No More Getting Confused | Learn about the Various Types of Essays

August 1, 2018 | GradeMiners
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Of all the school assignments that you are probably familiar with, nothing stands out more than essay writing. It cuts across all subjects or topics, and is the default means of communication between educators and students, either as homework, application essays or standardized assignments. Being the most common of tasks doesn’t make them the easiest in any way. In fact, creating an essay that stands out is quite the challenge in itself. It may be due to poor writing skills or a general lack of talent or interest. Or it may be due to a lack of understanding of the subject under research. More often than not, however, failure is due to not properly responding to an essay prompt owing to a lack of understanding of the type of essay required.

There are four major types of essays, which themselves have their own sub-varieties. The essay type will determine the kind of structure that you apply to your writing. Thus, understanding the essay prompt is ideally the most crucial part of any writing assignment. Does the task require you to talk about a personal experience, describe a process, persuade the reader of an issue or vividly give a detail? This, in essence, summarizes the four main types of essays.

Tell Stories, Give Facts, Paint A Picture with Words or Convince

There are four main types of essays whose purpose is summarized by the header above. This is essentially the goal of the prompt that you have been provided with. With this understanding, you can then apply the correct structure to your essay.

Narrative essays tell a story usually from a first-person perspective. While it might seem easy to write these essays, they do prove challenging due to the fact that the writer needs to invoke vivid details. You can write about anything, from a night out in a foreign town to a scary experience that you once went through. Due to the flexible nature of these essays, students usually find them appealing. However, there is always the likelihood of incessant rambling and lacklustre writing due to the assumption that these essays aren’t required to be deep.

Persuasive essays, also known as argumentative essays, try to convince the reader of your point of view. These essays usually debate often controversial or polarizing subjects. Every argument should be supported by facts and evidence. They should be presented logically and concisely, and there isn’t any room for vague statements or ambiguity. Convincing a reader to adopt your own point of view might be difficult, bearing in mind that they may also have their own opinions about the debate. Therefore, it is crucial to present as many facts as possible, and the flow of arguments should appeal directly to the reader’s logic.

Expository essays are distantly related to persuasive essays in that they also rely on accurate presentations of facts. However, their primary motivation is simply to present a balanced analysis of a topic, and not to argue out facts. These essays don’t reveal the reader’s emotions, nor do they explore any personal opinions. They utilize statistics, real-life examples and other points to educate the reader, leaving them to form their own views or make assumptions on the subject.

Descriptive essays are quite vivid and rich in sensory detail and are also closely related to the narrative essay. The writer might be asked to describe a place, memory, person, event, trip or anything else that might be required by the prompt. However, the description should not be vague. Instead, the writer communicates a deeper meaning through the provision of sensory detail. The reader can thus ‘taste’ the food that you ate, feel its aroma, see the gourmet presentation and indulge in the ambience that you are describing simply by reading the essay.

More Essay Types for You to Digest

The above four are the main types of essays that any high school or college student needs to be aware of. However, there are other subtypes that you should keep in mind. These include:

  • Cause-and-effect essays: These fall within the expository essay genre. They focus on providing a logical sequence of events to answer questions as to why something happens the way it does.
  • Compare-and-contrast essays: Also falling within the expository type, these essays seek to showcase the similarities or differences between two different subjects.
  • Process essay: Think of the methodology in your lab report. Process essays outline clearly the sequence of events in a way that anybody can understand, for example, you may be asked to describe the process of baking a pastry or changing a flat tyre.
  • Definition essay: This essay seeks to go beyond the simple dictionary definition of a word, and may require the writer to uncover its entire etymology including past and present usage, concepts related to or drawn from it and other scholarly interpretations of the word. Thus, these essays can present a significant challenge to students.
  • Personal statements: This is a unique essay type used especially as part of admissions requirements for colleges or scholarship applications. They are also nearly related to narrative essays in the use of the first person, but these essays usually have a defined agenda or thesis that guides them.

There are other essay types that your professor may spring at you. What’s important is to carefully read the essay prompt to understand clearly what the task requires of you. Regardless of the essay type, the presentation has to be concise, follow clear logic, and the thesis should map the structure. If the task proves too difficult, however, an expert writer from could easily deliver a stellar essay at the most affordable CPPs whenever you need it.

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