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Effectively writing different types of essays has become a necessity for academic success. Essay writing is a common school assignment, a part of standardized tests, and a requirement on college applications. Often on tests, choosing the correct type of essay to write in response to a writing prompt is key to getting the question right. Clearly, students can’t afford to remain confused about types of essays.
There are over a dozen types of essays, so it’s easy to get confused. However, rest assured, the number is actually more manageable. Essentially there are four major types of essays, with the variations making up the remainder.
The writer’s goal is what is used to distinguish between different types of essays. Does the writer want to convince the reader to accept a certain viewpoint, to tell about a personal experience, describe something or explain an issue? The four major types of essays address these purposes:
In a Narrative, this is where the writer tells a story about a real-life experience. While telling a story may sound easy to do, the narrative essay challenges students to think and write about themselves. While writing this type of essay writer should try to involve the reader by making the story as vivid as possible. The fact that narrative essays are usually written in the first person helps engage the reader. “I” sentences give readers a feeling of being part of the story. A well-crafted narrative essay will also build towards drawing a conclusion or making a personal statement.
A relative of the narrative essay, a descriptive essay paints a picture with words. A writer might describe a person, place, object, or even memory of special significance. However, this type of essay is not a description for description’s sake. This type of essay strives to communicate a deeper meaning through the description. In a descriptive essay, the writer should show, not tell, through the use of colorful words and sensory details. The best descriptive essays appeal to the reader’s emotions, with a result that is highly evocative.
This is an informative piece of writing that presents a balanced analysis of a topic. Expository writing encompasses a wide range of essay variations, such as the comparison and contrast essay In an expository essay, the writer explains or defines a topic, using facts, statistics, and examples. The cause and effect essay, and the “how-to” or process essay. Because expository essays are based on facts and not personal feelings. In these types of essays, writers don’t reveal their emotions or write in the first person.
While like an expository essay in its presentation of facts, the goal of the Persuasive essay is to convince the reader to accept the writer’s point of view or recommendation. The writer must build a case using facts and logic, as well as examples, expert opinion, and sound reasoning. The writer should present all sides of the argument but must be able to communicate clearly and without equivocation why a certain position is correct.
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