5 Major Types of Essays: Online Writing Center

Take time to know different types of essays. There are so many types of writing essays. These are 5 main Types of writing essays in detailed explanation.


It is normal for student to go down well in writing particular type of essays while despise specific assignments. Moreover, each student will love his or her particular type of essay that suits his or her interests. Essays, depending with the topic and type, could be simple or challenging, long or short, or explanatory or descriptive. The main goal is if it meets its purpose. This article discusses different types of essays of which every student should be aware of and ready to write at least once in his academic life.

What is an essay?

The term “essay” comes from a French “essayer,” or “essai” referring to “trail.” In reality essay is a short academic piece. However, in composition, it is a non-fiction piece that expounds a particular idea. At the moment, essays are part of every course in every subject.

Nonetheless, essay requirements vary from one discipline to another. some subjects require long essays, while other short. Normally, there are seventeen types of essays but they have been grouped into 5 major types of essays.

Types of Writing Essays

It is important to understand different types essays starting from the simple one to the time consuming ones. Here are the 5 major types of essays:

  1. Narrative essay
  2. Descriptive essay
  3. Compare and contrast essay
  4. Cause and effect essay
  5. Argumentative essay

Each type of essay has been discussed in brief below for your understanding. If you need more clarification seek help

Narrative essay

A narrative essay is one that can only be achieved through storytelling. It creates some form of interesting fun to the reader from the points the narrator goes through in his story. For example, a narrator in a narrative essay can be telling a story about someone who is special to them. Many times, instructors assign narrative essays to students for the purpose of creating a sense of shared history.

Descriptive essay

A descriptive essay is one that is developed to tell your audience about a particular story of a topic while using appealing details of the five senses. A descriptive essay should provide the reader with a vivid imagination of a scene. Besides, It provides them with a feeling as though they were experiencing it at first hand. Writing a descriptive essay could have you choose an event, a place or an object.

Compare and contrast essay

A compare and contrast type of writing essays should tell the audience about two main subjects that act as central themes within the essay. A compare and contrast essay should actually point out the similarities and differences between the two main subjects used by the author of such an essay. One way that an author can write this type of essay well should be in choosing two or more places, subjects, experiences, events or idea and in a high-level comparison and contrasting discussion discuss them with specific points.

Cause and effect essay

The cause and effect essay is another type of writing essays. A cause and effect essay is one that provides an analysis of the causes of certain things happening. Also why they are happening in that manner. Besides, the results brought about by their happenings. For example, a writer might want to write an essay about what happened in their life, tell us what cause these happening and the results of these happenings. In the types of writing essays, this is the simplest essay writing exercise.

Argumentative essay

This kind of essay is one that is designed to make a claim and then provides the audience with instances and pieces of evidence to prove those claims. When choosing a topic for an argumentative essay, the author should also do thorough research to obtain substantial evidence, stories, statistics and examples to argue out his points.

Format of an Essay

In general, a typical five-paragraph essay consist of :

  • Introduction
  • Three body paragraphs
  • Conclusion

However, other types of essays such as argumentative has an extra paragraph that counters an argument present in the same breath. In the end, its from this additional paragraph a conclusive argument is established in regard to what had been put across in the three body paragraphs.

Get Help Writing Different Types of Essays

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