Barbara P.
Barbara P.

Different Types of Essay - Definition and Samples

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Published on: Feb 11, 2020

Last updated on: Apr 15, 2023

Types of Essay

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Essay writing is an important part of academic life. There are many essay topics and all of them are written in different ways. It basically is a reflection of the author’s point of view.

Most students face many problems and confusions when it comes to writing an essay. The main reason they get confused is that they don't fully understand what it should be like.

In many cases, it is often seen that students are unaware of the fact that essays have different types. Once a writer gets to know the type of essay, writing it becomes very easy.

Continue reading this blog to know about writing different types of essays and how they should be structured.

Types of Essay Writing

There are various opinions on how to categorize essays and how many types of essays there are. The simplest interpretation says that there are only four types of essays. Most of the time you will write all your essays under these four categories.

From college applications to academic assignments every creative and formal piece of writing is covered in these four main types of essays. They have standard types of essay formats including an introduction having a strong thesis statement, body, and a conclusion.

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1. Expository Essay

The word “expository” speaks for its meaning itself. It is basically derived from the word “exposition”. This type of essay is written to expose information about different things.

In the case of expository essays, the writer discovers and exposes information to make that thing understandable to the reader.

In more easy words, an expository essay is an academic essay that investigates an idea. Multiple arguments related to it are put forward and an explanation based on collected information is presented in written form.

Usually, high school and college students find expository essays very challenging to write because it involves a lot of research work. Apart from that, organizing the collected information is yet another difficult part of expository essays.

The instructors assign such essays to students on purpose as it really helps the students to polish their researching, organizing, and writing skills.

Expository essays are usually written on topics related to the following subjects:

  • Business
  • Journalism
  • Scientific writing

Types of Expository Essays

An expository essay is basically the stem of all other styles of essays. Once a student learns to write this essay, then writing other essays is no big deal.

Following are the types of expository essay:

  • Descriptive Essay
  • Process Essay
  • Comparison Essay
  • Cause and Effect Essay
  • Problem/Solution Essay

It will not be wrong if we say that expository writing skills are life-saving skills. Many careers have it as a daily requirement.

2. Descriptive Essay

Descriptive essays are written to describe the details of a particular subject. The subject can be anything. Such essays are pretty lengthy and include the tiniest details about the subject. It is just like painting a word picture.

Data from all the available sources can be used to write this type of essay. The writer describes the subject using his/her sense of smell, touch, and sight.

This essay can also be referred to as a detailed overview of that particular object you are writing on. In a descriptive essay, every detail counts.

It must be clear to you now that the purpose of a descriptive essay is to describe things in detail. The more detailed you will write a descriptive essay, the better and perfect it would be. Using the five human senses will help you to dig even deeper into the reader’s mind and create that vivid picture.

Usually, the things described in descriptive essays are as follows;

  • An Object
  • A Person
  • A Memory
  • A Place
  • An Experience
  • An event

Still, remember that a descriptive essay is also an academic paper, so it should serve a purpose. You cannot describe for the sake of describing.

A good example of an academic paper with purpose would be an event that influenced you, a certain objective of significance in your life, a person you look up to, etc.

As should be obvious, you can use the five human senses to portray anything you want. In the event that it helps, think about your essay as a canvas. Here, you are to paint an extremely striking, nitty-gritty picture the peruser will have the option to identify with.

Approaches to the Descriptive Essay

Below are the approaches to the descriptive essay.

  • Personal Essay

    In a personal essay, the writer describes a personal experience. This type of essay can be disorganized to some extent. This feature makes it more close to reality.

    Good personal essays focus and target all of the aspects of the experience about which you are writing.

  • Formal Description

    The formal description is very much like an argumentative essay. Instead of explaining your personal opinion, in this case, you need to use specific information to provide a good portrait of what you are describing.

    This approach is believed to be more eye-catching for the reader as it involves facts and all the solid information.

3. Narrative Essay

Narrative essay writing is the type of academic writing which starts at a very early time of academic life. It is thus one of the most common types of essay writing.

A narrative essay is usually used for storytelling. Basically, storytelling itself is a kind of narrative essay. The writer creates a story setting using the writing skills, to keep the reader indulged in the narration.

The length is the biggest challenge in writing a narrative essay. It is supposed to be very reasonable in length. Complex and meaningful things have to be explained using very limited words.

