When you are writing your essay, there are questions to ask yourself before you even consider answering the question. The title will give you a lot of clues as to the direction your essay will go in and the style of essay you are being asked to write. Not all essays will have the same structure or body of evidence. Most essays you write will not be approached from the same stand-point. You should ensure that you fully understand the style of essay you are being asked to provide, before you put pen to paper.
The most common types of essay will be discussed here, please use this as a starting point, but understand that there are more than just these ten styles.
- Analytical Essays
These are designed to allow you to explore the deeper meanings within the context of your title. You are not meant to merely describe what happened, but investigate the reasons, the underlying issues and the outcome of what went on. The essay will just report the facts, it will not take sides in the argument. The essay could structure itself along a time-line or could report on the most influential facts first and their connections.
- Argumentative Essays
Usually you will be given a controversial topic to research. This will require you to see both sides of the argument, but then to take one. You should explain to the audience why your side is right and vice-versa. Before you start communicating your side of the argument, you will have to conduct thorough research to intrinsically know the counter claims and how you can refute these.
These essays can rely on your personal experience and dealings with these subjects as this will form the basis of your opinion.
- Critical Essays
You would be given someone else’s work. This could be a critical paper analysis, legal precedence or even an extract from a book. You are to examine how they have answered a set topic and if they have managed to provide a complete and accurate answer. These do differ from traditional literary reviews in its more formal approach and the analysis of the subject’s impact on the wider world.
- Descriptive Essays
In a complete reversal from the other essays, a descriptive essay is all about describing in as much detail as possible. You should allude to every variable about the subject, what does it make you feel, think, say? Emotions and senses are the two key factors in a descriptive essay. How do these effects have a wider impact on the world around it. What impact did this event or action have that created such a result?
- Informal Essays
An informal essay is similar to a persuasive essay, in that you are allowed to write with personal opinion and from your own personal perspective. Different topics will necessitate the different styles of your essay. You could be asked to write about where you will be in five years’ time. This is one of the most common informal essays and it allows you to really express both yourself and your creative writing ability. You can treat informal essays as an English paper, where you are writing in the first person.
- Narrative Essays
As the name suggests, the narrative essay will be based around you describing the events and actions from one key aspect of a person’s life or an event in history. The whole essay cannot possibly tackle the entire life of someone or delve deep enough into a whole war. Instead they will target a specific element of the time frame. They will narrow in on the key moment and gloss over the rest. This will involve an overview and general impression of the whole time-frame, but not a detailed analysis.
- Persuasive Essays
You might think that a persuasive essay and an argumentative essay are essentially the same thing and you would be fairly right. They do both try to get the reader to adopt the beliefs that you are presenting, but they do so in very different ways. The argumentative essay will use facts and reason to convince the reader, whereas the persuasive essay will rely on pure emotion and unreasoned feeling to convince the reader.
- Process Essay
The process essay is used a lot in the scientific and theoretical departments. These essays are procedural driven reports of what happens to create a set outcome. The essay will involve strict instructions that can be followed to obtain exactly the same results.
- Research Essay
A research essay combines many of the skills learned from writing other types of essays.
It will find an initial starting point in the title, then explore all possible avenues off of this target. It will find new arguments or information about the topic and report these back with detailed results. The point of the research essay is to report a new finding or evidence of a new theory.
- Review Essay
We have all written review essays for as long as we can remember. One of the first pieces of writing we would have done in school would have been a book review. The essay has to examine what was said, written, drawn and the meaning behind the work. It will delve deeper than just reporting the red curtains, pondering why the creator chooses to use red and why there are even curtains in the first place. The review will allow the reader to understand the strengths of the work and to know if they would find it interesting to read or visit. It is normally written for someone who has not seen the work before and it will allow them to form an impression of it.
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