Main Essay Types

Essay is a short piece of writing on the particular subject, representing the personal writer’s opinion. The paper can include various elements: arguments, real life examples, literary criticism, recollections, political and social manifestations, author’s reflections. Practically all essays are in prose, but there are verse examples too.

It is simple to get lost in the variety of essay examples, so take a closer look at them to have a clear understanding how they should be written.

Type of Essay Purpose Tone
Persuasive Inform Objective
Analysis Analyze Objective
Cause and Effect Show the relation Objective
Reflective Demonstrate personal viewpoint Objective
Definition Discover Objective
Descriptive Present description Objective / Subjective
Expository Inform and explain Objective
Narrative Describe Objective / Subjective
Compare and Contrast Analyze similarities and differences Objective
Informal Communicate Objective / Subjective
Deductive Present logical conclusion Objective
Critical Analysis, interpretation and evaluation Objective
Classification Sort or classify Objective
Evaluation Demonstrate general quality Objective

Persuasive essay (argumentative essay) – the paper aimed not only to prove some point of view, but also persuade the audience it is logical and right. The writer’s objective is to show he/she is right and convince why. There are three main persuasive techniques: appeal to emotions, address to facts and sources of evidence and appeal to logic.

Analysis essay is a type of a paper, the main principle of which is to comprehend the whole, you need to examine the parts. It means that you divide an extended subject of your investigation into smaller parts and consider carefully each of them. In that way you can form your conception about the whole.

Cause and effect essay provides an explanation how one situation leads to another. The writer’s task is to analyze how different conditions, situations or events cause some particular effects and demonstrate a correlation between them.

Reflective essay is a paper that reveals author’s critical thinking skills. It is the expression of his or her personal thoughts, feelings, emotions about different subjects or events. The permanent presence of author’s voice is a crucial thing for a reflective essay.

Definition essay is a piece of writing that explains the meaning of a term, abstract idea or phenomenon and provides an extended description of it. This extra-information is important because a term can have a few of different meanings.

Descriptive essay is a paper that focuses on portraying pictures, people and places in such a vivid manner that a reader can imagine the subject of description easily. The main writer’s aim is to depict, not to narrate.

Expository essay is devoted to explanation something in facts instead of opinions. There can be some pieces of academic writing that explore some process in a comprehensive way, describe an event or analyze a process or, finally, explain some instructions or methodology.

Narrative essay is a type of writing that focuses on telling a story. As a narrator, author tries to grab readers’ attention and involve them to the story. A narrative approach gives the author an opportunity to show all his or her creativity.

Compare and contrast essay provides a comparing at least two elements. There are two main types of compare and contrast essays. The first one focuses on similarities of the chosen things. The second one is build around their differences.

Informal essay is a paper that is devoted to delivering some information to the readers. Its main purpose is to entertain. Depending on a topic, informal essays can be informative, persuasive or argumentative.

Deductive essay is a type of academic writing when you have only a premise but need to draw a valid conclusion and support it with reliable evidence. Deductive essays deal with deductive reasoning. It can develop your logical thinking and capacity to making an analysis.

Critical essay is a paper that requires a profound analysis of a subject and revealing its strong and weak features. That is why the author doesn’t necessary need to criticize. His or her task is to evaluate a subject of analysis and decide whether to criticize it or support.

Classification essay arranges ideas, topics or subjects into constructive categories. To illustrate each of a category it is necessary to provide relevant examples. Classification essay starts with the defining of classification criteria.

Evaluation essay is written to persuade a reader that the author’s opinion is correct. For this type of essay it is crucial to set a criteria for evaluation and provide strong evidentiary material. This will help a reader to form his or her own point of view on a particular subject.