Types of Essay

Below is a reference for some different types of essays.

Critical Essay

A critical essay offers the reader an analysis or interpretation of a written work. The essayist writes to a specific audience and normally presents a particular argument that supports the main theory or topic of the essay. A critical essay could be considered to be a ‘review’, impression or interpretation by the writer of the essay.

Persuasive Essay

A persuasive essay is used to convince the reader of a certain point of view or to try and get them to take a specific action in relation to the topic. The essay normally argues for one side of a debatable issue and must contain solid evidence which will support the position of the essayist.

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College Application Essay

Most Colleges and Universities require an applying student to prepare a well written college application essay. This essay will usually be based on a question asked by the acceptance committee such as assessing a noteworthy incident, accomplishment or risk taken by the student. Often the board will want the student to write an essay based on an ethical dilemma the student has faced in his or her lifetime and what impact it had on their moral standards.

Narrative Essay

Commonly a narrative essay will reveal a story or memory of a series of events experienced by the writer. It often tells the point of view of the author. There is usually a plot, a defined character, a place or setting and a specific end to the story which emphasizes the point the writer is sharing with the audience.

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Argumentative Essay

Just as the title infers, an argumentative essay attempts prove a particular opinion or theory. The writer will lay out his line of logic as he shows reasons and or principles that clearly substantiate the opinion or theory. This essay is written to merely convince the reader that the theory is valid and true.

Descriptive Essay

Describing objects or events in order to help the reader to feel a sentiment of the author or understand a specific technicality is done by writing a descriptive essay. In this type of essay the writer must be very expressive and use comparison and contrast along with personal experience defined by all the human senses. The more vibrant the description, the more likely the reader is to actually identify with the subject.

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Compare and Contrast Essay

In this type of essay the writer is attempting to show similarities and differences between two things. For instance, the author might want to compare and contrast living in the United Kingdom versus the United States of America. He can easily make a list of things that are similar and compare them and also a list of things that are different and contrast them. In this type of essay it is necessary to make a list of both and choose a few main points that would express differences and similarities clearly.

Cause and Effect Essay

A cause and effect essay simply describes how or why an event occurred, and then shows the effect or what happened due to the event.

Expository Essay

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An expository essay must describe an event or process backed up by facts, not opinions.

Personal Essay

A personal essay will relate to the reader how the writer feels or thinks about a certain theme or topic. The essay is not backed up by facts but by personal beliefs or opinions.

Application Essay

This type of essay normally comes with a succinct list of directions or questions. It is usually presented by a board who wants to find out specific goals and ideas presented by the writer. This type of essay is used for the writer to further his or her career or apply for certain programs or internships.

Reflective Essay

Using a reflective essay gives the reader the ability to understand the process of what happened during certain events. For instance, it could be at the completion of a project or milestone that the writer explains the experiences he had and the conclusion he came to.

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Process Essay

In so many words, a process essay explains how to do a specific task. It is full of details so that the reader could actually complete the task having read the essay.

Five Paragraph Essay

The most classic form of essay is the five paragraph essay. It is comprised of an introduction, three body paragraphs and conclusion.

Classification Essay

This is a type of essay that is used to organize things into groups. Each group (usually three or more) will have its own set of characteristics. The writer describes each group in detail.

Interview Essay

The writer finds someone who has accomplished a task and decides to interview him or her. He asks open-ended questions and specific questions and receives information from the person. Then he uses this information to write a factual essay about the individual.

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Response Essay

A response essay is sometimes called a reaction essay. It allows the writer to reveal his personal feelings and thoughts about a particular subject. Perhaps he has seen a film or read a book and would like to review it. This type of essay allows him to express his viewpoints in relation to a person, place or thing.

Observation Essay

Just as the name implies, an observation essay is written by a writer who has experienced something and expresses how it felt by using all of his senses. For example, the writer could write about watching a hot air balloon race at the crack of dawn. He would use all of his senses to produce an essay that would bring the reader to the day of the race.

Exploratory Essay

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This type of essay goes against any other forms of essay writing. The writer actually writes the essay without a definite outcome. Hence, as the essay is written, the writer has no specific end but reaches the end from a learning standpoint. He looks at different arguments to reach a conclusion.

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