrast Essay

In a compare and contrast essay, you make a comparison of two or more issues. You may look at their similarities, differences, or both. The focus of your analysis should be reflected in your thesis statement. Consider this example:

“While both the oil industry and the solar-power industry will be major sources of energy in the future, oil has more environmental costs than green solar power.”

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Exemplification Essay

An exemplification or illustration essay is one of the most flexible essays you might be assigned. In simple terms, this essay is all about picking vivid examples. In other words, you want to make points that exemplify or illustrate your thesis statement.

For an exemplification essay, you should focus on the examples that will make your point without serious effort. In other words, if you are trying too hard, you are missing the point of the essay. Consider the following example thesis statement:

“The oil industry has had serious effects on the environment as demonstrated by the impact of massive oil spill on wildlife, the uncontrolled fires and explosions caused by oil and oil derivatives, and the melting of the polar ice caps caused by climate change.”

In the body of this exemplification essay, the writer should devote a paragraph to each of these arguments. Descriptions of seagulls or penguins coated in oil would be perfect examples of the effect of the oil industry on wildlife. Similarly, descriptions of major oil refinery explosions will also grab the reader’s attention.

Once again, the conclusion should restate the introduction, providing less background, and reminding the reader of the examples one last time.

👌 Remember These Important Essay Tips

These tips and tricks are just the basics of essay writing.

When you are writing any assignment, always pay close attention to the instructions. The standard interpretation of any particular essay style is never as important as your teacher’s definition of the assignment. When in doubt, ask questions! No teacher will be upset with you asking for reasonable clarifications. It is better to write the essay your teacher expected, rather than surprise your teacher with a creative effort. And, subsequently, get a poor grade.

  1. You may also notice that every one of the rough examples described fits into the 5-paragraph essay format. This essay structure is a powerful way to organize your thoughts. Becoming skilled at applying this structure will strengthen your writing. Soon after, you’ll write both shorter and longer essays with ease.

  2. If you’re still confused, watch one of the many helpful videos on essay writing.

  3. Start writing your essay early! No matter the essay type, your revisions will be better than your first drafts. If you have time for second, third, and fourth drafts, you will be much happier with your final grade.

🔗 References

  1. What are the types of essays? – Quora

    (Video) IELTS Writing Task 2 - Understand the 5 Essay Types

FAQs

What is the 5 point structure to an essay? ›

The five-paragraph essay is a format of essay having five paragraphs: one introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs with support and development, and one concluding paragraph. Because of this structure, it is also known as a hamburger essay, one three one, or a three-tier essay.

How many main types of essays are there? ›

There are four main types of writing: narrative, descriptive, expository, and argumentative. Each has a unique purpose. Some tell a story, others attempt to alter opinions. You use these four writing types to write different types of essays.

What is a 5 paragraph essay called? ›

The five-paragraph essay format is a guide that helps writers structure an essay. It consists of one introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs for support, and one concluding paragraph. Because of this structure, it has been nicknamed the “hamburger essay,” the “one-three-one essay,” and the “three-tier essay.”

What are the 10 types of essay? ›

10 types of essays
  • Narrative essays. Narrative essays tell a story and often are the most personal type of essay you may write. ...
  • Descriptive essays. ...
  • Expository essays. ...
  • Definition essays. ...
  • Process essays. ...
  • Compare and contrast essays. ...
  • Argumentative essays. ...
  • Persuasive essays.

What are the 5 types of writing? ›

Learn about the major writing styles: narrative, descriptive, persuasive, expository, and creative, and read examples of each.

What are the types of essay? ›

There are many different types of essay, but they are often defined in four categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays.

Who invented the 5 paragraph essay? ›

Some scholars, such as Tom Speer and Jan Charles Haluska, have under- standably pointed to the history of the essay, dating back to the sixteenth-century essayist Michel de Montaigne, as a way of historicizing and even justifying the five-paragraph essay.

How many sentences is a 5 paragraph essay? ›

In general, paragraphs should have 5-8 sentences.

In this case, if you're tasked with writing a five-paragraph essay, then you should want 25-40 sentences total. However, that's not a hard and fast rule. After all, you can't evaluate a good paragraph in words or sentences.

What are the 6 types of essays? ›

There are 6 Types of Essays…
  • Narrative Essay.
  • Descriptive Essay.
  • Expository Essay.
  • Argumentative Essay.
  • Reflective Essays.
  • Proverb Essays.

What are the 8 types of essay? ›

8 Types of Essays You May Write While in School
  • Expository Essay. The most basic form of essay is an expository essay, also known as a definition essay. ...
  • Analytical Essay. ...
  • Narrative Essay. ...
  • Descriptive Essay. ...
  • Compare and Contrast Essay. ...
  • Cause and Effect Essay. ...
  • Critical Analysis Essay. ...
  • Conclusion.

What are the 3 types essay? ›

The three types of essay most commonly assigned in school — the narrative essay, the persuasive essay, and the expository essay — conveniently correspond to those writing forms most frequently published online and in print. Your experience with these prose forms is ideal preparation for writing for publication.

How do you end a 5 paragraph essay? ›

Writing a Conclusion

The final paragraph will summarize your main points and re-assert your main claim (from your thesis sentence). It should point out your main points, but should not repeat specific examples, and should, as always, leave a lasting impression on the reader.

