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Four Main Types of Essays – Quick Intro & Examples

Published by at August 22nd, 2021 , Revised On October 10, 2023

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 categorised 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.
  • 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.

Argumentative Essays

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.

An argumentative essay is the most common type of essay in the academic world. It follows the standard essay structure, which includes an introductionmain body, and a conclusion.

  • The introduction of an argumentative essay introduces the topic, provides background information, presents the thesis statement, and maps out the essay structure.
  • The main body presents the main argument, which is reinforced through evidence and interpretation.
  • The conclusion summarises the essay’s main argument, links back to the thesis statement, and fortifies the significance of the argument.


Argumentative Essay Example Paragraph

Here is an example of a paragraph taken from the main body of an argumentative essay on the effects of distance learning on education.

About Carmen Troy

Avatar for Carmen TroyTroy has been the leading content creator for ResearchProspect since 2017. He loves to write about the different types of data collection and data analysis methods used in research.