A Student’s Guide to Essays: 4 Types and Their Purposes

By | March 15, 2019

how to write a good essay
Writing an essay for the purpose of completing a school assignment (or even for publication) isn’t as simple as filling up your personal diary or journal.

A proper essay discusses a particular topic or subject from a specific point of view. Essentially, there are different types of essays you will come across throughout your academic years. By understanding the different types, you can submit the correct kind you are required to write for your class assignments and exams.

Differentiating essays is a matter of identifying the writer’s goal. For example, is the writer sharing a personal experience, explaining an issue, or merely describing something? Let a professional essay writer help you become familiar with the following major essay types.

1. Descriptive essay

A descriptive essay involves painting a picture with words. It should be a detailed analysis and description of a particular piece, object, event, or any other subject. However, this essay type does not present a description merely for the sake of describing.

The descriptive essay aims to communicate a deep meaning through description. In this essay, you should show, not tell, by using colorful words and sensory elements. Good descriptive essays appeal to the emotions of readers with a result that is poignant.

Popular literary tools used in descriptive essays include:

  • Analogy
  • Allegory
  • Metaphor
  • Personification
  • Simile

2. Narrative essay

Does the writer seem to be telling a story? In a narrative essay, the writer expresses his real-life experience. While this type of essay seems easy to do, a narrative essay challenges the student to think deeper and write about himself.

When writing a narrative essay, you should:

  • Try to involve readers by making the story as creative as possible
  • Use the first person point of view or “I” sentences to make your readers feel as if they are part of the story as you tell it to them
  • Build your essay towards a good conclusion or a strong personal statement

3. Expository essay

An expository essay presents a balanced analysis of a particular topic through informative writing. In this essay, you will explain or define a topic using examples, facts, and statistics. Since this type of essay is based on facts and not your personal feelings, you do not have to write in the first person point of view and reveal emotions.

Since the volume of an expository essay is large, it is usually divided into these categories:

  • Cause and effect essay – This proves that things have a connection. In this essay, the writer specifies reasons why particular things happen, along with their consequences.
  • Critical analysis essay – The goal of this essay is to make the writer understand a particular subject. A teacher may provide a related piece of text so the student can analyze, write, and interpret the results in his own way.
  • Explanation essay – This refers to the interpretation of the step-by-step process, similar to when you provide detailed instructions. It answers the “how” question by writing about how a particular event, thing, or object is done or made.
  • Definition essay – This is the simplest, but you should not do it by copying from a dictionary. You should include several official definitions as well as your personal understanding of a word or phrase.
  • Reflection essay – This essay requires the writer to describe an idea, event, scene or anything based on evidence and facts. Then, you offer your personal opinion or analysis of the subject.

4. Persuasive essay

While similar to an expository essay in the manner of presenting facts, a persuasive essay’s main goal is to convince readers. You are writing to make your readers accept your point of view or personal recommendation. You may build your case using several facts, logic, and sound reasoning.

What is important is that you exhibit all sides of the argument as well as communicate directly why you are correct.

Study and practice

Being a good essay writer does not happen in an instant. You need to regularly study and practice essay writing in order to master it. Learn how to format an essay in the right way so you can apply the correct method in your writing assignments. In addition, take a look at different sample essays so that you can get a clear idea of how to start.

Keep in mind that effectively writing different types of essays is critical to your studies. It is a skill that must be taken seriously as it is a common element in school assignments, standardized tests, and college applications.


Taimoor Liaquat is the CEO at MyPerfectWords.com, renowned as the global source for professional writing services at all academic levels. The company’s team of world-class native English-speaking essay writers with advanced degrees at elite US universities ensures high-quality custom content for all clients.

2 thoughts on “A Student’s Guide to Essays: 4 Types and Their Purposes

  1. Kak Rasyid

    I agree with the last part, study and practice ..

    Writing is a collective knowledge that student should perform it on paper properly ..

    I am happy to read this article, thanks ..


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