What is essay writing? How to define your particular type of an essay? What is an essay at all? These are crucial questions for a student, in high school or university, who only meets with this genre of writing for the first time. Let us now discuss the meaning and types of essays in more detail.
Let us clarify the meaning of essays before going further. Basically, it is a relatively short structured piece of writing to defend an argument. Usually, one must formulate theses to support with arguments. It is a claim based on knowledge or research. It is usually structured and has:
In the next part, we are going to deal with essay elements more.
Now let us move to the discussion of a structure of an essay. As has been told, it is specifically constructed, and you should follow it to be successful.
All essays start with an introduction. Here one should catch attention, and introduce the topic and the claim in a few sentences. Here you state the thesis or the story which you are going to tell if this is a narrative essay.
Now to the body paragraph where the central part of your essay will be. Here you should state all your arguments, quotes with proper references, your story or any relevant information to support your arguments, to illustrate a point, and any facts or examples that you might find useful in your paper.
Make your paper interesting to read and understandable to your audience. Always keep in mind to whom you are writing all this. Make your arguments and flow of your story logical and interrelated.
Finally, all essays have a conclusion that wraps it all up. In this part, you should summarize your main points and your thesis by restating them in the new words, as follows logically from your arguments. Or it may be the outcome of your story. Do not introduce here anything new, leave your new discoveries for another paper.
Now, let us move to the types of essays. Here is their list, an in the next part we will examine each of them, with examples:
It is probable that you are either new to essays, as you are reading this article, or all you know so far is the academic thesis essays. There is more to it.
Move on to the different essay types and their requirements. You should be able to distinguish between them so that you will not confuse it and write an analytical essay instead of a descriptive one, for example. Let us look at each type of essay separately. You can look up the detailed examples of each of them online.
The argumentative essay is the most common type of essay that you usually meet. It is meant to argue on a controversial topic like a history thesis or political science, or a mun position paper. It has two sides of a story and is structured strictly as described above. You can use research to have the supporting base for your arguments.
A descriptive essay, as its name shows, is meant to describe something. You should describe an object, a person, a place. Anything that needs to be described in words. It should be simple, clear and concise, and employ the 5 human senses. An example would be to explain a piece of artwork. Describe it so that the reader can actually see, touch, hear or smell it. Remember it:
Often you might use an image to help the reader visualize the object you are describing. Make your description lifelike and realistic. Look up any fiction book to see how the classical authors do this. Learn to use the literary descriptive language.
An analytical essay is like a dissection table. It analyses an object and divides it into parts. It explains how something works. And often it examines closely a text, a process or idea for its effectiveness and practical application, for example. That may be used in science.
The exploratory essay is like a map. It does not require to take a standpoint like in persuasion. Another term for it is a research paper. You explore the topic, find sources or data, and tell about your findings. In the intro, you tell about the issue of research and your questions related to it. In the body, give the sources, and how you found them. In conclusion, review your findings and restate your thesis.
The five-paragraph essay is also the one that is most used in the academic world in the argumentative or comparative essays written by the students. It has an introduction, 3 body paragraphs, each for a point, and a conclusion. This well fits into the structure above.
Your compare and contrast essay is intended to make an argumentative comparison between similar and different objects or people. It is often called a comparison essay. That is not a simple classification, and it examines the pros and cons of the compared objects. For example, it can compare the two book authors, ideas or products. It is often used in philosophy, in political science, and in literature.
The definition essay is designed to define a term in more detail than a simple definition, by elaborating on all possible connotations of a concept, it has a thesis and background information to prove it. Look at the term or a concept from all possible sides. It may involve some analytical elements.
The illustration essay is the one that uses evidence or examples to illustrate a point. An analogy, a personal story or a fact can be used to illustrate how new computer software works, for example, or how something can help people.
An informative essay is meant to educate its reader on a topic. It can be a combination of a definition, a comparative and an analytical essay. Any how-to essay is an informative essay in its nature.
The narrative essay actually tells a story. But unlike a short story, it is based on one single motive that is the cause for writing. It has :
The narrative essay has a particular format that is similar to a 5 paragraph essay. That distinguishes it from a short story. Journalists can use it.
The persuasive essay is close to the argumentative, but it is different. It does not examine the two sides and argues its own position. It persuades people to do something, to build a better world. It involves these concepts:
It is often used in the political science, for example, or in journalism. It much resembles a pamphlet and is best employed in politics.
As we see, there are different types of essays, and each of them serves its own purpose. Often they are interrelated and may be a part of another. It is necessary to know all of them to do well if you are assigned to do any of the essay types discussed.
There are universal rules in the essay structure, but the approaches and details of them, their purpose, content, the word choice, and language varies depending on the genre chosen. You must know well how to write, how to approach each of them, make them find their audience, their readers.
And finally, no matter what essay genre you choose, make sure that you do your own work. You can order one, of course, but we all learn better when we try to do something ourselves. Learn the genre, its secrets, look up dictionaries and grammar books. Write your own essay, and it will give you fun and skills that you may later use in your job. Good luck with writing!