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8 Different Types of Essays

July 07, 2015 - Posted to Writing

Content 8 different types of essay

Even though essays can be written about millions of different subjects, there are actually only 8 different types of essays. As a college student, it is a good thing if you are familiar with each of these essay types, and the rules and guidelines for writing essays in each of these 8 categories. In many cases, your instructors won’t take time to explain this. They will just assume that you already know. For your reference, our company has drafted a brief guide to each kind of essay.

Compare and Contrast Essay Type

There are actually three subtypes within this essay type. These are, the compare and contrast essay, the contrast essay, and the comparison essay. In a compare and contrast essay, you will go over both the similarities and the differences between two things. In a contrast essay, you focus solely on the differences. Finally, in a comparison essay, you only write about the similarities. When you work on a compare and contrast essay the two items that you compare and/or contrast should be related in some way. You would not, for example, compare a box with a tree, but you could compare a box and a crate.

Descriptive Essays

Just like the name implies, this is an essay where you describe something. Your topic could be a person, an object, or even a description. When you write a descriptive essay it is important to think of the five sense, and to use words and phrases that will evoke sense memory in your users. Another thing to keep in mind is using “show me” writing instead of “tell me” writing. For example, if you want the reader to know that something smells bad, don’t write “it smells very bad”, write “the stench was so powerful that it makes one’s eyes water”. Finally, it is also a good idea to use similes and metaphors in descriptive essays.

Definition Essays

A definition essay is a writers exploration of a complex word or phrase. You would not write a definition essay on a word or phrase that has a simple meaning or a meaning that is largely agreed on. Instead, you would write about a word or phrase that might mean different things to different people, or that represent more complex concepts. Some topics might be the meaning of integrity, the definition of a hero, or the meaning of friendship.

Persuasive/Argumentative Essays

Some say that an argumentative essay is meant to be more forceful and opinionated than a persuasive essay. In reality, a persuasive essay and an argumentative essay are the same thing. When writing an argumentative essay, you will express your opinion on an issue in the introductory paragraph. Then, in the body of the essay, you will attempt to persuade your readers to agree with you. You can rely on emotional appeal, statistics and data, or anecdotal evidence to support your opinion.

Cause and Effect Essays

This is the second of the two types of essay formats that have subtypes. You can write an essay focusing solely on what caused an event to happen, solely on the effects of an event, or on both the causes of an event and the effects of that event. It is very important to keep your essay focused on a single event and The causes and/or effects related to that event. Many students make the mistake of trying to discuss several related events and the various causes and effects.

Narrative Essays

A narrative essay is the writer’s account of an experience that they have had. The topic can be an extremely exciting event, a terrifying experience, or a simple day to day event. In many cases, narrative essays are written with a very conversational tone. It is the only type of essay in which it is nearly always appropriate to use the first person point of view in your writing.

Process Essay

When you write a process essay, you are explaining to your audience, how to complete a task. It is called a process essay, because you are going through each step in a process and explaining what must be down to finish that step. One very simple example of a process essay would be a recipe. The first step would be gathering the ingredients and utensils. The middle steps would be preparing the dish and cooking it. The final step would be garnishing and serving the dish.

Critical Essay

This is an analysis of another person’s work. A critical essay may be written about a painting, a film, a book, another essay, a meal in a restaurant, or even a video game. As the writer, you will go over the strengths and weaknesses that you found, elements that you found especially compelling, and then ultimately you will give your overall impression. Since a critical essay is frequently about a personal experience and is an expression of opinion, it is usually okay to use the first person.

Hopefully this rundown of the types of college essays has been informative. Please feel free to bookmark this page. Remember to visit for more useful writing content.

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