What Are The Four Types Of Essays By Purpose

Characteristics of different types of Essay

Note: With all the types of rhetorical strategy mentioned below, we are not talking about essay "types", but about rhetorical styles which writers use for particular purposes. Some essays ask for a more expository than argumentative style, and for particular strategies within those styles. As we shall see later, authentic essays actually require you to use a combination of these styles.

Expository(mainly):
"Exposition" is a rather formal term which really means either "information" or "explanation", modes of communication we might use to write a manual, offer instructions on how things work or  where to find things, or recount what happened during a revolution, etc.
Below we have identified 4 types of expository essay found in university curricula: 

Descriptive
Science-related essays often require background description: of a thing, process or state of affairs - analyzing it into its parts. This can be done chronologically, serially, hierarchically, etc. It is a test of your ability to select and synthesise ‘factual’ information.

Explanatory


This approach is asked for in essay looking for an account of reasons or causes in relation to perceived effects or results. In most Social Science disciplines, you will be asked to draw on theory to support your explanation. Your interpretation demonstrates how well you understand the relevant theories.

Illustrative


This could be fairly descriptive, but illustrations need to be relevant and appropriate, and written with explicit reference to the theoretical point being supported.

Analytical


This could apply to experimental data, or to an argument or text. It is the process of breaking down something into its component parts, often in order to analyse patterns or categories based on a theoretical position.

Argumentative (mainly)
Argumentative

literally refers to everything that involves debate and possible disagreement, and to opinion as opposed to the uncontested facts of exposition. It means agreeing or disagreeing with a given proposition, either strongly or tentatively.

In more general terms it refers to a more subjective style of writing, where writers engage in defining their terms or interpreting and evaluating the views, evidence or data very clearly from their own perspective or viewpoint.

Defining


Essays which expect a strong defining component are common in philosophy, but also feature in Sociology.
A question may look factual- e.g. ‘Do we have free will?’ , but the way to answered it is by careful definition of what is meant by the concept of free will.

In Sociology, in particular, competing definitions often need to be explored at length, particularly in essays on social stratification or social class.

Evaluative
Some essays require you to pass judgement or make an assessment, according to stated criteria. In cases when you could say ‘Well, it depends what you mean by (X) ... ’, it is important that you define theterms by which you apply or explore these criteria. Terms, such as "success" or "effectiveness", are often value-laden.. Basically, you may be asked to judge how good or bad something is, or how far it is true.
E.g.: Evaluate the contribution of political parties to the development of
the movement for democracy in Hong Kong

Note: Interpretation + Evaluation:Critical Review Essays typically combine these processes and styles of writing 

In all argumentative essays, you are expected to
consider all sides of an issue before taking a stand, and then to
argue for the validity of your own position

What is an essay? Interestingly, but the majority of students gets confused or even stressed the very moment they are asked to come up with this piece of academic work.

  • Firstly, an essay evaluates an issue, with the purpose to present your personal academic opinion on a given subject.
  • Secondly, each type of writing is designed to convey a certain message and perform a certain function. 
  • Thirdly, you have to take various viewpoints into account, organize them properly & reflect the informed opinion on the topic.

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10 Most Common Essay Types to Feel Quite at Home in Academic Setting

Descriptive Essay | Definition Essay | Compare and Contrast Essay | Cause and Effect | Narrative Essay | Process Essay | Argumentative Essay | Critical Essay | Expository Essay | Persuasive Essay

An essay is like an empty canvas. So, fill it with vivid and clear ideas! Vivid picture + clear understanding are your top priorities.

These Are the Top Types of Essay Writing


#1 Descriptive Essay, or "What’s This?"

A descriptive essay describes whatever one likes, sees, feels, makes or how it works, happens, sounds, tastes, smells – from the beautiful flower in a vase to the process of honey-making by bees. Descriptive essays provide every sensory detail of what is actually described.

DESCRIPTIVE ESSAY EXAMPLE


#2 Definition Essays, or "Love Is…"

A definition essay defines the true meaning + importance of abstract concepts, timeless values, specific terms.

Definition essays explain deeper & more directly than dictionaries.

Here are TOP-7 effective transitions for definition: speaking about (this), in other words, (or) rather, moreover, in fact, on the one/the other hand, above all.

GET IDEA TO WRITE YOUR DEFINITION ESSAY


#3 Compare & Contrast Essays, or "Spot the Difference/Similarity!"

