Whether you are a high school student, a college graduate, or a professional writer, it is essential to understand how to write various types of essays. Also, depending on the objective, be it a test, college application, or writing a research paper, selecting and writing the right type of essay may considerably boost your chances of success.

Even a good piece of content may fail to convey the idea if the writer does not include important elements. For this reason, you need to differentiate different types of writing styles and formats to address your writing.

There are several types of essays that guide writers to streamline their work into a clear, focused, and well-organized piece. Here, we will discuss what are essays and the most common types.

What are Essays?

Essays are long-form writing assignments that provide information to the reader, share the writer’s views on a matter, dispute a thesis statement, or convince the reader about a particular topic. They are written to develop a certain idea or support an argument.

However, it is vital to know which type of essay to use to deliver your message to readers. When you choose the type of essay relevant to the topic, your writing is more tailored and better organized for the readers.

So, before you write, consider what your goal is and then select the essay type based on what you want to accomplish. The essay formatting requirements also vary, it can be a standard 5-paragraph or a lengthy piece of work. Also, depending on the purpose of writing, the tone of the essay can be formal or informal.

Major Types of Essays

Distinguishing between different types of essays is a matter of determining the writer’s goal. Do you want to tell the readers about a personal experience, explain an issue, describe something, or convince the readers to accept your viewpoint? There are 10 major types of essays that address these purposes.

Narrative Essay 

A narrative essay tells a story and is generally the personal type of essay created to share a meaningful experience. This essay type explored different challenges a write may have gone through, and it is what makes it so engaging.

In a narrative essay, you as a writer navigate the readers through a story without proving any point. However, the personal narrative must include an aspect of moral so that readers can take away some useful insights.

By writing a narrative essay, the writer learns how to apply a creative approach to express their emotions and feelings. A narrative essay is informative, written in the first person, shares a real personal experience, is conversational, and introduces people and events in sequential order.

Descriptive Essay

A descriptive essay provides a detailed description of your subject matter. It may be a person, place, thing, or event. Descriptive essay, like narrative essay, offers you a more creative approach to writing without limiting your imagination. However, when writing a descriptive essay, you must only discuss the subject.

Usually, a descriptive essay has an informal type of writing that aims to showcase a subject, creates an impression in the reader’s mind through vivid details, uses an expression that appeals to all readers, and sentimentally describes issues.

When writing a descriptive essay, you are free to creatively describe the object in the most unusual way. But it should include a brief introduction, a detailed description, and a summary offering insight to the readers.

Expository Essay 

The expository essay is a concentrated piece of writing that neutrally explains something. The main purpose of an expository essay is to analyze a topic without making opinions. It demonstrates the writer’s knowledge or expertise in a certain area and requires the writer to explain complicated information in a simple and easy-to-understand approach.

The expository essay offers an analysis based on data, therefore, when you write this type of essay, use a neutral tone, and introduce ideas in a reasonable order. The most common characteristic of an expository essay includes conveying information accurately, being specific, following the sequence of events, and informing the reader without describing any subjective opinions.

The structure of the expository essay has an introduction with a thesis statement presenting background information, body paragraphs explaining the facts, and a conclusion that sums up the main points.

Persuasive Essay 

A persuasive essay also known as an argumentative essay is a type of essay that persuades the reader to adopt an opinion or take a stance on an issue. In support of an argument or cause, a persuasive essay must include supporting evidence and facts to back up the statement and connect with the readers.

A persuasive essay tests your ability to research and present your own views on the topic. In addition to this, it is important to refer to credible sources, or the reader will doubt the argument presented in the essay.

To establish a steady stance by the reader, you need to write a persuasive essay with certain characteristics in mind. These include a convincing tone of voice, providing accurate information, focusing on facts and statistics, conveying the information from a reader’s perspective, and having a debatable topic that prompts discussion. The structure of this essay includes an introduction with a strong statement, a body part with arguments and supporting evidence, and a conclusion to sum up the argument.

Comparison and Contrast Essay 

The comparison and contrast essay discusses two subjects and details the similarities and differences. The essay includes an introduction, a paragraph to explain the subject’s similarities, another paragraph to discuss the differences, and a conclusion. To write this type of essay the writers must prepare thoroughly and understand what information to include.

The writer must write a thesis statement, make a comparison between the decided subject and arrange them consecutively and reach a conclusion.

Cause and Effect Essay 

The cause and effect essay explains why things are the way they are, how did they happen, and what will happen next. When writing this type of essay, the writer should create a logical relation between the two sets of events and explain what features of the event created the subsequent incidents.

There are two ways to write this type of essay. First, you can connect cause and effect together, and second, cause and effect can be written separately. The essay is somewhat like an expository essay and should state facts after you have thoroughly read about the topic and narrowed down all the possible causes and effects of a particular event.

Analytical Essay 

An analytical essay is a type of essay where the writer analyzes a book, event, movie, poem, play, or any work of art and narrates it in own point of view. This type of essay has a soft and simple tone.

However, analyzing does not mean that you must re-tell the original story. You need to focus on analyzing the text and tell what you want the reader to see and feel. Also, you can give your own opinion about the text or any event, but it is important to structure your essay appropriately.

Plan what you want to include in the essay and then write the introduction mentioning what part you will be discussing. In the body part, analyze the event and write your personal response. In the end, write a precise conclusion that establishes a relationship between the analyzed text and your argument.

Explicatory Essay 

An explicatory essay is a short type of essay and is usually written on a single page. It is like an analytical essay where the explains a piece of literature, book, play, poem, or novel. In explicatory essay writing, the writers need to focus only on a certain part of the text and explain it in their own language.

Those are some of the major types of essays.

However, when writing an essay, students need to keep in mind what type of essay they have to write, do research, collect data, structure the content, write, and then proofread and edit. If all this seems like a complex job, then no worries, various online tools, and applications are available to make essay writing an easy job.

Online Essay Writing Tools 

Students and academic writers find essay writing a difficult task, therefore, Smodin has created several online tools that help them enhance their essay writing and make them flawless. The tools include plagiarism checker, citation generator, text rewriter, online editor, speech-to-text, AI writer, website and text summarizer, real-time subtitle translation, and multi-lingual grammar correction.

All these tools are free to use for everyone, have powerful deep search technology, machine learning, and support more than 50 languages. So, if you write in any language other than English, our tools will help you write a better essay every time.


Deep knowledge of the reader’s intent helps the writer write along the right line. However, before you start writing, determine which kinds of essays best address your goal, only then you will be able to write an amazing piece tailored to your purpose and engage your readers. But, if you find it difficult, then use Smodin’s free online tools to check grammar usage, self-edit, check plagiarism, cite the sources correctly, and write better.