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As we discussed in previous chapters, an essay refers to writing to persuade or inform the readers. Although there are many different types of essays, expository, argumentative, descriptive, and narrative essays are among the most common academic essays.

types of essays
Descriptive and narrative essays tend to reflect creativity and writing in an exciting manner. In contrast, expository and argumentative essays are generally used to generate clear arguments and persuade the reader. However, argumentative essays are considered the most common as instructors assign students with them more often.
Apart from below types, students may also have to write a reflection essay where they need to analyze, reflect, and interpret different types of texts.

Narrative essays

When you are telling a story, you are probably writing a narrative essay. In general, narrative essays are about telling personal stories. However, in some assignments, you may as well be assigned to write an imaginary reflection or storytelling.
While writing a narrative essay, you are likely to focus on structure and narrative formatting. When compared with other types of essays, narrative essays are much more creative and personal.
This type of essay isn’t strictly formatted, but it should still follow a gradual development from the introduction to the conclusion of the essay.

When I was five years old, I always favored exploring new things in streets and different places. I found deep satisfaction in analyzing the things I found when I was walking as a kid. Background: You set the background of your story My grandfather taught me a life lesson that I still don’t forget: Always think good for other people.Theme: You introduce the theme of your narrative essay.

As usual, I was looking for different objects in our backyard, covered with apple trees. When I came down from a tree, I came up with an exceptionally exciting pin needle. The pinhead was cubic, and I could easily put it on the floor, heading upwards. I really didn’t want to hurt someone. I was only shocked by the fact that I found a pin needle with a cubic head, and I started playing with it.Description: This part expands on author’s feelings and story.

My grandfather, who was around his 60s, saw me placing the pin needle heading upwards. He warned me –“You can hurt someone walking by putting the pin needle like this, watch out!”Character introduction:This part introduces the teacher of the story. After a while, I somehow left it heading upwards rather than getting rid of the pin needle. When I was running towards the backyard, I stepped on the needle and felt a crazy pain in my hell. Yes, I totally forgot the needle, and I was the one who stepped on it. When the doctor came, I instantly remember my grandfather’s advice.Development:Here you develop and detail your story.

The experience has taught me to think more “deeply” when making an action—It may hurt someone even if you don’t want to. I also learned that I should listen to older adults as they have much more experience than us.Conclusion: You conclude your essay, preferably with a memorable sentence.

Descriptive essays

Descriptive essays are used to describe something. Like narrative type, you may use a more creative and detailed language than other types of essays. However, descriptive essays are more focused on a specific subject. More specifically, rather than describing the whole story or incident, you should dig deep into a subject and describe it.

On weekend afternoons, I love to play League of Legends in my study room. The game is online, addictive, and enjoyable, but I usually have a good time when I play with my friends.Introductory sentences: You introduce the scene/setting. I am in my own space without work and daily stress. I feel the competitive environment resulted from this game’s nature. Impression: You state your feelings and personal impression.

Usually, we play a 5v5 ranked game, and we always start with a rush to enemy resources. As usual, I follow my support player as my champion is an attack damage carrier and extremely vulnerable. The rest of the team positions themselves to get kills and, of course, enemy resources.Description: This part expands on the story.

Meanwhile, I need to position myself to damage enemy tanks, which are hard to combat. I save my leap for their engagement and press it when they rush on me. While my support tries to protect me, I damage enemy champions and try not to die soon. Because without me, my team wouldn’t be able to win the fight. But, whenever I use my leap, I have no choice but to die.Analogy: This part describes the behavior.

Waiting in the base to respawn, I feel hopeless and pray for my friends to win the fight without me. However, I still have high hopes of winning the game as there are many combats to fight. After all, I lost the first fight, but why not try another?Conclusion: You conclude by highlighting the author’s feelings.
Also, the formatting may be loose when compared with the other types of essays. However, you should be careful at choosing your words (see taboo words, transition words) and gradual development of the paper.
Example below gives an illustration of a descriptive essay. Please analyze to have more insights into this type of essay.

Argumentative essays

Argumentative essays are one of the most common types of essays. You should present a detailed and evidence-based claim or argument. The essay should include a strong and clear thesis statement that underlines the general development of the paper.
Remember, the aim is to persuade the reader when preparing an argumentative paper. Therefore, making use of scientific evidence and arguments are essential for this type of essay.
The excessive use of social media is a concern for many psychologists.Topic sentence: What will the paragraph be about? Its prevalence among society is extremely high; research found that almost every individual has a social media account (Radovic et al., 2017). However, many studies have stressed a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts (Scheinbaum, 2017).Evidence: You state and cite your evidence. Psychologists are not mistaken to think that social media can have serious impacts on human psychology; however, a further and expanded investigation is also necessary. Interpretation: This part evaluates the evidence. At this point, many psychologists stress the negative aspects of social media, but scholars have also highlighted the positive impacts of social media such as the availability of social networks, the feeling of belonging, and numerous business opportunities (Akram & Kumar, 2017). Counter-argument: You present a counter-evidence to argue against the original claim. Therefore, the use of social media has positive sides that help individuals look for opportunities and different communities. Final sentence: You state your point made in this paragraph.

