Four Types of Essay: Expository, Persuasive, Analytical, and Argumentative

12th Jun 2018
types of essay

The purpose of this article is to tell you about four essay types. They are analytical, argumentative, persuasive, and expository. Let us discuss all these types one by one and see how they differ from each other.

1. The analytical essay

The analytical essay definition is the following: the essay type, in which you examine, interpret, and analyze various books, plays, poems, events, as well as other art works.

Analytical writing includes such important elements as:

  • Good introduction that presents the argument. In the first paragraph of your essay, you need to state what text you are going to discuss and highlight its most important issues. Afterward, you should identify the idea that you are going to discuss in your essay. Narrow down your focus, so that your research question becomes as precise as possible.
  • Body text that provides solid analysis. Connect your argument to the issue you are researching and present this argument to your reader in this section. While examining the text, keep in mind that what stylistic devises the author uses to put their ideas into words. See if the author is successful in conveying their ideas to the reader. Remember to give sound judgment and provide examples to support your suggestions.
  • Personal response. Writing an analytical essay, you need to ensure your reader that you have the profound understanding of the topic conveyed in the text. Remember that it is not necessary to give only positive judgment to the text. In case you see that the author has failed in conveying their idea, be critical of it. But keep in mind that in any case you should provide evidence, whether your personal response to the text is positive or not.
  • Conclusion and argument analysis. In your conclusion, you need to discuss how your presented argument is related to the text you are analyzing.

While writing an analytical essay, you should remember the following tips:

  • Plan beforehand. If you have a plan in your head, your writing will be more organized. Therefore, you should know what you are going to discuss in every part of your essay. If you are aware of the direction you are heading, you are going to reach it faster and more effectively.
  • Stay in the present moment. In an analytical essay, it is a good idea to use present tense while discussing the text.
  • Be objective. For that, it is a good idea to avoid using the first person. For instance, instead of “I think,” you can say “It appears.”
  • Do not use informal speech. It includes slang and colloquialisms.
  • Contractions are not a good idea either. Just do not use them.
  • Do not retell the story. Many writers make this mistake and eventually fail to analyze the text. In an analytical essay, your goal is to explain how you see the text and how it affects you.

2. The argumentative essay

In the argumentative essay, you need to provide evidence to your hypothesis, theory, or opinion on a certain idea. You also need to prove that your idea is more correct than others. In some way, it is similar to a persuasive essay. However, in an argumentative essay, you do not try to persuade your reader in your opinion, but you have to argue on how your point of view is opposed to others.

The main elements of an argumentative essay are:

  • A focused and clear argument
  • Support of your argument with reliable evidence
  • Consideration of pros and cons
  • Perfect structure and transition
  • Focus on the audience
  • Examination of convincing evidence
  • No repetition of your points
  • Each paragraph should contain one topic and the transition to the next one should be smooth
  • Solid conclusion

Besides, it is highly recommended to stick to the following writing tips:

  • Enlist your pros and cons. Do if before you begin writing. It is a good idea to see what important arguments you can use to support your idea and how you can disprove the most common cons.
  • Use one of the three approaches. Select the approach that will be the most effective for conveying your point of view. In any approach, you start with a thesis statement and end with a conclusion. In the first approach, you provide two pro ideas and then – the refutation of your cons. In the second approach, you refute the cons first and then give your two pro ideas. In the third approach, you should discuss every con idea and refute it consecutively.
  • Remember to implement transitions. While you are moving between your pros and cons, or just between your sentences and paragraphs, you should use suitable transition phrases. For instance, when you need to disprove the con, you can use however, nevertheless, but, or on the contrary. To highlight your disagreement, you can utilize such phrases as “contrary to what is stated above” or “this argument is inappropriate, because”. It is advised to make a search for good transition words and phrases that are suitable for an argumentative essay and use them to provide your point of view in the most efficient way.
  • Utilize the facts. It is a good idea to use examples, quotes, as well as statistics, that are related to your argument.

3. The persuasive essay

The persuasive essay definition is very simple. It is the kind of essay, in which you need to persuade your reader in your point of view and tell that your position regarding a certain issue is the most correct one. In this type of essay, your argument and the rationale you use are essential. While you are attempting to persuade your reader, you need to present your opinion in a flawless way and make your reader believe in it.

The most important elements of a persuasive essay include:

  • Presenting a specific opinion
  • Doing profound research to find the evidence
  • Using sound evidence
  • Providing solid reasoning for this evidence
  • Knowing the audience you are writing for
  • Avoiding being too passionate or sentimental while writing a persuasive essay
  • Avoiding making the reader bored or tired of excessive language
  • Leaving the essay clear of word repetition
  • Finishing the essay with a solid conclusion
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4. The expository essay

Now it is high time you learned the expository essay definition, which is the simplest one. In this type of essay, you need to explain a certain idea, issue, or topic. The key to writing a good expository essay is to do it in a way audience understands it. This type of essay can be written about pretty much anything, from a work of art to any world event (such as a sports game event or a political debate).

The most important elements of an expository essay that you need to keep in mind while writing include:

  • Provide a solid thesis. Your essay needs to start with a research question or a thesis statement. Stick to this statement throughout your essay and be sure not to wander from it.
  • Find sound evidence for your point of view. Remember to support your opinion with reasonable facts. Avoid the simple enumeration of facts. It is much better to use them as examples to prove that your argument is solid.
  • Be concise. It is always a bad idea to repeat the same thing over and over again throughout your essay. Avoid over-statements and excessive language. If you remain concise, your reader will better understand your point of view and appreciate your work much more.

If you bear in mind these elements, you will grasp and keep the attention of your reader from the beginning of your essay till its end.

Now you know how to write all the most common types of essays. Remember all the recommendations given above, and the essay you are going to write will be successful regardless of its type.