How do you write a 5 paragraph argumentative essay? ›

The Five Paragraph Argumentative Essay Structure - YouTube

What are the types of essay question? ›

ESSAY QUESTION -- TYPEVERBS / CUES
Factual RecallNAME, LIST, STATE, SUMMARIZE, OUTLINE
Analysis / Explanation of RelationshipsEXPLAIN, DISCUSS (Main ideas and Major supporting points)
Synthesis / Application of previously learned principlesANALYZE, EVALUATE, EXPLAIN, PROVE, SHOW, JUSTIFY, ILLUSTRATE, COMPARE/ CONTRAST
1 more row
2 Sept 2019

Is a essay writing? ›

An essay is generally a short piece of writing outlining the writer's perspective or story. It is often considered synonymous with a story or a paper or an article. Essays can be formal as well as informal. Formal essays are generally academic in nature and tackle serious topics.

What are the 5 types of writing PDF? ›

  • Expository essays: An expository essay is an informative piece of writing, ...
  • Narrative essays: A narrative type of essay refers to a written composition. ...
  • Descriptive essays: A descriptive writing is a style of writing which focuses on. ...
  • Persuasive essays: Persuasive writing is a type of writing which contains.

What are the 5 writing strategies? ›

We often call these prewriting strategies “brainstorming techniques.” Five useful strategies are listing, clustering, freewriting, looping, and asking the six journalists' questions. These strategies help you with both your invention and organization of ideas, and they can aid you in developing topics for your writing.

What is a writing style guide? ›

A writing style guide is a document that sets standard writing, grammar, and punctuation conventions for a particular organization in the effort of maintaining a consistent tone and style regardless of how many content contributors are on the team.

What are the 8 types of essay? ›

8 Types of Essays You May Write While in School
  • Expository Essay. The most basic form of essay is an expository essay, also known as a definition essay. ...
  • Analytical Essay. ...
  • Narrative Essay. ...
  • Descriptive Essay. ...
  • Compare and Contrast Essay. ...
  • Cause and Effect Essay. ...
  • Critical Analysis Essay. ...
  • Conclusion.

What are the three main parts of an essay? ›

The main parts (or sections) to an essay are the intro, body, and conclusion. In a standard short essay, five paragraphs can provide the reader with enough information in a short amount of space.

What are the types of academic essay? ›

The four main types of academic writing are descriptive, analytical, persuasive and critical. Each of these types of writing has specific language features and purposes.

How do you list examples in an essay? ›

Use a new sentence or independent clause to introduce the list. Use a colon to signal that the list will be a long one, or use commas to separate items in a short list. If you have to separate the items in the list, then a semicolon splits items of over three words and items with commas in them.

What are the 6 types of essays? ›

There are 6 Types of Essays…
  • Narrative Essay.
  • Descriptive Essay.
  • Expository Essay.
  • Argumentative Essay.
  • Reflective Essays.
  • Proverb Essays.

What is the 4 types of essay? ›

4 Major Types of Essay with Examples
  • Narrative Essay: The writer of a narrative essay presents a story about a real-life experience. ...
  • Descriptive Essay: A descriptive essay, like that of a narrative essay, uses words to create a picture. ...
  • Argumentative Essay: ...
  • Expository Essay:
4 Jun 2021

What are the 9 types of writing? ›

Each of these types has its own features to check your knowledge and skills.
...
We will tell you more about each type, and for now, there is a list of 9 main types of writing paper:
  • Narrative;
  • Descriptive;
  • Persuasive;
  • Analytical;
  • Contrast and comparison;
  • Critical;
  • Review;
  • Research;

What are the types of essay? ›

There are many different types of essay, but they are often defined in four categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays.

What are the 7 elements of an essay? ›

7 Essential Elements Of A Perfect Essay
  • # 1 – Do your Research. ...
  • # 2 – Outline Your Essay. ...
  • # 3 – The Introduction. ...
  • # 4 – The Body. ...
  • # 5 – The Conclusion. ...
  • # 6 – Proofreading & Editing. ...
  • # 7 – Read It One More Time! ...
  • Write The Perfect Essay Every Time!

What are the 5 examples of academic writing? ›

Common Types of Academic Writing
  • Essay.
  • Research paper.
  • Research proposal.
  • Thesis and dissertation.
  • Lab report.
  • Literature review,
  • Annotated bibliography.

What are the types of essay questions? ›

ESSAY QUESTION -- TYPEVERBS / CUES
Factual RecallNAME, LIST, STATE, SUMMARIZE, OUTLINE
Analysis / Explanation of RelationshipsEXPLAIN, DISCUSS (Main ideas and Major supporting points)
Synthesis / Application of previously learned principlesANALYZE, EVALUATE, EXPLAIN, PROVE, SHOW, JUSTIFY, ILLUSTRATE, COMPARE/ CONTRAST
1 more row
2 Sept 2019

What are the importance of different types of essay? ›

It's important to know exactly what type of essay your assignment falls into – even before you start the planning and research. The essay type affects how you structure your essay, your writing style, the tone, the techniques you use, and how you use evidence.

Is a essay writing? ›

An essay is generally a short piece of writing outlining the writer's perspective or story. It is often considered synonymous with a story or a paper or an article. Essays can be formal as well as informal. Formal essays are generally academic in nature and tackle serious topics.

What is an example essay? ›

An exemplification essay is an argumentative essay that provides examples to prove a point. An exemplification essay begins with a generalization about the topic. Once a generalization is chosen, expand upon it with examples that are relevant to the purpose of the argument and increase the integrity of the paper.

How do you list 10 things in an essay? ›

Ways to List Things in Your Essay
  1. Listing with bullets. ...
  2. Listing with Numbers. ...
  3. Lists with Letters. ...
  4. Running Text Lists. ...
  5. The First Sentence of the Introduction. ...
  6. Listing Single Items. ...
  7. Punctuation. ...
  8. Deciding on a List.

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