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10 Basic Essay Types


Many students face a number of difficulties when it comes to crafting an essay. The main problem lies in the fact that they have vague understanding of how it should look like and what it should include. In an essay, you need to form your own opinion about the subject and convey a certain message to the readers, which is the purpose of writing. You have to look at the topic from different perspectives before you arrive at any conclusions. These are some general guidelines that will help you jump-start your process of writing. The rest depends on the type of essay you’re assigned with. Take a look at 10 basic types of essay writing that are common in academia:

1. Descriptive Essay

This type of essay focuses on describing the details and features of an object. Your task can be to describe the way it looks, smells, acts, or works. In a descriptive essay, every detail is meaningful.


2. Definition Essay

The point of this type of essay is to define the subject by delving into its nuts and bolts. Your explanation should go beyond the typical definition of most dictionaries. You may indicate object’s origin, nature, and specific peculiarities, how people perceive it, associations that it triggers, etc.

3. Compare & Contrast Essay

In this type of essay, you need to point out the differences and similarities between two personalities, objects, places, events, etc. After reading your essay, the reader should have clear understanding of what these two things have in common and what makes them different.

4. Cause & Effect Essay

Cause and effect essays explore the connection between the causes and outcomes of an event, issue, phenomenon, etc. You need to trace the sequence of events and find out what factor leads to this or that result.

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5. Narrative Essay

In this type of essay, your main task is to recount a memorable story from your hands-on experience. Your story may revolve around your trip to a lake, family outing, first visit to a foreign country, weekend get-together, etc. You are free to infuse your judgment and personal remarks into the story, which is mainly written in the first person.

6. Process Essay

Although it somewhat reminds a cause and effect essay, you still need to dig deeper and understand the very essence of the subject and the way it works. The presentation of the material in the process essay should be similar to a manual where step-by-step instructions to fulfill something are given. Also, it would be better if you perform the given process yourself to have a clearer insight into its nature before you kick off writing.

7. Argumentative Essay

The ultimate purpose of an argumentative essay is to convince the reader to accept the author’s position on the subject. It is not as simple as it seems, as you need to be able to manipulate your reader’s thoughts and to send a subliminal message to the subconscious mind in order to change their attitude to something.

In this type of essay, you need to apply firm language and operate factual data as well as to provide accurate illustrations to make your arguments appear plausible and extremely convincing. Avoid uncertainty and ambiguity if you want your essay to have a profound effect on the target audience. Be prepared to refute any counterarguments and negate the critics of your opinion.

8. Critical Essay

This type of essays deals with weak and strong points of a certain text or other media forms. You analyze, assess, and interpret it to let the reader know what you think is good and bad about it. Additionally, you put forward a central claim (your argument) and try to reinforce it by supporting evidence from a book, movie, or whatever you’re examining.

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9. Expository Essay

In an expository essay, you have to enlighten the reader about a certain topic based on the research and collected factual data. In such an essay, there is no place for your own point of view. You need to incorporate logical and straightforward explanations to facilitate comprehension.

10. Persuasive Essay

To master persuasive writing, you need to be a forceful person. Your task is to persuade the readers to adopt your point of view as the only proper option. A persuasive essay is written in firm language that makes a powerful impression. When writing it, you need to showcase your expertise in the topic and seem confident about the things you write.

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