Essay Types and Related Questions

There are many different types of essays, and each one serves a different purpose. The most widely used and known are the five-paragraph essay, the persuasive essay, the argumentative essay, the narrative essay, and the expository essay. Each type has its own unique structure and purpose.

Below are questions that we answer in our guides, divided by essay type.

Analytical

At the college level, the analytical style of writing is commonly employed. It entails weighing what you have studied against additional evidence. Analytical writing demonstrates the cognitive processes that led you to a certain finding and examines the ramifications of that result. Analytical writing is frequently preceded by a brief explanation and focuses on addressing questions such as “Why?” “How?” and “So what?”

Argumentative

In argumentative writing, you’ll usually be expected to take a stand on a topic or problem, then explain and defend your stance with evidence from reputable and relevant sources.

Dialectic

Dialectic writing, a form of argumentative discourse, is an intellectual exploration that engages opposing viewpoints in order to find a resolution, harmony, or new perspective. It involves three critical stages: presenting an argument (thesis), introducing a counter-argument (antithesis), and finally reconciling these opposing views into a thoughtful resolution (synthesis).

Commentary

Giving your viewpoint, interpretation, insight, analysis, explanation, personal response, appraisal, or thought regarding a specific aspect is what commentary entails.

Expository

Expository writing is a form of writing that is used to explain, describe, or inform. This type of writing can be used in essays, research papers, and other types of academic work. In order to produce an effective expository essay or paper, it is important to understand the different elements that are involved in the process. By understanding these components, you can create a well-organized and informative piece of writing.

Cause and Effect

Cause and effect writing involves determining the direct relationship between phenomena in terms of the ones that cause something and the ones that come out as a result of something. Essentially, you have to either describe multiple effects of one cause or establish multiple causes for a single effect.

Classification and Division

Classification and division writing is a type of expository writing in which the writer must use evidence to support their analysis of different kinds/categories of something. Classification and division essays are often found in areas such as history, literature, science, etc., where students are expected to show that they can effectively analyze one part of something or divide a broad concept into many different categories and then understand and explain how each category relates to the whole.

Compare and Contrast

As a student, you’ll come across many types of tasks, each with its own criteria. Comparison and contrast writing is among the most prevalent. You will need to focus on highlighting how specific items or concepts—generally a pair—are alike (comparing) and/or distinct from (contrasting).

Definition

Definition writing, as the name suggests, involves providing a clear, detailed explanation of a particular term or concept. This style of writing is commonly used in academic and professional settings to help readers understand complex, abstract, or specialized terms.

Descriptive

Descriptive writing is primarily used to describe people, places, and things in such a manner that the reader forms a vivid picture. Teaching students how to write descriptively will make their style more interesting and engaging.

Exemplification

Exemplification writing is primarily used to provide concrete examples and evidence in such a manner that the reader gains a clear understanding of a generalization or claim. Teaching students how to write exemplification essays will make their style more convincing and persuasive. By using specific examples and evidence, students can effectively support their arguments and engage the reader in a meaningful way.

Illustrative

Illustrative writing serves the purpose of illuminating concepts and ideas for readers through the use of vivid examples and specific scenarios. Teaching students the craft of illustrative writing bolsters their ability to make abstract ideas tangible and relatable. With the strategic use of concrete instances and illustrative details, students can substantiate their viewpoints effectively, bringing their readers on an engaging intellectual journey.

Informative

Informative writing aims to inform or educate (or both) the reader about a certain topic without imposing any personal views and opinions. You can choose several approaches that determine what essay type you will be using: definition, process, cause-effect, compare-contrast, or analysis.

Problem and Solution

Problem-solution writing is a type of expository writing that focuses on identifying a problem or issue, proposing solutions to address it, and persuading the audience to take action. This type of writing can be used in various contexts, such as academic, professional, or personal, and can be applied to a wide range of topics and issues.

Process

Process writing is a method of essay writing that provides step-by-step instructions or guidance on how to accomplish a specific task or how something functions. It involves breaking down complex procedures into simpler, understandable stages, ensuring readers can follow along and understand the process at hand.

Narrative

Narration is telling a story. A narrative essay is a piece of writing that features a main character facing a challenge or engaging in an entertaining, meaningful, or simply interesting activity.

Persuasive

A persuasive essay is a well-rounded academic piece that tries to convince the reader of a certain way of thinking. So we can also define a persuasive essay as a text in which we try as hard as possible to establish that our opinion on a particular topic is right.

Opinion

Opinion writing is a dynamic form of expression that blends personal perspective with factual evidence to persuade and engage readers. It is a powerful educational tool, sharpening critical thinking and articulation skills, as it challenges writers to construct and defend their viewpoints while considering and countering alternative arguments.

Reflective

Reflective writing is analytical in nature. It describes an actual or imagined scene, event, experience, or interaction. The writer adds a personal reflection on what the topic means in his or her life. This is why reflection implies more than just a story or description. The writer revisits the subject with more detail and emotions to explore how it changed them, what could have been done differently, and what they might do in the future should something similar occur.

Synthesis

Combining is what synthesizing is all about. Instead of describing each source’s important points one by one, you combine the concepts and facts of several sources to make a larger statement.

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