Dozens of various types of essays can often make student’s head dizzy with confusion. However, essentially it all boils down to four main types, each following its own set of basic rules. Mastering rules for each type will help you immensely on the way to academic success.
An expository essay involves investigating and presenting an idea, and supporting the presentation with an argument and evidence. It is an informative piece of writing that presents a balanced analysis of a topic. Expository essays are usually written through comparison and contrast, definition, example, and the analysis of cause and effect. There is a specific structure that expository essays should follow:
• Begin with a short and clear thesis statement.
• Provide proof to back up your thesis statement in the main body of the text.
• Transitions between paragraphs should follow a logical path.
• Summarize everything in the conclusion.
In this type of essay, you are expected to describe something. This type of essay allows for much more creative freedom as the main idea is to paint an image in the reader’s mind.
Some tips to help you with this kind of essay are:
• Brainstorm before you put fingers to keyboard.
• Get into details to paint a more vivid picture in your reader’s mind.
• Refer to more than one sense: use not just visual but also auditory, gustatory, olfactory and tactile impressions.
• Try to explain in detail how you feel about the thing described.
A narrative essay usually involves the telling of a story. There are two common types of narrative essays – short stories and book reports. No matter what type of narrative essay you’re writing, you should follow some basic guidelines:
• Your story should have all the main elements: characters, plot, setting, etc.
• A book report is meant to be an informative narrative about the book and not a retelling of the entire book.
• Even narrative essays should have a point. Try building towards a conclusion or making a personal statement.
• Choose a point of view for your essay and stick with it. Narrative essays are usually written in the first person, from the standpoint of the writer.
This type of essay will be similar to an expository essay in that you will be exploring a topic and collecting and evaluating evidence. However, unlike an expository essay, you will be taking a stance for or against an argument or an idea. The goal of the persuasive essay is to use logic, evidence and argument to convince the reader to accept your point of view.
The format of the persuasive essay is like the expository essay: it too consists of introduction including the thesis statement, the main body of the text presenting arguments and evidence and a concluding paragraph. In addition, a persuasive essay will also include your opinion regarding the given topic. You should present all sides of the argument, but must be able to convey clearly and without equivocation why you think a certain position is better than the other.