To write a narrative essay, the reader may incorporate a real-life experience or use a fictional idea to entertain the intended readers.

In a narrative essay, all you do is guide readers through the story. There are no arguments involved and nothing is criticized or no attempt is made to convince someone for someone. All you need to do is to tell a story and leave the final judgments and conclusion on the readers.

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Every reader has a mindset of their own. Each of them will pursue your story accordingly and draw their conclusions according to their perception.

Types of Narrative Essays

The narrative essay has the following types. A short description of both types is given below:

  • Descriptive Narrative Essay?

    This type of narrative essay is just like a descriptive essay. It describes an experience, situation, or memory using some vivid details.

    A descriptive narrative paper must be straightforward and organized. It describes an extensive and complex story in a very comprehensive way.

    As extensive and long stories can become boring for the readers at a point. A good practice is to not over-exaggerate things while writing a narrative essay.

  • Autobiographical?

    This type of narrative essay requires you to share a true story or something you personally experienced. It is important to mention here that this type of narrative essay should focus on one specific event

Characteristics of Narrative Essay

Some basic yet important characteristics of the narrative essay are as follows:

  • Fictional/Non-fiction.
  • Written from the author’s viewpoint.
  • Includes elements of a story, but is written in accordance with a basic structure.
  • Follow chronological order to provide information.
  • Describes everything in detail.
  • Only information is provided and no argument is introduced.

4. Persuasive Essay

Persuasive essays are yet another very interesting type of middle school essay. They are a kind of analytical essay and involve analytical aspects to persuade the readers for a certain point of view.

High school students are often assigned assignments related to such types of argumentative and analytical essays. Students usually find persuasive essay writing a fun thing to do as there are a lot of arguments and facts to support the main points.

Before writing a persuasive essay, the writers need to conduct very deep research on the topic they have chosen. Once they are done collecting information, they need to analyze the collected data.

After the analysis, the writer makes a decision about which aspect of the topic he/she will be in favor of. Then they will try to convince others as well. Using all the logical arguments, facts, and convincing words, the writer is expected to dispel biases and assure readers that there are no other correct points of view other than his/hers.

Sub-Types of Essay

Above we discussed the major types of essays that are commonly known and used. Now there are some sub-types of essays that are also equally important and knowing about them is beneficial for every student.

  • Critical Essay

    Critical essays fall in the category of argumentative essays as they involve an argument on the weak and strong features of something.

    The aim of writing a critical essay is to discuss the characteristics of the subject under discussion to make the reader aware of whether it is good or bad.

    These essays are written basically to criticize the negative aspects of a topic under discussion. It draws a conclusion based on factual knowledge and convinces the readers that your point of view is correct.

  • Compare and Contrast Essay

    Writing compare and contrast essays are important for all students. They help in polishing the writing and analytical skills of the students.

    Such types of essay can be counted in the category of descriptive and expository essays. As they provide information about both negative and positive aspects of the subject under discussion.

    Moreover, in such an essay, the pros and cons are the key elements and the major support element.

  • Cause and Effect Essay

    This sort of essay is bound to concentrate on the grouping of an occasion and its consequences. It helps you to show what cause has prompted a specific outcome.

    Oftentimes there are more causes than results or fewer causes than results, the writer needs to investigate them independently. The cause and effect essay requires the author to draw an intelligent association between the purposes behind a specific occasion.

  • Definition Essay

    The one ultimate goal of a definition essay is to focus on all the things and aspects that can be used to define a certain subject that is under discussion.

    This type of essay aims to define and explain a certain element to the reader which regular dictionaries and guides can not do. These essays deliver information about the subject from scratch.

    Definition essays are a sub-type of descriptive and expository essays.

For some people, writing essays is a tough job to do. Whereas, for some people, it is just like a piece of cake. But it is a fact that essay writing is time-consuming in any case and needs full concentration and good writing skills.

If you want your essay to be perfect and ready in time and you do not find yourself efficient enough then seeking professional help is the best option for you.

At, we have an extensive team of professional writers. We promise to provide you with the best essay writing help at very reasonable prices.

You may see our sample work before placing your order. Once you are satisfied, get in touch with our customer support team and we will answer all your queries right away.

Barbara P.


Barbara P., Literature, Marketing

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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