Types Of Essay

Definition of Types of Essay

An essay is a short academic composition. The word “essay” is derived from a French word “essai” or “essayer,” which mean “trail.” In composition, however, an essay is a piece of non-fiction writing that talks or discusses a specific topic. Presently, essay is part of every degree program.

Each subject has specific requirements for the essays to be written. Some subjects need longer essays, while others need shorter ones, such as a five-paragraph essay. In composition, the start is made from a five-paragraph essay. Based on the requirements, there are seventeen types of essays.

Types of Essay

  1. Definition Essay
    As the name suggests, a definition type of essay defines different things, ideas, and perceptions.
  2. Narrative Essay
    A narrative essay is a narration like a short story. It is, however, different from a short story in that it is written in an essay format.
  3. Descriptive Essay
    A descriptive essay describes something to make readers feel, smell, see, taste, or hear what is described.
  4. Expository Essay
    An expository essay exposes things in detail to make readers understand without any complications.
  5. Persuasive Essay
    A persuasive essay is meant to convince the target audience to do something or not do something.
  6. Argumentative Essay
    An argumentative essay is meant to present arguments in the favor of something. It has an additional fourth body paragraph that is meant to present opposite arguments.
  7. Analytical Essay
    An analytical essay analyzes something, such as in literature an analytical essay analyzes a piece of literature from different angles.
  8. Comparison and Contrast Essay
    A comparison and contrast essay makes either a comparison, a contrast, or both between two different or similar things.
  9. Cause and Effect Essay
    A cause and effect essay makes readers understand the cause of things, and their effects on other things.
  10. Critical Essay
    A critical essay is written on literary pieces to evaluate them on the basis of their merits or demerits.
  11. Process Essay
    A process essay outlines a process of making or breaking or doing something that readers understand fully and are able to do it after reading it.
  12. Synthesis Essay
    A synthesis essay means to synthesize different ideas to make a judgement about their merit and demerits.
  13. Explicatory Essay
    An explicatory essay is meant to explain a piece of literature. It is often written about poems, short stories, and novels.
  14. Rhetorical Analysis Essay
    A rhetorical analysis essay evaluates a speech or a piece of rhetoric on the basis of rhetorical strategies and devices used in it.
  15. Review Essay
    A review essay discusses the merits and demerits of a book and evaluates it through a review.
  16. Simple Essay
    A simple essay is just a five-paragraph essay that is written on any topic after it is specified.
  17. Research Essay
    A research essay revolves around a research question that is meant to answer some specific question through a research of the relevant literature.

Format of an Essay

Generally, a simple a five-paragraph has five paragraphs including an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. An argumentative essay, however, has an additional paragraph which presents counter argument or opposing arguments in the same sequence. However, at the end of this paragraph, both the arguments are weighed in the favor of stronger arguments presented earlier in three body paragraphs.

The format of an argumentative essay is given below:

A. Introduction
i.  Hookii.  Background Informationiii. Thesis Statement
B. Body Paragraph
i. Topic Sentenceii. Explanation/Exampleiii. Supporting Detailsiv. Transition Sentence
C. Counter Argument
i. Topic Sentenceii. Explanation/Exampleiii. Supporting Detailsiv. Comparison of Body Paragraph Arguments
D. Conclusion
i. Rephrasing Thesis Statementii. Summary of Pointsiii. Concluding Remarks

Function of Types of Essay

An essay is a specific discussion or debate on a topic from a specific point of view. A student discusses the topic from his own specific angle. Readers not only get a glimpse of what the other aspect of the topic is, they also come to know about the tone and voice of the student writers to decide whether he has achieved a certain level of capability in writing. In literary essays, a writer becomes discusses the influence that literary piece has upon the readers about a certain point of view. Essays are also useful in winning public approval about certain political ideas.

You will be asked to write many different types of assignments during your program, but four of the most common types of essays are described below.To receive similar information via a video, please view "Four types of academic writing" (4:31), which is a section of the "Introduction to Academic Writing" video (also available via Academic Writing). If you are unsure of the type of paper you're expected to write, please check with your instructor.

Personal or reflective essay

This paper asks you to write about your thoughts and experiences. Usually, a personal reflective paper is less formal than a standard research paper, and uses the first person voice. Depending on the assignment, you may be asked to reflect on a reading, discuss a personal experience, apply a theory to a real-life example, or some other focus that asks you to think about and present your  thoughts and experiences. For more information on this type of writing, please see Reflective Writing.

Expository essay

If your paper serves to inform or introduce your reader to a subject, you're writing an expository paper. Think of the expository paper being one that explains things to your reader. In the process of explaining the subject to your reader, you have the opportunity to highlight how much you know about the topic. The expository essay is different from an argumentative essay because the expository essay doesn't take a stance on a position. For example, an expository essay might present an overview of the differing views on what should be done to slow the rate of climate change, whereas an argumentative essay will choose and defend which approach is the most appropriate.

Argumentative or persuasive essay

If you’ve ever tried to convince someone of something, you’re already familiar with the process of making an argument. In terms of academic writing, an argumentative paper strives to convince a reader of a position or stance by using statements to establish a position, and then supporting the statements with research evidence. For example, if I wrote a paper to try to convince you why Royal Roads University has the most beautiful campus of any university in Canada, that would be an argumentative paper because I have presented the argument (RRU has the most beautiful campus of any university in Canada), and then my responsibility as the author is to either convince you of my argument, or at least show you why I believe my statement is true. For more information, please see the relevant resources in Academic Writing.  For more information on creating solid arguments, please refer to Building an argument.

Analytical or compare and contrast essay

Analytical papers, as the name suggests, highlight your critical examination or analysis of a topic in order to interpret the strengths and weaknesses of a debate. The most common approach to writing an analytical essay is to use a compare and contrast format. For example, if you are asked to analyse two models, you would look at each author’s claims, the evidence they use to support the model, consider the assumptions, and then demonstrate how the models are similar and different. For more information, please see the relevant resources in Academic Writing. For more information on how to demonstrate your critical thinking on a topic, please see Critical thinking.

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