4 Common Types of Essays you (really) Need to Know
Tamanna Patel, Knowledge Ambassador & Client Support (Asia)
May 14, 2018 7:11:00 AM
Yes, the idea of writing an essay sounds dull and boring to many people (and sometimes even yours truly) but if you master the skills needed to write a truly great essay, such as analysing data and information, persuasion, and expressing yourself concisely, while at school they’ll serve you for a lifetime. So bookmark this page and come back to it whenever you need a refresher!
A good place to start thinking about essays is to better understand the types of essays that most of your assignments in high-school, and college or university will fit into. The following are the four main categories of essays that are generally the norm in academia (thank you, Purdue Online Writing Lab):
Most of the essays you will ever have to write in your life will fall loosely under these four categories.
The Expository Essay
These are probably the most common types of essays you will come across and are a common format of essay required in exams. If you’re writing an expository essay you will find yourself digging into a theme or topic and then coming up with an idea, you’ll also be analysing evidence, and then structuring an "exposition" (hence the name) about the idea.
- Academic Essay;
- Persuasive Speech; and
- Five-Paragraph Essay.
The templates include the structures required for a typical expository essay which include an introduction where your thesis statement lives, body paragraphs each of which address a singular point to support your thesis statement, and a conclusion which summarises your points and supports your original idea. This might sound a little rigid but once you get a hang of how to structure your essays well, you can begin to add a dash of creativity to your writing.
The Descriptive Essay
As the name suggests, this essay is all about the language - adjectives, similes, and metaphors. These kinds of essays are about describing as vividly as possible anything you are asked to write about. An example assignment would be to write an essay about your most recent holiday experience. This would be an ideal time to use a descriptive essay.
But structure here, is just as important as any other essay because you are still in charge of leading the reader into, through and then back out of your world of description without waffling on too much. So, similar to an expository essay, you will require an introduction, body, and a conclusion.
But what makes it different? A descriptive essay is more like a creative writing assignment where you describe something in detail. Description may be a part of the other types of essays, but generally, they need a little bit more - an argument - while a descriptive essay merely describes something in detail and the thing being described is the central focus, rather than an argument about something.
The Narrative Essay
Again, as the title suggests, a narrative essay is a more personal piece of writing with your point of view being made clear for your reader. These essays can be stories or sometimes called "creative non-fiction." The use of the first person pronoun ‘I’ is not uncommon in these essays.
Narrative essays also require a clear structure introduction, body, and conclusion populated with concise language. We are working on developing some custom templates for narrative writing, where you can clearly build up the suspense in your introduction, bring your reader to the crux or climax of the story in your body, and then bring them back down again in the conclusion.
We have one narrative essay template in EssayJack, Short Narrative, which you can use to practice getting the flow of a good story.
Narrative essays are often the closest thing to pieces of journalism. If you master the narrative essay, then you are likely well on your way to being a successful journalist.
These essays are similar to expository essays but are usually a lot more in-depth with well-researched qualitative and quantitative data (found via primary or secondary sources) to back up the points you want to present. In most cases, an essay like this will also require you to address main points which may oppose your stand on an issue or topic.
THESE ARE BY FAR THE MOST COMMON ESSAYS YOU WILL FIND YOURSELF ASKED TO WRITE. They may be long; they may be short, but they all try to persuade the reader about the soundness of your argument about a given topic.
The general structure remains the same as an expository essay with the exception of counterpoints which are often included to show the other side of an argument. At EssayJack, we have one master template to help you write or practice any argumentative essay: Academic Essay: Academic Essay. This master template can be used for short argumentative essays, long argumentative essays, complicated argumentative essays, and straightforward ones. It has additional sections to add more information, such as an extended background or an approach/methods section.
Other templates that EssayJack offers that can help you with argumentative essays include:
- Persuasive Speech;
- Five-Paragraph Essay; and
- Book Review.
The GCSE (General Certification of Secondary Education) is a secondary school assessment curricula widely used in the UK and UK-compliant educational contexts. One of the A-Level English requirements in this program is the Language Investigation. EssayJack offers two custom templates made specifically for students working on their language investigation project.
Essays for the Sciences and Business
Here, at EssayJack, we not only want you to kick-some-essay-writing-butt in your English classes, but we also want to give you the space to learn how to structure your thoughts on any subject matter. To do that we have also included templates for lab reports and business proposals so even students in the sciences and business fields are able to access it as a tool to guide and aid in the process of writing.
We offer two publicly available templates outside of the main Humanities and Liberal Arts subjects that we are more familiar with:
- Lab Report Abstract; and
- Basic Business Proposal.
Of course, if you use EssayJack in a class setting, your teachers or professors can create all kinds of custom templates just for you. For example, there are two different Nursing Faculties in Canada that use EssayJack for nursing courses. The instructors have set up custom templates for their students so that the nurses-in-training can focus on learning how to save lives rather than spending too much time learning how to write; we do that heavy lifting for them! And by popular request from educators and students we've also added the following additional templates to our EssayJack offerings: TED Talk Speech & Compare and Contrast Essay.
So now you have all the information that you ever wanted (or didn't know you wanted) about essays!
If you want to write your essay with confidence, make sure you get better grades, and really learn the structure of the different types of essays to make your academic life easier, then go ahead and sign up for a free trial with EssayJack and start using our templates today!