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Types of Essays

Get Clear Descriptions, Illustrations and Explanations of the Common Types of Essays

What is an essay? An essay is a short writing that analyzes,  discusses, or describes a certain topic. An essay can discuss personal opinions or report on data. It can also analyze the already available information. The perspective of the essay writer is determined by the instructions given. In research papers, the third person is commonly used. There are many types of essays written today.

When you make the wrong types of essays in response to an essay prompt, you seal your fate of failure. Getting the right expectation of your lecturer is the first step towards being graded well. Dozens types of essays exist but we cannot exhaust all types of essays in college in one article.



Types of Essays


The intention, method and nature of writing an essay distinguish different types of essays. You might want to narrate your own experience, explain details of an issue, describe a situation, or make your reader to form an opinion about an issue in a particular way.


  • Descriptive Essays

Borrowing from the word describe, the essay creates a picture of how something looks. It draws the picture of the thing or the situation in the minds of the reader. Your readers walk are supposed to get the specifics of the thing you are describing. It might be your first day at school or your best essay in college. It could be the setting of your bedroom.

The purpose of writing a descriptive essay is to make others understand a situation even if they have never been in it. The writer should aim at showing but not just telling. This types of essays are closely related to narrative essays. A descriptive essay derives from our senses; what we hear, feel, see, touch, breathe, and taste.


  • Definition Essays

This category of essays tries to give the meaning of a certain term. Your aim is to let your reader understand what something means. You might want to explain to your reader what politics means. The specific term must be attached to a certain meaning. In writing this type of essay, you are expected to go beyond the dictionary meaning.

The reader should understand the reasons behind the definition you have arrived at. Some terms, though similar in spelling, mean different things to different people. Lets take the word morality. The term subjective. The definition of the word depends on who is defining it. When abortion is mentioned, different people take different stances. That does not mean that one group is right when the other is wrong.

It is advisable to illustrate the definition essay using a story. When using a story, you leave the task of inferring the meaning to the reader. This will take the burden of bias on their side. It will not whip emotions.


  • Expository Essays

In this type of essays, you give facts. The writer gives facts, statistics, and examples when defining, explaining or illustrating the topic. The writer researches on the topic and gives the findings. Emotional appeal is not necessary. Tangible qualitative or quantitative data dissects the situation.

The main purpose of the essay is to make your readers to understand how big or small the problem is. You should refer from different studies that addressed the issue before. You are tasked with inferring the possible changes that might happen in future. If you are addressing obesity, do you project increase or decrease of the problem according to the facts available? How effective are the mitigation strategies?


  • Compare and Contrast Essays

Just like the name suggests, you should give the similarities and differences between two situations, issues, concepts, places etc. The essay should have no biases. It is an assessment of a situation. Facts are important. Any time facts come into play, emotions are wiped out. You could discuss the standards of living in different cities. The essay could also talk about distribution of wealth in two countries.

This kind of essay can be divided into two types of writing. You can exclusively compare in the essay. This is known as a comparison essay. You can discuss similarities between two actors in a movie. On the other side, you can contrast your target. You can contrast the data on the level of the quality of education in two States.


  • Cause and Effect Essays

The cause and effect essay is an essay whose purpose is to show the correlation between two situations. It simply explains why and how something happens. It also draws the relationship between what happened and how it was influenced by another situation.

Depending on the nature of the instructions, you can write either a cause essay or an effect essay. A cause essay explains how or why the event happened. If you are discussing the causes of school dropout, you have the liberty to give as many causal reasons as possible. In this case, you will not evaluate the effects.

On the other hand, the effect essay starts from the event and discusses the possible effects of it. If the event is drugs among college students, you will discuss all the outcomes of the vice. The event is specified. You will therefore move towards the possible or documented effects.


  • Narrative Essays

The narrative essay aims at telling a story. This kind of essay uses the first person. The story revolves around a personal experience. Narrative essays are easy because they give the essay writer a good chance to entertain and engage the readers. Mainly, the event being written about could be a life-changer or a day-to-day happening. You can narrate about your college or high school life.

The story should have a conclusion. The reader should get the justification of why things ended in a specific way.


  • Process Essays

A process essay describes how you can do something. It tells the steps to follow when aiming at certain results. It has a stipulated procedure. The instructions are clear and serial. If you want to explain how to make a car, you can start from sourcing the raw materials, forging them in different forms, the assembly, painting, etc.

To a large extent, it starts from a problem and ends up with a complete solution. It could be how to fix a broken pipe. It should create awareness in the mind of the reader. The way you pass the procedure is a manifestation of your expertise in the field.


  • Argumentative Essays

An argumentative essay is an essay that tries to convince the reader to take your standpoint. You use all means to make them swayed to reason as you do. A good argumentative essay is based on debatable issues. The debate in action should be based on issues that have brought divided opinion. Your delivery of information should convince the reader to agree with you.

In this kind of essay, facts, logic, expert opinions, examples and sound judgment should be applied. The argumentative essay writer should always present the two sides of the story before taking side. The facts presented should justify the reason for your stance.

When writing an argumentative essay, you should always avoid being carried away by emotions. Emotions make your readers to be dissuaded from your reasoning. The more objective you become, the more likely you are to influence your readers.


  • Critical Thinking Essays

This type of essay is simply an analysis of another person’s work. You gauge the strengths, weaknesses, the methods applied in composing the work. The best way to present the thing is by finding loopholes, that if sealed, could change the findings of the study. When writing the essay, you should understand the area of study pretty well. You can only use in-depth knowledge and facts to evaluate any work.


  • Division Essays

The division essays are essays that focus on subjects that laymen over-simplifies. The simplification makes the topic to be misunderstood. You therefore divide the broad topic into simple categories and then explain them. This gives the reader more understanding of each division.


  • Classification Essays

You should find categories of things that people create in their daily lives. By defining characteristics of each categories, you should be able to classify things with similar characteristics together. You can classify cars according to their cost, fuel consumption, maintenance costs, usability etc. From that categorization, you will be able to classify cars that are purely for general use and those that fall under the category of luxury.


  • Analysis Essays

When writing an analysis essay, you are breaking down how each constituent part contributes to the well-being of the whole system. It is, however, not a summary of how something works. The essay should describe how and why something works successfully. You can analyze the role that crime performs in the completeness of the society.

The essay should poke holes into the layman’s thinking that the whole system could perform successfully without the constituent components. You can remove each component at a time and assess the success of the whole system. You can therefore outline which combines are important than others.


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