Academic Learning Hints: 4 Main Types Of Essay Writing


There are 4 main types of essays each of which has a different goal for the writer.

  1. The Persuasive Essay.
    • - The main focus of this essay is to convince the reader. You may need to convince the reader that what you have written is the point of view that they need to accept (remember its acceptance not a demand that they take on your point of view).
    • - As a writer you must write in a way that the reader feels illuminated by your point of view. In order to gain their trust and acceptance you must add facts based on sound research and theories. If you base your essay on feelings and emotions alone you will not sound very convincing.
    • - Both sides of the argument need to be presented logically. To allow the reader to make up their own mind, but preferably embracing your point of view.
  2. The Factual (or Expository) Essay
    • - This type of essay is all about facts. The writer does not display any personal feelings. It is always written in the third person.
    • - The essay should have a logical and balanced progression. Essentially some writers think that this type of easy is the easiest to write, but this type of essay requires different skills than the narrative or descriptive essays.
    • - The type of skills needed for this types of essay lend themselves to report writing; comparing and contrasting; and basically ‘how to’ type of essays.
  3. Narrative Essays: Telling a Story
    • - This is usually a story about a real life experience.
    • - This is not an easy option as the writer really needs to make the story interesting for the reader, one of the best tactics to involve the reader is by writing in the first person, as it helps the reader engage with the story.
    • - Just like the Expository Essay, the Narrative essay uses different skills. It is generally though that it takes a very accomplished writer to shine at both types of writing.
  4. Descriptive Essays
    • - These types of essays are regarded as painting a picture with words, using colorful and sensory details.
    • - Any description (person, place or inanimate object), is not just described on its own, it is usually part of a something bigger.
    • - The writer seeks to appeal to the readers sense of emotion often encouraging the reader to seek a deeper meaning to the essay.

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