A compare/contrast essay explores either differences or similarities (likenesses) between 2 places, religions, people, things, concepts, etc. Comparison/contrast essays focus on the similarities and/or differences, which is done to convince or entertain the reader. A compare essay reviews the similarities, a contrast essay reviews the differences.

TOP 30 TOPICS FOR COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY 


#4 Cause & Effect Essays, or "How It Comes"

A cause/effect essay explains the way why things happen, how it comes & what follows next. Cause/effect essays resemble a study of how it all began & what will be the conclusion of all this. This type of essays may address either causes & effects tied together, or each of them alone. For example, 3 effects as a result of 1 cause or 3 causes resulting in 1 effect.

Here are TOP-7 effective transitions for cause-and-effect: for the (simple) reason that, due to (the fact that), whatever happens, in case, even/only if, as a result (of this), thus/consequently/therefore.

 READ A SAMPLE OF A CAUSE AND EFFECT ESSAY


#5 Narrative Essays, or "One Night I Fell to Thinking of the Past…"

A narrative essay always tells a story about a single personal experience – either a boring party or an exciting sightseeing excursion, daily routine event or life-shaping voyage. Narrative essays are generally written in the 1st person, using ‘I’.


#6 Process Essays, or "Step-by-Step Guide"

A process essay typically guides on how to do this or that, how this or that is done. It’s a walkthrough, the so-called ‘stepwise refinement’. Process essays work out in detail, demonstrating specific actions/giving specific instructions to be performed in a series.

Here are TOP-7 effective transitions for process discussion: in the (first, second, etc.) place, initially, next, eventually, last but not least, finally, in conclusion.


#7 Argumentative Essays, or "5 Watertight Arguments Why You Should Learn to Write Essays"

An argumentative essay functions as a means for a writer to get a solid argument across to a reader. The purpose of this type of essay is to express an argument in order to sway the reader to see the topic through the author’s point of view. It is a useful type of essay for students of any educational level because it is good practice to not only argue a case but also to articulate one’s thoughts on a certain matter.

This type of essay uses stern language, solid facts, and undeniable examples as proof that the argument is immaculate. Without these features, the argumentative essay ceases to flow well and comes across as weak. A good argumentative writer has a solid sense of what he or she believes should be said in any situation. They also have an organized idea of how to articulate the argument against possible opposing ideas.

ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY TOPICS


#8 Critical Essays, or "The Court Delivers a Verdict"

A critical essay brings somebody or something into focus, analyzing the strengths or weaknesses of things, events, people, etc.

Critical essays discuss how well the work is done & whether its creator has managed the task by conveying the message in his/her book, film, painting.

Here are TOP-7 effective transitions for criticism: frankly speaking, with attention to, important to realize, another key point, first thing to remember, most compelling evidence, on the positive/negative side

CRITICAL ESSAY


#9 Expository Essay

An expository essay is an essay that requires extensive research on an idea or issue. The writer must present an evaluation of the issue and the conclusion based on his or her findings.

One of the functions of this essay format is to learn how to conduct a research. Research requires a certain set of skills. It takes a lot of practice to obtain them. Students may want to draw from their own experiences when discussing certain issues they write about. But through expository essay writing, students will find out, that doing research can be rewarding. Expository essay writing brings a new light to an aspect or idea they probably would not have come to on their own.

Expository essays are opinion based essays, so there are no wrong answers when presenting it. However, expect this essay type to be at least 5 paragraphs in length.

READ A SAMPLE OF AN EXPOSITORY ESSAY


#10 Persuasive Essay

Unlike the argumentative essay, the persuasive essay’s main purpose is to persuade readers towards the author's case. Argumentative essays express an argument or opinion. They are not meant to change the reader’s perspective.

Most persuasive essays focus on current issues and what people should do about them. Persuasive essays can be really challenging. Students must show confidence and authority in their writing. They must come across as credible writers. When a persuasive essay loses its credibility, it will ultimately lose the reader.

In everyday life situations, charm allows a person to easily persuade another one. Since a persuasive essay is a written piece, it lacks that personal connection. So, the writer should present strong views to sway their readers and do not come across as pushy. 

Most writers and persuasive essay authors are able to find their own personal connection to their readers through their writing experience. Many students find this as a challenge early on, but with practice and guidance, they soon write persuasive essays naturally.

30 IDEAS FOR PERSUASIVE ESSAY TOPICS

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