Kinds of Essays

5 types of Essays in English

The first step to writing an essay is to decide what kind of essay to write. There are several main structures into which essays can be grouped:

1. Narrative Essays

Tell a story or impart information about your subject in a straightforward, orderly manner.

Example Essay Snippet

"It was the middle of springtime and across from my house where the incident took place. There was a lake there in which my brother and I loved to explore from time to time. The humidity and water drops where reminiscent of a fully functional sauna. The onslaught of heat and burning glow of the sun was relentless."

Notice the tone and words that set the mood. You can almost feel the heat and humidity.


2. Descriptive Essays

Focus on the details of what is going on. For example, if you want to write a descriptive essay about your trip to the park, you would give great detail about what you experienced: how the grass felt beneath your feet, what the park benches looked like, and anything else the reader would need to feel as if he were there.


3. Persuasive Essay

Convince the reader of some point of view.

Unlike an argumentative essay, a persuasive essay has one main goal - to persuade the audience of a certain viewpoint. It can be compared to a sales pitch, except your essay isn't selling a product - it's selling a point of view.

You can quickly recognize persuasive essays in the many advertisements you're bombarded with online.

Have you ever visited a website only to find a white paper (which looks like a long, drawn out blog post) that begins with the heading "Dear Friend"? These are persuasive essays, trying to convince you to buy a product or buy into an idea.


4. Comparative Essay

Compare two or more different things.


5. Expository Essay

Explain to the reader how to do a given process. You could, for example, write an expository essay with step-by-step instructions on how to make a peanut butter sandwich.

Knowing what kind of essay you are trying to write can help you decide on a topic and structure your essay in the best way possible.

You'll most likely come across expository essays in the classroom. They're a great way to test critical thinking skills. Teachers may ask this of students after they've completed a novel or studied a new idea. It's a great way for students to express their opinions and for teachers to assess their writing skills.

The essays that you'll be required to write during your SATs are expository essays. The goal is to take an idea, reflect on your opinion on the matter, and deliver a clear and cohesive argument on the subject.

Some common topics for expository essays include personal experiences, literature, history, social issues, and science and technology.

Each of these areas allow students to reflect on something they're already knowledgeable about and develop a coherent stance.

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