Unlike other types of essay, argumentative essay requires a strong formatting.

Expository essays

This type of essay requires a specific and focused explanation of a subject or topic. In other words, you don’t need to have an original argument. Instead, you should explain a topic in your own words.
The example below presents insights into the expository essays. Please analyze it diligently to have a overview of this type of essay.
The political shape of the world has drastically changed after the Second World War.Topic sentence: What will the paragraph be about? A new era for each country involved has begun. We have seen the rise of two superpowers: the United States (USA) and the Soviet Union (USSR). They have become competitors and engaged in the Cold War. Also, the Allies created the United Nations to prevent a possible third world war. The devastated Western nations formed a union, which is now called European Union.Explanation: You explain your topic in detail. After all, one can highlight that the world political formation has rapidly transformed into new alliances and unions that would lead to a more peaceful environment. Concluding sentence: You summarize your key point.

Expository essays tend to test your capability of conveying knowledge in your own words rather than creating arguments. Therefore, they are mostly considered high school level.
The formatting of expository essays is not as demanding as the argumentative essay. You provide some background, and present details on your subject in the body. In the conclusion, you summarize all your information and findings and finalize the paper.

Textual analysis and critique essays

While many types of essays test your ability to organize your thoughts and write clearly, some types require students to read carefully and reflect critically. Therefore, rather than presenting and summarizing your findings, closely analyze the text from a chosen or assigned perspective in textual analysis and critique essays.
This type of essay has certain subcategories, such as rhetorical analysis or literary analysis.

Rhetorical analysis essay

This type of essay is focused on analyzing a persuasive paper such as cartoon, speech, or an essay from perspectives of rhetorical devices. You should evaluate the efficiency of rhetoric.
Along with strong logos appeals, Grose effectively makes appeals to pathos in the beginning and middle sections.Topic sentence: What will the paragraph be about? Her introduction is full of emotionally-charged words and phrases that create a sympathetic image; Grose notes that she “was eight months pregnant” and her husband found it difficult to “fight with a massively pregnant person.” The image she evokes of the challenges and vulnerabilities of being so pregnant, as well as the high emotions a woman feels at that time effectively introduce the argument and its seriousness. Her goal is to make the reader feel sympathy for her. Adding to this idea are words and phrases such as, “insisted,” “argued,” “not fun,” “sucks” “headachey,” “be judged,” “be shunned” (Grose). All of these words evoke negative emotions about cleaning, which makes the reader sympathize with women who feel “judged” and shunned”—very negative feelings. Another feeling Grose reinforces with her word choice is the concept of fairness: “fair share,” “a week and a half more of ‘second shift’ work,” “more housework,” “more gendered and less frequent.”Evidence and analysis: You evaluate the rhetoric of the author. These words help establish the unfairness that exists when women do all of the cleaning, and they are an appeal to pathos, or the readers’ feelings of frustration and anger with injustice. Concluding sentence: This part summarizes the analysis.

The introduction of rhetorical analysis essay provides the text, background, and of course, the thesis statement. Subsequently, the body includes a deep analysis, and the conclusion presents the sum of your analysis by highlighting certain aspects and thesis statement.
The example below shows insights into rhetorical analysis essay. Please analyze meticulously to have an overview of this type of essay.

Literary analysis

You present a close reading of a literary work when writing this type of essay. Literary analysis presents reflection and interpretation of the choices made by author. Unlike a review or a book report, a good literary analysis presents a deep interpretation of literary elements in an author’s work.
Though Chopin relates Mrs. Mallard’s story, she does not do so in first person.Topic sentence: What will the paragraph be about? Chopin reveals the story through a narrator’s voice. The narrator is not simply an observer, however. The narrator knows, for example, that Mrs. Mallard, for the most part, did not love her husband (paragraph 15). It is obvious that the narrator knows more than can be physically observed. Chopin, however, never tells the reader what Mrs. Mallard is feeling.Evidence and analysis: You evaluate the literary elements. Instead, the reader must look into Mrs. Mallard’s actions and words in order to understand what Mrs. Mallard feels. Concluding sentence: This part summarizes the analysis.

In the introduction of a literary analysis, you first present the source text and some background, and thesis statement. The body consists of deep reading, quotation, and analysis. Similar to other types of essays, you support your thesis statement throughout the body paragraphs. In the conclusion, you emphasize your analysis and rephrase your thesis statement.
The example below presents insights into a literary analysis. Please dig deep into the example to get a better overview for such a type of essay.
In the introduction of a literary analysis, you first present the source text and some background, and thesis statement. The body consists of deep reading, quotation, and analysis. Similar to other types of essays, you support your thesis statement throughout the body paragraphs. In the conclusion, you emphasize your analysis and rephrase your thesis statement.
The example below presents insights into a literary analysis. Please dig deep into the example to get a better overview for such a type of essay.
Thank you for reading. If you need further information, feel free to have a look at our essay samples.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Thank you for reading. If you need further information, feel free to have a look at our essay samples or contact us at live chat.

Pelin Dalkiran
Pelin Dalkiran
Studied Maths and Coding @DEU, currently working as Front End Lead at Tamara Research, loves writing, coding, and hiking.

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