5 Different Types of Essays: End the Confusion with Our Expert Guide

5 Different Types of Essays: End the Confusion with Our Expert Guide

A student may hate writing homework on particular subjects while writing specific types of essays might be fun. Different types of essays are similar to changing mood or clothing: each writer will find one, which suits him/her more than others. Papers could be long/short, descriptive/explanatory, serious/funny, etc. The main goal of each writing assignment is to meet the initial prompt. The article breaks the myth about numerous kinds of essays by offering the basic categorization of this writing assignment and corresponding examples.

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Writer’s Mini Guide to 5 Different Types of Essays!

It would be wise to start studying different types of essays from the most time-consuming one – an expository paper. Five main categories of academic essays exist. Those are:

  1. Expository
  2. Descriptive
  3. Narrative
  4. Compare-&-contrast
  5. Persuasive/argumentative

Look at the definition of each essay category to be ready for the writing battle!

Expository Essay

An expository essay requires the greatest amount of time because the volume is large. It is possible to divide this paper into several categories. Those are interpretation, definition, cause-&-effect, response, and analysis.

  • A basic explanation essay refers to the process of interpreting some process step-by-step (providing detailed instructions). Such assignments answer the “how” questions. The straightforward topics of this sort could be the way The President of the United States is elected; write about the way chocolate factory creates its best candies.
  • A definition essay is the simplest one, but do not come up with a single definition copied from the English dictionary. Plagiarism will result in F. A writer should include both the official definitions (several of them) and personal understanding of the specific word/phrase: define “justice,” “hatred,” or “school bullying” in the essay.
  • The cause-&-effect essay is the one, which proves that things are interrelated in this world. In such essay, a writer should draw a parallel between some subjects/events by specifying the reasons for some things to happen and the consequences. An example of such essay could be the causes & effects of the Civil War in the US.
  • Reflection essay (or personal response essay) is in the realm of subjectivity from one side. A writer still has to explain the main topic of the essay based on the credible evidence and facts. Focus on personal opinion regarding the analyzed piece in such essay.
  • A critical analysis essay is an essay, which goal is to make a writer understand the covered material. A teacher/student chooses a related piece of text (from book chapter to scholarly article) to write, analyze, and interpret the results in own way. The teacher compares the essay to the actual interpretation of work. Go line by line to provide a clear explanation of this type of essay.

Descriptive Essay

It is the answer to the question, “What type of essay describes something?” The descriptive essay is an original essay, which is based on the detailed description and detailed analysis of the chosen literary piece, object, event, etc. An essay writer will deal with adjectives, adverbs, etc. Write many different descriptive words to describe the topic. Analogies, metaphors, similes, allegories, and personifications are the most popular literary tools writers use in descriptive essays. They help to visualize things. English composition and literature teachers assign such essays.

Narrative Essay

The narrative essay reminds of a short story written by the famous author like Ernest Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea.” A writer can talk about the weirdest thing he met in life. Another good idea is to talk about the first love. A narrative essay is all about expressing various things a writer has gone through in his/her life to make the target audience of readers interested.

Compare-&-Contrast Essay

The compare-&-contrast essay belongs to the expository paper category. An essay writer will have to mention differences & similarities between the selected subjects/people/locations/events to let the reader compare and contrast things. Comparing refers to finding similarities while contrasting in an essay is finding differences. This essay helps to understand more than one topic at a time. It is possible to compare/contrast various categories of essays (write about differences & similarities).

Persuasive/Argumentative Essay

The persuasive or argumentative essay is a type of essay where a writer has to insist on the specific point of view regarding the chosen problem. These are 2 different types of essays. A persuasive essay has to convince the reader about the truth of the main argument, thesis; an argumentative essay just must state the thesis and defend it with other related arguments & evidence.

4 Types of Essays: How about Additional Kinds of Papers to Study?

One may argue that more types of essays exist. It is true, but it is possible to have the rest of academic homework essays join one of the main essay groups offered above. Take a look at 4 types of essays that are also popular.

