What Are The Differences Between Types Of Essays

Every essay subject, no matter what it may be, has a general category which gives the essay its direction or theme. In some cases, you as the student would be given the choice of essay type, but often, the paper will instruct you to write according to a certain category. It's therefore important to know how to write as prompted. Below are seven types of essays that are generally apparent in the world of essays.


This type of article discusses various factors of a given subject. These are probably the most common essays you came across in school and most of us are familiar with how to write them. Normally, these essays describe an item, place or person. The essay should attempt to describe the main features of the subject and then write about those features in detail. Abstract subjects can also fall under this category, although essays about abstract features like absolute truth or goodness are most commonly called Definition essays.


A narrative essay is a story about an event or trip. You may remember being asked to write about your holiday at the beginning of a new school term or stand up in front of your class and describe an outing. A narrative essay is most often written in the first person because it gives the reader an account of sequential events as they happened and describes how you felt and what was said, and should be accompanied by an interesting ending.


This essay will examine someone else's work, whether it be an art piece, a book, a movie or even another essay; and attempts to draw out the good and bad points of the work for discussion. A good starting point for an essay like this would be to identify what the subject tried to accomplish with the work and then move into a discussion of how and if they achieved that goal.

Cause and Effect

An essay of this category will explore the cause and effect factors from one of three angles: Some will require you to examine the cause in relation to the effect, others will ask you to examine the effect in relation to the cause; and the third will entail the examination of a chain effect starting from the cause, and moving over to the effect.


Process or Method essays explain the steps taken to do something. Examples would include anything from a chemistry experiment, how to go about proving someone guilty in court or simply how to start an organic vegetable garden. The steps are laid out, described in detail and discussed to achieve a desired outcome.


An argumentative essay attempts to sway the opinion of the reader to the direction of the writer. This can be something simple like the persuasion to avoid certain foods, or something that holds more significance like who to vote for in an upcoming election. This essay should always include evidence to support the conviction of the writer.

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