Types of Essays

Different types of writing largely depend on the purpose that one has. There are many different writing types that we encounter every day, depending on what we are doing and where we are working. Whatever types of writing one is doing, how can we become the best writers in general? How can we understand the genres of writing out there? We will work to answer these questions. Let’s become the best writers we can by considering the numerous styles of writing out there:

  • Expository writing: trying to explain and/or inform the reader.
  • Narrative writing: attempting to tell a story. This can be either fact or fiction.
  • Persuasive writing: giving an opinion and backing it up.
  • Descriptive writing: painting a scene or picture for the audience to visualise in their mind.

So now that we’ve got a better understanding, what is an essay?

What is an essay?

Perhaps the most common type of writing is essay and it seems bizarre because everybody knows what it is, or they think they know, yet sit someone down and ask them to define essay in real terms and you may get a look of confusion. What is an essay exactly?

Essay definition: “a piece of writing on a particular topic or subject”.

This is a rather broad definition, so looking at essays really depends on the types of essay out there. We may be writing types of expository essays or we could be writing types of college essays – whatever we’ve got to write, we won’t get anywhere unless we have a broad understanding of the types that exist.

Types of essays

A great way to define essay writing is to be wary of all the different types. Let’s now look at the most important essay types out there so that you know how best to approach them or learn from their context.

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Argumentative essays

Argumentative essays are where the writer argues for something that they feel passionate about or tries and defends their position on a particular issue. Everybody feels strongly for or against something, so this is a great essay topic if you have something that you’re passionate about. Numerous ideas for argumentative essays exist, on just about anything, from controversial issues about abortion rights to ethical issues or moral dilemmas. Whatever you feel most passionate about, you can come up with a good argument. If you’re not sure about what to write, we have some types of argumentative essays titles as prompts:

  1. Professional athletes are highly overpaid.
  2. Animal testing should be banned and not used in research.
  3. Smoking should be banned.
  4. Cell phones are dangerous and the radiation they cause is harmful to our brains.
  5. Cameras in law enforcement are an invasion of our privacy.

Expository essays

There are many types of expository essays, yet this is one of the most frequently confused essay types out there. One needs to remember that the key is to use evidence and facts. In these essays, one cannot just state their opinion and use this as a credible argument. There are many different things one could write about – as a helpful reminder, here are some prompts one could explore:

  1. How to: Writing using descriptions of how to do something.
  2. Analysis: Writing to analyse certain events, written pieces, objects or ideas.
  3. Step by step: Writing that describes a process.
  4. Descriptive essay: Writing in order to describe some sort of event.

Classification essays

When writing a classification essay, the ideas include classifying objects, people or some other things and putting everything into certain classes or groups. This is one of those types of essays where it is best to include examples and evidence to provide justification for your classification. If you are unsure about what you could write, take a look below:

  1. The most popular types of social media video.
  2. What types of people choose to use particular search engines.
  3. The most popular kinds of pets for certain people.

College essays

In college, whether you’re studying medicine and you need to employ scientific styles of writing or whether you’re exploring the genres of writing based on English literature, there are some things in common between all essays. Apart from the many types of writing styles and numerous types of college essays, the following things need to be considered by any college student:

  • Write in a sophisticated style, making good use of syntax and grammar.
  • Gather appropriate information to use from the best sources.
  • Make sure that you reference correctly and punctually.
  • Understand all your vocabulary and define any jargon.
  • Make good use of planning and organise your writing well.

Types of hooks for essays

When writing, sometimes, the body, arguments or points are the easy part to write, however, one can sometimes be left feeling unsure about how to get the reader’s attention from the beginning. One needs to create a hook and there are different types of hooks for essays of your choice, serving to engage the audience. Try to use some of the following hooks for essays you’re working on and grab attention from the start.

  • Describe some sort of process that leads to your subject.
  • Reveal some sort of secret regarding your subject.
  • Describe an engaging factor relating to your subject.
  • Recount a certain incident that created drama around your subject.
  • Describe the setting of your essay in an engaging manner.

Good essay topics – general examples

Often, one can be well aware of all the principles of essay types yet one can also suffer from momentary writer’s block – how will I pick an essay topic? If your mind goes blank for whatever reason, don’t worry. There is a series of good essay topics that one can write about. You might try some of the following:

  • About the law, e.g. “The extent to which parents should be responsible for their children breaking the law.”
  • About society, e.g. “Social media and drug use – the parallels between them.”
  • Controversial, e.g. “The use of wartime censorship in WWI”
  • About current affairs, e.g. “The one belt summit in China and its effects.”
  • About ethics, e.g. “What creates a less moral society?”


There are many different types of essays out there and we hope that you have expanded your knowledge on these. With all the different types of writing styles, hooks, and writing genres, we hope that you are familiar with essay writing a whole lot more so that you can come up with good essay topics.

All the best with your writing.

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