An essay is the most common academic assignment at college and university. It presents an argument and persuades the readers to believe in the rightness of the author’s point of view. While there are many types of essays, they can be broadly categorized into the following four main types:
Argumentative essays and expository essays present arguments to convince the readers of the author’s position. In narrative essays and descriptive essays, you can use informal language and imagination to engage the readers.
At high school, college, and university, argumentative essays are the most widely recognized kind of essay.
|Type of essay||Assessment criteria||Example prompt|
Forming opinions based on research
Presents evidence to support the argument
|Has distance learning had a positive or negative impact on education?|
Use creative language
Explaining sensual details
|Describe how the conquest of Mecca led to the Golden Islamic Age.|
Building an engaging narrative
Use creative language
|Explain why you have chosen to apply to the University College of London.|
|Descriptive||Providing clear and concise information about the topic||Describe your first visit to the dentist.|
Another important essay type from the academic perspective is the textual analysis essay, which tests students’ reading and analysis skills.
In an argumentative essay, you present an argument and back it with supporting evidence. An argumentative essay requires the author to take a clear position on the topic and persuade the readers to agree to the author’s opinion, analysis, and interpretation. The thesis statement provides the main argument of an argumentative essay.
Argumentative essays help to evaluate your ability to conduct independent research and form well-informed opinions on the issue. The inclusion of the supporting evidence adds weight to your argument.
Here is an example of a paragraph taken from the main body of an argumentative essay on the effects of distance learning on education.
An expository essay aims to provide clear and concise information on a given topic. You cannot include your personal opinions in an expository essay.
In an expository essay, the author must present a well-informed and balanced overview of the issue without relying on personal opinions. Like argumentative essays, expository essays are also a popular type of academic assignment at college and university.
An expository essay begins with an introduction paragraph that states the topic and provides background information. The body of an expository essay presents evidence through a balance approached without introducing personal opinions and analysis. The conclusion recapitulates the information presented in the essay.
The following paragraph was taken from the main body of an expository essay, “The Conquest of Mecca by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his companions.
Narrative essays are all about telling a creative and engaging story. The story a narrative essay tells typically comes from the author’s personal experiences, but it can also be purely fiction-based.
In a narrative essay, you will need to follow an appropriate structure to keep the readers hooked. While argumentative essays use formal academic language, narrative essays are more flexible as they allow creativity and imagination.
A personal statement, a part of a college or university application, is somewhat similar to a narrative essay as it also provides an account of an event or experience.
A narrative essay has a flexible structure, but it should begin with introducing the narrative. The main body tells the story intriguingly and logically. The conclusion of a narrative essay includes brief statements of the main points raised earlier in the main body.
The following narrative essay example will help you learn how to write a first-class narrative essay. The topic of this example narrative essay is “Explain why you chose to apply to the University College of London.”
The purpose of a descriptive essay is to provide an unbiased and detailed description of an object, place, feeling, situation, person, or thing. A descriptive essay tests your observation and creative writing skills.
While a narrative essay allows for a loose structure, a descriptive essay should be focused and to the point. Make use of striking words and phrases to paint an unforgettable picture of what you describe in the essay.
A descriptive essay begins with an introduction that introduces the object, place, thing, person, or event you aim to describe. However, like the narrative essay, its structure is flexible. What makes your descriptive essay stand out is your language and choice of words.
The following descriptive essay paragraph example from the essay “My first visit to the dentist” can improve your descriptive essay writing skills.
Textual analysis essay enables teachers to evaluate students ability to read and critically analyze information. While other types of essays also test your reading and analysis skills, a textual analysis essay additionally gauges your ability to derive meaningful information by critically analyzing a text.
In a literary analysis essay, you carefully read a piece of literature such as a poem, book, or novel to come up with meaningful themes. Analyse the author’s choice of words and phrases to present an in-depth analysis of the text.
Find characters, themes, symbols, and settings of significance in the piece of literature you are supposed to read and present a comprehensive analysis of the text to decode the author’s message for your audience.
The literary analysis essay follows the standard essay structure. It includes an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
The introduction paragraph states the topic, provides background information, and present the thesis statement. The main body uses quotations from the original text and involves evidence-based analysis. It ends with a conclusion to emphasize how the approach helped to expose the information.
A rhetorical analysis essay explores the efficacy of the rhetorical devices used in a political speech, cartoon content, another essay, or any other type of persuasive text.
Rather than proving the author of the text right or wrong, a rhetorical essay looks at how they constructed the argument.
A rhetorical essay also starts with an introduction to present the text, background information, and thesis statement. The body analyses the original text in-depth, and the conclusion links the argument to the broader concerns.