Admission/Scholarship Essay

Out of different types of essays, an admission essay stands out: it serves as a ticket to higher education. After the graduation, students write admission essays to enter colleges. To succeed, a writer has to:

  • Explain why he/she has chosen the specific field of study
  • Tell why he/she needs a degree
  • Reflect personal strengths & weaknesses
  • Share the knowledge about the college of choice
  • Stress what the way he/she can contribute to the college community and society

A close type of essay is a scholarship essay. College students write such essays. The main purpose of a scholarship essay is to persuade the College Board that a young writer deserves a scholarship – financial support from the college. Colleges are eager to pay to the best writers for high achievements. A scholarship essay can make a student wealthy!

A Cultural Identity Essay

Being a mix of cultures, the United States often initiate activities to unite various nations. School & college teachers assign cultural identity essays to let native students understand the international peers better based on their customs and traditions. A cultural identity essay covers many things. The essay may include the information about personal viewpoints, religion, customs, traditions, language, reasons to move to the US, etc. Do not confuse it with a personal essay! Cultural identity does not focus on a single person – write about a group of individuals with an interesting, rich cultural background.

A Process Analysis Essay

A process analysis essay can be included on the list of expository essays. Why is it important? Young writers who master a process analysis essay writing may become excellent technical writers in the future. Both technical instruction and process analysis essay stand for describing a process in a step-by-step manner. “How to…” is the main question to answer in the essay. A writer does not need to fall off the topic explaining the purpose of the process – mention the steps and discuss each of them in details.

An Informative Essay

Among different types of writing, an informative essay is the most common. One may argue that any essay contains certain information. An informative essay writing, unlike other types of essays, should cover the topic with the help of detailed descriptions, special terms, and in-depth analysis supported by the credible evidence. A writer should be a real expert in the chosen subject to come up with a powerful essay.

List of Different Types of Essays

After observing 5 types of essay and the 4 kinds of the essay (bonus), a writer may want to know which categories of academic papers suit best various academic levels. We will look at the middle school high school and college essays. Those are the basic academic levels of essays. MA and Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) prefer writing more serious, time-consuming projects like coursework, thesis proposal, or dissertation.

Types of Essays for Middle School

Use these tips to write various types of essays for middle school:

  1. Choose to write storytelling, descriptive, demonstration, narrative, reflection, and how-to essays to prepare a middle school essay.
  2. Choose a prompt to analyze based on skills, hobbies, and talents.
  3. Present the ways to cook a favorite dish or play a favorite video game based on personal preferences & achievements.
  4. Go into the details when describing clothing, toys, landscapes, people, etc.
  5. Put on the mask of your teacher to understand what he/she wants to learn about students and things that deserve being appreciated with A+.

Types of Essays for High School

Use these tips to write various types of essays for high school:

  1. High school students should focus on writing narrative, expository, compare-&-contrast, cause-&-effect, analysis, and admissions essays (personal statements) because it is time to get ready for college.
  2. Stick to the five-paragraph structure. Write a single introduction, no more than three body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph.
  3. Concern a single topic out of a variety of interrelated ideas.
  4. Try to stay focused; avoid changing the topic while writing.
  5. Start training hard to write a top-quality personal statement & cover letter to apply for the college of your dream. It will allow continuing higher education and building career.

Types of Essays for College

Use these tips to write various types of essays for college:

  1. Brainstorm no matter whether your professor assigns a particular topic, or you are the one to choose an idea. Write down the list of ideas and conduct research to detect the amount of available information.
  2. If the topic is broad, narrow it down to make a concise story.
  3. Discover a creative angle; do not overwhelm the paper with personal opinion, but offer minimum one new approach based on own judgments.
  4. Stay honest in the personal statement – never lie about things you cannot do as the college/university professors will reveal the lies sooner or later.
  5. Revise the essay before submitting it to the admissions officer/teacher.

Essay Types: Summary

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