8 Types of Essays Every Student MUST Know + Free Topics
Whether you’re a first-time college essay writer or a professional writer about to crack another dissertation chapter, you’ll need to understand the fundamentals of academic writing as well as the types of essays before you even start writing your first sentence.
What Is an Essay?
An essay refers to any piece of writing written to convince the reader of something or enlighten someone about a particular topic. A basic essay has a good (interesting) title, introduction and conclusion paragraph, at least three body paragraphs, and references credible materials or sources
Essays come in different forms – from descriptive papers, which describe a place, person, or object to persuasive writings, which make an argument. And as a writer, you need to understand the type of essay that suits you the best.
Types of Essays in Academic Writing
Do you know what Descriptive Essays are? As the name suggests, they logically describe or narrate an event, emotion, object, or person. And aim to test a writer’s ability to explain experiences in writing.
They are regarded by many students as the easiest and most straightforward to write. Though they tend to disappear in advanced levels like masters and Ph.D. A good descriptive essay should be written in a creative style.
Your professor may ask you to describe:
- A favorite international destination
- Place you loves as a child
- Beautiful location in nature
- An inspiring friend or family member
Also known as a definition essay, an expository essay is the most basic type of essay in academic writing. It aims to explain an idea or define a concept, and doesn’t need a writer to make an argument.
In simple terms, they are short pieces of writing that answer questions as directly as possible. Some of the great expository essay topics include:
- Explain why you should be regarded as a leader
- Explain why parents are sometimes strict
- Share why you enjoy a particular teacher
- Explain why you admire a particular person.
A narrative essay, also known as a personal or reflective essay, allows a writer to make an argument or impart a lesson through personal experience. These nonfictional writings are usually written from the first-person point of view.
And while writing a narrative essay, a writer has much freedom to choose how they will illustrate the main points. Some of the common topics include narrating:
- A disastrous date
- Your first day in school
- A memorable moment of success or failure
- An encounter that taught you a great lesson in life
Compare & Contrast Essays
A compare and contrast essay reviews two things and then points out their similarities and differences. Their bodies are divided into two major parts – the comparison section and the contrasting section.
And before writing one, you need to select a relevant basis of comparison, and the two things must be relatable. For instance, you can’t compare riding a bicycle and cooking pilau.
But you can compare and contrast:
- Saving money or not
- Studying in a public college vs public college
- Reeding E-books vs textbooks
- Cloud classroom or not
Just like expository essays, analytical essays describe a particular concept. But unlike expository ones, analytical essays provide an objective analysis by diving deeper into the topic and analyzing the pros and cons of the subject.
For instance, an expository essay would describe ‘why people lie’ while an analytical essay would not only describe why people lie but also explore the benefits and pitfalls of lying.
Some of the common analytical essay topics include:
- Why do people have phobias?
- Why do we yawn and sneeze?
- How to get rid of your gambling addiction?
- Why do people want more sugar?
Persuasive (or argumentative essays), is a piece of writing that takes a stance on a particular issue or topic. In an excellent argumentative essay, the writer attempts to persuade the audience to understand and support their point of view.
Such essays should be backed up with evidence and data from reliable sources. And they include an introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs defending the arguments and presenting the counterarguments, data to back up the arguments, a conclusion, and a reference page that outlines the cited materials.
Some of the argumentative or debate topics include:
- Should Students be allowed to have phones at school?
- Is the school day too long?
- Does your school handle bullying well?
- Schools should abolish homework
Cause & Effect Essays
A cause-and-effect essay aims to show how two things relate – how something influenced something else. And while writing one, you should first explain the cause of something, and then describe the effects.
For instance, if your topic is global warming, you need to describe what global warming is, its causes, and show its effects. A good essay should back up the arguments with evidence and data from credible sources like government websites and peer-reviewed articles.
You can as well write a cause-and-effect essay on:
- Civil Rights Movement
- The popularity of Sports in the US
- The popularity of Fast-Food Restaurants
- Famine on the human population
Critical Analysis Essays
Also referred to as critical essays, critical analysis essays are literature-focused. They require a writer to break down a short piece of literature or a single sentence to make an argument about what the author is saying or trying to say.
For instance, you may be asked to agree or disagree with the author’s main point in an article. So, you have to read and understand it and find other articles that have opposing opinions, to write a great critical essay.
These types of essays are common in academic writing, especially at advanced levels like Masters and Ph.D. And some of the topics that you can conduct an extensive literature review on include:
- The Impact of Video Games on Young Children
- Racism in Sports
- The Impact of Video Games on Health
- Technology in Education.
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